On the Ground: Our flight to Johannesburg was scheduled to depart at 12:50 p.m. and we arrived at Dulles with plenty of time. Unfortunately (or fortunately, as it turned out), when we arrived we discovered that our flight was now scheduled to depart at 5 p.m. The good news was that we were flying on a new route, which would eliminate a scheduled stop in Dakar and cut three hours off the flying time.We headed for the check-in counter, hoping to deposit our luggage and get some work done in the lounge. Unfortunately, no one was there. About an hour later, an agent from another airline arrived and began checking in the now growing line of travelers. Once through security we went to the lounge South African Airways shares with British Airways. The lounge attendant snippily told my companion he could not enter, as only I was flying business class. She suggested I ask at the SAA counter for a pass for him. I tried, but the SAA representative refused and said he would have to wait outside the lounge for me. Instead, we both waited outside the lounge and charged our laptops at a nearby electrical outlet.
On Board: I admit feeling guilty pleasure as my companion and I parted ways at the door. My seat was spacious and private, and a smiling attendant greeted me by name and offered me a beverage. I reclined, put my feet up and settled back with the seat massager. I chose the crab salad and the gnocchi for my meal, though the traveler next to me had an attractive plate of lamb chops that I wish I had ordered. After my orange-apricot pie, the attendant brought me a down comforter and a few plush pillows. I reclined with The Devil Wears Prada on my private screen until my eyes were almost closed and then drifted off in the spacious lie-flat seat for the remainder of the 16-hour flight.
The Experience: I could hardly believe we were almost in Johannesburg when I awoke. I am a fitful sleeper at best, but somehow, I had a deep, full night’s sleep en route to a destination on the other side of the world. Must have been that cozy comforter. I enjoyed a long, luxurious breakfast of smoked salmon, grilled asparagus and various fresh breads, then awaited our descent into the bustling metropolis of Johannesburg, completely refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
Total Score: 96/100
I imagine that when writer Hans Christian Andersen mused, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale,” he was standing at the edge of Copenhagen’s historic Tivoli Gardens, one of his favorite haunts, enlivened by the swirl of human happiness that surrounded him: children laughing; carousels spinning; games of chance played for prizes; lovers holding hands; hungry people whispering over sweets, hot drinks, beer and towering, open-faced smørrebrød, Denmark’s quintessential sandwich. That fairy tale lives on today at the second-oldest amusement park in the world, a spectacle of folly architecture, bakeries, gardens, rides, restaurants, puppet shows and joy ... and which also happens to be one of the city’s most storied places to convene for business.
GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
The restored Park Hyatt Toronto reopened its doors, bringing luxury, sophistication and glamour alongside a nod to the hotel’s Canadian heritage. Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge collaborated on the hotel’s refresh, drawing inspiration from Canada’s seasons and natural landscapes.
I recently dined at Irwin’s in Philadelphia. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Bok Building, a former school turned collective of small businesses, non-profits, artist workshops, a bar and restaurant. I previously visited Bok for the bar and yoga classes, and I was excited to experience the restaurant.
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.
The Global Business Travel Association, the world’s largest business travel and meetings trade organization, recently released a statement from GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang regarding the Biden administration’s recent announcement that the U.S. travel ban will be relaxed in November for vaccinated travelers from 26 Schengen countries, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha. As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.
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.
The Rittenhouse has long stood out as one of Philadelphia’s finest hotels, centrally located in one of the city’s poshest neighborhoods. Needless to say, I knew I was in for an afternoon of luxurious pampering when I hopped in my car and headed down I-95 from my suburban home to the heart of the City of Brotherly Love. As I drove through the seemingly endless roadwork on the highway, I realized just how long it had been since I’d driven this once-familiar route into the city as a result of the pandemic. Of course I was eager for the relaxation and bliss that was in my future, but it was also a welcome feeling to head back into Philadelphia for a moment of normalcy.