Review: Borgo Pignano in Tuscany, Italy

A Tuscan paradise awaits at the stunning Borgo Pignano; a magnificent 18th century villa, with beautifully landscaped gardens, surrounded by a cherished 750-acre organic estate. Romantic, divine and majestic; exactly what the best of Italy should be.

Location

The villa is set in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, a short drive from the historic hill towns of Volterra and San Gimignano and within easy reach of the medieval cities of Florence and Siena and the vineyards of Chianti. Direct flights from London to Pisa (British Airways fly the route, among others) only take a little over 2 hours and then villa is just an hours, very scenic, drive from Pisa. The villa is perfect to use as a base to tour this area of Italy; the wonderful city of Florence is an hour and a quarter away, Siena just 40 minutes and you’re only an hour from the coast.

Style & Character

This is a wonderfully elegant historical country estate, from the instant that you catch your first glance, you’ll be enchanted, the romance seeps into your veins. The privately-owned villa is beautifully restored, it is enchanting inside; traditional, but luxurious. Original architectural details are evident throughout; vaulted ceilings, sash windows, frescoes and antique furnishings sit perfectly amongst an impressive art collection. With the mesmerising views across the Tuscan hills and out to the Mediterranean, it’s hard to imagine a more tranquil setting.

Service & Facilities

Outside, the stunning infinity pool with its staggering views is the place to soak up the sun and the terrace surrounding it begs you to slow up, enjoy a glass of something chilled (there’s an outdoor bar right next to the pool) and totally relax. A fabulous spa and wellness area opens on 1st April 2017, with a dry sauna, steam bath and private wellness suites and there is also a small gym with essential fitness equipment. For other more active pursuits; yoga, horseback riding, trekking and mountain biking is available on the estate itself as well as painting classes and cooking classes. Wi-Fi is also available throughout the estate.

Rooms

There are just sixteen elegant rooms and suites in this intimate setting. All offer stunning views of olive groves, vineyards, fields and woods. Some of the rooms feature original frescoes and all enjoy en-suite marble and travertine bathrooms. The rooms and suites are all uniquely decorated and each has its own charm. You can select rooms and suites with a view, which I’d definitely recommend, though, even those without a view look out over the forests and gardens. There are two spectacular Signature Suites, which are well worth it if you feel that you deserve a treat! Heavenly views, a sitting room and freestanding roll-top baths all make these suites extra-special. La Canonica, a small architecturally significant building, slightly separate from the main building, has three large bedrooms and would be ideal for a family or small group of friends to rent together.

Food & Drink

Villa Pignano is a delicious fine dining, gourmet restaurant on the estate itself which prides itself on using ingredients from the estate and local organic farms. For a more relaxed setting, Trattoria Al Fresco is based in the beautiful gardens and here you can enjoy traditional Tuscan cuisine.

Borgo Pignano

My hOtel: a review of W Maldives

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel sea plane aerial view

The Maldives is, without a doubt, my favourite place in the world. I won’t even pretend it isn’t. And on a recent trip, I got to spend 6 days and explore the very sexy W Maldives.

Located in the North Atoll, the 78-room resort is only accessible by seaplane, which can take between 25-45 minutes (depending if it makes other stops along the way).

Pre-Arrival

–          Has the hotel tried to gather any personal information (e.g. preferences) prior to my stay?

My stay was organised a couple of weeks before our arrival at the end of November 2016, and I had a flexible itinerary. I made no special requests as per normal.

Arrival

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel male airport lounge

We arrived to Male airport in the Maldives after a very long and eventful journey (a story for another blog post) and were met by the W Maldives representative at the arrivals area.

Our luggage was taken away from us and we were taken to the the outdoor pick up area, where the W Maldives private driver was waiting to take us to the lounge.

Some hotels have private lounges, which comes in very handy after your journey in – and the W Maldives lounge did not disappoint. It was quite ‘loud’ decor wise as you can see, and it gave us an opportunity to have a bite to eat, something to drink and freshen up before our seaplane journey to the hotel.

We also checked in at the lounge (which is very handy), left our credit card details and also reconfirmed our departure flights.

As you can see from the images, it was raining on that day – and I worried how that would impact our transfer. Luckily, we only had to wait 45 minutes, and it was lovely to have a place where we could protect ourselves from the rain.

We boarded our plane, alongside other hotel guests and other hotels’ ones, and our journey took 45 minutes, as we made 2 stops along the way (to other resorts).

–          The entrance and outside

As we landed, the heavens literally opened, so I have to say we had quite an epic arrival to the hotel. As always, there is a welcome team (it isn’t as if you can turn up unannounced!) which was very efficient. We were handed a glass of champagne each and taken to a covered golf cart which was to take us to our room.

But on a sunny day, this is what you would expect!

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel reception

–          How quick and efficient was the hotel check-in?

The check in was very straightforward and I enjoyed doing it at the lounge. That way, no time would be wasted on arrival.

–          Was I addressed by name once reservation has been located? (it is all about the small details, some others are outstanding with this, and I love it, like I do when I board an airplane)

Absolutely. But during our stay we were address to as Mrs. Ana and Mr. Simon which was a lovely touch. It happens a lot in the Maldives and it is nice.

–          Did I get an upgrade from my confirmed pre-booked room type?

No. The hotel was at capacity and I had requested a beach villa (which is a room type I really like) and that is exactly what I got. Obviously, at a W Hotel (and I must have spent at least 1o0 nights at W Hotels before), things have their own names. In W talk, we had a Wonderful Beach Oasis.

–          Luggage – how many people did I have to tip before the luggage made it safely to my room? 

Our luggage was in the seaplane and made its own way to our room before we arrived. Half of it did – the other half was actually left at the airport, but made its way a couple of hours later, which wasn’t a problem.

–          Wi-fi – was I told anything about it? Was there a charge?

Wifi was complimentary to all hotel guests and it was actually excellent.

Getting to the room

We took a golf buggy to the room, and accepted the offer of an island tour before getting there. The island is small and it was great to see where everything was (the restaurants, bars, spa, diving centre, etc).

Room Experience

–          First impressions – décor, size and wow factor

The exterior look of the beach villas was quite different from other resorts I had visited in the past, and they had 2 floors, which was indeed special. And knowing it was a W Hotel, I knew I was in for something different!

Our 188 sqm villa was made up of the bedroom area with a separate seating area, decorated with red accents, which was a surprising colour. But it worked well! We also had an outdoor bathroom (see details below).

In the outside area, we had a private pool, a day bed, 4 sun loungers (2 to be used when at the pool, and 2 at the beach), and a great sitting area on the first floor, above our room.

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel beach villa

–          Welcome amenity

We had a bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne (which has some brand partnerships with the W) and some nibbles.

–          The bedroom

As you can see from above, the room was really quite large and everything was in good working condition.

As normal, the room is serviced twice a day, and I cannot fault a thing.

–          The bed

The king size bed was very comfortable, as I would expect with any Starwood hotel.

–          Closet/Wardrobe – proper hangers or those annoying ones where you need a PhD to get them out one by one? This is a personal pet peeve of mine. I can’t stand them.

The wardrobes were located by the bathroom which meant that the room was kept uncluttered and all luggage out of sight too.

We asked for additional hangers which were brought promptly by housekeeping.

I thought the $79 washing and pressing service was interesting – the price was per bag, instead of per item. We did not use it.

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel beach villa bedroom 2

–          Bathrobes and slippers

Indeed, and they were very nice. We also had a beach bag which was handy and extra pool/beach towels which were changed daily.

–          Coffee and Tea

There was a Nespresso machine in the room, which we did not use.

–          Free bottled water

If you wanted Fiji water, it was charged extra, but we were given 4 bottles of water a day free of charge.

–          Magazine selection – had some nice surprises and doesn’t happen often enough!

There were none – because you can’t get magazines in the Maldives. As always, I was prepared with 8 kgs of books and magazines, which of course I left behind for others to enjoy.

–          Power sockets in useful places – we have more and more devices and we know where we want them! By the bed, by the working area.

We both had sockets on each side of the bed, so no problems here either.

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel beach villa bedroom 3

Bathroom

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel beach villa outdoor bathroom 1

–          First impressions – décor, size and wow factor

We had an outdoor bathroom (with a separate indoor loo and extra sink indoors), which came with a fabulous walk in shower and a separate bath.

–          Bath, shower and taps – I am looking for Duravits and Hansgrohes (or other fab brands) around the world. How fab was the shower? And a little pet peeve.. was I able to operate the shower without asking Mr. O for help?

Whilst we did not use the bath tub, we really liked the shower. Even though the bathroom was open air, there was protection from the rain (and boy, did we need it!)

–          Towels – yes, please! How many and how soft and lovely?

Starwood hotels favour these teeny tiny towels (I do not honestly know why), but we asked our housekeeper for the large ones and he made sure we had fresh ones every day, twice a day. The large ones (which are normal sized ones for us) were excellent.

–          Toiletries – own brand, super brand, baby ones or proper ones? I shall find out!

W Hotels continue its partnership with Bliss, which is a brand I really like. I was however surprised to see that we had the teeny tiny bottles in a 5 night scenario, where multiple showers a day take place.

Interestingly, on our second day, another hotel in the Maldives sent me a box of one of my favourite toiletries (I promise I didn’t ask, it really was a surprise), and our housekeeper noticed and asked me about them. I said something about the size and in 10 minutes he came back with 2 large sets of Bliss toiletries (which you normally get in suites, and I would expect it in any room in the Maldives). The good thing was that he didn’t have to replace them again – which made perfect sense.

Special points for the face wash, which came home with me (we had only used 1 quarter of the bottle).

–          Amenity kit – I don’t want more sewing kits thank you very much, but I will need a shower cap.

The W amenity kits is one of the most complete ones and it was displayed on one of the walls, alongside quite a large selection of products to buy (like sunscreen etc). I thought that them being outside in the heat wasn’t ideal.

–          Hairdryer – is it a human one, or just something stuck to a wall that only makes noise?

We had one, which was excellent and I used once. The other days, I let my hair dry naturally. Because. Maldives.

Pool & Beach

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel beach villa outdoor

As stated before, our beach villa came with a private pool and direct beach access. It was very secluded from ‘the main beach’ and very private. My only comment would be that the decking needed a little bit of TLC.

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel beach villa outdoor 2

Our beach stretch was lovely and spacious and our neighbours were quite quiet, so we never had any problems.

We were located not far from the main hotel pool and bar (maybe 50 steps) and only once did we hear more music than we wanted, in all honesty.

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel beach villa private beach

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel beach

Spa

I tried the spa twice – I meant to go every day, but I fell ill for 2 days of the trip and I couldn’t. I really enjoyed my massage (priced at $150 ++ for 5o mins) and the post treatment views. Mr. O went more often as there was no reason for him not to. Lucky boy!

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel away spa

Medical Care

Now there is a heading you do not see often in my blog. Why? Because (touch wood), I rarely get ill on trips – but sadly the lucky trend did not continue on this visit to the Maldives. On the 3rd day, I woke up with a fever and I will always be thankful to the hotel’s in-house doctor, who I had the pleasure of meeting twice.

I was diagnosed with a ‘Maldivian flu’ and given antibiotics, but I was down for 2 days, which obviously isn’t ideal. But I knew I was in good care – and I really appreciated the hotel’s attention by sending me ‘fluids’ – be that ginger tea (which was incredible), fresh fruit and other bits and pieces as they of course realised I wasn’t turning up for meals.

I was able to enjoy days 1, 2, 5 and 6 – which I am grateful for. This of course justifies the lack of the usual cocktail photos, sadly. For one of us, at least.

Dining

Breakfast takes place at The Kitchen, which is also the only option for lunch, and is also open for dinner. The buffet was very good – with all the hot dishes made to order. I would like to highlight the fabulous bacon sandwiches, and the freshly cut fruit. I also for once enjoyed a green juice (no idea what was in it, but it was green and delicious).

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel kitchen restautant breakfast options half board

Lunch also took place at the same venue, and we really liked the variety – from salads, to maldivian curries, vietnamese rolls, pizza, etc. Prices ranged between $20-40++ for main courses and cocktails around $20++.

++ means the price in USD, plus service charge of 10% and 12% of local tax – which really adds up, and I honestly wished hotels started including all the costs and be upfront about it.

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel fire restaurant dinner half board

We were on a full board package, which included breakfast and dinner at one of the 3 dining options. My main comment here is that not all are open every night, so do plan well. We didn’t and sadly only got to go to Fire once (which we really wanted to repeat).

For reference, a half board package costs $136 per person (net, which is a tad complex as it actually includes tax and service charge). Full board (which includes lunch), costs $197 per person per day. Note that this applies to food only.

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel market restaurant lunch half board

To give you an idea, a visit to Fire (the fabulous barbeque restaurant), costs $180 ++ per person (which I found a tad extreme as I did not have much to eat). But it is, of course, one more reason to make sure you have the dining package. I found the half board to be better value as we did not spend $100 on food for lunch (on average).

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel fish restaurant dinner half board

The hotel’s signature restaurant is called Fish, and you have a limited (but actually excellent menu) if you are on the dining package, but can upgrade to any other option you have.

As always, we asked for a Maldivian curry to be prepared for us one night and we loved it.

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel kitchen restaurant dinner maldivian curry half board

Treats

One of the things I love about W Hotels is how they make things fun. And this hotel had really good perks. For example, we would come back from the spa, and find post its in our bathroom ‘inviting us for a free 2nd drink’ at bar x or y. And it didn’t happen every day – but the location moved.

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel beach villa details free cocktails sweet spot

In other days, we had a round of cocktails ready to be enjoyed while we showered. And everyone was talking about them at the bar.

If you notice the photo below, you may notice I am eating a Magnum. Well, we had one of many ‘Sweet Spots’ just by our room – and you could help yourself to soft drinks, ice cream, water and extra towels.

And extra points for one thing – really – whatever you do after reading this article, do one thing: download the W Hotels app. Hotel apps are becoming more and more useful – but this one features a monthly music selection by the various W hotels from around the world. Want spa music? Want lounge music? Want something sexier for the night ahead? Just choose your mood. I LOVED the app and we have been using it a lot. And I love that it changes too. A brilliant idea.

Bars

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel sip sunset bar and cocktails

Ws and cocktails go hand in hand and we loved Sip, the sunset bar – and its lychee cocktails. Sadly, I did not get to indulge every day. But the sunsets were beautiful even with sparkling water.

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel sunset

Ws are always very connected to music and this property was no exception. An international DJ resides in the island 3 months at a time, and I felt it added to the experience. I just didn’t need to hear the pool party music while I napped (which happened once only), but I enjoyed it elsewhere, except for breakfast (I am not really a morning person).

The vibe of the hotel really is adults only, but not ‘crazy party’ at all. The sunsets were mellow and the clientele ranged from early 30s-to-late 50s.

There was also another bar, by the main pool, which was always lively after dinner (again, something I quite enjoy).

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel bar and restaurant

And last, but certainly not the least, the hotel offers complimentary 30 minute photo shoots to all guests with an option of getting one printed and fully framed photo for free. You will see that for the first time in the Maldives, we have some great photos of us two together. The digital photo packages start from USD 232 and include a USB with 75 edited photos

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel pool party DJ

General thoughts

–          How good and reliable was the wi-fi?

The wifi was excellent and worked very well.

–         Did I feel genuinely welcomed by the hotel staff?

Yes. One of the reasons why we go back to the Maldives regularly – it is quite effortless, and very personal. We thought the service at this W was probably the best we ever experienced within this chain of hotels.

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel professional photo shoot 1

–          Cost 

Wonderful beach oasis start from $1000/night, and as I stated before, excluding tax. What I found interesting, is that the hotel charges service charge on the room rate, which is something I have never seen before (and personally do not agree with).

A return seaplane trip costs $515 per person, but some packages include them, so make sure your look at the various options. Also, do not forget about the dining packages ($136 half board, $197 full board).

w maldives starwood spg luxury hotel trans maldivian sea plane male airport

–          Would I recommend it to my best friend?

Yes. The resort was perfect for couples, but also for friends – and that is a combination you don’t see very often. I really liked it.

–          Would I stay again?

Without a doubt.

Have you visited this hotel? What were your thoughts?

xo

Mrs. O

Disclaimer: I was a guest of W Hotels during this stay, but hopefully you will see that this has not influenced my thoughts about the property. For more information about the hotel, visit its official website.

Best Beaches In The World: Nosy Be – Madagascar

Best Beaches In The World: Nosy Be – Madagascar

Madagascar has long been famed for its incredible biodiversity and unique wildlife. Nestled off the north-western coast is the beautiful island of Nosy Be, offering intrepid explorers a chance to unwind on pristine beaches. The island’s main hubs, Ambatoloaka and Hell-Ville, are found on the southern side of the island. Their beaches can be quite … Continue reading Best Beaches In The World: Nosy Be – Madagascar

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Best Beaches In The World: Nosy Be – Madagascar

Madagascar has long been famed for its incredible biodiversity and unique wildlife. Nestled off the north-western coast is the beautiful island of Nosy Be, offering intrepid explorers a chance to unwind on pristine beaches.

The island’s main hubs, Ambatoloaka and Hell-Ville, are found on the southern side of the island. Their beaches can be quite crowded but if you journey along the west coast, visitor numbers drop significantly. The northern end of this stretch of coast provides a wonderful spot to enjoy turquoise waters and stunning sunsets.

For the adventurous, there are also plenty of activities on offer. The warm waters around the island provide fantastic opportunities for snorkelling and diving. Those who venture inland may stumble across waterfalls, lagoons, cocoa and vanilla plantations, and abundant wildlife in the Reserve Naturelle Integrale de Lokobe.

You may also be interested in our 5 secret beaches in California you’ve never thought of visiting and you may be interested in my top breathtaking getaways from San Francisco and 5 most remote beaches on earth.

Best Beaches In North America: Polihua Beach, Lanai, Hawaii

Lanai is a private island off the coast of Maui which is so exclusive that you wont be bothered by crowds simply because not enough people go there to fill up the beaches. For an off-the-beaten-path beach, Lanai offers the secluded white sand Polihua Beach.

Polihua is a 2-mile stretch of beach across the channel from Molokai. If you are lucky you may spot some of Hawaii’s green sea turtles that visit shoreline or a humpback whales or dolpin playing in sea.

Although this bay could not be more perfect, the current here is incredibly strong so swimming can be very dangerous. Instead, come here to enjoy the sand, build sandcastles and sunbathe. As Polihua Beach can only be accessed by 4-wheel drive, expect to have it all to yourself.

The best place to stay on Lanai is at the Four Seasons Lanai an exclusive paradise on the shores of the perfect Hulopoe Bay, which is 90 minutes drive from Polihua Beach.

This resort which offers top-rated dining, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, a pristine pool and spa and of course, a perfect golden sand beach, named Manele Bay, reached by a small track down from the hotel.

Uniquely you can trek the mountains here for a different experience. These can be found in the centre of the island and offer a more temperate looking forest and immense views over gorges.

You may also be interested in our 5 secret beaches in California you’ve never thought of visiting and you may be interested in my top breathtaking getaways from San Francisco and 5 most remote beaches on earth.

Review: Manhaussen Island Resort, Nordland, Norway

Name: Manhaussen Island Resort

If you are looking for a completely unique wilderness retreat, hotels do not come more remote, and at some times of the year, desolate, than Manhaussen Island Resort.

Manshausen Island is situated in the Steigen Archipelago off the coast of Northern Norway. Positioned between bleak mountains and the Barents Sea this resort is both incredibly beautiful and, at times, stark and lonely. Manhaussen Island Resort is an adventure and exploration resort like no other. The area is home to the world´s largest population of Sea Eagles and the fishing is spectacular.

Three “Seacabins” (pictured above) stand along the old stone jetty with the fourth hut situated above the others on a natural ledge in the terrain. They offer awe inspiring views over the sea and mountains. Floor to ceiling windows enable you to absorb these views from beds or cosy sofa seats. Each hut has two separate bedrooms with double beds and one alcove for children. All four huts have a specially designed bathroom and kitchen in corian and architectially designed by Snorre Stinessen. Breakfast lunch and dinner are provided in the main house depending on the time of year.

Why visit? Beyond the fishing there is hiking, cave exploring, diving, bird watching, skiing or you can just sit back and relax in your cabin taking the odd dip in the sea (which is only advisable in the summer!) Come here to experience the wilderness in its true glory. There is no place in the world quite like Manhaussen Island Resort.

Manhaussen Island Resort

5 Best Airlines To Fly To Europe In Business Class

Which is the best airline to fly to Europe in Business Class? I have picked United Airlines, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Delta as the best airlines to travel transatlantic in Business Class.

United is my first choice with the new and amazing Polaris seat, American Airlines comes in second with their new Super Diamond seat. Virgin tends to be better than British Airways which comes in at number 4, and the inconsistent Delta Business Class product comes in 5th because of its terrible 767 Business seat.

American Airlines Vs United Vs Delta

American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta are the three main North American airlines that fly from the major American airports over to Europe. All three have all recently launched a new, upgraded business class soft and hard product, with improved seats, food and service on flights to Europe. I have discussed in more detail which of these new Business Class suites is best. In my opinion, the United Polaris Business Class Pod cabins are probably the best looking of the three seats and the fact that these cabins are complemented by matching ground facilities means that this entire product is more of a complete experience than the American Airlines or Delta offerings.

On American Airlines, whether passengers will be able to enjoy the new business class seats depends on when it gets its aircraft deliveries. Last year, American delayed the delivery of five of its 787 aircraft, opting to receive four of its units in 2017 over 2016. From this year through 2018, the airline should receive an additional 27 aircraft. Additionally, American expects to receive 22 Airbus A350s in 2017. 777-200 retrofits will also be ongoing although it is not clear when only the new seats will be fitted.

Delta’s new seats are only planned to be installed on around a fifth of its new fleet which means that when you book a Delta Business Class ticket, the chances are you may never experience their Delta One product. In fact Delta currently offers a very poor 767 Business Class seat with very little leg space and that looks like a 90’s nightmare so great care must be taken to avoid the 767 product if you book a Delta Business Class seat.

British Airways Vs Virgin Atlantic

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are the two main British airlines that fly from North America to Europe, between New York and London along with a number of other American cities. Both airlines feature in my top 10 best airlines for longhaul Business Class and I have also compared them directly in my best transatlantic airline for Business: British Airways Vs Virgin Atlantic. In a nutshell, when comparing Virgin’s Upper Class to British Airways Club Class, Upper Class wins in almost every respect. The Clubhouse lounge is fun and has better food than BA’s Galleries lounges. If you want privacy and direct aisle access, Virgin also wins. Although it is worth re-highlighting that if you are travelling in a couple or as a family, you will probably prefer the layout in British Airways, assuming you want to see your family or other half! Virgin’s onboard food offering is more generous, the seat is more comfortable for sleeping and it has an onboard bar.

Below you will find my reviews of recent experiences I have had on each airline – you may want to draw your own conclusions.

American Airlines Business & First Class Reviews

In “Transport”

I flew in a Boeing 777-300ER (B77W) of American Airlines (AA) transatlantic overnight from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) to London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) in the First Class…

Read Our review

In “Transport”

In May 2016, American Airlines launched their new Super Diamond design for its long haul Business Class cabin. These new seats will be installed in the upcoming Boeing Dreamliners and…

Read Our review

In “Transport”

This trip report is from the new American Airlines (AA) Boeing 777-300ER from Los Angeles (LAX) to London Heathrow (LHR) which I flew March 2015. The Boeing 777-300ER is AA’s…

Read Our review

United Airlines Business & First Class Reviews

In “Transport”

United launched its new Polaris Business Class in December 2016, replacing their BusinessFirst; and Polaris First replacing Global First cabins. The brand new United Polaris Pod concept, which is named…

Read Our review

In “Transport”

You can now fly the complete United Polaris Business Class experience on the Boeing 777-300ER. This is the first United aircraft to feature the United Polaris hard product; their new…

Read Our review

In “Transport”

In this trip report I review United Polaris First Class Frankfurt to San Francisco (SFO) on a Boeing 747-400. United launched its new Polaris First Class, replacing their Global First…

Read Our review

In “Transport”

In this article I review the United Airline Premium Service (P.S.) or Business Class, on the B757-200 New York Newark (EWR) to Los Angeles (LAX).

Read Our review

In “Transport”

United Airlines has launched its new United Polaris business class, which will culminate in a new fully-flat business class seat next year (read my article about the new United Polaris…

Read Our review

British Airways Club Class Reviews

In “Transport”

In this trip report I review Club World, British Airway’s business class, on their B777-200 from London Heathrow (LHR) Terminal 5 to Tehran which I flew in October 2016.

Read Our review

In “Transport”

In May 2016, I flew Business Class, or Club World, in a British Airways Boeing 777-300ER (B77W) from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND) in Japan to London Heathrow. British Airways has…

Read Our review

In “Transport”

On March 14th 2015, I flew Business Class in an Airbus A380 of British Airways (BA) from London Heathrow (LHR) to Los Angeles (LAX). The world’s largest passenger aircraft entered…

Read Our review

In “Transport”

In this trip report I review Club World, British Airway’s Business Class, on the Dreamliner B787-9. If you want to experience the Dreamliner, BA currently routes its B787-9 to Abu…

Read Our review

In “Transport”

In this trip report I review Club World, British Airway’s Business Class, on an A380 from Los Angeles (LAX) to London Heathrow (LHR) which I flew in October 2016. I…

Read Our review

In “Transport”

In this trip report I review Club World, British Airway’s Business Class, on an Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner from Calgary (YYC) to London Heathrow (LHR). You can also read my outward…

Read Our review

In “Transport”

In this trip report I review Club World, British Airway’s Business Class, on an A380 from London Heathrow (LHR) to Vancouver (YVR) which I flew in September 2016. The Airbus…

Read Our review

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Review

In “Transport”

In this trip report I review Virgin Atlantic in Upper Class. My flight flew from London Heathrow Terminal 3 To San Francisco and an Airbus A340-600. Virgin Atlantic Upper Class…

Read Our review

Delta One Business Class Review

In “Transport”

Delta Air Lines will be introducing an all-suite business class product in 2017 (pictured above). This Delta One Business Suite will be available on its new Airbus A350 and in…

Read Our review

Consider The Specific Plane As Well As The Airline When Making Your Choice

It is worth noting that for all the airlines mentioned above, it is not just the airline that should skew your choice, but also the plane you will be travelling on. Virgin for example offer an updated and an older Upper Class seat, depending on the plane – the latter older seat being rather shabby. United have launched their new Polaris seats which will soon be routed onto the flights to Europe but for now, these are not yet available. American Airlines have also launched Super Diamond Business Class but again it is not widely available and neither is the new Delta One seat. The three American carriers therefore offer excellent new products if you can book into a flight which features their new seats. The new seats, in my opinion, beat the older British Airways Club Class (with no direct aisle access) and older Virgin Atlantic products (which are tatty) hands down. BUT if you fly on an older plane from these American carriers you will not get this upgraded experience.

Book wisely and you are in for a treat, particularly if you get the whole United Polaris or American Super Diamond experience. These two are the winners and are the best airlines to fly to Europe In Business Class

It is also worth mentioning that there will be a game changer launching around 2020 with the introduction of Concorde like transatlantic Supersonic travel. The major players in this market are Boom, backed by Richard Branson, Spike Aerospace, Airbus and Aerion Corp. With prices expected to be around $5,000 a ticket, these will offer an exciting and faster alternative to First and Business when travelling transatlantic.

Best 5 Beaches The Caribbean: Maho Beach In St Martin

You are not going to come to St Martin without venturing to the Dutch side, or Sint Maarten as it is called, to see Maho Beach. This is not a place to search for peace and quiet, given that it is at the end of the runway of Princess Juiliana Airport and is world-famous for the low approaching jets that thunder overhead. It is a must for plane spotters and tourists alike, with a beer at the Sunset Bar a must!

You may also be interested in our 5 secret beaches in California you’ve never thought of visiting and you may be interested in my top breathtaking getaways from San Francisco and 5 most remote beaches on earth.

Best 5 Beaches The Caribbean: Baie Rouge On St Martin

Situated on the west side of the island of St Martin on the Caribbean sea, Baie Rouge is a long, curving bay with impressive waves and soft, golden sands. At the north end, there is a car park and two beach shacks, serving food and cold drinks, and they also rent loungers and parasols for the day. Walk along the beach to the south, and it becomes much quieter where you can enjoy your own piece of sand.

You may also be interested in our 5 secret beaches in California you’ve never thought of visiting and you may be interested in my top breathtaking getaways from San Francisco and 5 most remote beaches on earth.

Best Beaches In North America: Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

The beach at Waikiki is certainly not a beach to get away from it all. Bordering the city of Waikiki, the tourism hub of the Hawaiian Islands, this beach is busy and fun. It is protected from the ocean by a number of reefs, which means it is safe and relatively calm, a good place to learn to surf as you won’t find the largest waves here. This long, thin, white sand beach, sits in front of the best hotels on Waikiki, like the Hilton Hawaiian Village (pictured above) and the Sheraton Waikiki which I reviewed last time I was in Hawaii.

It may be busy but it is a great sandy beach to walk along, barefoot in the evening, listening to the sounds of hula dancing and Elvis floating across from the various hotels on the warm breeze.

You may also be interested in our 5 secret beaches in California you’ve never thought of visiting and you may be interested in my top breathtaking getaways from San Francisco and 5 most remote beaches on earth.