BOB'S cruises & tours's Blog

2 New Airport Lounges That Make Us Want to Miss Our Flight
They are a calm oasis in the heart of the hustle and bustle of an airport, and among the few places where air travel retains a sense of ceremony.
 
Certainly, they are the very best places for people who love to remind themselves of the romance of travel by watching planes take off and land.
 
Airport lounges have gone beyond generic luxury living rooms / bars for first-class passengers. The latest in lounges reflects the culture of the airline as well as the destination, and have become art, design, wine and culinary, even wellness or entertainment hubs only accessible to fortunate travellers passing through.
 
Two airlines on two continents have recently opened two very different lounge concepts for air travelers to relax, recharge, and celebrate their upcoming flight.

Alaska Airlines at SFO

 

The 8th Alaska Airlines lounge in the U.S. follows the pattern of its predecessors in emphasizing the local cuisine and culture, along with the carrier’s laid-back, West Coast version of full service aviation.
 
At Alaska Airline’s San Francisco International Airport (SFO) lounge, travelers will find 9200 square feet of Bay-Area inspired amenities and flavors.

 
A gallery wall, featuring fine art by local artists, greets guests entering the Terminal 2 lounge. Inside, a powerful painting titled “Offshore” dominates the main space with the artist Anne Neely’s message of climate change in honor of the airline’s commitment to “environmental responsibility and communities.”
 
Kids get in on the local-inspired action, too, with a children’s play area decked out with San Francisco Giants art and fan-favorite mascot Lou Seal. It’s a ‘home run’ for parents who love to see their kids happy and tired out by the time they board their flight!
 
The Bay Area beverage selection might help traveling parents’ nerves, too. You’ll find a full bar featuring complimentary local craft beer on tap, wine from local vineyards and even an espresso bar – staffed with a trained barista.
 
Pair your beverage with more regional tastes. You can satisfy your sweet tooth with made-to-order pancakes, the treats from a local candy bar, and travel-themed cookies by Oakland Fortune Cookie Factory. 

 
For a truly one-of-a-kind local snack, head to the vintage-style ‘sourdough toast cart.’ Sourdough bread has been a part of San Francisco's food scene since Gold Rush days, and local bakeries keep the tradition alive. Available at lunch and dinner meal times, the sourdough cart in the Alaska Airlines lounge will offer a variety of sweet and savory toppings, such as ricotta with figs and honey, and burrata with pesto.
 
 

Air France at CDG

Air France has unveiled its brand-new flagship lounge at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG). While its location in Terminal 2F of the main airport in France’s national capital gives the iconic national carrier home field advantage to provide the ultimate in French-style travel, expectations are also very high.

So naturally, they brought in famous designers to craft the over-32 thousand square foot lounge, with nearly 600 seats over two floors. The Canadian and French designer team Jouin Manku were inspired by the concepts of ‘levitation’, ‘grace’ and a ‘haven of serenity’ in designing a space for air travelers to experience ‘a real moment suspended in time’ and decompress and refresh before they board short- and medium-haul flights within Europe.

Imagine yourself coming off an overnight flight from North America with time to spend in the lounge before your European connection. There’s left luggage space upon entry, so you don’t have to haul your bags through the lounge if you don’t want to.


In addition to staff, a giant sculpture, inspired by aircraft wings and symbolizing flight, technology and ‘the avant-garde’ greets arrivals to the lounge and passing by it gives passengers entry into the lounge’s escapist cocoon in CDG.
Vast, curving floor-to-ceiling windows feature the romance of travel through their runway views, and epic arches in the design feel other-worldy. In addition to the runway views, a sweeping staircase to the second floor dominates your eyes (pictured, top).

Terazzo, lava stone, leather and other premium materials add to the authentic elegance of the space, while Air France’s symbol, and the winged seahorse appears to remind passengers of the airline’s long history in flight.
 
The lounge is not just a feast for the eyes. It is technology enabled, with wifi and ubiquitous device charging.
French ‘savoir vivre’ is demonstrated through the lounge’s gourmet cuisine in coppery, champagne-colored dining stations on both levels, with French culinary offerings in the spirit of a French bistro changing throughout the day, including a pancake station in the mornings, aperitifs service, cheese and dessert offerings, and a wine and champagne selection curated by one of the world’s top sommeliers.


In addition to celebrating French hospitality, the cuisine emphasizes regional and seasonal products to be eco-responsible, too. Single-use plastics are limited, and recycling emphasized. Water fountains are located throughout the lounge to avoid the need for bottled water.

If you’ve already over-indulged in French fare, a ‘detox’ area has a relaxing atmosphere and a wide range of herbal teas. A Clarins treatment area offers guests a new ‘Traveller Spa’ concept with express beauty or radiance treatments, or even 20-minute tailor-made facials to refresh travel-weary skin. And a wellness area with showers and a changing room is also available for guests to recharge between flights.
 
Of course, we’re used to airport lounges being accessible to business- and first-class air travelers, but one more thing we love about both of these new lounges is that even economy-class passengers can enjoy the local delights and pre-flight luxuries by purchasing a day pass to the lounges on their next flight from San Francisco or Paris.

#StartYourTrip


Images courtesy of their respective airlines.

By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer / Host, BestTrip TV


Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.









France's largest port town, on the magical Mediterranean, has been transformed in recent years. 

You'll still find the charms of its Old Port, the oldest neighborhood in France, the maritime culture... but there's been a wave of revitalization and stunning builds that make this seaside city spectacular. 

On our latest visit, we fell in love with Marseille, and here are at least 3 reasons we think you'll love it too.

Start your Trip!

What to Order at the Bar in... Mediterranean Travel Destinations

When you imagine an escape to the sunny, sensuous Mediterranean, what drink are you ordering at the bar? 

Lynn Elmhirst, BestTrip.TV's producer/ host, shares her favorites.

I once traveled with a cameraman who spent our entire 3-week, 10+ city film shoot in the Mediterranean trying to teach bartenders how to make a White Russian. The confusion – and often disdain - on their faces was priceless. On one occasion, the rest of the crew was blissfully sipping delicious local wine at a table under umbrellas on Barcelona's Las Ramblas pedestrian thoroughfare, soaking in the ambiance and enjoying a rare break. He spent half an hour trying to explain to the waiter how to make a White Russian. Finally the waiter exclaimed, 'But sir! In Spain, only children drink milk!'

Don’t be that guy. When you're looking to switch it up from the regional wine or beer or straight-up spirits, here's a list of cocktails you can confidently order like a local.

Kir Royale:

My first love affair with a cocktail began when I lived in France. It's still the first thing I do whenever I arrive anywhere in France, from Normandy to Nice: go to an elegant bar, ideally with a view, and order a Kir Royale to toast my return to one of my most beloved travel destinations. Kir Royale is made from crème de cassis (black currant liqueur – there's no cream, crème de… refers to any sweetened cordial) and champagne. You can also order a Kir, which is the same cocktail but with white wine instead of champagne (royale in a cocktail refers to champagne) or, as I discovered in a restaurant in the Beaujolais region, a Cardinal, made with red wine instead of white.

Tastes like the South of France! Lynn Elmhirst, Pastis, c BestTrip.TV

Tastes like the South of France! Lynn with her Pastis. c BestTrip.TV

Pastis:

In the south of France, particularly in Marseille, locals are most likely to be ordering Pastis at a café. Pastis barely qualifies as a 'cocktail'. It isn't even mixed by the bartender. Generally, you are given your own bottle of anise-flavored liqueur and a carafe of (often iced) water; you mix them together to your own taste. The moment you add water, your cocktail becomes cloudy. Don’t worry, it's supposed to look like that. Ah, but you don't like black licorice or anything anise-flavored, right? Trust me, in the blistering Mediterranean summer sun, nothing tastes more perfect. Or trust French good taste: they are said to drink 130 million litres every year.

Ouzo:

The French are not alone in developing an anise-based liqueur. It's a common theme in traditional spirits in the Mediterranean. The version distilled in Greece is Ouzo. Good Ouzos are complex, containing numerous botanicals in addition to anise. That means there are nearly as many versions as there are distillers of Ouzo. And like pastis in Marseille and Provence, it's drunk mixed with water, perfect for a dry throat on a hot Mediterranean day.

Enjoy a Bellini on the Westin Europa and Regina's terrace and watch Venice sail by on the Grand Canal. C BestTrip.TV

Bellini:

It's hard to say you've been to Venice if you haven't had a Bellini. The original was developed in the 1930's by the owner of Harry's Bar, and you can still order one there in Venice today. This cocktail features prosecco (Italian sparkling white wine) paired in a perfect flavor combination with white peach puree, served (like a kir royale) in a champagne flute. The ideal foreground to any photo of life on the Grand Canal in Venice.

One more before you go; the Aperol Spritz Bar at the Venice Airport c BestTrip.TV

Aperol Spritz:

If the Bellini is a bit too 'ladies' brunch' for you, give the much more savory Aperol Spritz a try. A 'spritz' is a wine-based cocktail with a bitter, botanical liqueur and a splash of soda. The Aperol Spritz has become the go-to version especially in Northern Italy. There are a reputed 300,000 consumed daily in the Veneto region alone! Aperol's vivid coral color, and flavor combining bitter oranges, rhubarb and gentian root, make it both festive and refreshing.

Negroni:

Where the Aperol Spritz is light, summery and refreshing, the Negroni is the Italian cocktail with bitter liqueur that will 'put hair on your chest' as I once told a friend when I recommended it. In this case, the bitter comes from Campari, less sweet and higher in alcohol than Aperol. Paired with gin and vermouth in an old-fashioned glass over ice with an orange peel, it packs a punch. Order one in Florence, where the Negroni was invented in 1919. The Negroni – and versions of it – have become the 'it' drink in trendy watering holes in North America, so you can show your mastery of cocktail style before your next trip to Italy.

Sangria:

Popular on patios across North America, where imaginations have run wild, producing exotic variations on Spain's original red wine and marinated fruit 'punch', Sangria is still a legitimate local drink in Spain. So even if you regularly make green grape and kiwi sangria for your own pool parties, don't miss trying the original on its home turf. In more traditional places like Madrid, you'll find Sangria that sticks to its roots. The original recipe elevates young (but still drinkable!) Spanish table wine blended with oranges, lemon, and a cinnamon stick, left overnight to blend the flavors, into a truly delectable beverage served at the table from a shared pitcher.

When to drink them:

Western Europeans generally order cocktails like these as aperitifs – afternoon/pre-dinner cocktails, occasionally with light snacks. Dinner later in the evening is usually served with wine (or in Central Europe, beer), and a dessert wine or port accompanies a sweet or cheese course.

Start your Trip!

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Makes 5-Star Award History

Business, leisure luxury hotel brand earns more Forbes 5-Star Ratings in a single year than any other hotel brand. 

2017 is a banner year for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.  It marks the second consecutive year the hotel brand, loved by fans of luxury travel, has topped Forbes Travel Guide ratings with a record number of Five-Star Properties.  How many have you stayed at?

Forbes Travel Guide has awarded a Five-Star rating – its highest honor – to 30 Four Seasons properties worldwide. The recognition marks the largest number of Five-Star ratings awarded to a hotel brand in a single year in the list’s nearly 60-year history.  

Star ratings are awarded by a team of professional inspectors, who anonymously evaluate properties against up to 800 rigorous and objective standards. The guides' goal is to provide consumers like you the insight to make better-informed business and leisure travel decisions.

In the words of Forbes Travel Guide, its inspectors “travel the world to assess hotels, restaurants and spas against up to 800 objective standards.” Star ratings ultimately emphasize quality of service. Five-Star properties are defined as “outstanding, often iconic properties with virtually flawless service and amazing facilities.”

Forbes Travel Guide rates properties in 42 countries throughout the Americas, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, with plans to add the Middle East and Africa for 2018.

4 Four Seasons properties earned their first Five-Star designation this year, including Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay (pictured top of page), Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan (pictured above), Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest (pictured below) and Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel (pictured second from top).

The 30 Four Seasons properties that earned Five Stars in 2017 are:

  • Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta
  • Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay
  • Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan
  • Four Seasons Hotel Boston
  • Four Seasons Hotel Chicago
  • Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
  • Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva
  • Four Seasons Hotel Firenze
  • Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
  • Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest
  • Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou
  • Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake
  • Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong
  • Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
  • Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole
  • Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
  • Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane
  • Four Seasons Hotel Macao, Cotai Strip
  • Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
  • Four Seasons Hotel New York
  • Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
  • Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai
  • Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, Mexico
  • Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco
  • Four Seasons Hotel Seattle
  • Four Seasons Hotel Toronto
  • Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver
  • Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC
  • Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler
  • Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel

Forbes Travel Guide formally bestows the ratings at a Five-Star Awards Ceremony and Banquet in New York City on March 1, 2017.

Start your Trip!

 

Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Top Luxury Hotels in Paris The City of Light - otherwise known as Paris, France - doesn't need much of an introduction when it comes to offerings for its tourists. The city's bevy of luxury hotels are some of the most prestigious in the world. They are obviously more expensive than standard accommodationsbut few can deny that they are worth the extra money. read more
Take a Tour of the Loire Valley Castles in Paris History and culture come together in traditional French style with the stunning works of art that are the castles of Loire Valley. read more