On the Ground: I was eager to experience EVA’s Royal Laurel cabin, upgraded last year. Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is one busy place; as the airline’s hub, many flights depart at the same time and even with several premium check-in counters, there was a wait. The staff was friendly, courteous and extremely helpful. Once I reached the counter, check-in was quick.
Pre-Flight: I did not see any priority security lanes, and the process was long and arduous — more a fault of the airport than the airline. After duty-free shopping, I headed to the EVA lounges, true oases of calm located upstairs. The Infinity lounge — recently renovated, clean and modern with twinkling lights in the ceiling — was crowded, but I found a seat and a plug and grabbed a drink from the large selection of beverages and food (Asian and Western options). I didn’t have much time there, but I got some work done and changed for my flight. With more time, I would have tried the shower facilities.
In-Flight: Each seat in Royal Laurel is private and personal, a step away from a suite with a high back and side. I was happy to be in a window seat in the 1-2-1 configuration, pleased with the ample storage and large ledge by the window. I stowed my bags, keeping my laptop, reading material and other amenities accessible from my seat. The brand-new Rimowa amenity kit, a comforter and pillow were all waiting.
My flight passed quickly. I kept busy with movies from the generous entertainment options, work and sleep in the lie-flat bed. Before dinner, I enjoyed a glass of Dom Perignon Vintage 2003. The menu offers two regular dinner options and a healthy choice. The appetizer was a stuffed egg with caviar served aside a pan-seared scallop with tomato salsa on asparagus and lettuce, followed by Italian minestrone soup and a salad. For my entrée, I selected braised pork spareribs wu shi style. Cheese, fruit and ice cream or mousse followed. I paired all with a Chassagne Montrachet Vielles Vignes 2010. Flight attendants provided snacks and small meals throughout the flight; I enjoyed a savory potato cheese tart when I woke up hungry. Before landing, another meal was served; I chose the Western selection: fruit, bread, penne with mushrooms in a pesto cream sauce with a chicken patty wrapped in bacon.
The Experience: EVA, now a member of Star Alliance, met all my expectations. From beginning to end, my flight was top-notch. It’s a good sign when a long flight seems to pass in the blink of an eye.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Friendly and helpful agents
- Priority tagged bags
- Airport lounge
- Complimentary in-lounge food
- Priority boarding
- Helpful and courteous flight attendants
- Pre-flight beverage service
- Pre-flight newspapers and magazines
- Extensive on-demand menu
- Self-serve in-flight pantry
- Amenity kits
- Lie-flat seat/bed
- Mattress and comforter
- In-flight menu with three entrée choices
- Top-shelf wines and liquors
One thing surprising about the Prince Edward Island capital is its abundance of shops specializing in affordable, fashion-forward jewelry rendered in sterling silver, vermeil, 14K gold and semi-precious stones. Whether you prefer delicate pieces or bold wearable art, you can be assured the pieces for sale are inspired by the maritime island setting and, therefore, specific to the place where they are created. Here are a few shining, woman-owned examples:
The Islands of Tahiti offer a range of captivating activities for travelers with diverse interests, from hiking to breathtaking waterfalls, riding horses on secluded beaches; swimming with sharks; or immersing in Polynesian culture through traditional dance, music and art. For watersports enthusiasts, the crystal-clear lagoons offer exhilarating experiences like surfing, kiteboarding and paddleboarding. And if you’re looking to relax, the pristine beaches, overwater bungalows and tropical sun offer the perfect setting. With 118 islands and atolls to explore, island hopping is an excellent way to experience the full diversity of The Islands of Tahiti. With its blend of adventure, culture and relaxation, The Islands of Tahiti offer a truly unique travel experience.
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As a peripatetic traveler, I am always trying to balance the pleasures of dining well with a life-long challenge to control my weight. It’s not always easy, because I consider tasting typical, authentic regional dishes among the highlights of most journeys, and those foods are rarely known for “healthful” rankings! So, I started staying at spas way back in the 1980s — before they were ubiquitous — because meals were assured to be pure, clean and wholesome.
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With the rush of Black Friday and Cyber Monday over, many of us still wrack our brains on what to buy friends and family this holiday season. For the traveler in your life, finding the perfect gift can go a long way. Here are some top-quality products sure to impress loved ones this season:
Nashville’s once-modest skyline continues to evolve as its luxury market grows. Lavish hotel properties are added to the landscape while acclaimed chefs stake claim in the robust culinary scene and premier cultural offerings round out the city’s repertoire.
PHOTO: © VADYM LAVRA | DREAMSTIME.COM