On the Ground: Check-in at Helsinki’s Vantaa Airport Terminal 2 was easy-breezy. I was ticketed through to my connecting flight from New York to Washington, D.C. The gracious and efficient counter agent, who had information that my onward flight to D.C. on a separate airline was canceled due to a winter storm, was already prepared to help me make alternate arrangements and secured a train ticket for me. I was then whisked through the priority security line. From there, the lounge was a short stroll away between Gates 36 and 37. I had only a carry-on bag; had I checked luggage, it would have been tagged priority.
Pre-Flight: Finnair’s Helsinki lounge is a study in minimalist design and comfort. The generous space is arranged into intimate groupings and private corners, with a narrow upper deck with deep chairs and ottomans overlooking the runway. The area was flooded with natural light, with plenty of electrical outlets within easy access. Felted walls buffered airport sound, and the buffet had a nice selection of hot and cold dishes served on beautiful Marimekko dinnerware.
I had no trouble connecting to the complimentary WiFi and spent a pleasant two hours catching up on emails and reading. I found the earthy colors, soothing creams and light-colored woods throughout the space extremely soothing and was very relaxed by boarding time. Once my flight was announced, I was ushered on board with no waiting and quickly offered a refreshing drink. The boarding process in all cabins went quickly and smoothly, and we left the gate on time.
In-Flight: My window seat was spacious and comfortable with ample storage space. My seat converted into a bed but wasn’t completely flat. Though there was a slight angle and my feet were lower than my head, I still found it easy to fall asleep for the middle part of the flight following lunch service. Sleeping was made easier thanks to soft sheets, a fluffy quilted comforter and an excellent pillow. Amenity kits were serviceable but packaged in an eco-friendly paper covering. The entertainment selection was quite broad, with first-run international movies, games and music from around the world. I occupied myself by intermittently watching our progress on the flight map while finally finishing a novel I’d begun months before the flight.
As this was a day flight, lunch was served. After an amuse bouche of organic root vegetable chips, I was offered a salad and creamy chanterelle soup served with a small platter of Baltic herring roe, smoked elk and Lappish baked cheese. For the main course, I chose salmon with a pepper crust served with a potato-leek ragout, one of three dishes offered. To accompany the salmon, I had the Schlumberger Riesling, an Alsace Grand Cru. Though I skipped it, dessert was either fresh fruit, cheeses or a slice of a beautiful strawberry cake. Nearly as impressive as the food was the dinnerware: The glassware was specially designed for Finnair in 1969 by Tapio Wirkkala of the famed Finnish glassware firm Iittala. The design, called Ultima Thule, has remained in continuous service and is recognized as a Finnish design classic. It was a lovely touch to cabin service.
The snack bar in the galley had light fare available throughout the flight, and when I later requested a cup of tea, it was served promptly — hot and freshly brewed. About an hour and a half before landing, the crew offered a light meal consisting of a Scandinavian shrimp sandwich with fresh fruit on the side.
The Experience: The flight was a positive experience from start to finish, accentuated by an airport staff and onboard service team that actually appeared to enjoy the delivery of friendly customer service.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Friendly and helpful agents
- Priority-tagged bags
- Airport lounge
- Complimentary in-lounge food and beverages
- Priority boarding
- Helpful and courteous in-flight staff
- Pre-flight beverage service
- Pre-flight newspapers and magazines
- Amenity kits
- Lie-flat seat/bed
- Mattress pad and comforter
- In-flight menu offering choice of three entrées
- Top-shelf wines and liquors
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
Legendary Hotel del Coronado reached another milestone in its $400 million Master Plan reimagination, with the completion of an extensive, historic restoration of the hotel’s front porch and lobby; a redesigned main entry and drive experience; new guestrooms in The Views area; and refreshed retail concepts.
As a native of the Philadelphia region, I’m quite familiar with the drive in and out of the City of Brotherly Love. Even as the city’s skyline continually transforms, my favorite views of Philadelphia have always been along Boathouse Row, with the Philadelphia Museum of Art rising in the background, before looping around the museum to the flag-lined Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Home to many of Philadelphia’s incredible and world-renowned museums, the Fairmount neighborhood is fittingly aesthetically pleasing and practically synonymous with fine art.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
Set to open in 2026, Rosewood San Francisco will be the last skyscraper developed in the downtown region for the foreseeable future. The projected 800-foot-tall property will host a hotel, residences, office and rental spaces. The brand’s third property in California will join Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, and Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
Tuscany’s Lucca is home to Grand Universe Lucca, which brings the region’s best wines front and center to its guests. The hotel features three immersive Tuscan Wine tasting experiences: Montalcino, Montecarlo, and Super Tuscan and Chianti Classico.