Saturday, September 21, 2013

FLIGHT REPORT, Emirates, Stockholm-Dubai

A fantastic flight straight to Dubai! Ulrika Thelander Sales Manager for Select Collection Sweden was onboard for the Premier Flight Stockholm-Dubai with Emirates  EK 158. From Stockholm only 6 hours 25 mins on Emirates to one of the world’s hottest and most exciting cities, experiencing  Business or First Class luxury the Select way. And it can go even faster. Ulrika's flight took only 5 hours 30 minutes both ways...

Reach-for-the-sky Dubai

In fantastic Business Class
Luxury starts already at Arlanda airport with nine checkin counters and a free Lounge in F Pier for Business & First Class passengers run by Swedavia. Ulrika, who flew business class, was impressed with the leg room (seating 2-3-2) and wonderful food and drink.

Starting with soup...

From Stockholm you get a delicious lunch/dinner (3 courses) and then a second serving before arrival. On the return flight (early morning) you get a light breakfast and later on a large lunch. 

Delicious lamb with flavour straight
from the grill 
Your flight to Dubai  feels like a lovely long restaurant visit, all stylishly laid out and enlivened by French bubbly (Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut) and the latest entertainment system.

Up to the minute


On the Boeing 777-200LR

In First Class there were only 8 seats / cabins 1-2-1. And the bubbly was Dom Pérignon Champagne 2003.

“This is travelling in style all the way to Dubai,” says Ulrika.
Dubai - a view from one of our
hotels - more next time

Saturday, September 14, 2013

TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN, part 5, Turkish Airlines

Hanna flew with a 9-month-old baby on Turkish Airlines - all the way to The Maldives. Some tips for other intrepid parents...

We flew from Stockholm with Turkish Airlines in economy class via Istanbul. For people not flying business class, Turkish is a good choice as their economy class is of high standard compared to many other airlines, service is overall good and meals are offered with a choice between two main courses.


If travelling with young children a bassinet is much recommended for the long haul flights. Located behind the middle wall in a 2-4-2 configuration A340/A330 there is the pro of more leg space, but the con of having a line of people for the toilets just beside. On the A340 the bassinet is much lower than on the A330. The higher position made it more difficult to see the baby whereas on the A340 you have the baby just above your knees.


Lily in kids' corner at
Attaturk Lounge

Flight times were convenient apart from the quite long stopover in Istanbul on the way over (4 hours from late evening). For a 35 USD/person fee you can access the Prime Lounge at Ataturk airport which we felt was well worth the money. Quite nice canapés, a variety of beverages, 2 separate shower rooms and 4 secluded chairs with TV/Internet entertainment. There is also a kid’s room with a changing&nursing station, TV and DVD player with lots of kids’ movies, toys to borrow and more.

Monday, September 9, 2013

TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN, part 4, Soneva Fushi

Travelling with a 9-month-old baby to Soneva Fushi in the Maldives, Hanna recommends this trip and this rustic luxury to anyone, young or old. The remarkable service even included a tailor-made mosquito net for baby  ... and of course a baby monitor.

At Soneva you can really feel the joys of SLOW LIFE and the “No shoes, no news” philosophy, says Hanna. "As a barefoot luxury destination I can recommend it to anyone: couples, honeymooners, 3Gs (three generations), families with young children or older kids and teenagers. Even families like us with babies have more peace than they could ever imagine…"


Peace for parents. Enjoying one of the casual bars Bar(a)Bar
while baby Lily is with the babysitter

Arrival


After baggage pickup at Male' international airport, Soneva guests are met and transported to the Soneva lounge, and straight into a pampered experience, with welcome drinks and a chance to choose amenities for your room, or even have a quick massage while you wait. After 40 minutes we had a Transmaldivian Airlines Twin  flight of 30 minutes. Landing on the water at Soneva international airport, a small dock 5 minutes by boat from the main jetty, you are met by your butler Mr or Mrs Friday and if comfortable, asked to remove your shoes in line of the No shoes, no news philosophy.
Soft white sand for your toes

The Resort


Out of four restaurants, Fresh in the garden is by far the best. Situated up in the trees overlooking the garden where basically everything you eat (except the fish and meat) is grown, this restaurant holds top quality in everything. We did not have time to think baby chair before we had one by our table, covered with a fresh towel since it was raining outside and the baby was a little wet. Simply gorgeous experience.

The garden that makes everything so fresh

Dessert from Fresh in the Garden



Cold buffet - fresh fresh


The main restaurant Mihiree Mitha also served extremely  fresh dishes with vegetables grown on the island and a great variety of dishes for breakfast and lunch. The staff was friendly and very personal. Travelling with a small baby it was very appreciated that the staff would carry around and play with our daughter, which enabled us to have a calm and nice eating experience!






Lily and Mr Friday


 
Click for a closer look at the chocolate room
The chocolate room is out of this world! It is a must for everyone who goes to Soneva Fushi. The dessert room and the cheese & cold cuts room were also impressive. 

The Mediterranean restaurant Down to Earth was best on barbecue evenings where food stands were put up and you could have your choice of fresh fish of the day, or meat. The a la carte menu was also very good.


Activities 


The main “activity” at Soneva Fushi is to relax, but snorkeling (each guest is provided with a set of snorkeling equipment) and diving are also  rather obvious daytime activities, not to mention fishing or tennis..

I would definitely recommend another “activity” - to hang out at Bar(a)Bar on the opposite side of the island for the very essence of Maldivian style luxury with nets above the water for sunbathing and the most beautiful waters all around you!

Boardwalk to Bar(a)Bar



The charms and casual ambience of Bar(a)Bar

Because of bedtime for little ones we missed out on the classic evening activities including the romance of outdoor cinema, stargazing from the observatory or overnight on the sandbank outside Soneva Fushi island.


Villas


Our Crusoe villa was perfect for our little family. The outdoor bathroom and private beach were the two best features. The interior is of course very “barefoot”. Well put together and fits beautifully for the concept.



Upstairs in our Crusoe Villa

A baby crib was placed beside the large bed on the top floor. Some guests might feel that the stairs are a little steep and narrow for carrying a small baby up and down in the two story villas, but we did not have any problems with this. The outdoor daybed with fan and possibility to cover all sides were a lifesaver during the hot hours for our baby.

Lily's favourite spot under the fan

For us travelling with a little baby the famed in-villa service proved especially handy. Purees of fish/chicken/vegetables and fruits etc were delivered daily to the villa.

Done just right for Lily

When we realized we did not have our mosquito net for the stroller, a tailor came to the villa to take measurements and then made a new net for us!

 Where to stay? The “lowest” category villa on Soneva Fushi holds a very high standard. The sunrise side is the side of the main area and the jetty where arrivals and departures take place. This side does obviously not have the perk of sunset and has less sun hours on the private beaches. But the sunrise side probably has the most romantic views.  All villas have bicycles which makes it easy to get from one side of the island to the other. There is of course also buggy transportation available.


Everything just right for Lily

SPA


No visit to Soneva Fushi is complete without a visit to the spa. The quality and extensive variety of treatments are excellent. We tried a spa consultation with Ayurveda specialist Vipin, who sat with us for an hour explaining the basic ideas behind the traditional Ayurveda medicine with the 5 elements and 3 dorchas before going through our specific body types and dietary recommendations.

The domain of Vipin

Why choose Soneva Fushi?

 The feeling of not wearing any shoes for a week is liberating. But what is more special is that you walk around in light clothes as expected as per dress code. Nor do you carry keys, handbags or money (everything paid at departure by credit card).

 If you want to read up on current events you have to do it from your private mobile phone on wifi. Satellite TV is not provided in the villa (no news) and the location of the resort itself, puts the world on hold.. And that is really what a relaxing holiday should feel like!

 Another important reason for choosing Soneva Fushi is what it does for the environment. For example empty wine bottles are reused as building material in new villas, fuel is pressed coconut shells and organic waste makes compost soil for growing new vegetables. In a world of over consumption it feels quite nice to choose a resort with a responsible take on the environmental issue.

Who should go?


 Who – I would say everyone looking for a relaxing vacation in a barefoot luxury environment, especially if they value healthy food and eco-balance. Families and couples, young and old are all suitable guests at Soneva Fushi.  

And Lily was as happy as a Sandgirl
in her own little chair

 Next a few tips on air travel with infants...