On the Ground: I checked in at Durban (DUR) airport for a South African Airways flight connecting to Johannesburg and my New York flight. The process was swift, and the agent priority tagged and checked my bag through to JFK. Once in Joburg, I headed for the Baobab Business Class Lounge, which is separate from the Cycad First Class Lounge. I was greeted warmly, and one of three staffers manning the Business-side desk briefed me on the layout. The expansive space featured several lounging areas, including one for smokers; a business center with computer terminals; an audio-video lounge; a children’s room; three self-serve food areas; a staffed bar; secure luggage storage; and rainfall showers. WiFi was free. Food options included munchies, fruit, cheeses and crackers, soup, sandwiches, hot entrées and sweets. Business-class customers were escorted to the head of the secondary security line and boarded via a separate ramp and entrance.
Pre-Flight: Flight attendants welcomed passengers with a glass of sparkling wine and a choice of magazines and newspapers as well as a menu. The section had a 2-2-2 configuration, and my seat in the last row was in the center section. I adjusted the lumbar support and tested the massage function, which provided a simple rolling vibration. Although located adjacent to the galley, noise was not a problem. The amenity kit contained the usuals: socks, toothbrush and paste, combo brush/comb, lip balm and moisturizer, ear plugs and sleep mask.
In-Flight: After takeoff, I settled comfortably in my seat, raised the leg rest, reclined a bit and donned the earphones. Once we reached cruising level, I got out my computer, expecting to work for a few hours. I had asked at the Baobab Business Lounge in Johannesburg about the electrical outlets, planning to purchase an adapter if necessary, but two staffers manning the desk said my U.S. plug would work, adding that if there were any problems, there were adapters on board. That information was wrong on both counts. Instead, I roamed the AVOD entertainment system, which comprised at least 15 movies as well as TV shows, music and games.
I savored a nice South African Sauvignon Blanc along with the canapés and nuts that preceded my multicourse dinner: soup, salad, entrée, dessert and South African cheeses. I enjoyed the truffles with a South African rooibos tea. Afterward, I prepared my seat for slumber, reclining it to a 180-degree flat bed and topping it with the pad, full-sized pillow and duvet. I adjusted the goose-neck lamp and perused magazines before sleeping soundly for about six hours. When I awoke, the flight attendant offered juice, tea and a hot snack to tide me over until breakfast a few hours later. I chased that snack with a hot chocolate laced with Amarula, a South African cream liqueur that I’d become quite fond of while on safari. Breakfast was another multicourse meal with fresh fruit, yogurt, muesli and a selection of baked goods, followed by an omelet served with potatoes and bacon.
The Experience: Overall, the experience was very comfortable for a nearly 16-hour flight. I enjoyed the meals, watched a few movies, slept soundly and treasured my last sips of Amarula.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.