On the Ground: My flight to Madrid involved an earlier connection to Chicago from Denver via American Airlines, and the transfer to the Iberia gate at Chicago O’Hare International Airport for my international flight was fast, pleasant and stress-free. Upon landing in Chicago, I was met by a gate attendant who had my boarding pass ready, enabling me to go directly to O’Hare’s Terminal 3 to relax in the lounge before departure. Iberia shares the Admirals Club Lounge in T3, and the space was a quiet refuge with a nice selection of light fare. Departures were clearly announced, and my gate was located conveniently adjacent to the lounge entrance.
Pre-Flight: Priority boarding enabled me to get comfortable well before takeoff. My flight’s brand-new (less than a month old) Airbus A330 wide-body aircraft was freshly painted with Iberia’s updated logo and included the newly configured Business Plus cabin. The cabin layout was 1-2-1, and while all the seats (located in independent pods) were roomy and private, my window seat seemed especially so. Once settled, I was offered a warm towel and my choice of juice or Champagne. Rather than having to leave my handbag stashed in the overhead compartment for takeoff, I found ample personal storage space with a seat-side compartment option and a second compartment located above the generously proportioned side table area.
Attendants delivered an amenity kit and headset and offered a good selection of magazines and newspapers. Before our taxi to the runway began, the flight’s purser introduced himself individually to each passenger in the cabin.
In-Flight: Once we were airborne, I immediately adjusted my seat to a comfortable recline and activated the back massage feature. The à la carte entertainment system included a large screen and handheld remote, both with touch screens. The system included 50 films, 78 television series, 12 games (some in 3D), 400 music albums and an entire set of selections just for children — more than enough to stay busy during the almost eight-hour flight. My seat was also equipped with a reading light and easy-to-reach electrical outlets with a USB and Apple connection for charging devices.
Dinner service commenced with a starter of chicken consommé, a green salad with Parmesan cheese shavings, warm bread and extra-virgin olive oil, and a cheese plate. I chose the main course of king prawns and scallops with a seafood sauce, pearl onions, green asparagus and roasted potatoes. Two other choices were available: a fresh vegetable sauté (vegetarian) and beef filet with mustard and beer sauce served with leeks and dried apricots. Dessert included slices of hazelnut cake and a selection of ice creams (including mango and pineapple).
The onboard menu was created by four of Spain’s top chefs, each of whom has two Michelin stars: Paco Roncero, Dani García, Toño Pérez and Ramón Freixa. The wines were as impressive as the food and included choices from top bodegas including Palacio de Bornos, Vina Real and Valduero. Other beverage selections included top-shelf alcohols, liqueurs, brandies and an excellent Castillo Perelada Brut Reserva D.O. Cava.
My seat extended to a fully flat position, and the large pillow and soft duvet helped create a relaxing and snug personal environment. I fell asleep watching Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade make a call to a feisty dame on a rotary phone in The Maltese Falcon and slept soundly for close to five hours. About an hour prior to landing, the crew served orange juice, fresh sliced fruit, yogurt, warm croissants and crispy toast, along with coffee and tea. I chose the Euro blend breakfast tea, although other interesting options included pennyroyal, chamomile with anise, and linden teas. After breakfast was cleared, the purser came through the cabin once again to chat with each passenger about his or her flight experience and to offer individualized information about connections in Madrid. As he knew that I was heading on to Málaga, he also presented me with the day’s weather report.
The Experience: I arrived rested and ready to begin my day. The entire experience with Iberia was exceptional, and I would quite happily fly with the carrier again the next time I head to Spain.
[item check=yes]Less than 10 minutes for check-in[/item]
[item check=yes]Friendly and helpful agents[/item]
[item check=yes]Priority tagged baggage[/item]
[item check=yes]Airport lounge[/item]
[item check=yes]Complimentary in-lounge food[/item]
[item check=yes]Priority boarding[/item]
[item check=yes]Helpful and courteous flight attendants[/item]
[item check=yes]Pre-flight beverage service[/item]
[item check=yes]Pre-flight newspapers and magazines[/item]
[item check=yes]Extensive on-demand entertainment[/item]
[item check=yes]Amenity kits[/item]
[item check=yes]Lie-flat seat/bed[/item]
[item check=yes]In-flight menu with three entrée choices[/item]
[item check=yes]Top-shelf wines and liquors[/item]
Since Cheval Blanc, an extraordinary, newly designed and refurbished 72-room hotel owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey, launched in September 2021, it has been the talk of the town. Le Tout-Paris remarks about its WOW factor … and the hard-to-get reservations for the 30 seats at Plenitude, the intimate, first-floor gastronomic outlet headed by chef Arnaud Donckele, who earned three Michelin stars at Cheval Blanc Saint Tropez. Reservations are also recommended for Limbar, the ground-floor bakery/café/tea shop/bar where we watched Pastry Chef Maxime Frédéric preparing desserts and an absolute must-have for dinner at Le Tout-Paris, the 7th-floor, all-day brasserie. This brightly colored space, with its raised seating and Fauve-like floor tiles and the adjacent Milanese restaurant, Langosteria, both have access to terraces facing the Seine River, with amazing views encompassing Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower.
Located in the South Pacific, The Islands of Tahiti are just eight hours by air from California. Surrounded by pristine, crystal-clear blue waters, the 118 islands and atolls offer natural beauty, authentic island culture and unique French Polynesian style. The Islands of Tahiti are world-renowned for white-sand beaches, stunning turquoise lagoons and varied landscapes ranging from coral atolls to volcanic mountain peaks. Privacy comes naturally in The Islands of Tahiti and offers visitors the space to relax and reconnect and to be Embraced By Mana. Mana is the life force and spirit that connects all things in The Islands of Tahiti.
Nevada-based The Spa at Green Valley by Well & Being and The Spa at Red Rock by Well & Being celebrate the start of 2022 with new health, wellness and spa treatments available through March 31. Both spas offer an array of treatments for guests wanting to relax and unwind before 2022 kicks into full gear.
To allow visitors to safely and responsibly enjoy their trip to Barbados, the island announced streamlined port entry protocols. Barbados’ Ministry of Health and Wellness released the following protocols for all travelers planning on coming to the island.
Go ahead, take a nice, deep breath. Because a Seabourn voyage is all about this moment you’ve come so far in life to embrace. It’s not an escape, it’s an arrival.
Mar Del Cabo launched a new luxury beach fishing experience with an interactive paella workshop for guests. The Los Cabos-based hotel offers guests an immersive experience that takes them through the journey of creating paella, starting with a fishing session.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Santorini, Greece, with us.
IHG® Business Edge: Working Together with SMEs for a smarter way to manage travel
COJE Management Group raised the bar when it comes to cuisine and cocktails. The Boston-based group, founded by Chris Jamison and Mark Malatesta, offers guests the ultimate dining experience with old-world hospitality and an array of cuisines for every guest to enjoy. With culinary director Tom Berry incorporating the cuisines he encountered during his travels to South America, Cuba, Japan, Southeast Asia and France, each restaurant has distinguished itself as a must for anyone visiting Boston and each is designed exclusively in-house using inspiration from different regions and countries around the world.