On the Ground: Since Turkish Airlines joined Star Alliance in 2008, they have expanded their fleet and flight routes three-fold, focusing on bringing leisure and business travelers to Istanbul in non-stop flights from all over the world. I was lucky to be on their new Boeing 777-300ER ceremony flight, straight from the Boeing factory in Seattle to Istanbul, so we did not have the usual check-in procedures. (30/30)
Pre-flight: After finding my window seat, I began by investigating my immediate area in this brand-new plane, opening every compartment and testing every seat position; everything seemed to work just fine. The overhead compartments were very large and opened downward, allowing me to stow my bag more quickly and conveniently. The flight attendant quickly took my jacket. We pushed off from the hangar in just about five minutes. There was no wait on the tarmac, and we took off at 4 p.m. (29/30)
In-flight: Within seconds of the seat belt warning light being turned off, attendants served Champagne and orange juice. The business-class chef offered appetizers of shrimp and cucumber rolls to go with the beverages. Once I finished my Champagne, I changed into the plush slippers offered and began to explore the onboard entertainment system. Each seat has a 15-inch screen with a sharp picture and easy-to-navigate controls. There was an abundance of new-release, comedy and drama movies to choose from along with a variety of television shows and every form of music and artist. I was impressed by their export in-flight video cable that allows passengers to plug in their iPod or iPhone and stream their own music, video or movies on the larger screen. Dinner was served promptly at 5 p.m., when linens and porcelain dishes were placed on our tables. There was a choice of a traditional American dish; a pasta dish; or kebabs with baked eggplant, yellow rice and lentil soup. The entire dinner was elegantly presented and made me feel like I was already in Istanbul.
To prepare for the extreme change of time zones, the flight crew tried to create a calm and relaxing space for us. The business-class seats have a 180-degree, full-flat position that was very comfortable to sleep in although the temperature in the cabin was very warm, which caused me to become restless. The 23-inch-wide seats offered plenty of wiggle room, even with a pillow. Two hours before touchdown, the crew turned on the lights and served breakfast. The hot coffee was an excellent start to my day, and the cheese-spinach omelet and yogurt tasted fresh and delicious. Our landing was smooth, and we were greeted by many friendly Turkish Airlines employees who came to see their brand-new 777-300ER. (38/40)
The Experience: I was pleased that my 11-hour flight was enjoyable and went by quickly. The 49-inch seat pitch gave the feeling of having my own suite. Although there was no onboard WiFi service available, I was entertained by the extensive movie and music selection.
Total Score: 97/100
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.
IHG® Business Edge: Working Together with SMEs for a smarter way to manage travel
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.
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.
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.