On the Ground: I arrived at JFK with plenty of time to spare for my 9 p.m. departure from Terminal 7 and was quickly checked in and on my way to security. At that time of night — 7:30 p.m. — security is not too crowded, so the process did not take long. Iberia uses the British Airways lounge in Terminal 7, and as I entered I learned my flight was now scheduled to depart at midnight. Due to a second ash cloud drifting toward the South Atlantic, the plane from Madrid had to take a more southerly route that added at least an hour or two to its flight. Ultimately, I ended up spending close to five hours in the lounge. The BA lounge was pleasant and the receptionists were great at updating us on the status of the flight, but even the best service in the world starts to pale after so long a wait. (29/30)
Pre-flight: It was a full flight, but once the boarding process started, close to 1 a.m., it went quite fast, with weary passengers eager to get settled after the long delay. Iberia’s Business Plus Class allowed me to pre-board and stow my bags in a leisurely fashion. The flight attendants were more than accommodating, making up for any frustrations produced by the delay. I enthusiastically took the glass of Champagne that was offered after I had settled into my seat. (29/30)
In-flight: Once off the ground, the flight attendants made up for lost time by quickly starting the food and beverage service. Many people in the Business Plus cabin skipped eating dinner in the middle of the night and took advantage of the lie-flat seats and went right to sleep. I decided to eat and was very pleasantly surprised by the excellent food offered. I had delicious baked cod, a glass of Cuatro Rayas Viñedos Centenarios 2009 and a glass of Sembro 2008 Red D.O. Ribera del Duero, both of which were superb. Iberia has expanded the personal space (87 inches) for each passenger in Business Plus Class, making its seats fully horizontal, so after my meal I adjusted my seat to 180 degrees and snoozed until breakfast. (38/40)
The Experience: My return flight was flawless, in part because I spent almost two hours in the newly renovated Velasquez VIP lounge in T4 at Madrid-Barajas Airport, where I relaxed and had a late lunch from the elaborate buffet that offers snacks as well as hot meals. The lounge is a very attractive, light-filled space with large windows overlooking the runways.
Total Score: 96/100
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I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
San Antonio celebrated 300 years of progress in May 2018. With a clear vision following that anniversary year, the Texan city set its sights firmly on 300 more. While commemorating this milestone, the city underwent a major overhaul to prepare for the next phase in its history.
When you think of a relaxing spa day, mountains, rivers and view of gorgeous landscapes pop in your head; a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of any city’s booming music and honking taxis. SoJo Spa Club and Hotel gives you the relaxing feeling of being away while still staying close to the busy center of Manhattan.
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