Valentine’s Gift Guide: Top Picks from Heathrow Airport

This post is brought to you by Heathrow Airport

 

Going somewhere but forgot to buy your special someone a little (or not so little) gift? Well, I will let you in on a secret – more and more I choose to arrive early at my home airport, which as you all know, is Heathrow Airport, the place where 99% of my trips begin.

One of the reasons why I will do pretty much anything to fly to and from Heathrow is very simple: it offers the best shopping experience I have ever experienced. And I have been around. And I am going to let you in on another secret: the Heathrow Rewards Card. Think it gives you just free wifi? Well, think again. For every pound you spend at the terminal (with some exclusions like tobacco products and foreign exchange), you will collect points. That can happen when you park at LHR, when you buy food/drinks/newspapers… but also when you buy cosmetics, lovely designer bags and the odd pair of diamond earrings. Yes. You can use it at every retailer at the airport.

And one thing you may not know: if you are flying outside the EU, all designer brands will give you 20% off. Yes – off the Chanel handbag or Tiffany & Co. earrings that never goes on sale. Other brands, like Smythson, for example, extend the 20% courtesy to all passengers, irrespective of where they fly. Can you see where I am getting to? Exactly.

So with the help of Heathrow Airport’s Personal Shopping Team, here is a last minute Valentine’s Gift Guide with some ideas for men and women from diverse brands like Bulgari, Smythson, World Duty Free, Links of London and Thomas Pink.

Enjoy!

 

A selection of gifts from Bulgari

 

Men

Le Gemme for Men

High Street Price: £215
Heathrow Price: £172 – available at T4 & T5

heathrow airport shopping best gifts for men bulgari le gemme parfum

Garanat – Inspired by the deeply red Garnet from Bosphorus. This crimson gemstone shines in the darkness, bringing its wearer the impassioned courage and vision of Suleyman the Magnificent, the most seducing Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. A fiery masculine rose.

Gyan – Blue sapphire from Kashmir. A name in Sanskrit, meaning ‘divine wisdom’, Gyan evokes velvety blue saphhires imbued with the spirituality of the midnight sky in the Himalayas and the seductiveness, lucidity and insight of Alexander the Great. A heart of patchouli illuminated by a corona of nocturnal Jasmine.

Onekh – Black Onyx from the Middle East. An impenetrable black gemstone of powerful and ambivalent energy reserved for the strong-spirited. Onekh, an ancient Levantine word that meant Onyx long ago, derives its mystery from Naram, the first Mesopotamian king, and god of the moon.

 

The Octo Ultranero

High Street Price:  £5,250
Heathrow Price: £4350 – available at T2, T3 & T4

heathrow airport shopping BulgariOctoUltranero

Bulgari’s best-selling Octo Ultranero in black offers a darker finish to this exceedingly popular model, with a black lacquered polished dial and hand-applied, pink gold-plated hour-markers. Ultranero quite literally means “very black” and the 41mm DLC-coated steel case delivers a decidedly masculine look with refined touches of pink gold to accentuate its features. Featuring in-house Bulgari Calibre BVL 193, and decorated with circular graining, Côtes de Genève, chamfering and snailed finishing, this Bulgari watch is robust as well as handsome, with water-resistance up to 100 meters and a solid 50-hour power reserve.

 

Women

Le Gemme Orientali

High Street Price: £215
Heathrow Price: £184.80 –available at  T4 & T5

heathrow airport shopping BulgariLaGemmeOrientali Lazulia zahira selima

Bulgari has recently revealed a new and exclusive collection of High Perfumery, around the world of the secret Gems Road. Sailing across the Mediterranean, and traversing the desert, Bulgari explores a whole new oasis of perfumes in Le Gemme Orientali once again signed by Master Perfumer Daniela Andrier. Basking in the Middle Eastern sun, Bulgari has seasoned its classic Le Gemme collection with a new sensory experience – Le Gemme Orientali. This tribute to the emblematic gemstones of the Arabian Peninsula arises from the supreme essence of the Italian jeweller, in a collection of three complementary perfumes. Bulgari has assembled the natural scents of the Earth into beautiful aromatic creations – much like the setting of fine gemstones in a jewel.

 

Bulgari Serpenti Bag in Ruby Red

High Street Price: £1,800
Heathrow Price: £1,500 – available at T2, T3 & T4

heathrow airport shopping BulgariSerpentiRubyRed

Flap cover bag ‘Serpenti Forever’ in ruby red calf leather. Brass light gold plated snake head closure in black and white enamel with eyes in green malachite. Small size with two gussets, pocket mirror, various internal pockets and snake body shaped chain. Also available in other colours.

 

A selection of gifts from Links of London

 

Women

London Charms 

High Street Price: £45-£95
Heathrow Price: £38-£79 – available at T5

heathrow airport shopping Links London Charms small

For over 25 years, Links of London have offered timeless yet innovative products, unrivalled in elegance and sophistication. The iconic Sweetie charm bracelet will become your most beloved jewellery piece once you have personalised it with special charms.

 

Links of London Timeless Bracelet in 18ct Rose Gold

High Street Price: £120
Heathrow Price: £100 – available at T5

heathrow airport shopping LinksofLondonTimelessBracelet

With a subtle nod to London’s most iconic landmark, our Timeless 18kt Rose Gold Vermeil Bracelet features a single rose gold vermeil disc with intricate cut-out detailing inspired by the face of London’s ‘Big Ben’.

 

A selection of gifts from Smythson

 

Women

Albermarle Small Bucket Bag

High Street Price: £695
Heathrow Price: £556 – available at T2, T3 & T5

heathrow airport shopping smythson AlbermarleBucketBag

Sleek and considered with a cool confidence, the Albemarle is the perfect work-to-weekend handbag. Handcrafted from lightweight calf leather together with sumptuous bonded suede it is carefully designed for those on the go. This leather bucket bag is more than meets the eye. An adjustable strap allows it to double as a shoulder and a crossbody bag whilst a hidden pocket at the back allows for easy access to your everyday essentials. Spring Summer introduces bold poppy and crisp white alongside classic black and tan to this collection of effortlessly stylish handbags.

 

Panama Heart Keyring

High Street Price: £55
Heathrow Price: £44 – available at T2, T3 & T5

heathrow airport shopping PanamaHeartKeyring

Wear your heart on your keys with a luxury heart-shaped keyring from Smythson. Add initials for a personal touch.

 

Panama Cosmetics Case

High Street Price: £175
Heathrow Price: £140 – available at T2, T3 & T5

heathrow airport shopping PanamaCosmeticsCase

Smythson’s cosmetic cases offer practicality and style. Ideal for housing all of your beauty essentials, they are crafted from hard-wearing, luxurious leather and will fit perfectly into a tote or handbag.

 

Men

Burlington 24 Hour Travel Bag 

High Street Price: £1,395
Heathrow Price: £1,079 – available at T2, T3, T4 & T5

heathrow airport shopping Smythson Burlington 24 Hour TravelBag

Seriously versatile with bags of style, the Burlington Collection is defined by beautifully soft grained deerskin. Designed to see you from the office to the departure lounge, this collection of leather bags and accessories bears the trademark of all-round functionality with clever compartments concealed to make your life and travels easier.

 

Burlington Large Washbag

High Street Price: £425
Heathrow Price: £329.17 – available at T2, T3, T4, & T5

heathrow airport shopping Smythson Burlington Large Washbag

Brown washbag in soft deerskin. Contrasting khaki cotton lining. Two compartments with zip top closure.

 

 

A selection of gifts from World Duty Free

 

Women

Dom Perignon Vintage Blanc 2006 Limited Edition 75cl

High Street Price: £155
Heathrow Price: £125 – available at T2, T3, T4, & T5

heathrow airport shopping dom perignon champagne Vintage Blanc

Dom Pérignon is vintage champagne only. Each Vintage wine is created from the finest grapes grown in one single year. Reinventing itself by interpreting the unique character of the seasons. Daring not to release a Vintage if the harvest does not meet its ideal. After at least eight years of elaboration in the cellars, the wine then embodies the perfect balance of Dom Pérignon, its greatest promise. This is Dom Pérignon Vintage, the Plénitude of harmony. Dom Perignon 2006 Creator Edition by Michael Riedel – His work shows an affinity to Pop and appropriation art, it represents a departure away from the issues of mechanical reproduction and simulacra of these previous generations. More specifically, it engages with the aesthetic possibilities derived from digitization and uses the idea of the transfer as new content in its own right.

 

Tom Ford Eye Colour Quad in Seductive Rose

High Street Price: £64

Heathrow Price: £53.30 – available at T2, T3, T4, & T5

heathrow airport shopping Tom Ford Quad

Four opulent complementing shades achieve multiple looks, from a bold, smokey eye, to a sexy slash of colour and everything in between. Formulated with advanced colour processes, the four luxurious finishes—sheer sparkle, satin, shimmer and matte—offer a spectrum of intensity and effects and deliver incredible shade fidelity and outstanding adhesion. Two custom applicators included.

 

Men

 

House of Hazelwood 18-year-old 50cl 

Not available on the high street.
Heathrow price £62.99 – available at T2, T3, T4, & T5

heathrow airport shopping house of Hazelwood whisky 18yo

House of Hazelwood, an elegant and vivacious new blended Scotch whisky inspired by family luminary Janet Sheed Roberts (1901 to 2012) and expressed through the spirit of the great Art Deco cities that influenced the world in her heyday. The packaging takes its inspiration from three of the most mesmeric cities at the forefront of the Art Deco movement: Paris, Mumbai and Shanghai. The design focuses on the creation of a distinctive visual leitmotif associated with the luminosity of each city. House of Hazelwood 18 Year Old is inspired by the classic elegance of Paris in the 1920s. This release reveals an elegant and classic whisky, perhaps the purest expression of Kininvie and Girvan spirits in the range, and married in tuns of Portuguese oak.

 

Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille

High Street Price: £148 
Heathrow Price: £116.95 – available at T2, T3, T4, & T5

heathrow airport shopping Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille

Opulent. Warm. Iconic. Tom Ford’s affection for London inspired this scent, reminiscent of an English gentlemen’s club, redolent with spice. He reinvents a classic fragrance genre by adding creamy Tonka bean, vanilla, cocoa, dry fruit accords and sweet wood sap for a modern, opulent, and almost heady impression that’s all man, unless worn by a woman.

 

A selection of gifts from Thomas Pink

 

Men

 

Thomas Pink Strummer Texture Shirt 

High Street Price: £100
Heathrow Price : £83.33 – available at T2, T3, T4 & T5

 

heathrow airport shopping Thomas pink FergusonShirt

The Strummer Texture shirt features an intricate rectangular pattern exclusive to Thomas Pink, neatly finished with signature ‘Pink’ detailing on the last button and under collar. The Strummer ensures comfort and style that wears beautifully in every sense.

Slim Fit: tailored but not tight | Button Cuffs | Semi-Cutaway Collar | 100% Cotton

 

Needless to say, you will collect some lovely Heathrow Rewards points by purchasing any item for sale at the airport – and if you haven’t got your card yet, you can apply online right now (takes a minute) and you even have some bonus points to start with, if you use the code MRSOBLG217.  I know, I can be nice sometimes.

Just to give you an idea, I was shopping recently at the airport and when I was going to pay for my Tom Ford perfume… it was absolutely free. I was surprised (and delighted). I guess buying those Chanel shoes and countless bottles of champagne and gin paid off.

Until the next flight..

xo

Mrs. O

 

PS. This post is sponsored by Heathrow Airport. Why? Because they know I am a Heathrower and a very loyal and regular shopper at their terminals. And I love my Heathrow Rewards card. I really do.

 

heathrow rewards heathrow airport shopping

The post Valentine’s Gift Guide: Top Picks from Heathrow Airport appeared first on Mrs. O Around the World – a luxury travel blog by Ana Silva O'Reilly.

Valentine’s Gift Guide: Top Picks from Heathrow Airport

This post is brought to you by Heathrow Airport

Going somewhere but forgot to buy your special someone a little (or not so little) gift? Well, I will let you in on a secret – more and more I choose to arrive early at my home airport, which as you all know, is Heathrow Airport, the place where 99% of my trips begin.

One of the reasons why I will do pretty much anything to fly to and from Heathrow is very simple: it offers the best shopping experience I have ever experienced. And I have been around. And I am going to let you in on another secret: the Heathrow Rewards Card. Think it gives you just free wifi? Well, think again. For every pound you spend at the terminal (with some exclusions like tobacco products and foreign exchange), you will collect points. That can happen when you park at LHR, when you buy food/drinks/newspapers… but also when you buy cosmetics, lovely designer bags and the odd pair of diamond earrings. Yes. You can use it at every retailer at the airport.

And one thing you may not know: if you are flying outside the EU, all designer brands will give you 20% off. Yes – off the Chanel handbag or Tiffany & Co. earrings that never goes on sale. Other brands, like Smythson, for example, extend the 20% courtesy to all passengers, irrespective of where they fly. Can you see where I am getting to? Exactly.

So with the help of Heathrow Airport’s Personal Shopping Team, here is a last minute Valentine’s Gift Guide with some ideas for men and women from diverse brands like Bulgari, Smythson, World Duty Free, Links of London and Thomas Pink.

Enjoy!

A selection of gifts from Bulgari

Men

Le Gemme for Men

High Street Price: £215
Heathrow Price: £172 – available at T4 & T5

heathrow airport shopping best gifts for men bulgari le gemme parfum

Garanat – Inspired by the deeply red Garnet from Bosphorus. This crimson gemstone shines in the darkness, bringing its wearer the impassioned courage and vision of Suleyman the Magnificent, the most seducing Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. A fiery masculine rose.

Gyan – Blue sapphire from Kashmir. A name in Sanskrit, meaning ‘divine wisdom’, Gyan evokes velvety blue saphhires imbued with the spirituality of the midnight sky in the Himalayas and the seductiveness, lucidity and insight of Alexander the Great. A heart of patchouli illuminated by a corona of nocturnal Jasmine.

Onekh – Black Onyx from the Middle East. An impenetrable black gemstone of powerful and ambivalent energy reserved for the strong-spirited. Onekh, an ancient Levantine word that meant Onyx long ago, derives its mystery from Naram, the first Mesopotamian king, and god of the moon.

The Octo Ultranero

High Street Price:  £5,250
Heathrow Price: £4350 – available at T2, T3 & T4

heathrow airport shopping BulgariOctoUltranero

Bulgari’s best-selling Octo Ultranero in black offers a darker finish to this exceedingly popular model, with a black lacquered polished dial and hand-applied, pink gold-plated hour-markers. Ultranero quite literally means “very black” and the 41mm DLC-coated steel case delivers a decidedly masculine look with refined touches of pink gold to accentuate its features. Featuring in-house Bulgari Calibre BVL 193, and decorated with circular graining, Côtes de Genève, chamfering and snailed finishing, this Bulgari watch is robust as well as handsome, with water-resistance up to 100 meters and a solid 50-hour power reserve.

Women

Le Gemme Orientali

High Street Price: £215
Heathrow Price: £184.80 –available at  T4 & T5

heathrow airport shopping BulgariLaGemmeOrientali Lazulia zahira selima

Bulgari has recently revealed a new and exclusive collection of High Perfumery, around the world of the secret Gems Road. Sailing across the Mediterranean, and traversing the desert, Bulgari explores a whole new oasis of perfumes in Le Gemme Orientali once again signed by Master Perfumer Daniela Andrier. Basking in the Middle Eastern sun, Bulgari has seasoned its classic Le Gemme collection with a new sensory experience – Le Gemme Orientali. This tribute to the emblematic gemstones of the Arabian Peninsula arises from the supreme essence of the Italian jeweller, in a collection of three complementary perfumes. Bulgari has assembled the natural scents of the Earth into beautiful aromatic creations – much like the setting of fine gemstones in a jewel.

Bulgari Serpenti Bag in Ruby Red

High Street Price: £1,800
Heathrow Price: £1,500 – available at T2, T3 & T4

heathrow airport shopping BulgariSerpentiRubyRed

Flap cover bag ‘Serpenti Forever’ in ruby red calf leather. Brass light gold plated snake head closure in black and white enamel with eyes in green malachite. Small size with two gussets, pocket mirror, various internal pockets and snake body shaped chain. Also available in other colours.

 

A selection of gifts from Links of London

Women

London Charms 

High Street Price: £45-£95
Heathrow Price: £38-£79 – available at T5

heathrow airport shopping Links London Charms small

For over 25 years, Links of London have offered timeless yet innovative products, unrivalled in elegance and sophistication. The iconic Sweetie charm bracelet will become your most beloved jewellery piece once you have personalised it with special charms.

Links of London Timeless Bracelet in 18ct Rose Gold

High Street Price: £120
Heathrow Price: £100 – available at T5

heathrow airport shopping LinksofLondonTimelessBracelet

With a subtle nod to London’s most iconic landmark, our Timeless 18kt Rose Gold Vermeil Bracelet features a single rose gold vermeil disc with intricate cut-out detailing inspired by the face of London’s ‘Big Ben’.

A selection of gifts from Smythson

Women

Albermarle Small Bucket Bag

High Street Price: £695
Heathrow Price: £556 – available at T2, T3 & T5

heathrow airport shopping smythson AlbermarleBucketBag

Sleek and considered with a cool confidence, the Albemarle is the perfect work-to-weekend handbag. Handcrafted from lightweight calf leather together with sumptuous bonded suede it is carefully designed for those on the go. This leather bucket bag is more than meets the eye. An adjustable strap allows it to double as a shoulder and a crossbody bag whilst a hidden pocket at the back allows for easy access to your everyday essentials. Spring Summer introduces bold poppy and crisp white alongside classic black and tan to this collection of effortlessly stylish handbags.

Panama Heart Keyring

High Street Price: £55
Heathrow Price: £44 – available at T2, T3 & T5

heathrow airport shopping PanamaHeartKeyring

Wear your heart on your keys with a luxury heart-shaped keyring from Smythson. Add initials for a personal touch.

Panama Cosmetics Case

High Street Price: £175
Heathrow Price: £140 – available at T2, T3 & T5

heathrow airport shopping PanamaCosmeticsCase

Smythson’s cosmetic cases offer practicality and style. Ideal for housing all of your beauty essentials, they are crafted from hard-wearing, luxurious leather and will fit perfectly into a tote or handbag.

Men

Burlington 24 Hour Travel Bag 

High Street Price: £1,395
Heathrow Price: £1,079 – available at T2, T3, T4 & T5

heathrow airport shopping Smythson Burlington 24 Hour TravelBag

Seriously versatile with bags of style, the Burlington Collection is defined by beautifully soft grained deerskin. Designed to see you from the office to the departure lounge, this collection of leather bags and accessories bears the trademark of all-round functionality with clever compartments concealed to make your life and travels easier.

Burlington Large Washbag

High Street Price: £425
Heathrow Price: £329.17 – available at T2, T3, T4, & T5

heathrow airport shopping Smythson Burlington Large Washbag

Brown washbag in soft deerskin. Contrasting khaki cotton lining. Two compartments with zip top closure.

 

A selection of gifts from World Duty Free

Women

Dom Perignon Vintage Blanc 2006 Limited Edition 75cl

High Street Price: £155
Heathrow Price: £125 – available at T2, T3, T4, & T5

heathrow airport shopping dom perignon champagne Vintage Blanc

Dom Pérignon is vintage champagne only. Each Vintage wine is created from the finest grapes grown in one single year. Reinventing itself by interpreting the unique character of the seasons. Daring not to release a Vintage if the harvest does not meet its ideal. After at least eight years of elaboration in the cellars, the wine then embodies the perfect balance of Dom Pérignon, its greatest promise. This is Dom Pérignon Vintage, the Plénitude of harmony. Dom Perignon 2006 Creator Edition by Michael Riedel – His work shows an affinity to Pop and appropriation art, it represents a departure away from the issues of mechanical reproduction and simulacra of these previous generations. More specifically, it engages with the aesthetic possibilities derived from digitization and uses the idea of the transfer as new content in its own right.

Tom Ford Eye Colour Quad in Seductive Rose

High Street Price: £64

Heathrow Price: £53.30 – available at T2, T3, T4, & T5

heathrow airport shopping Tom Ford Quad

Four opulent complementing shades achieve multiple looks, from a bold, smokey eye, to a sexy slash of colour and everything in between. Formulated with advanced colour processes, the four luxurious finishes—sheer sparkle, satin, shimmer and matte—offer a spectrum of intensity and effects and deliver incredible shade fidelity and outstanding adhesion. Two custom applicators included.

Men

House of Hazelwood 18-year-old 50cl 

Not available on the high street.
Heathrow price £62.99 – available at T2, T3, T4, & T5

heathrow airport shopping house of Hazelwood whisky 18yo

House of Hazelwood, an elegant and vivacious new blended Scotch whisky inspired by family luminary Janet Sheed Roberts (1901 to 2012) and expressed through the spirit of the great Art Deco cities that influenced the world in her heyday. The packaging takes its inspiration from three of the most mesmeric cities at the forefront of the Art Deco movement: Paris, Mumbai and Shanghai. The design focuses on the creation of a distinctive visual leitmotif associated with the luminosity of each city. House of Hazelwood 18 Year Old is inspired by the classic elegance of Paris in the 1920s. This release reveals an elegant and classic whisky, perhaps the purest expression of Kininvie and Girvan spirits in the range, and married in tuns of Portuguese oak.

Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille

High Street Price: £148 
Heathrow Price: £116.95 – available at T2, T3, T4, & T5

heathrow airport shopping Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille

Opulent. Warm. Iconic. Tom Ford’s affection for London inspired this scent, reminiscent of an English gentlemen’s club, redolent with spice. He reinvents a classic fragrance genre by adding creamy Tonka bean, vanilla, cocoa, dry fruit accords and sweet wood sap for a modern, opulent, and almost heady impression that’s all man, unless worn by a woman.

A selection of gifts from Thomas Pink

Men

Thomas Pink Strummer Texture Shirt 

High Street Price: £100
Heathrow Price : £83.33 – available at T2, T3, T4 & T5

heathrow airport shopping Thomas pink FergusonShirt

The Strummer Texture shirt features an intricate rectangular pattern exclusive to Thomas Pink, neatly finished with signature ‘Pink’ detailing on the last button and under collar. The Strummer ensures comfort and style that wears beautifully in every sense.

Slim Fit: tailored but not tight | Button Cuffs | Semi-Cutaway Collar | 100% Cotton

Needless to say, you will collect some lovely Heathrow Rewards points by purchasing any item for sale at the airport – and if you haven’t got your card yet, you can apply online right now (takes a minute) and you even have some bonus points to start with, if you use the code MRSOBLG217.  I know, I can be nice sometimes.

Just to give you an idea, I was shopping recently at the airport and when I was going to pay for my Tom Ford perfume… it was absolutely free. I was surprised (and delighted). I guess buying those Chanel shoes and countless bottles of champagne and gin paid off.

Until the next flight..

xo

Mrs. O

PS. This post is sponsored by Heathrow Airport. Why? Because they know I am a Heathrower and a very loyal and regular shopper at their terminals. And I love my Heathrow Rewards card. I really do.

heathrow rewards heathrow airport shopping

My hOtel: a review of the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel cover

 

Located in Portman Square, a block behind the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street and minutes from Marylebone, one of my favourite London neighbourhoods, the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill hotel is a hotel I actually know very well – as I used to stay there a lot when my corporate life brought me to Portman Square (where my company HQ was located).

It had 10 years since my last stay, and coincided with its refurbishment and the launch of the new Regency King Suites which the hotel has invited me to review and share with my readers via social media (on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), during my stay.

Here is how my stay at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill hotel went.

 

Pre-Arrival

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

A week before my arrival, I received an email from the Guest Experience Manager, asking me if there were any requirements I had prior to my stay, so they could be organised with housekeeping. I had no special requests and also informed the hotel that my arrival would be after 3pm, but no specific time.

 

Arrival

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel entrance 1

–          The entrance and outside

I arrived by taxi and the bell man on duty helped me get my luggage from the taxi, but I asked to take it inside myself as it was only a small carry on. The outside area is always quite busy with a fair bit of foot traffic, but every time I entered or left the hotel I was always greeted and the side door opened for me. I do have a thing against revolving doors!

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel entrance 2

Getting these photos with no cars and/or people was challenging but I did it! As I walked inside the hotel, someone by the door asked if I was checking in and quickly directed me to the right hand side, where the reception and concierge areas were located.

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

I did not have to queue at all, and check in was processed in around 5 minutes. I was told about the wifi (more on that later), the club lounge which I had access to and also where the bar and restaurant were located. I was escorted to the lift – and I saw this happen repeatedly to other guests throughout my stay, which was a nice touch.

–          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)

I was indeed.

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel reception and lounge

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

I had a Regent King Suite confirmed and that was the room that I got.

 

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

I declined any help and was offered again at check-in, which I declined, again.

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

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel regent king suite free wifi

 Wi-fi is complementary and the only thing you need to access it is your email address – so I was asked to double check it in my check-in form.

 

Getting to the room

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel lift

The one thing I thought really left the hotel down were the lifts. They were scratched and the design wasn’t the most appealing. Also, you can’t really see yourself in the mirror (which would be a plus). I thought it was just me as I am short – but you will see that I have taken this photo later and Mr. O is next to me and you can’t see him either. It is a detail – but lifts are part of the experience and I think these ones can be improved.

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel corridor

On the other hand, the floor corridors were very very nice – no flowery carpets in sight! The atmosphere felt very cozy and serene – and really really warm. The hotel has gorgeous wallpapers and carpets – in different textures and you see the theme in the rooms too.

 

Room Experience

 The purpose of my stay during 3 days was to review the new Regency King Suites. As I walked in, this is what expected me:
hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel regent king suite living room 1

–          First impressions – décor, size and wow factor

A spacious living room, with a separate seating and working area. I also liked the decor which was in a variation of grey, with warmer colours mixed in. The hotel has been refurbished also with the help of Winston Churchill’s family, so you will find a lot of memorabilia throughout.

The room was not cluttered and was tastefully decorated.

–          Welcome amenity

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel regent king suite living room 2

I was welcomed by some desserts and a bottle of champagne. If you don’t get it when you try the suites, let me know.

The room faced Portman Square and you were treated to great views. It was also very quiet – you cannot hear the traffic (and I was only on the 4th floor). We also had a separate guest loo.

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel regent king suite living room 3 view portman square

–          The bedroom

The bedroom was located to the left of the suite, accessible via double doors. I loved the room. The grey and mixed texture decor theme continued and I really thought it was fantastic. Subtle Pinstripe & Grey tones reminiscent of the great British tailoring industry that Churchill so adored.

The furniture itself here felt a bit more corporate, but wasn’t offensive.

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel regent king suite bedroom 1

–          The bed

We had a king sized bed which was as advertised but I thought the bed was too hard, and so were the pillows. This is a tough one as 50% of us want hard beds, and the other 50% want featherbeds. My husband did not mind but I kind of did. The things you get used to!

–          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.

No problems here and we had enough hangers for both of us. We also had a separate chest of drawers under the TV which we did not use but would be useful for longer stays, of course.

–          Iphone Charger/Dock

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel regent king suite bedroom 2

No more phone-specific gadgets! We had this ihome speaker which worked with a USB cable (not provided) and doubled up as phone charger, alarm clock and whatever else.

–          Bathrobes and slippers

Yes, but did not use.

–          Coffee and Tea

We had a Nespresso coffee machine in the living room.

–          Free bottled water

Yes, on arrival we had 2 large bottles and on turndown, 2 little ones were left by each side of the bed, alongside a glass.

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

I did have a nice surprise as there was a copy of Vanity Fair, a Hyatt magazine and a London book. Ironically, I had brought the exact same magazine with me to read.

–          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.

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel regent king suite bedroom 3

Absolutely no complaints here – we both had sockets by each side of the bed. And not just UK – which was a nice surprise (the other socket was European). In the working area, they were hidden behind the curtains which made it very neat.

Bathroom

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel regent king suite bathroom 1

–          First impressions – décor, size and wow factor

The bathroom was fair sized and very neutral, which is the best thing a hotel can do. It had a separate shower and bath, a vanity area for ‘hair styling’ and a single sink (I would have preferred a his and hers sink, and would have expected it in a suite). It also had a FABULOUS warm-seat Toto loo which did everything you could imagine. I am forever terrified of touching the buttons but loved the warm seat.

–          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?

I was able to operate the shower without supervision, you will be glad to hear.

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

The towels were really think and plush and soft and really good quality. And large bath towels.

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

The hotel’s official brand is Molton Brown and in the suites, you don’t get just the normal 4 little bottles. You get those in the shower (30ml, replaced daily), and a large sized 100ml set (not replaced daily – and worth being included in a future ‘Toiletries worth stealing article’). I was also delighted to see Molton Brown’s face wash which I adore and cannot travel without (and one you need ‘to get’ from hotels as you cannot buy it), and also an eye gel which is really good. So happy days all along. You will also find the Orange & Bergamot range at the hotel’s public spaces, which is my personal favourite.

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel regent king suite bathroom 2

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

All there, nothing too complicated.

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

There is a ‘hair styling’ area, which came with a sturdy hairdryer and hair straighteners (which I thought was a lovely touch). Sadly, you cannot plug these anywhere which defeats the purpose. And it isn’t easy to find a place in the whole suite where you can dry your hair and look at a mirror, so the hotel needs to look into this.

 

 

Breakfast

I had breakfast included in my room rate and I choose to have it at the main buffet, located on the ground floor. The buffet was great actually and you could order anything else you wanted cooked (and made to order). I went continental and loved that they had the chausson-aux-pommes pastries one day – but sadly not the next. I love these.

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel breakfast buffet montagu restaurant

Breakfast is served at Montagu Restaurant (see below) and also in this adjacent area (see above) which leads to the bar. This area is really busy during the day with meetings etc.

 

Restaurant

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel the montagu restaurant

I thought the restaurant turned very well (ambience-wise) from day to night and we had a very good meal at The Montagu. The restaurant is all about British classics (which I love and congratulate Hyatt for being so brave) and the service was excellent. On the set menu, 2 courses cost £25 and 3 courses £30. I had a fabulous Dover sole (£38).

The best bit was the ‘Wine & Cheese Corner’, which is open from lunchtime til close (late!), and you can just pop round for some lovely British cheeses and (non-British, which is correct) charcuterie, paired or not with wine. 2 cheeses with a glass of wine cost £21, 4 cost £34 and 6 cost £47.

 

Club Lounge

I only visited once – admittedly because I forgot and spent all my evenings at the Winter Terrace (see below). There are two club lounges for eligible guests – one that allows children and one that is quiet. It was very nice and had a good spread before dinner. We had a gin each and some nibbles.

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel club lounge

 

Bar

I know you are dying to know about the bar. It is the best bit!

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel the churchill bar

And the Churchill Bar is beautiful – and if you don’t get there around 5pm, you won’t get a table. The secret is out and absolutely worth a visit if you are not staying at the hotel. My husband apparently is a regular (I asked him to meet me on the first day – and not in the room – and he was like ‘of course, I go there almost every week, great gin bar’).

My husband tells no lies and yes, there is a great gin collection.  But what there is also is something I had no idea existed… a Winter Garden. And it is lovely. I spent all the time that I could there – and it was freezing. Whilst I do not love ‘reused blankets’, I was wearing my mink coat and gladly accepted the hot water bottles. It was a lovely touch. And service was impeccable.

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel the churchill bar winter garden

 

General thoughts

–          How good and reliable was the wi-fi?

It was fantastic and never kicked us out.

–         Did I feel genuinely welcomed by the hotel staff?

I thought the staff were excellent and I felt the hotel was ‘small’. What I mean by this, I only realised that there were 400+ rooms (making it a huge hotel) and it never ever felt that way, and I liked that.

–          Location

Located on Portman Square, a block behind Oxford Street (the square behind M&S and Selfridges). Brilliant for my London life.

–          Cost 

Regency Suites start from £600 per night and standard rooms (which have also been renovated) from £255

–          Would I recommend it to my best friend?

Absolutely.

–          Would I stay again?

Without a doubt.

 

For a quick video tour of the Regency Suites, watch here:

 

Have you visited this hotel? What were your thoughts?

xo

Mrs. O

 

Disclaimer: I was a guest of Hyatt 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.

The post My hOtel: a review of the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill appeared first on Mrs. O Around the World – a luxury travel blog by Ana Silva O'Reilly.

My hOtel: Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel cover

Located in Portman Square, a block behind the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street and minutes from Marylebone, one of my favourite London neighbourhoods, the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill hotel is a hotel I actually know very well – as I used to stay there a lot when my corporate life brought me to Portman Square (where my company HQ was located).

It had 10 years since my last stay, and coincided with its refurbishment and the launch of the new Regency King Suites which the hotel has invited me to review and share with my readers via social media (on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), during my stay.

Here is how my stay at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill hotel went.

Pre-Arrival

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

A week before my arrival, I received an email from the Guest Experience Manager, asking me if there were any requirements I had prior to my stay, so they could be organised with housekeeping. I had no special requests and also informed the hotel that my arrival would be after 3pm, but no specific time.

Arrival

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel entrance 1

–          The entrance and outside

I arrived by taxi and the bell man on duty helped me get my luggage from the taxi, but I asked to take it inside myself as it was only a small carry on. The outside area is always quite busy with a fair bit of foot traffic, but every time I entered or left the hotel I was always greeted and the side door opened for me. I do have a thing against revolving doors!

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel entrance 2

Getting these photos with no cars and/or people was challenging but I did it! As I walked inside the hotel, someone by the door asked if I was checking in and quickly directed me to the right hand side, where the reception and concierge areas were located.

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

I did not have to queue at all, and check in was processed in around 5 minutes. I was told about the wifi (more on that later), the club lounge which I had access to and also where the bar and restaurant were located. I was escorted to the lift – and I saw this happen repeatedly to other guests throughout my stay, which was a nice touch.

–          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)

I was indeed.

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel reception and lounge

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

I had a Regent King Suite confirmed and that was the room that I got.

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

I declined any help and was offered again at check-in, which I declined, again.

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

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel regent king suite free wifi

 Wi-fi is complementary and the only thing you need to access it is your email address – so I was asked to double check it in my check-in form.

Getting to the room

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel lift

The one thing I thought really left the hotel down were the lifts. They were scratched and the design wasn’t the most appealing. Also, you can’t really see yourself in the mirror (which would be a plus). I thought it was just me as I am short – but you will see that I have taken this photo later and Mr. O is next to me and you can’t see him either. It is a detail – but lifts are part of the experience and I think these ones can be improved.

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel corridor

On the other hand, the floor corridors were very very nice – no flowery carpets in sight! The atmosphere felt very cozy and serene – and really really warm. The hotel has gorgeous wallpapers and carpets – in different textures and you see the theme in the rooms too.

Room Experience

 The purpose of my stay during 3 days was to review the new Regency King Suites. As I walked in, this is what expected me:

–          First impressions – décor, size and wow factor

A spacious living room, with a separate seating and working area. I also liked the decor which was in a variation of grey, with warmer colours mixed in. The hotel has been refurbished also with the help of Winston Churchill’s family, so you will find a lot of memorabilia throughout.

The room was not cluttered and was tastefully decorated.

–          Welcome amenity

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel regent king suite living room 2

I was welcomed by some desserts and a bottle of champagne. If you don’t get it when you try the suites, let me know.

The room faced Portman Square and you were treated to great views. It was also very quiet – you cannot hear the traffic (and I was only on the 4th floor). We also had a separate guest loo.

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel regent king suite living room 3 view portman square

–          The bedroom

The bedroom was located to the left of the suite, accessible via double doors. I loved the room. The grey and mixed texture decor theme continued and I really thought it was fantastic. Subtle Pinstripe & Grey tones reminiscent of the great British tailoring industry that Churchill so adored.

The furniture itself here felt a bit more corporate, but wasn’t offensive.

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel regent king suite bedroom 1

–          The bed

We had a king sized bed which was as advertised but I thought the bed was too hard, and so were the pillows. This is a tough one as 50% of us want hard beds, and the other 50% want featherbeds. My husband did not mind but I kind of did. The things you get used to!

–          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.

No problems here and we had enough hangers for both of us. We also had a separate chest of drawers under the TV which we did not use but would be useful for longer stays, of course.

–          Iphone Charger/Dock

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel regent king suite bedroom 2

No more phone-specific gadgets! We had this ihome speaker which worked with a USB cable (not provided) and doubled up as phone charger, alarm clock and whatever else.

–          Bathrobes and slippers

Yes, but did not use.

–          Coffee and Tea

We had a Nespresso coffee machine in the living room.

–          Free bottled water

Yes, on arrival we had 2 large bottles and on turndown, 2 little ones were left by each side of the bed, alongside a glass.

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

I did have a nice surprise as there was a copy of Vanity Fair, a Hyatt magazine and a London book. Ironically, I had brought the exact same magazine with me to read.

–          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.

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel regent king suite bedroom 3

Absolutely no complaints here – we both had sockets by each side of the bed. And not just UK – which was a nice surprise (the other socket was European). In the working area, they were hidden behind the curtains which made it very neat.

Bathroom

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel regent king suite bathroom 1

–          First impressions – décor, size and wow factor

The bathroom was fair sized and very neutral, which is the best thing a hotel can do. It had a separate shower and bath, a vanity area for ‘hair styling’ and a single sink (I would have preferred a his and hers sink, and would have expected it in a suite). It also had a FABULOUS warm-seat Toto loo which did everything you could imagine. I am forever terrified of touching the buttons but loved the warm seat.

–          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?

I was able to operate the shower without supervision, you will be glad to hear.

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

The towels were really think and plush and soft and really good quality. And large bath towels.

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

The hotel’s official brand is Molton Brown and in the suites, you don’t get just the normal 4 little bottles. You get those in the shower (30ml, replaced daily), and a large sized 100ml set (not replaced daily – and worth being included in a future ‘Toiletries worth stealing article’). I was also delighted to see Molton Brown’s face wash which I adore and cannot travel without (and one you need ‘to get’ from hotels as you cannot buy it), and also an eye gel which is really good. So happy days all along. You will also find the Orange & Bergamot range at the hotel’s public spaces, which is my personal favourite.

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel regent king suite bathroom 2

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

All there, nothing too complicated.

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

There is a ‘hair styling’ area, which came with a sturdy hairdryer and hair straighteners (which I thought was a lovely touch). Sadly, you cannot plug these anywhere which defeats the purpose. And it isn’t easy to find a place in the whole suite where you can dry your hair and look at a mirror, so the hotel needs to look into this.

Breakfast

I had breakfast included in my room rate and I choose to have it at the main buffet, located on the ground floor. The buffet was great actually and you could order anything else you wanted cooked (and made to order). I went continental and loved that they had the chausson-aux-pommes pastries one day – but sadly not the next. I love these.

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel breakfast buffet montagu restaurant

Breakfast is served at Montagu Restaurant (see below) and also in this adjacent area (see above) which leads to the bar. This area is really busy during the day with meetings etc.

Restaurant

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel the montagu restaurant

I thought the restaurant turned very well (ambience-wise) from day to night and we had a very good meal at The Montagu. The restaurant is all about British classics (which I love and congratulate Hyatt for being so brave) and the service was excellent. On the set menu, 2 courses cost £25 and 3 courses £30. I had a fabulous Dover sole (£38).

The best bit was the ‘Wine & Cheese Corner’, which is open from lunchtime til close (late!), and you can just pop round for some lovely British cheeses and (non-British, which is correct) charcuterie, paired or not with wine. 2 cheeses with a glass of wine cost £21, 4 cost £34 and 6 cost £47.

Club Lounge

I only visited once – admittedly because I forgot and spent all my evenings at the Winter Terrace (see below). There are two club lounges for eligible guests – one that allows children and one that is quiet. It was very nice and had a good spread before dinner. We had a gin each and some nibbles.

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel club lounge

Bar

I know you are dying to know about the bar. It is the best bit!

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel the churchill bar

And the Churchill Bar is beautiful – and if you don’t get there around 5pm, you won’t get a table. The secret is out and absolutely worth a visit if you are not staying at the hotel. My husband apparently is a regular (I asked him to meet me on the first day – and not in the room – and he was like ‘of course, I go there almost every week, great gin bar’).

My husband tells no lies and yes, there is a great gin collection.  But what there is also is something I had no idea existed… a Winter Garden. And it is lovely. I spent all the time that I could there – and it was freezing. Whilst I do not love ‘reused blankets’, I was wearing my mink coat and gladly accepted the hot water bottles. It was a lovely touch. And service was impeccable.

hyatt regency the churchill london luxury hotel the churchill bar winter garden

General thoughts

–          How good and reliable was the wi-fi?

It was fantastic and never kicked us out.

–         Did I feel genuinely welcomed by the hotel staff?

I thought the staff were excellent and I felt the hotel was ‘small’. What I mean by this, I only realised that there were 400+ rooms (making it a huge hotel) and it never ever felt that way, and I liked that.

–          Location

Located on Portman Square, a block behind Oxford Street (the square behind M&S and Selfridges). Brilliant for my London life.

–          Cost 

Regency Suites start from £600 per night and standard rooms (which have also been renovated) from £255

–          Would I recommend it to my best friend?

Absolutely.

–          Would I stay again?

Without a doubt.

For a quick video tour of the Regency Suites, watch here:

Have you visited this hotel? What were your thoughts?

xo

Mrs. O

Disclaimer: I was a guest of Hyatt 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.

American Express Will Open New Centurion Lounge In Hong Kong

American Express has announced plans to open its first Centurion lounge in Asia later this year. Centurion Lounges are complimentary for American Express Platinum Card or Centurion Card holders. They tend to be a great deal better than domestic lounges and you can read my full guide to American Express Centurion Lounges. In a nutshell, most are in America and the ambience tends to be very good in these lounges. The menus in Centurion lounges are also excellent, each designed by a different gourmet chef.

Currently there are American Express Centurion Lounges in Las Vegas (pictured above and in Concourse D, served by United Airlines), Dallas/Fort Worth (Terminal D, served by American Airlines and international departures), New York-LaGuardia (Terminal B, Landside), San Francisco (Terminal 3 Concourse F, served by United Airlines), Miami (North Terminal Concourse D, served by American Airlines), and Houston (Terminal D) and Seattle..

The new Centurion Lounge in Hong Kong is located in Terminal 1 of Hong Kong International airport, the new lounge will have a complimentary restaurant and bar served by a private chef, sommeliers and mixologists, plus shower suites, flat screen TVs in the lounge area and “noise-buffering” work stations. As in all Centurion lounges, there will be high-speed wifi, a business centre and a conference space.

In addition to the Centurion lounge network, American Express members can access International American Express lounges, Delta Sky Club for Card Members flying on Delta, Priority Pass Select Lounges Aspire Lounges and Airspace lounges.

I have reviewed many airport lounges across the world in my airport lounge reviews section.

The Centurion Lounge

New Or Old Upper Class Seats On Virgin Atlantic’s A330?

When you next travel on Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic, will you get the new seats or the old dated cabins? It was expected that the Virgin Atlantic A330 Upper Class retrofit would be complete by the end of March. The news had been provided by respected Airline Route and reported on by Business Traveller Magazine.

Airline Route now reports that the A330s operating leisure routes out of London Gatwick and Manchester will have the new Upper Class cabins towards the end of March. These routes (from Gatwick and Manchester) cover the Caribbean and, in the case of Manchester only, services to Boston and San Francisco.

The bad news applies for Virgin Atlantic’s Heathrow services. The A330s from here are rostered for some of the carrier’s most important business destinations. Upper Class passengers are now going to have to wait until September/October before the revised A330 Upper Class cabins are available. From September 1 the following Heathrow routes will see the retrofitted A330s: Dubai, New York Newark, New York JFK (some services only), and Washington Dulles as well as routes from Manchester to Atlanta and New York JFK. Effective October 30, the retrofitted A330s will appear on services between Heathrow, Atlanta and New York JFK. From October 31 the plan is then to roster the revised A330 for one daily Heathrow to Miami service.

The general advice is to check the situation on these retrofits at the time of booking. I reviewed what you currently experience on Virgin Atlantic Upper Class on the A330 which is not great. Virgin does feature in my top 10 airlines in the world, but I prefer the Business Class product on British Airways over Virgin’s dated Upper Class on their A330’s. You can also read my report on which is best overall in Business; Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Vs British Airways Club Class.

Virgin Atlantic

Top 5 Best OverWater Villas Worldwide NOT In The Maldives

Continuing our series of best beaches and luxury hotels around the world, this article outlines the top 5 best luxury overwater villas NOT in the Maldives.

You may not have realised, but there are overwater villas or bungalows all over the world. Most recently, Sandals has just launched brand new overwater villas in the Caribbean. Further south in Panama you can stay in some of the cheapest overwater bungalows in the world. If you are Europe based, how about booking into an overwater bungalow over a Swiss Lake? Wherever you choose, you no longer need to fly half way around the world to experience an overwater escape.

Sandals Montego Bay Overwater Villas, Jamaica

In December, Sandals unveiled its first five all-inclusive over-the-water villas in in Montego Bay, Jamaica. These are the first honeymoon style overwater bungalows in the Caribbean (pictured above) and form the newest part of this luxury all-inclusive resort. There are 17 overwater bungalows and each comes with a private pool, Jacuzzi, glass floors, and a personal butler. The glass panels in the villas’ floors illuminate at night and show sea life swimming underneath. The deck boasts not only the small infinity pool but two outdoor showers, an oversized over-the-water hammock, chic white sun loungers and a shaded circular swing chair . The villas also have 24/7 room service and two dedicated butlers. They’ll even pack and unpack your suitcases or draw you a bath with petals and champagne.

The resort itself is situated only a few minutes away from the airport in Montego Bay with a free shuttle to and from. This makes the resort easy to get to although it does suffer from occasional aircraft noise.

Sandals South Coast Resort also on Jamaica is also in the planning stages of building 12 overwater bungalows. This resort also offers 2 miles of white sand beach along with a wide selection of water sports, including snorkelling and scuba diving.

And the cost of a night in one of these overwater villas? Well you can book 3 nights for US$8814.10/£7115 including standard Sandals online discounts. If you book for a week or more you may get a lower price, but for shorter stays it appears that the rate will be around US$3,000/£2,421 per night.

Banana Island Overwater Villas, Doha, Qatar

Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara is a paradise sanctuary, offering an alcohol-free environment, an island of beaches and indulgence. Just 25 minutes from the heart of Qatar’s vibrant capital, yet a world away, a luxury catamaran ferry will whisk you across the crystal clear water to reach this breathtaking island.

The eight two-bedroom Over Water Villas and trio of prestigious three-bedroom Anantara Over Water Villas offer 360 square metres of luxurious space and a 62-square-metre personal pool. In the evenings, beds are scattered with rose petals. Lighting has 10 mood light settings and the towels are folded into different animal shapes each night. Kissing swans and even a grinning monkey can be found, all made out of towels, hanging on the back of your bathroom door.

Although you could do a layover on one of these overwater villas as it is so close to the airport, at US$4,373/£3,531 per night, this resort is not cheap if you must stay overwater. During flash sales premier (non over water rooms) start at US$297/£240 per night.

Hotel Palafitte Overwater Bungalows in Switzerland

The five star Hotel Palafitte is built over Lake Neuchatel, perfects the overwater bungalow in pure Swiss style and opulence. This architectural masterpiece is the first overwater villa resort in Europe making it ideal for a weekend break. 40 eye-catching wooden pavilions stand on piles in the lake. Each room has its own terrace and the overwater roomss offer direct access to the lake. La Table de Palafitte restaurant has 13 Gault Millau points is another highlight of this modern hotel (which opened in spring 2014).

The advantage of the Hotel Pafitte overwater bungalows is that this is an easy place to pop in for just 2 or 3 nights. Rates start at around CHF 328.00/US$327/£263

Rosewood Mayakoba Overwater Suites, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Located near Playa del Carmen, 40 miles south of Cancun, the Rosewood Mayakoba Resort has 18 Deluxe Overwater Suites which sit above a mangrove lagoon. Each suite is large and comes with a heated plunge pool. These were the first honeymoon style overwater bungalows in the Caribbean. At less than an hour away from the Cancun Airport, these overwater villas are easy to get to.

Low season online specials from US$938/£757 per night High season online specials from US$1,708/£1,379 per night.

Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora Bungalow Suites, French Polynesia

For effortless luxury in a tropical paradise, with glorious sands and majestic mountain vistas, look no further than the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora. Snorkel amongst colourful reefs, dive with whale sharks and manta rays before returning for your overwater bungalow with private plunge pool. Enjoy panoramic views from a deck that also offers access to the lagoon and relax in a private bedroom with serene views of the South Pacific.

Prices come in at around $4,500 /£3,741per night.

If you prefer to stick with the Maldives, discover my best romantic honeymoon hotels in the Maldives with private pools. my 5 of the best luxury resorts in the Maldives, my top 5 best places to travel and my best wilderness lodges in the world.

Review: Iberia A330 Business Class Madrid to Johannesburg

On January 2nd 2017, I flew Business Class on Iberia on an Airbus A330-300 from Madrid-Barajas International Airport (MAD) in Spain to O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in South Africa. Iberia operates an impressive international network from Madrid dominating the market for flights between Europe and South America and it has recently added direct flights to key Asian and African cities, such as Johannesburg. In 2010, Iberia merged with British Airways, although both airlines keep flying under their own and well-known brand names.

Pre-boarding, I had access to the Iberia VIP Velazquez Business Lounge at Madrid airport.

Business Class Cabin

Iberia’s Airbus A330-300 planes are equipped with two Business Class cabins: a large cabin which seats 28 passengers in front of the plane (behind the cockpit) and a smaller, more intimate cabin with just 8 seats in front of the 242 seat Economy Class cabin. Both cabins are separated from each other by a galley. This is a different layout than the one you find on Iberia’s A330-200 planes where all 19 Business Class flat-bed seats are located in one cabin.

The A330-300 features Iberia’s latest Business Class product (in contrast to some of the carrier’s older A340 planes, which are still equipped with an inferior product). The cabin features Iberia’s signature bright-red colour on the tv screens as you board, which contrasts nicely with the soft grey colours of the seat cushions, tray table, and storage cabinets. The colourful pillows add a nice touch. The seat themselves are Solstys-style, fully lie flat seats placed in 1-2-1 configuration, which means that all seats face forward and that every passenger has access to the aisle, even when all seats are reclined. Note that this seating pattern means that middle pairs and window seats have a few inches/cm more length in bed mode than their aisle counterparts. This is a similar product like the one you find on Etihad, Air Berlin, and Alitalia.

Click here for a seat map of Iberia’s A330-300.

Business Class Seat and The Best Seat To Choose

The Business Class seat features a generous pitch of 78 inch (198 cm) and width of 26 inch (66 cm). In front of the seat, below the large entertainment screen , is an ottoman, which becomes part of the flat-bed (when the seat is reclined) and which allows you to extend your legs as much as you like to. The seat itself has an adjustable back and shoulder pillow with massage function. At the push of a button, the seat can be reclined into a fully and very comfortable flatbed of 78 inch (200 cm), including the footrest.

The seat’s side features the seat and inflight entertainment controls, the power supply and some cabinets to store your smaller items. The tray table is attached to the back of the seat in front of you; the table can also be moved out-of-the-way to enable you to get up, without disturbing the contents.

What are the best Business Class seats on Iberia’s A330-300?

Solo travellers should choose the window seats which are A & L seats. You will feel very exposed in the C & J seats, which are more located along the aisle than the window. Couples and good friends should go for one of the so-called ‘honeymoon’ middle seats (seat E and G on rows 1, 3, 5, 7 and 8).

The seats in the smaller Business Class cabin (rows 7 and 8) enjoy a more intimate ambience.

What are the worst Business Class seats on Iberia’s A330-300?

Seats in row 1 and 7 may suffer from some noise from the galley and toilet. I also suggest to avoid the last row of Business Class, row 8, which is in front of the Premium Economy bassinet seats.If you are traveling solo, you don’t want to be seated in one of the honeymoon seats, since here, you are right by the passenger beside you. In case you end up here, there is a divider that you can raise for added privacy.

The C & J windows seats face into the aisle and are not as private as the A & L window seats.

Amenity Kit

Stylish amenity kits are handed out by the cabin crew to Business Class passengers when boarding is completed. They are well stocked for Business Class: socks, ear plugs, eyeshades, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, a couple of hairbands, L’Occitane en Provence Spa products, and a shoebag. Each seat also comes with a comfortable blanket, a decently sized pillow, and noise cancelling headphones. I have outlined which airlines have the best amenity kits separately.

In-Flight Meals

The Business Class food was great during the flight, in both the service and presentation. The dinner menu read as follows:

Starter:
Warm bread and extra virgin oil.
Consommé.
Fresh shoot salad with feta cheese brunoise and semi-dried tomatoes.
Balsamic vinegar of PEdro Ximenz vinaigrette.
Foie-gras terrine with curly endive, pomegranate and fig jam.
Tronchon sheep’s cheese with Santa Terese quince jelly and grapes.

Main course:
Salmon and spinach in puff pastry with creamy dill sauce.

Dessert:
Triple chocolate cake.

Iberia Breakfast:
Plain omelette.
Smoked boiled ham and chicken cold nut.
Toasts and extra-virgin olive oil.
Orange juice.
Seasonal fresh fruit.
Yoghurt.
Croissant, butter, jam.
Coffee and herbal teas.

Entertainment

Iberia’s inflight entertainment system is substantial with more than 60 films in different languages, covering a variety of genres from comedy, drama and cartoons through to action and suspense, as well as Spanish cinema. There are also up to 98 options including TV series (Spanish and international), documentaries and sports, technology and travel programmes.. There are also over 200 music options. Iberia’s new A330 long-haul aircraft are also equipped with WiFi and GSM network, so you can stay connected by satellite with your personal device. Business Class passengers get a voucher for a complimentary 4MB of data.

Iberia Bar

After dinner, a small walk-up bar is set up in the galley between the two Business Class cabins. It features wrapped sandwiches, chocolates, fruits, drinks, and bottles of water.

Conclusion

Iberia recently introduced this new Business class product on their longhaul fleet, which offers excellent food, seat and inflight entertainment. Of course, the Middle East Airlines; Emirates, Etihad and Qatar offer a better Business Class product, but they only offer routes to South Africa via their hubs in the Middle East, see my review of Emirates Dubai to Cape Town.. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic also fly to South Africa from the UK.

Iberia

The Ultimate Valentines Gift – Photos Of The NASA Moon Landing

Is this the ultimate Valentines gift? Photos of the NASA moon landing are due to be auctioned in New York on February 14 2017 at Swann Auction Galleries in New York.

Space lovers will be able to bid on a selection of remarkable images of outer space, taken from NASA’s archives.

Dating from 1965 to the 1980s, there are 22 large-format photographs up for grabs, documenting various space missions. Many of the photos have never been published before. The images include iconic shots of astronauts Bruce McCandless, Buzz Aldrin, Charles Duke, and Ed White as they travelled through space, taken during the Gemini IV, Apollo 11, Skylab 3, and STS-41-B (Space Shuttle Challenger) missions.

A range of abstract topographical views of the Earth, as witnessed from beyond its atmosphere, will also be auctioned.

These prints are the only known Cibachrome (Ilfochrome) prints made from original NASA positives. They range in size from 19.5 x 19.5 to 20 x 24 inches. All the photographs were taken between 1965 and 1984 and printed around 1985.

With the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing approaching in 2019, the images are expected to attract bids in the region of US$15,000 to US$25,000.

The auction also includes an archive of six binders containing around 280 photographs depicting Apollo Missions 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16 and 17, from launch to splashdown. Images include iconic views of the Apollo 11 mission showing Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong setting foot on the Moon for the first time, the memorable images of the plastic American flag, and Armstrong’s reflection in Aldrin’s helmet visor.

There are also multiple views of Earth as seen from outer space, and various photographs of astronauts performing scientific experiments on the moon’s surface. The estimate is US$7,000-10,000.

If these prices are a little high for you, I have put together another 11 Valentines gift ideas for those who love luxury travel or take a look at our own luxury travel auction and bag yourself a weekend away somewhere gorgeous.

Swann Galleries

4,500 FREE Avios From Heathrow Rewards

Heathrow Rewards is currently offering an unusually good signup bonus. Earn 3,000 Heathrow Rewards (the Heathrow loyalty scheme) by opening an account and spending £150 in one day. If you are planning to travel through London Heathrow in 2017, you should sign up.

Spend the £150 in Heathrow in one day before the end of 2017 and you will get 3,000 points which can currently converted to 4,500 Avios with a 50% bonus. You would usually get 3,000 Avios for transferring 3,000 Heathrow Rewards to Avios. Until 1st March you get 4,500 Avios if you convert 3,000 rewards to Avios. Otherwise the 3,000 Heathrow Rewards can be converted to 3,000 Emirates Skywards, Virgin Flying Club miles, Etihad Guest miles and Lufthansa Miles & More.

To get this bonus in Avios you therefore have to travel through Heathrow before 1 March.

Alternatively you can redeem your 3,000 Heathrow rewards for £60 worth of Heathrow Parking, or £30 to spend on Heathrow Express, or spend it at Heathrow via gift vouchers or instant redemptions.

It is worth noting that there are varying bonus redemption offers which happen through the year, so if you don’t collect Avios but do collect Emirates Skywards, Virgin Flying Club miles, Etihad Guest miles or Lufthansa Miles & More, it might be worth holding onto your 3,000 Heathrow Rewards, in case there is a bonus offer for transferring your Rewards to these airline schemes.

You may also be interested in my picture review of the new Heathrow Terminal 6 and I have reviewed many of the lounges in London Heathrow in my airport lounge section.

Apply on Avios.com for the bonus points.