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Business Traveler USA - May 2018

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MAY 2018
$4.95
Cultural Nuances
Experiencing Abu Dhabi
Future Trends
The shape of things to come
TOWERING
AMBITION
Paris La Défense
reimagined for living
and working
lifestyle
New Luggage Tech
Meetings at Sea
Escape to Fiji
be rewarded. be one.
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specific benefits which align
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ONEworld member airline benefits.
Make a smart choice in traveling
with any of our 13 airlines and take
advantage of benefits you already
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Malaysia Airlines Qantas Qatar Airways Royal Jordanian S7 Airlines SriLankan Airlines
ONEworld benefits are available only to passengers on scheduled flights that are both marketed and operated by a ONEworld member airline (marketed
means that there must be a ONEworld member airline’s flight number on your ticket). For information on ONEworld, visit www.oneworld.com. American
Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, S7
Airlines, SriLankan Airlines and ONEworld are trademarks of their respective companies. LATAM Airlines (Paraguay) is currently not a part of ONEworld.
n Inside
May 2018
30
On The Cover
30 Towering Ambition
Large-scale development is set to
make Paris’s La Défense business
district more tempting for living and
working
Special Report
12 Papers, Please
Passports and visas are mission critical
18 The Shape of Things to
Come
From reactive hotel rooms to facial
recognition, here’s a look at business
travel trends on the horizon
Destination
22 Cultural Nuances
Abu Dhabi’s landmarks old and new
Departments
08 Upfront
One on One with Callette Nielsen,
VP and global brand leader of Four
Points by Sheraton. EU introduces
sweeping data protection rules.
Global hotel price rise is first in three
years. Turkish Air expands fleet
16 Loyalty Update
Airline and hotel rewards programs
news and promotions
26 Take Offs & Landings
The Next Generation of Flight – New
aircraft designs take off, plus new
route news
36 Tried & Tested
South African Airways A330 Business
Class, Washington DC – Johannesburg
Temple House
Chengdu
18
Intermedia Travel Group
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P: (973) 839-6200 F: (973) 839-4390
www.businesstravelerusa.com
lifestyle
Group Publisher
Jerry Allison – (973) 839-6200
JAllison@businesstravelerusa.com
Principal/Chief Content Officer
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RAtkinson@businesstravelerusa.com
Subscriptions – (973) 839-0620
subscriptions@businesstravelerusa.com
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Mike Shevlin – (847) 749-0168
Editorial Director
Dan Booth – (336) 766-1961
editorial@businesstravelerusa.com
Editorial Assistant – Ralf Walters
Contributors
Marisa Cannon
Mark Caswell
Tamsin Cocks
Neha Gupta Kapoor
Akanksha Maker
Terri Morrison
Tom Otley
Ramsey Qubein
Jenny Southan
Designer & Art Director
Michele Cameron
ML.Cameron@comcast.net
Production
Marylee DeFerrari
mdeferrari@businesstravelerusa.com
52
40 Lifestyle News
United launches spring menu.
Ritz-Carlton premieres on Al Hamra
Beach. Unfolding Spa Trail maps
from Visit Estonia. LAX says hello to
Hello Kitty.
42 Technology of Things
Business Traveler® North America is published ten
times a year at our address as above. The magazine
is independent of commercial interest. Unsolicited
manuscripts will not be accepted for publication. The
opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the
publishers who cannot accept responsibility for any
errors or omissions.
All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part
of the text, photographs or illustrations without permission is prohibited.
On the Case – What’s new in the latest crop of suitcases for the long haul
46 The Scene
We round up some top events in the
upcoming months
48 Escape To
Fantasy fulfilled in the South Pacific
52 Gathering Places
Meetings Afloat – Corporate meetings & events are heading out to sea
56 4 Hours In
Stockholm
58 World Wise
Time is relative – depending on where in
the world you are
42
Reclining seats
and ample legroom
have a different meaning here.
Stretch out with unlimited legroom and soak in the sun at our
cool rooftop pool before your flight. Let your relaxation start
and begin your holiday right here at Changi Airport.
Rethink travel at changiairport.com
Swimming Pool
Terminal 1
n Talking Point
Life is
What You
Make It
There are more things in heaven and earth, dear
business traveler, than are dreamt of in your itinerary
N
early every day, my e-mail inbox is besieged with press
releases, which is good news for you, our readers; it
means companies in the travel industry are interested
in sharing their achievements, their happenings and
their future plans with you in the pages of Business
Traveler. But I’ll let you in on a little editor’s secret: Not every press
release is newsworthy; in fact, precious few of them rise to the level
of real news. Mostly they are born out of the fertile minds of PR
types, whose main purpose is to gin up some excitement for their
company.
Now for those of you who are unfamiliar with the phrase“gin
up,”it means to generate interest in a topic, and it usually implies
that there’s very little of substance behind all the attention. For
example, one might attempt to gin up enthusiasm for a boring
political candidate, a vapid celebrity, a losing sports team.
Now we may ask ourselves (and we did), where does the language pick up an expression like “gin up”? A little research around
the Internet uncovered a couple of theories to explain the etymology of the idiom. First, we rejected the possibility that ‘gin’ is a reference to the alcoholic beverage, and that “ginned up”is another way
of saying ‘had a snoot full.’
A more likely explanation is that since the 13th century, the word
‘gin’ has been short for“engine”– from the Latin word “ingenium,”
which also gives us the word “ingenuity.”In this context“to gin” was
used to mean“to start up or begin.”Thus “gin up”or start excitement may come from this sense.
My own vote goes to the theory that the phrase comes from
horse traders who used to apply ginger (the spice) to the uttermost
posteriors of horses to make them appear livelier or race faster.
The practice of “gingering” was apparently widespread at one time
and it gets the nod from the Oxford English Dictionary as the most
likely root of the expression“to gin up.”
One of the most common methods press releases use to “ginger”
their news is to include research of some kind. This is also my
personal favorite because, with a little thoughtful consideration,
one may actually discover some valuable trends and insights in the
numbers. For example, a recent survey from National Car Rental on
the state of business travel found that 80 percent of business travelers feel they deserve to take a break from work and make time for
themselves during business trips.
This statistic validates a real trend in the industry, as more business travelers are making time for“bleisure” activities while they’re
on the road. But we really didn’t need a survey to tell us that. More
interesting is the stat that 84 percent say they know how to make
the most out of life while traveling for business.
“Work/life balance”has become a catch-phrase in the corporate
world. It is often seen as something to be achieved, like a 401k
contribution or a corner office. In fact, if an etymologist a century
from now comes upon that term and tries to figure out its roots, it
may be as confusing and obscure as the phrase“ginning up” is for
us today. The real meaning is not about balancing work and life. It’s
about balancing life; work and travel and family and the rest should
be just parts of the whole.
Because life – on the road and off – is what you make it. BT
— Dan Booth
Editorial Director
Keep In Touch
Stay Informed: sign up for the Business Traveler
weekly newsletter at www.businesstravelerusa.com
6 n May 2018
Visit businesstravelerusa.com
TRAVEL IN STYLE.
Experience all the advantages
of our Business Class.
on
ONE
N
E
n Upfront
Scoring Points
Four Points by Sheraton is on a roll.
Callette Nielsen, VP and global brand
leader for this and other Marriott
brands explains why
BT: Now that Marriott
and Starwood have come
together, there are a number
of brands in the group that
seem to occupy the same
segments of the market. For
example, what differentiates
a Four Points by Sheraton
from its peers like Courtyard
by Marriott?
NIELSEN: Four Points
properties are designed to
provide “uncomplicated
comfort” so that guests have
exactly what they need at
their fingertips. This includes
the signature Four Points,
Four Comfort Bed and
comfy duvet, free wireless
Internet, and complimentary
bottled water in all rooms.
The look and feel of Four
Points is relevant to today’s
independent traveler; the
hotels are modern and
practical, but never overtly
trendy.
BT: The Four Points by
Sheraton brand is known by
American consumers, but
there is strong growth in the
pipeline for international
destinations which is one
of the largest growth areas
among Marriott family
brands. Tell us more about that.
NIELSEN: There are more
than 120 signed hotels in
the development pipeline,
many of them overseas. This
year, Melbourne, Australia
received its first Four Points by
Sheraton, and it represents the
brand’s intention to expand
across the globe. Among other
Australian openings, there are
also plans to open more hotels
in Africa, Europe, and Asia.
A new property is expected
to open in Algiers, Algeria, in
2019 for example, and a hotel
in Arusha, Tanzania, has just
opened. The largest Four Points
by Sheraton, with more than
1100 rooms, is scheduled to
open in Makkah Al Naseem,
Saudi Arabia, in spring 2018.
BT: The Sheraton name is
so well-recognized globally,
adding the“by Sheraton” to the
Four Points name raises certain
expectations. How does the
Four Points by Sheraton brand
relate to its big sister, Sheraton? Are there any design or
service elements that were
carried over between the two
brands?
NIELSEN: The Four Points
by Sheraton and Sheraton
guests are different in many
ways. However the similarity between the brands lies
in the approach to timehonored hospitality, which
both brands deliver.
BT: The Best Brews program is a unique concept
that is quite popular with
your guests. What is it
exactly and what can guests
at participating Four Points
properties expect to experience during their stay?
NIELSEN: Best Brews is
a signature Four Points
initiative that gives guests
an opportunity to sample
local beers. Each property
serves craft and regional
beers produced by breweries within a specified radius
of the hotel. What makes
these beers unique is that
they are chosen based on
taste, popularity, quality
and only served regionally,
which provides a great opportunity for busy travelers
to sample a bit of the local
custom even if they are too
busy to leave the hotel.
2017 Global Hotel Price
Rise Is First in Three Years
After three years, prices travelers paid for overnight accommodations rose 2 percent globally in 2017, according to the
latest Hotels.com Hotel Price
Index. The index finished the
year at 116, the closest it has
been to the 2007 peak of 118.
Among US cities, the largest
average price drops for overnight stays were in Chicago,
Honolulu and Philadelphia, all
decreasing by 4 percent since
2016. Internationally the largest average price increase
was found in Lisbon
where rates jumped 13
percent, while
the largest average price drop
was in Dubai
which fell 6
percent.
European Union Introduces
Sweeping Data Protections
The European Union is implementing its new General Data Protection Regulation, a comprehensive set of rules for data protection and privacy for all individuals within the EU. The
regulations cover the export of EU citizen’s personal data outside the Union, and include
provisions to simplify the regulatory environment for international business.
When the regulations go into effect, all data controllers – entities that collect individuals’ data – are required to demonstrate a
“reasonable level”of personal data protection, meeting specific
requirements outlined in the law. Repeated or intentional failure to
do so can result in the organization being fined up to €20 million or
up to 4 percent of its annual worldwide sales.
For more information visit eugdpr.org.
8 n April 2018
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Upfront n
IHG BUYS MAJORITY STAKE IN REGENT HOTELS & RESORTS
InterContinental Hotels Group, which operates Holiday Inns, Crowne Plaza and
other brands, has agreed to buy a 51 percent stake in Regent Hotels and Resorts for
$39 million. The company said it would have the right to buy the remaining stake in
a phased manner over the next few years.
The company said the InterContinental Hong Kong would become a Regent
hotel in early 2021 following an extensive refurbishment. Regent was founded in
1970 as a luxury hotel brand and has been through multiple ownership changes
since then.
Visit ihg.com to learn more.
Turkish Air Adds 60 Dreamliners and A350s to Its Fleet
Turkish Airlines has announced that the carrier has officially ordered 25 new Boeing 787-9 aircraft with
an option to purchase five additional for a total of 30. With this order, Turkish Airlines becomes the
71st customer to purchase Boeing’s 787 aircraft.
In addition the carrier has agreed to a total of 30 Airbus A350-900 aircraft, of which 25 are firm
orders and five optional.
“We consider this to be a very important initiative to meet our need for wide body aircraft at
Istanbul’s new airport, which will serve as our new hub once its construction
process is completed,” according to M. İlker Aycı, Turkish
Airlines chairman of the board and the executive
committee.
For more information visit turkishairlines.
com and boeing.com.
Virgin Atlantic to Offer Three Economy Options
Starting this spring, Virgin Atlantic is offering its customers a choice of three economy class options:
Economy Delight, with 34-inch legroom, priority check-in and boarding, and an advance seat assignment; Economy Classic, with free seat assignment; and a new Economy Light ticket that guarantees the
lowest fare available.
The last option will only allow for carry-on luggage, and no changes will be allowed to bookings.
Craig Kreeger, Virgin Atlantic’s CEO, said this is the carrier’s biggest change to the economy cabin in
over a decade and is part of a $420 million investment.
Learn more at virginatlantic.com.
Visit businesstravelerusa.com
PROPERTY PIPELINE
AND OPENINGS
n Moxy Hotels Reveals Expansion Plans – Moxy Hotels,
Marriott’s Millennial-focused
boutique concept, has announced plans to expand to
40 new destinations over the
next three years in Europe.
Currently, they have 50 new
Moxy Hotels in the pipeline
that are scheduled to open by
the end of 2020.
The brand most recently
launched in Scandinavia with
the Moxy Oslo X and has
openings set in Copenhagen
and Stavanger.
Visit marriott.com.
n Autograph Collection
Targets Belize in 2020 –
Autograph Collection Hotels
is making plans to open in
Belize in 2020, converting and
expanding the Alaia property
creating a resort with eight
oceanfront villas and 56 two
bedroom condominiums.
Visit alaiabelize.com.
n IHG to Add Hotel Indigo
Sydney Central in 2021 –
InterContinental Hotels Group
has set a 2021 opening for its
Hotel Indigo brand in Sydney
Central. The property will
offer 168 rooms including
five suites, plus a restaurant,
café and bar in addition to
rooftop terraces and a fitness
room. This is the brand’s third
property in Australia.
Visit ihg.com.
n Zabeel House by Jumeirah
Flagship to Open in Dubai
– Jumeirah Hotels has
announced the first hotel in
Jumeirah’s new ‘upscalecasual’ collection. The 200room four-star Zabeel House
by Jumeirah is set to open
in Dubai’s Al Seef district in
mid-May before Ramadan.
Meanwhile, the 150-room
Zabeel House MINI by
Jumeirah has opened nearby.
Visit zabeelhouse.com.
May 2018 n 9
n Upfront
POLL
How often will you add
personal travel to
business this year?
<25%
25-50%
60% 16%
50-75%
>75%
16% 8%
For more survey ratings visit
businesstravelerusa.com/polls
Downtown Boston Welcomes
Courtyard by Marriott
Curio Collection Debuts
Historic Reykjavik Property
Reykjavik Konsulat, a Curio Collection by Hilton hotel, has
opened in the heart of the city. The 50-room property, once a
historic 1900’s department store operated by Consul Thomsen’s family, has been renovated with modern amenities
designed as a retreat from the fast pace of the city.
In addition to its leisure and wellness areas, the hotel property boasts GOTT Reykjavik - the hotel restaurant and bar –
which offers an imaginative menu that uses fresh ingredients.
Visit hilton.com for more information.
Marriott has announced the opening of its new Courtyard by Marriott
in downtown Boston near North Station. Boston’s Financial Center and
Government Center are nearby, and the property is convenient to major
highways and the tunnels to Logan International Airport.
Standing 14 stories tall, the property offers 220 rooms, and features
free WiFi, a bistro serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, a grab-and-go
food market and a lobby bar. The hotel has two function rooms with over
2,500 square feet of meeting space.
For more information visit marriott.com.
Crowne Plaza’s Australasia
Hotels Install Tesla Chargers
Crowne Plaza hotels across Australasia have installed Tesla Destination
Chargers at all their properties. Each hotel has installed two chargers,
with most locations delivering from 25 to 50 of range per hour. When
powered by 100 percent GreenPower, this provides owners with
zero emissions charging.
Tesla Destination Chargers are available at all 12 Crowne Plaza
hotels in cities throughout the region including Melbourne, Canberra, Perth, Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown.
Visit ihg.com for details.
Alexa, Can You Turn Up the Thermostat?
Priceline Group Renamed
Booking Holdings
Priceline Group has changed its name to Booking
Holdings, effective immediately. According to CEO Glenn
Fogel, Booking.com is now the company’s largest brand
producing a “significant majority”of Booking Holdings’
gross bookings and operating profit.
Booking Holdings consists of six primary brands:
Booking.com, Priceline.com, Kayak, Agoda.com,
Rentalcars.com and Open Table. The parent organization
will continue to operate out of its Norwalk, CT,
headquarters.
Visit bookingholdings.com for details.
10 n May 2018
Honeywell has introduced the first enterprise grade environmental
control and energy management solution for the hospitality industry
that incorporates Amazon Alexa voice control. In addition to room
temperature, the INNCOM e7 Thermostat also includes lighting, drapery
and amenities services.
The e7 automates energy cost reduction and is compatible with
most HVAC solutions. The voice-ready technology is equipped for
Honeywell’s Connected Guest integration
and is designed around a patent-pending
Smart Wall Plate that provides hotel staff
with an easy and reliable back-up of
the device configuration. This makes
routine maintenance or replacement of
the e7 system simple.
Learn more at inncom.com. BT
Visit businesstravelerusa.com
I ARRIVE AS RECHARGED
A S MY CELL PHONE .
Imagine it more convenient, more efficient. The
speed you expect and the experience you deserve.
With 10 weekday departures between Boston
and New York. The time for imagining is over.
Amtrak and Acela are registered service marks
of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation.
SEE WHERE THE TRAIN CAN TAKE YOU. AMTRAK.COM
n Special Report
PAPERS,
PLEASE
Passports and visas are
oft-overlooked, but mission
critical necessities for the
business traveler
W
ith the looming rumors
of trade wars, armed
conflicts, fears of terrorism
and increasingly isolationist stances by major
world powers, the international business
picture is anything but clear these days. Yet
globalization marches on with very little
signs of letup; the World Bank forecasts the
global economy will grow 3.7 percent year
over year in 2018, a rate of increase that’s
remained pretty consistent in the years
since the Great Recession of 2008-09.
Yet another yardstick of the widening
impact of global business is the ease with
which business travelers can move from
country to country; fewer barriers to travel
generally translate to more international
business and a rising tide for everybody’s
boat. A careful examination of one such
metric, the Henley & Partners Passport
Index, shows a steady rise in the number
of countries that have more liberal entry
requirements– either no visas, visas on arrival or e-visa policies.
In 2018, Japan and Singapore rank No. 1
in the world for the most countries allowed
in under these less stringent rules; each
allowed in passport holders from 180 other
countries, whereas a decade ago that number was 154 and 150 respectively. The US,
Canada, Ireland and Switzerland held the
No. 5 spot, allowing entry to citizens from
176 countries without visas, or who receive
visas on arrival or e-visas.
However while some business travelers
may think easy passage from one country
to the next seems to be universal, and even
12 n May 2018
Visit businesstravelerusa.com
Special Report n
A
S
U
E
H
T
N
I
K
C
A
B
If you are a foreign national coming to the United States, you’ll need to obtain a visa
or apply for one of several programs offered by the US government to facilitate entry
for most travelers into the country. These arrangements will need to be made in advance of your travels to the US.
Visa Waiver Program
Under the Visa Waiver Program, most citizens or nationals of participating countries
can travel to the US for tourism or business for 90 days or less without first obtaining
a visa, when they meet all requirements. Travelers must have received a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel. ESTA applications can be made online at cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/esta.
If you prefer to have a visa in your passport, you may still apply for a visitor (B) visa.
Trusted Traveler Programs
Under the broad umbrella of Trusted Traveler Programs, US agencies responsible for
immigration and border security offer several ways to expedite the process of admitting travelers into the country. These programs include:
Global Entry allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon
arrival in the US. At select airports, program members proceed to automated kiosks,
present their machine-readable passport or US permanent resident card, place their
fingerprints on the scanner and complete a customs declaration. The kiosk issues
the traveler a transaction receipt and the traveler proceeds directly to baggage claim
and the exit.
Travelers must be pre-approved after a background check and in-person interview
before enrollment.
NEXUS allows pre-screened travelers expedited processing when entering the United States and Canada. Program members use RFID
cards and dedicated processing lanes at designated northern border ports of entry. NEXUS kiosks are used when entering Canada
by air and Global Entry kiosks are used when entering the United
States via Canadian Preclearance airports. NEXUS members also
receive expedited processing at marine reporting locations.
SENTRI – or the Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid
Inspection – allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk
travelers using dedicated primary lanes into the US at southern land border ports. It uses RFID cards to identify travelers while still in their vehicles.
And US citizens should be aware…
Real ID is the name of new identification standards that were to have been implemented by all 50 states beginning Jan. 22, 2018. However several states, including
Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South
Carolina and Washington had not yet met the new federal standards, prompting the
Transportation Security Administrations to continue accepting current valid driver’s
licenses from all 50 states as ID on domestic flights until Oct. 1, 2020.
The change delays enforcement of REAL ID which will eventually require travelers
to have updated forms of identification or an alternative for domestic air travel.
Visit businesstravelerusa.com
May 2018 n 13
n Special Report
a birthright, it is far from either. For US citizens, a visa is required for entry into more
than 30 countries worldwide, most notably
including China, Russia and India – three
of the fastest growing business destinations on the planet.
Travel Documents 101
First of all, the basics: A passport is not a
visa, and does not automatically grant you
admission into a country. Your passport
is your proof of identify and nationality,
issued by the country of which you are a
citizen. A visa on the other hand is issued
by your destination country or countries,
with the purpose of learning more about
the individual traveling – the length of stay,
the purpose of the trip, the individual’s
financial status, and may include specific travel requirements, such as medical
screenings.
Although leisure travelers can go from
one year to the next without thinking
about visas, business travelers always need
to consider if business visas are necessary.
First, the more you travel, the more likely
you are to be traveling somewhere that
requires one. Secondly, most countries
welcome leisure tourists, and are wary of
providing obstacles to tourist revenue. As
a result, tourist visas are often easier to obtain, and may even be available on arrival
in the country. However many of those
same countries see business travelers
as a source of additional revenue.
Business visas are therefore more
expensive, and can also be more
time consuming to obtain.
Last, as we become more
“adventurous”in looking for
the next business opportunity
in less-visited destinations,
we tend to go to countries
outside our normal comfort
zone. These often require visas
because they are developing
nations keen to raise money from
relatively wealthy travelers, or are
simply countries where our own governments enjoy charging their citizens a lot of
money to visit us, so they reciprocate. We
14 n May 2018
First of all, the basics. A
passport is not a visa, and
does not automatically grant
you admission into a country
can hardly complain what Russia or India
charges us if we do the same to them.
If you are planning a trip, first do some
research; even if you’ve been told by a
colleague or business associate that your
destination doesn’t require a visa, it pays
to check. The rules may have changed or
the circumstances of your travel may be
different. The only place to get accurate information is from the destination country’s
embassy or consulate.
If your itinerary is taking you to a country
that needs a visa, find out what’s required.
Top of the list should be understanding
how long it takes to get a visa. For some
countries it can take up to 15 working
days, which with holidays – and different
countries have different holidays – can be
the better part of a month.
• Check the country’s requirements as
soon as your travel is confirmed
• Apply in plenty of time
• Carefully read the application instructions
• Provide the documentation requested
• Have an employer’s letter ready
• Print an invitation from the host company
• Keep your signature within the box on
forms
• Enclose the right number of photos of
the correct size
• For some visas, you will have to meet in
person at the consulate/visa office – plan
accordingly
• Get the visa before you go, even if in
theory you can apply on arrival in the
country
Before You Leave
Obtaining visas is rarely pain-free, but
there are steps you can take to avoid the
likelihood of last-minute trip cancelations
if a visa is delayed or refused.
The basics are:
• Ensure you have at least two clear pages
in your passport
• Consider having a second passport so
you can keep traveling
• Check your passport has at least six
months’ validity
• Have bank statements for proof of
income
• Your driver’s license or utility bills are
often required for proof of residence
• Keep a list of countries you’ve previously
visited
• Keep your medical certificates at hand
Visit businesstravelerusa.com
Special Report n
(International Certificate of Vaccination
and current immunization records)
• Have proof of travel insurance
Once you have your passport in hand
with the appropriate visa, there still may be
some things you need to know about getting into – or out of – your destination. In
some countries, your visa may only allow
you entry at designated airports. You may
need cash to pay for your visa on arrival,
or have proof of reservations at a hotel, or
check in with the local police within 24
hours. Other countries admit US visitors
without a visa, but require exit fees upon
departure.
Visit businesstravelerusa.com
Ask a Specialist
If you are very busy and want to save
yourself much of the hassle, you can use a
visa specialist. You still have to provide the
documentation, but at least they can check
to see you have done everything correctly
and thus prevent your application being
rejected. You may still have to attend the
consulate/embassy/visa office for an interview or to give biometric information, but
they can often pick up the passport for you
and most can arrange a speedier processing – at a price.
Here are a few of the many specialists
you can consult:
cibtvisas.com
swiftpassportservices.com
china.travisa.com
Or begin your research at:
travel.state.gov
A Word of Warning
Do not attempt to visit on a tourist visa
if you are going on a business trip. If you
think business visas are expensive, consider
how much legal advice will cost when you
are suddenly caught. And your insurance
will not be valid if you knowingly lied
about the real purpose for your travels into
that country. BT
May 2018 n 15
n Loyalty
Choice Privileges
Launches
Book. Stay. Repeat.
Qatar Airways Launches Oryx Kids Club
Qatar Airways has announced the launch of the Oryx Kids Club and loyalty program,
offering loyalty benefits for children ages 2 to 11. Children will be welcomed on board by
cuddly toys Orry and Orah and their friends Kamil, Faaiz and Farah. In addition, they’ll
receive new activity packs, specially-designed children’s meals and a new frequent flyer
offering, the Oryx Kids Loyalty Program, which is supported by an extensive range of
existing products and services from the airline.
As senior vice president marketing and communications, Ms. Salam Al Shawa explained,
“Flying with Qatar Airways should always be a fun and easy experience for families, and so
we are excited to be able to launch our new Oryx Kids Club, making every flight with Qatar
Airways even more enjoyable and relaxing for both parents and children.
To pre-register your child for the Oryx Kids Club, visit qatarairways.com.
Now through
May 25, Choice
Privileges
members have
the opportunity
to earn a free
night for every
two separate
stays at a Choice
property during
the Book. Stay.
Repeat. loyalty
promotion.
“The Choice
Privileges
program offers
fast, relevant
rewards that are easily redeemed,” said
Jamie Russo, vice president of loyalty
programs and customer engagement.
“Members look forward to our
promotions, and ‘Book. Stay. Repeat.’ is a
true member favorite.”
In order to participate, members must
register for the promotion. For details visit
ChoiceHotels.com/freenight.
RoomIt by CWT Launches Loyalty Program
RoomIt by CWT, the hotel distribution division of travel management company Carlson
Wagonlit Travel, has launched the RoomIt Loyalty Booster program. Available free to all
RoomIt customers, the program rewards travelers with additional points and miles,
while also increasing compliance with their company’s travel policy.
Instead of penalizing travelers for booking with hotels outside the corporate
policy, David Falter, president of RoomIt explains the approach is more proactive.
The program allows travel managers to partner with CWT to run promotional
campaigns where travelers are incentivized with either points or miles for booking
within their corporate travel program.
For more information visit roomit.com.
AMERICINN JOINS
WYNDHAM REWARDS
Wyndham Rewards, the guest loyalty program of
Wyndham Hotel Group, has added AmericInn’s more
than 200 midscale hotels. This brings to more than 25,000
the number of hotels, condos and homes worldwide,
covering 20 brands participating in the program.
Wyndham Rewards replaces AmericInn’s Easy Rewards
loyalty program. Members with unused Easy Rewards
points had them automatically transferred to their
Wyndham Rewards account at the rate of 1,500 Wyndham
Rewards points for every 1 Easy Rewards point.
For more information visit wyndhamrewards.com. BT
16 n May 2018
Visit businesstravelerusa.com
TV
Now showing on British Airways,
Iberia, Lufthansa and Swiss at
businesstraveller.com/tv
businesstraveller.com
OCTOBER 2017
n Special Report
THE SHAPE
OF
THINGS
COME
TO
18 n May 2018
From reactive hotel rooms
to jungle elephant rides,
here’s a look at business
travel trends on the horizon
By Jenny Southan
Visit businesstravelerusa.com
Special Report n
Experiential Rewards
Hotel loyalty is moving away from rewards
in the form of room upgrades and free
stays to money-can’t-buy experiences and
hyper-personal gifts. Small Luxury Hotels
of the World, for example, redesigned its
loyalty scheme in September, renaming it
Invited and introducing preferential treatment to elite members such as birthday
gifts and invitation-only events.
Intercontinental Hotels Group, meanwhile, has joined forces with Opentable
and Grubhub to allow guests to earn and
redeem points on meals in restaurants.
Global Hotel Alliance’s Discovery program
offers “local experience”rewards for Platinum and Black members, such as seabob
snorkeling in the Maldives or scenic cycle
rides around Bali. The scheme also applies
to Kempinski hotels. The hotel group says:
“Whether it’s a rare elephant ride in the
jungle, a private tour of a Geneva watch
factory usually closed to the public, a traditional Adumu dance with Maasai warriors
in Kenya, or a tour of Malta’s presidential
palace and gardens, these experiences
present the best of local gastronomy, culture and craftsmanship.”
Facial Recognition
The iPhone X isn’t the only entity using facial recognition as a means of identification
and added security. Airports and airlines
are increasingly integrating the technology into their biometric boarding and
immigration systems to help reduce lines,
paperwork and the required staffing levels
on checkpoints. While you may be anxious
that this undermines your privacy, there is
no way to turn the tide, so you may as well
accept the benefits of a less stressful journey through the terminal as recompense.
Last summer, Delta Air Lines introduced
its first biometric bag-drop stations at
Minneapolis-St Paul International airport,
requiring a facial scan at the self-service
points to verify the passport holder. Dubai
airport, in partnership with Emirates, is going further by creating camera-lined facial
recognition tunnels that you walk through
without pausing to stare at a screen. The
first tunnels should be in place at Dubai’s
Terminal 3 by the end of summer 2018.
Meanwhile, British Airways is the
first airline to use self-service biometric
boarding gates on international flights
out of the US, starting with Los Angeles
International. BA has been using biometric gates at London’s Heathrow Terminal
5 for domestic flights since March 2017.
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Amsterdam Schiphol airport and KLM are
working on a similar initiative, as is JetBlue,
which has replaced boarding passes with
facial scanning at Boston Logan airport.
British Airways says its new technology, created by Vision-Box,“will create a
smoother journey for customers, as they
will no longer need to present their passport or boarding pass at the gate – only at
check in and security. Instead travelers can
simply look into a camera prior to boarding, wait for their biometric data to be verified, and then walk onto the aircraft.”
In the US, Customs and Border Protection is testing its Biometric Exit US in
a handful of airports (such as Chicago
O’Hare and Las Vegas McCarran), but
there are plans to install it at every airport
in the country within three years. The
endeavor is being pushed forward by
President Trump, who wants to use facial
recognition to track visa holders as they
leave the country (or not).
Unpredictable Mother Nature
Business travelers need to prepare for
flight delays and cancellations by having
appropriate insurance, up-to-date dutyof-care policies and watertight back-up
plans ahead of disruptive weather conditions sweeping the planet. Many experts
are putting this down to global warming
(the last three years have been the hottest
recorded), and 2018 is expected to be just
as bad, if not worse.
Last year, Hurricane Harvey caused
deadly flooding in Houston, leaving 80
people dead and, along with Irma and
Maria, wreaking destruction on many
Caribbean islands. Altogether the storms
Left: Hotels are increasingly offering once-in-alifetime experiences to reward customers – even
elephant rides in the jungle; Below: Natural
disasters are ever more common
May 2018 n 19
n Special Report
Left to right: The
hip uniform
of trendy new
airline Joon; Facial
recognition tech is
changing security;
In-room fitness
makes exercise
more appealing
caused upwards of $200 billion of damage.
On the West Coast some of California’s
worst-ever wildfires led to mass evacuations across the state – the Thomas fire, in
December (not normally a month prone to
many blazes), proved the largest on record,
burning more than 272,000 acres of landscape, while mudslides killed 15 in January.
Severe monsoon flooding in Bangladesh
took the lives of 1,200 people and affected
more than 40 million people – aid agencies
said it was one of the worst humanitarian
crises the region had seen in years.
Seismic activity is also causing problems.
Two earthquakes hit Mexico last autumn,
one of which proved the deadliest in 30
years; and a 7.3-magnitude earthquake in
Iraq and Iran killed up to 580 people not
long after. Scientists predict that due to a
periodic slowing of the Earth’s rotation,
there will be more quakes in 2018.
In-room Fitness
Hotels know all too well that the gyms
they invest in often aren’t used – people
can be inherently lazy, yet the desire for
better fitness remains. With that in mind,
some brands are taking steps to make it as
easy as possible for guests to work out during their stays by putting fitness equipment
in bedrooms instead. A growing number of
Marriott’s Westin Hotels & Resorts in the
US, for example, are now offering some
rooms with Peloton exercise bikes and
online spinning classes streamed live or
on-demand to built-in screens.
20 n May 2018
At the same time, Hilton has been rolling out its Five Feet to Fitness concept to
hotels in North America, featuring mini
studios with Wattbikes, Gym Rax units
with TRX straps, medicine balls from Lyft,
Hyperwear Sandbells, yoga mats and
meditation chairs, plus a screen for bespoke on-demand exercise classes created
by Aktiv Solutions.
“The variety of activity the room enables
is motivating,” according to Ryan Crabbe,
former senior director of global wellness at
Hilton.“One morning a guest can decide
to roll out of bed for a quick guided stretch
and yoga poses. Then later that evening,
they might return from a stressful day and
take a brisk bike ride while catching up on
a favorite show or the day’s business news.”
Next-gen Airlines
Aimed at Millennials, Air France launched
a new low-cost subsidiary airline for hipsters in December, ushering in a new era
for trendy aviation created for the younger
generation. Richard Branson did a good job
of making flying sexy with Virgin Atlantic,
but Air France’s Joon is looking to inspire
a different kind of ethos, much in the way
hotel chains have all launched“lifestyle”
brands. Crews are dressed in “basic, chic”
uniforms that consist of royal blue cardigans, polo shirts, block-print shift dresses,
gilets and retro-styled white trainers.
Travelers who download the YouJoon app
will be able to stream entertainment ondemand to their devices while in the air.
There will also be individual touchscreen
monitors on long-haul flights.
On short-haul A320 flights, food and
drink (with the exception of one free tea or
coffee) has to be paid for, but on long-haul
A340 services it’s free. The menu lists items
such as Sicilian lemonade, smoothies, craft
beer, tapas and organic quinoa salad. Unlike typical budget airlines, intercontinental
services also have premium economy and
business class cabins with fully flat beds.
Farewell To Jumbos
The unmistakable 747, with its humped
upper deck, first took to the skies in 1969 –
and almost 50 years later, it’s finally reaching the end of its life. Aircraft manufacturer
Boeing says that it sees“no significant
demand” for the jumbo jet anymore, and
has dropped the plane from its 20-year
forecast. Instead, it predicts airlines will
be choosing Boeing’s more efficient 787s
and 777Xs for long-haul flights. In 2017,
both Delta and United retired the last of
their 747s, meaning no US airline flies the
jumbo any longer. There are still around
500 in service globally, but a recent delivery
of a 747-8 to Korean Air may prove the last
to be built.
In contrast, a new entry to fleets around
the world is the smaller, single-aisle 737
MAX. It has already become the fastestselling plane in Boeing’s history, with more
than 4,000 orders from 92 carriers. The
aircraft comes with Boeing’s new Sky Interior,“modern sculpted walls and window
Visit businesstravelerusa.com
Special Report n
Reactive Rooms
Marriott International has partnered with
Samsung and Legrand (a specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures) to
create a prototype Internet of Things (IoT)
hotel room, which it hopes to introduce to
its properties one day. Marriott believes in
a sci-fi future where mirrors talk and your
shower recognizes you when you enter. Its
IoT Guestroom Lab allows users to ask a
virtual assistant for a wake-up call, to start
a yoga routine on a full-length mirror, or
set the shower to the temperature stored in
their customer profile.
The Irvine Marriott in California has
been experimenting with a smart shower
door, whereby people can draw or write
down ideas in the steam on the glass,
and then have them beamed to an iPad.
A select number of Marriott’s Aloft hotels
already have voice-activated rooms.
reveals,” LED lighting and larger overhead
bins for luggage. It comes in four variants –
the MAX 7, 8 , 9 and 10 – installed with 172
to 230 seats. Last year, Norwegian, Southwest Airlines, Air Canada, Silk Air and
Westjet all received their first 737 MAXs. In
November, it was announced that Flydubai
had placed a monster $27 billion order for
225 of the planes.
This is part of a wider trend for airlines
buying smaller aircraft, instead of larger
planes with far greater operating costs.
Even though fuel is currently cheap, carriers such as Qantas and Air France have
canceled orders for the A380 superjumbo,
and there are rumors that Emirates is going
to ditch its A380 program.
Airbnb Hotels
Given Airbnb’s ambitions to become a
one-stop shop for travel – from home
rental to experiences and possibly even
flights – it makes sense that the company
is partnering with property developers to
build its own branded accommodation. In
Florida, Airbnb is working with Newgard
Property Group to open a 300-unit apartment tower for early 2018 (called Niido
Powered by Airbnb) in Kissimee, near
Orlando.
Tenants will be able to rent apartments
on Airbnb for up to 180 days a year, and
there will be hotel-style support in the
form of cleaning and linen services, keyless
entry systems, in-room safes and concierges. According to the Financial Times, Airbnb
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plans to unveil another five such projects
over the next two years. There are also rumors that Airbnb will launch a “Lux”portal
aggregating high-end private residences
this year, allowing it to compete with One
Fine Stay (now part of Accorhotels).
Airport Gyms
Instead of sitting in the airport lounge
eating plates full of free food and drinking
wine, many of us would feel better at the
end of our journey if we’d done a workout
instead. Last autumn, Lennart Meri Tallinn airport in Estonia became the first in
Europe to install a pop-up gym within its
terminal near gate 6 (complete with runway views). Operated by My Fitness, the
light, expansive gym has high ceilings, with
Technogym weight machines, an elliptical
trainer, a rowing machine, exercise bike,
treadmill and staircase trainer. The only
problem is there are no showers.
Roam Fitness is also taking gyms for
jet setters seriously, having opened its
first in Baltimore airport last year. The
1,200-square-foot facility has cardio equipment, free weights, medicine balls, TRX
suspension straps and space for stretching.
Mercifully, there are four private bathrooms
with showers. You can also buy healthy
snacks and drinks on-site, and even rent
Lululemon fitness clothing if you haven’t
packed any of your own. Roam Fitness says
it plans to open three more US locations
this year and, within five years, hopes to
have 20 locations including some overseas.
Affordable Luxury
Good news for budget-conscious business
travelers is the continued growth of affordable luxury in both hotels and airlines.
For example Dutch chain Citizen M offers
just one category of compact room and no
in-room dining, swimming pools or gyms.
Instead, guests benefit from generous
amounts of communal space for working and eating, and a hip canteen open 24
hours. The emphasis is on creating a trendy
but homey environment. A night at the
new Citizen M La Défense in Paris costs
starts at €80 ($98) a night, and the chain
plans to expand across North America and
Asia over the coming years.
The new Moxy Times Square (from
Marriott) is another example of a hotel
chain that has chosen to invest in imaginative interior design, lively social spaces
and superb dining at unusually low rates
(beginning at $124 a night) by eliminating
extraneous facilities and levels of service.
Affordable luxury is coming to airlines
too. The Lufthansa Group’s budget subsidiary Eurowings has announced it will
be installing a business class cabin – with
fully flat beds – on board its long-haul
wide-body aircraft departing Dusseldorf
from the end of April 2018. Oliver Wagner, the airline’s CEO, says: “That’s not a
contradiction for Eurowings. We see strong
demand for another top product on routes
with high business travel, for example from
Dusseldorf to New York, Miami and Fort
Myers.”And, he adds,“We’ll be entering
the Bizclass race with our usual budgetpriced tickets.” BT
May 2018 n 21
n Destinations
Cultural
nuances
Abu Dhabi is rich in groundbreaking architecture,
cultural landmarks and ancient customs
By Neha Gupta Kapoor
T
he UAE capital exudes a casual persona, yet maintains its
opulence. This is evident on an afternoon drive in Corniche along the promenade that leads up to the UAE’s
Presidential Palace. The roads are almost empty, unlike
a typical bustling metropolis. And maybe this is why it is
easier to admire the beauty of the drive – you have an unobstructed
view of the sea on one side and glass skyscrapers on the other.
Some of these are an architect’s delight.
One such striking example is Capital Gate built by Abu Dhabi
National Exhibitions Company. Located on Khaleej Al Arabi Street
parallel to the seaside promenade, the structure is purposely set
at such an extreme angle that it caught the attention of Guinness
World Records who recognizes it as the World’s Furthest Leaning
Man Made Tower.
About a 12-minute drive from here is The Aldar Headquarters.
This one is a 23-story, 360-foot, 2D circular building. Inspired by
22 n May 2018
a clam shell, the building has two convex discs put together – a
circular elevation on the front and rear – and curved in all other
directions. Needless to say, both these buildings are coveted addresses in Abu Dhabi.
In fact, if you have an office or home in any of the multi-story
buildings around this area, consider yourself lucky. After all, your
neighbor is the president of the UAE with his palace just a short
drive down the road.
The other affluent area of the emirate is Saadiyat, a newly developed island about a 30-minute drive northward from Khaleej Al
Arabi Street. What makes it noteworthy, apart from the expensive
beachfront villas, is that turtles visit to lay eggs here around May
and June. Scores of tourists visit to watch them waddle across the
sand. There is also the Saadiyat Beach Club where you can buy a
pass (weekday AED 220/$60), weekend AED 420/$115) for access
to the private beach, pool, cabanas and restaurants.
Visit businesstravelerusa.com
Destinations n
Of course, not all of Abu Dhabi is as glamorous. If you drive
down Eastern Road towards Gold Souk, the area appears tired,
despite the number of high-end car brands that roam the streets
here. Glittering glass towers are replaced with stout brick buildings.
There are humble homes, utility shops and a few hotels – mostly
in the mid-to-budget category. This part of the emirate is more
traditional and has fewer tourists.
Al Maryah, Reem or Yas islands to name a few, are the ones
you’re most likely to visit and see more tourists. They are heavily
populated with malls, hotels and recreational facilities, and most
offices and mixed-use buildings are found in the surrounding areas.
Among them, you will also find parks and attractions that punctuate Abu Dhabi’s cultural experiences.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi
Among the most anticipated of Abu Dhabi’s architectural marvels,
and one that should be on any future visitor’s itinerary, is the new
Louvre Abu Dhabi. Originally set to open in 2012, the long-awaited
museum finally premiered in November 2017. The dome-shaped
building on Saadiyat Island was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel.
Two-thirds of the museum is covered by a white latticework disc,
inspired by the interlacing of palm leaves, used traditionally as roofing material in the region. The $650 million museum is estimated to
house 600 pieces of art across 23 halls, with works borrowed from
the Louvre in Paris, the Musée d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou and the
Château de Versailles.
Also on Saadiyat Island, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is expected
to be 12 times larger than its New York counterpart, although a contract has yet to be awarded for its construction. The Zayed National
Museum is on track to open within the next few years – backed by
the British Museum, it documents the history and unification of the
United Arab Emirates.
Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital
Near Abu Dhabi International Airport, this full-fledged hospital,
apart from being dedicated to the care of this predatory bird,
is a busy tourist spot too. The Falcon World Tour talks about falcons,
the history of falconry and the significance of the activity from the
past to modern times.
The number of patients undergoing treatment here reveal how
intrinsic falconry is to Gulf culture even today. In ancient times,
this bird was used to hunt food for desert tribes. Today, it still hunts
but as a sport for humans. At a minimum, training this ferocious
predator takes a grueling three weeks, and the skill of the falconer
is highly respected. A leather hood covers the bird’s eyes at all times
to make it easier to control.
The hospital also has a falcon museum and a free-flight aviary
where the birds roam unrestrained. At one point during the tour,
you may find it amusing to watch the bird get a pedicure. The highlight, however, is posing with the falcon on your arm, an experience
unique to this part of the world.
Open 10:00 AM – 2:30 PM (tours must be booked in advance);
tour price AED 170/$46 for two hours; falconhospital.com
UAE Heritage Village
A couple of beautiful white swans ran past us as we entered Heritage Village, a reconstruction of a traditional oasis village on the
waterfront. We followed their footprints in the desert sand to shops
selling touristy items such as postcards, magnets, hats, T-shirts,
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spices, old-fashioned water pouches and more. There are also interesting workshops where you can watch demonstrations involving
traditional skills for tannery, glass-blowing, metal work, pottery,
weaving and spinning.
I was most intrigued by the living conditions of oasis villagers
that is recreated here. The nomads lived in animal hide tents during
winter to keep warm, and during the other seasons in huts made
from palm fronds; the triangular tents formed a natural funnel to
capture the breeze while rectangular ones had a wind tower, also
built from palm fronds.
Completing the village scene is the villagers’ primary mode of
transport – the camel. This popular attraction draws a long line to
wait for a ride of a few minutes. However it’s definitely worth the
experience – your balancing skills are put to test when the animal
attempts to sit and stand.
For more insight into the life of such villages, visit the museum
in the old fort for a glimpse into the past, featuring jewelry, attire,
lifestyle products and ancient pearl diving equipment.
Open Saturday-Thursday 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM and Friday 3:30 PM
– 9:00 PM; admission is free; torath.ae
Abu Dhabi Pearl Journey
This tour of Abu Dhabi’s once thriving pearl industry is cultural
as well as educational, giving visitors first-hand experience in this
archaic trade. You are welcomed on board the 90-minute sail on the
traditional jalboot or dhow with Arabic coffee and dates. During
the journey that takes you along the emirate’s eastern mangroves
– home to herons, egrets, flamingos and other seabirds – the guide
tells you the story of pearl diving in this region. It’s not all talk
though. The tour gets more interesting when the guide demonstrates how divers used to work, and then challenges you to open
an oyster shell with a special knife to avoid harming the precious
pearl inside.
Open daily 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM (tours must be booked in advance); AED 500$136 for two hours; adpearljourney.com
Corniche Island
The sights here are best enjoyed cycling along the five-mile bicycle
path on the Corniche. Rental booths are plentiful along this stretch.
There is a long sandy beach, restaurants, hookah cafes and water
activity huts here. Walking pathways weave through fountains
and landscaped gardens that are impressively lush, given the arid
weather here.
Corniche beach has been awarded the Blue Flag status – an internationally recognized eco-label confirming clean and safe water
at beaches and marinas. For safety, fences have been placed in the
water allowing you to swim only as far as 130 feet from the shoreline. On weekends, this sandy attraction is most crowded, especially
in the evenings and non-summer months.
Galleria Mall
Shoppers looking for high-end brands will find Galleria Mall a
good place to visit. Labels such as Alexander McQueen, Burberry,
Cartier, Longines, Prada and Ralph Lauren to name a few, occupy
one level of the mall. The other floor has mid-level brands such as
La Senza, Tory Burch and Tommy Hilfiger. The food court here too
not typical because your order is served in glass crockery with stainless steel cutlery.
Retail stores are open Saturday-Wednesday 10:00 AM – 10:00
PM, Thursday until midnight and Friday from 12:00 PM until midMay 2018 n 23
n Destinations
Right: Abu Dhabi
Falcon Hospital;
Below: Sheikh
Zayed Grand
Mosque
night. Restaurants are open Sunday-Thursday 10:00 AM – 10:00
PM, and Friday and Saturday until midnight. thegalleria.ae
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
After you walk through security at the mosque’s entrance, and get
the guards’ nod on your attire (women must dress in a hijab and
men must cover their shoulders and ankles), you enter a spiritual
world built from pure, white marble. I, for one, was taken aback by
the beauty of this snowy edifice with four minarets and 82 domes,
all of which are visible from the bridges joining Abu Dhabi island to
the mainland.
The largest of the domes — nearly 280 feet tall and over 100 feet
in diameter — sits above the main prayer hall. The world’s largest
hand-knotted carpet is also found here. Other features include
marble columns inlaid with mother-of-pearl and a 12-ton chandelier, one of the largest in the world, sparkling with Swarovski
crystals and 24-karat gold.
Overhead inside the domes, Moroccan artwork created from
reinforced plaster quotes verses from the Quran. Attractive floral
art colored with semi-precious stones such as abalone, amethyst,
jasper, lapis lazuli, mother-of-pearl and red agate are embedded in
the marble walls of the mosque creating a mesmerizing design.
We visited the UAE’s largest mosque at noon when temperatures
were soaring. Surprisingly, even when we walked barefoot in the
outdoor areas, the marble felt cool on our feet. We learned this is
because the stone is artificially cooled from below. On Friday and
during key religious days, the mosque can hold upwards of 40,000
worshipers.
Open Saturday-Thursday 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM, Friday opens
after 4:30 PM; admission is free; szgmc.ae/en
passes and maintained intertribal peace among the eight Sheikhdoms along the coast.
In 2007, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority carried out
restoration work before opening this historic building and its surrounding courtyards and gardens to the public. In the exhibition
center, a stunning collection of photographs entitled Empty Desert
by British explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger is on display. Additionally
temporary exhibits are brought in to showcase the history of Al
Jahili Fort. There are also displays about the historically rich Al Ain
region where the fort lies.
Open Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Friday
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM; admission is free; visitabudhabi.ae
Other attractions in the vicinity include Al Ain National Museum,
Al Ain Palace Museum, Al Ain camel market, Al Ain Zoo, Ferrari
World and Emirates Park Zoo. BT
Al Jahili Fort
The fort was the summer residence of Sheikh Zayed when it was
built in 1891. In the 1950s it served as the headquarters of the
Oman Trucial Scouts, now known as Union Defence Force. Before
the formation of the UAE, the Scouts protected the mountain
24 n May 2018
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n Take Offs & Landings
The Next Generation
of FLIGHT
New aircraft designs are spearheading a
better global business travel experience
T
ime is money, as the old saying
goes, and the latest breed of
airplanes taking to the skies is
giving new meaning to the cliché. Both Boeing and Airbus are
rolling out a flurry of innovative advances
in aviation that are transforming airline
route networks worldwide. The speed of
development is breathtaking, so here’s a
look at the latest news.
Boeing 787-10
About 3,000 people gathered in North
Charleston, SC, on March 25 to celebrate
the delivery of Boeing’s first 787-10 to
launch customer Singapore Airlines. The
delivery took place at the Boeing South
Carolina plant where its latest 787 model is
manufactured.
The 787-10 is the largest of the Dreamliner family with a longer fuselage which
allows it to carry a total of 330 seats in a
standard two-class configuration. It has
been designed to compete with Airbus’
A350-900 aircraft.
Thanks to its use of lightweight composites and advanced systems, Boeing says the
aircraft offers the lowest operating cost per
seat of any widebody airplane in service
today with 20 to 25 percent better fuel efficiency per seat and lower emissions than
the airplanes they replace.
With the addition of the 787-10, Singapore Airlines and its subsidiary Scoot
become the first airline to operate all three
Dreamliner models. Singapore Airlines has
48 additional 787-10s already on order,
plus 20 of the new 777-9s.
In addition to Singapore Airlines, Emirates recently announced plans to order
40 of the next-generation aircraft. Other
customers ordering the 787-10s include
26 n May 2018
By Mark Caswell
Etihad Airways, EVA Air, United Airlines
and British Airways, putting a total of over
170 of the new Dreamliner variant on Boeing’s order books. It will join the 787-8 and
787-9 aircraft which are already in service
– the Dreamliner family has a total of just
under 1,300 orders.
Airbus A350-1000
At the end of February, Qatar Airways took
delivery of its first A350-1000 aircraft and
almost immediately put it in service on the
London to Doha route. The airline is the
launch customer of the new aircraft, which
has a range of 8,000 nautical miles, is 23
feet longer than the A350-900 and has (in
Qatar Airways’ configuration) an additional
44 seats (a total of 327 seats compared with
283 seats).
The A350-1000 has 46 of Qatar’s Qsuite
business class seats – which debuted on
the 777-300ER fleet last year – in a 1-2-1
configuration and 281 seats in economy
class. The airline was also the launch customer of the A350-900 in 2014 and has 23
of the aircraft in the fleet to date. It has 76
of the A350 family aircraft on order and is
the largest A350-1000 customer.
There have been around 170 orders for
the A350-1000 from 11 customers, including Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Cathay
Pacific, Etihad Airways, LATAM and Japan
Airlines.
The A350-1000 is the manufacturer’s
largest twin-engine airliner, designed to replace Airbus’ A340-600, and compete with
Boeing aircraft including the 777-300ER
and forthcoming 777-9. Airbus says the
aircraft’s use of composite material allows
for lower fuel consumption and carbon
emissions per passenger. It also has an
advanced air system technology found on
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Take Offs & Landings n
AIRLINE NOTES
From top: neo A330,
Boeing 787-10,
Boeing 777-9
the rest of the A350 family which delivers
optimal cabin air quality.
Boeing 737 Max
Designed to succeed Boeing’s 737NG
(next-generation) aircraft, the 737 Max
family will compete with Airbus’ A320 neo
family – to date the 737 Max 8 has
received over 2,000 firm orders. The
737 Max 8 is the first variant of the
aircraft and debuted with launch customer
Malindo Air (a subsidiary of Indonesian
low-cost airline Lion Air Group) in 2017.
The second, the Max 9, was just delivered to Lion Air’s Thai subsidiary this
March. Still in development are the Max
7, Max 10, Max 10X and the high
density Max 200. Other carriers
which have taken Max 8 deliveries
since its launch include Norwegian, Oman
Air, Flydubai, Westjet, Silkair, Southwest
Airlines and American Airlines. In all,
Boeing says more than 95 customers have
placed orders for over 4,300 aircraft in the
737 Max family, making it the fastest selling in the company’s history.
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n Delta and Virgin Atlantic Announce Joint Summer Schedule –
Delta and Virgin Atlantic have set their
joint 2018 transatlantic summer schedule. Beginning April 1, Delta has started
a non-stop option from Salt Lake City to
London-Heathrow and from Portland,
OR, beginning May 3. The airline has
also slated A330s on flights to London
from Atlanta and Detroit providing additional capacity.
Virgin Atlantic is adding a sixth daily
service connecting JFK to London
Heathrow. Delta will also operate an
A330 on the JFK – Heathrow service
to increase capacity. The schedule
also offers daily nonstops from JFK to
Glasgow and Edinburgh aboard Delta.
Virgin Atlantic is adding a Boeing
747 in May to increase capacity on the
Manchester service. Additionally, the
seasonal routes to Manchester from
Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Boston
are coming back this summer.
For more information visit delta.com
and virginatlantic.com.
n Air New Zealand and United Team
to Expand Services – Air New Zealand
has announced new nonstop service
from Auckland to Chicago beginning Nov. 30. The three-times weekly
service will operate aboard the airline’s
newly configured 787-9 Dreamliner.
In addition, United Airlines has announced it will extend service between
San Francisco and Auckland to yearround beginning in April 2019. That
route operates a Boeing 777-300ER
between November and March and a
Boeing 777-200ER between April and
October of 2019.
For more information visit united.com.
and airnewzealand.com.
n DOT Awards United and Mesa
Airlines Additional Service to Cuba
– The US Department of Transportation has tentatively awarded United
and Mesa Airlines approval to increase
their routes between Houston’s George
Bush Intercontinental Airport and Havana’s José Martí International Airport.
The airline currently offers Saturdayonly service. Pending final approval,
the airlines will begin daily service.
The route originally launched in
December of 2016.
May 2018 n 27
n Take Offs & Landings
This page: Boeing
737MAX, neo A321
The aircraft has a range of 4,045 miles,
enabling it to operate selected transatlantic
routes – for example Norwegian has used
the 737 Max to launch services between
Ireland / Scotland and airports on the East
Coast of the US.
Airbus A321 neo LR
Airbus has completed its first test flights of
its forthcoming A321LR aircraft, ahead of
a targeted entry into service of the fourth
quarter of 2018, including a transatlantic
flight from Paris to New York in February.
The test flights set the stage for the aircraft
to obtain its EASA and FAA certifications.
The A321LR features a new door configuration, enabling customers to operate
the aircraft with up to 240 passengers.
Airbus’ latest Airspace by Airbus cabin is
also available on the aircraft.
The A321 neo family of aircraft has
attracted over 1,900 orders from over 50
customers. Forthcoming operators of the
A321LR include Norwegian, Air Transat,
Aer Lingus, and all-business class carrier
La Compagnie.
The single-aisle plane has a range of up
to 4,600 nautical miles, thanks to a third
Additional Center Fuel Tank (ACT), allowing it to operate routes such as New YorkParis, Lisbon-Recife, Dubai-Beijing, Kuala
Lumpur-Tokyo and Singapore-Sydney.
Airbus A330-900 neo
The A330-900 neo took its first flight in
October 2017, and has been designed to
compete with the 787-8 and 787-9 Dreamliners for the claim to offer the lowest seatmile-cost in the 300-passenger widebody
category,
TAP Air Portugal will be the launch carrier for the A330-900 later this year, with
AIRPORT REPORT
n Global Airport Traffic Rises Three Years in a Row – Global passenger traffic
increased 6.4 percent across the world’s airports in 2017, according to annual data
from Airports Council International World. Growth was above 6 percent for the third
year in a row.
Despite concerns over geopolitical tensions, global travel and tourism remained
robust, with passenger traffic surpassing the 8.2 billion mark in 2017. European and
Asia-Pacific markets led the increases, and even the mature North American market
saw gains of 3.5 percent year-over-year in 2017. This is above its average 1.1 percent annual increases over the last two decades.
n New York Airports Among Most Cancellation-Prone – A new study of flight
cancellation statistics reported by the Department of Transportation has identified
which major US airports were most and least likely to see flights canceled in 2017.
According to research from InsureMyTrip, New York’s LaGuardia reported the highest percentage of canceled flights, with New York JFK and Newark joining Houston
and Fort Lauderdale among the top five airports with the most cancellations.
For the first time in five years, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International reported
more flight cancellations than Chicago O’Hare International. December’s power
outage at ATL contributed to the spike. The five airports with the best cancellations
rates were Denver International, Seattle/Tacoma International, Minneapolis-St Paul,
Phoenix Sky and Salt Lake City.
28 n May 2018
14 of the aircraft on order. There have been
a total of around 220 orders for the aircraft
across 13 carriers, with major operators set
to include Air Asia X, Iran Air, Delta and
Garuda Indonesia.
A -800 variant of the A330 neo is also
under development, although there has so
far only been one order for the aircraft, by
Hawaiian Airlines.
The A330-900 neo will also be the
launch aircraft for the Airspace by Airbus
cabin design with features including larger
overhead storage bins,“spacious and
contemporary lavatories,”wider seats (18
inches in economy) and aisles, unobstructed under-seat foot space and LED
technology ambient lighting.
Boeing 777-9
The 777-9 – part of the 777X series of aircraft – is set to enter service around 2020,
with Lufthansa as the launch customer.
The German carrier has 20 of the 777-9s
on order, and will debut it latest fully-flat
business class on the aircraft, featuring
direct aisle access for all customers, and a
staggered 1-2-1 / 1-1-1 configuration, resulting in impressive looking “throne seats”
in the middle of the 1-1-1 rows.
Around 275 777-9s have been ordered
by seven airlines including Etihad, Singapore Airlines, ANA, Cathay Pacific, Qatar
Airways and Emirates – the last of which
has ordered 115 of the aircraft.
The 777-9 is 9.5 feet longer than the
existing 777-300ER and seats 414 passengers – a shorter 777-8 variant is also under
development, and the 777-10 has also been
proposed which would stretch the 777-9 by
a further four rows. BT
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n Cover Story
Towering
ambition
Large-scale development is set to make
Paris’s La Défense business district more
tempting for living and working
By Jenny Southan
30 n May 2018
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Cover Story n
I
’m not a fan of heights, but every now and then it’s important to
get yourself into a glass elevator and see the views. Looming 360
feet high, La Grande Arche is La Défense’s most familiar landmark; a monolithic open-sided cube, with an 120,000-squarefoot, newly renovated roof that allows you to gaze all the way
down Avenue Charles de Gaulle to the Arc du Triomphe on the
other side of the River Seine.
Construction of this two-square-mile cluster of high-rise towers
began in 1958, with the intention of replacing farmland and dilapidated suburbs with a hub for business and banking. The first building erected was the low but expansive Center of New Industries
and Technologies (now a convention center and Hilton hotel at the
foot of the Arche), followed by the first of France’s office blocks –
the Esso Tower and the Nobel Tower – in the sixties.
Today, La Défense is the largest purpose-built district in Europe,
hovering above a network of roads on a 75-acre elevated concrete
platform called“the Slab,” which allows pedestrians to walk freely
across enormous plazas while cars pass beneath. For decades, the
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area has been home to a forest of mono-functional structures, occupied nine-to-five by workers who ebb and flow from their jobs to
their outlying homes.
However, Paris has realized that it is falling behind other cities
with its lifestyle-less urban planning, so city leaders have embarked
on turning La Défense into a place not only for work but for living
and socializing, too. Central to this is a host of ambitious projects
that will set new records for scale; and in so doing rob London’s
Shard of the title“tallest building in the EU.”
Design for Life
While the rest of Paris enjoys beautiful Haussmann boulevards,
sidewalk dining and chic ateliers, La Défense tends to be inhuman in scale and substance, with impenetrable Brutalist blocks and
never-ending esplanades. There have been attempts to brighten up
the place – there is an “art walk”that takes in more than 60 al fresco
sculptures, a freestanding chimney decorated in rainbow stripes
and an urban garden near the Yaacov Agam fountain. But develop-
May 2018 n 31
n Cover Story
ers want to improve it further, with mixed-use projects that cater to
tourists, locals and business travelers alike.
The best example of this is Hermitage Plaza, a pair of towers
being designed by Foster and Partners that will stand 1,050 feet
tall, making them the highest not only in Paris but in all the EU.
Located on the banks of the Seine, with a jetty for people arriving
by speedboat, construction on this new “arrondissement in the sky”
is set to begin sometime this year with a scheduled completion date
projected for early 2023.
It will include 377,000 square feet of office space, 488 high-end
apartments and a 230-room five-star hotel, plus a spa and pool,
designer shops, restaurants, a concert hall and art gallery.
Emin Iskenderov, chairman and chief executive of Russian
developer Hermitage, calls it“a new era for La Défense.” Iskenderov notes,“From Wall Street to Canary Wharf, this model exists
everywhere in the world except France.”But the $3 billion project is
setting a new trend for Paris.
Dozens of other new buildings are also on the horizon. French
architect Jean Nouvel has designed the Residence Campusea, a
gleaming block of student apartments that will open later this year,
and the faceted 722-foot Hekla tower to follow in 2021. Next year,
the Belvédère will provide 190,000 square feet of office and commercial space. In 2019 will be the 460-foot tall Trinity and the 540foot Saint Gobain. In 2020 there will be the Alto tower and, in 2022,
the Sisters – one standing at 656 feet and the other at 328 feet.
Connected by a glass bridge, they will house offices and a hotel.
In a continuing effort to introduce more green space, this summer will see the unveiling of Oxygen, a 16,000-square-foot semicircular park at the end of the Slab, with outdoor terraces partitioned
by banks of tall grasses, living walls, sleek cafés with turf roofs and
free-flowing organic architecture.
In 2019, Table Square will become a “bistronomy”destination
boasting no fewer than seven new restaurants and bars. “For
decades we have been growing vertically – now we are developing
horizontally,” Ledoux says.
vice canteen and stylish meeting rooms with whiteboard walls.“We
are about affordable luxury. We have designer Vitra furniture and
our house pour is Ketel One vodka but we don’t charge premium
prices,” says Alex Perper, Citizen M’s area manager for France.
From the
outdoor deck, you
can look across to
the new U Arena,
which opened
in October with
a concert by the
Rolling Stones.
The 40,000-seat venue
will also be used for rugby matches, motocross championships and
conventions.
Come 2022, next to it will be the La Tour de Jardins de l’Arche.
Resembling a tower of glass Jenga blocks planted with trees, it will
have offices, 700 hotel rooms, a spa, pool and rooftop restaurant.
“The neighborhood has been transformed during the past couple
of years,” says Corinne de Conti, president of event services company City One 111.“It has become very dynamic and young.”
The final part of the urban renewal plan is the $32 billion expansion of the Paris Metro system, taking place over the next 15
years. The Grand Paris Express is expected to boost capacity to two
million people a day by 2026, with the addition of four automatic
lines, the extension of two existing ones, and 72 new stations. By
2027, there will be a direct link from La Défense to Paris Charles de
Gaulle’s Terminal 2.
‘The idea is to show
people that you can
live here like you can
in London’
Clockwise from right: The Sisters towers;
Table Square; U Arena
Creative Cluster
To the northwest of La Grande Arche is a long aerial walkway that
ends abruptly outside the new Citizen M La Défense hotel in the
Nanterre zone. Opened in June, the 175-room property is a far cry
from nearby business hotels such as the Mercure, Renaissance and
Pullman. The Dutch brand has instead delivered a place to stay
where all rooms are the same and prices are capped even during
peak season.
The communal lounges are decorated with quirky modern art,
and there’s co-working space, a concept store, a 24-hour self-ser-
32 n May 2018
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ENIA ARCHITECTES/EPADESA/JENNY SOUTHAN
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May 2018 n 33
n Cover Story
LA DÉFENSE
IN NUMBERS
15
A pair of towers being
designed by Foster
and Partners will be the
tallest in the EU
Fortune Global 500 companies
(29 in total in Paris)
1
European city ranking for
number of Fortune Global 500
firms
37.6 million square feet
of office space
2,600
hotel rooms
160,000
workers
43,000
employees at foreign
companies
Look Out, London
Meanwhile, competition between London
and Paris is heating up. As the British negotiate their withdrawal from the EU, the
French capital is looking to pull in as many
as 20,000 UK finance workers who will be
compelled to migrate in the wake of Brexit.
“Tired of the fog? Try the frogs.”So
reads the latest ad campaign from French
government organization Defacto.“We
launched our campaign after we heard
it would be a hard Brexit,”says Thomas
Ledoux, head of communications for Defacto.“We wanted people to know Paris will
welcome you. We have office space available, whereas in Dublin, for example, there
is none. That is a problem. Frankfurt is
efficient but it doesn’t have the size of Paris,
and with that comes a certain lifestyle.”
Goldman Sachs says it will move 6,000
staff to Frankfurt and Paris as part of
a contingency plan ahead of the UK’s
departure from the EU. HSBC has said it
will move 1,000 jobs to Paris, while Reuters
will relocate 9,000 to the Continent. Newly
elected president Emmanuel Macron has
31%
jobs in banking and insurance
27%
jobs in energy
10%
SMEs
pledged to rejuvenate the French economy
and has been campaigning for financiers
to choose Paris over other European hubs
such as Milan, Amsterdam, Madrid or
Luxembourg.
As one French Embassy spokesperson
notes: “The Grand Paris project represents
a radical transformation of the capital. By
2030, it could generate an additional €100
billion to €200 billion in GDP, as well as
115,000 jobs.” BT
From left: Defacto pop-up at Les Quatres Temps;
Citizen M Paris La Défense; European Union and
British Union Jack flag flying
34 n May 2018
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LifeStyles n
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May 2018 n 35
n Tried & Tested
The Temple House
Chengdu, China
TESTED BY
Ramsey Qubein
HOW MANY ROOMS?
100 rooms and suites; 42
serviced apartments
PROPERTY HIGHLIGHTS
Elegant but not overly
traditional, this minimalist hotel
is a serene oasis in the heart
of the city.
WHERE IS IT? In the city
center, the property is minutes
from the city’s best shopping
options and the nearby Daci
Temple for which the hotel is
named. In addition, it’s convenient to corporate offices, and
the drive to the popular panda
research center takes less than
an hour.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? The
entrance is through oldfashioned wooden doors into a
small courtyard with art gallery
and library. With a nearly fourto-one staff to guest ratio, the
service is among the best in
the city. It’s part of Swire Hotels’ House Collective, which
includes The Opposite House
in Beijing, the Upper House in
Hong Kong, and newest The
Middle House in Shanghai.
ROOM FACILITIES: Clean
lines and a simple color palette
of white and beige mark the
oversized guest rooms that
36 n May 2018
range from spacious studios to
multi-room suites. My Temple
Suite came with a living area
separated from the guest
rooms and bathrooms via
sliding doors. Rainfall showerheads, deep soaking tubs and
stone vanities stacked high
with toiletries in a take-home
amenity kit are standard.
Beneath the snazzy espresso
machine is the“maxibar,”
which is the hotel’s free-toenjoy minibar. Electric shades
completely block out sunlight
from floor-to-ceiling windows,
perfect for jet-lagged sleepers.
RESTAURANTS AND
BARS: The Temple Café
serves French and Asian fusion cuisine from morning
to night (many ingredients
are plucked from the nearby
herb garden). It begins with
a lovely buffet serving house
made yogurt, congee with a
plethora of spicy toppings, and
fresh fruit, pastries and juices.
A la carte dishes include spicy
noodle bowls (the Dan Dan
noodles were my favorite)
and eggs to order. There’s an
outdoor terrace where guests
and passersby mingle as they
people watch the customers
coming to the luxury outdoor
shopping center (also owned
by Swire) that wraps around
Daci Temple. The wood-burning oven at TIVANO dishes
up delicious pizzas and tasty
Italian fare later in the day. The
bar and lounge often feature
DJ tunes, but the vegetarian
restaurant and tea house was
my favorite for a spicy hot pot
with locally grown vegetables
and handmade noodles.
LEISURE FACILITIES: The
fitness center is well-equipped
with cardio and weight equipment, plus there are free tai chi
and yoga classes available. The
indoor swimming pool is long
enough for laps; the magical
glow comes from the rings of
circular lights that hang overhead. Part of the former temple
grounds is now the location of
the spa. Encircling the tranquil
courtyard are various treatment
rooms for massage and beauty
services.
BUSINESS AND
MEETING FACILITIES:
Meeting space is outfitted with
modern technology and the
PRICE
Internet rates for a traditional
room start at $300
CONTACT
The Temple House Hotel, No.
81 Bitieshi Street, Jinjiang
District, Chengdu, China
610021,
Phone +86-28-6636-9999,
thetemplehousehotel.com.
FACILITIES
✓ IN-ROOM AUDIO
✓ WI FI
✓ MINI BAR
24HR CONCIERGE
✓ MEETING ROOM
EXECUTIVE FLOOR
✓ RESTAURANT
✓ BAR
✓ SPA
✓ POOL
✓ GYM
latest audiovisual gadgets. Free
wireless Internet is available
throughout, and the top-floor,
bi-level suite with panoramic
balconies can be rented out for
special events.
VERDICT: Chengdu is filled
with high-end hotels, but few
if any can compete on the polished trifecta of service, style
and location that make the
Temple House a rare gem. BT
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Tried & Tested n
South African Airways A330-300 Business Class
Washington, DC (IAD) – Johannesburg (JNB)
BACKGROUND: South
African Airways currently flies
to six continents, and outside
of Africa, North America is the
carrier’s largest international
region. The airline’s two gateways in the US are New York
JFK and Washington Dulles,
with onward connections
throughout North America
by virtue of its Star Alliance
partner, United Airlines.
CHECK-IN: If I have to choose
between departing from JFK or
Dulles, generally speaking I’d
choose the latter for its more
genteel approach to air travel.
As I was a few hours ahead of
flight time, there were no lines
at the SAA check-in counter,
so getting the boarding pass
was quick and easy. Security
was a different matter; the
lines were long and slow and
TSA Pre-check was not an
option. Once past security, I
made my way to the Turkish
Airlines lounge which hosts
South African Airways guests.
The lounge is a two-story affair
with a bar tucked around the
corner. The food was plentiful
and tasty, and at the reception
desk there’s a never-ending
bowl of Turkish delight.
BOARDING: The boarding
process was unremarkable
thanks to its efficiency. Once
on board, I was met with a
friendly South African “sawubona” (hello) and – in keeping
with SAA’s commitment to
serve South African wines – a
glass of sparkling Method Cap
Classique.
THE SEAT: Unlike its longhaul counterparts in the rest
of the South African Airways
fleet, business class aboard
the A330-300 that serves the
IAD-JNB route is a 1-2-1
arrangement, which allows
every business class passenger
direct aisle access. (The A340
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TESTED BY
Dan Booth
PLANE TYPE
Airbus A330-300
SEAT CONFIGURATION
1-2-1
SEAT PITCH
45 inches
SEAT WIDTH
24 inches
SEAT RECLINE
180 degrees
PRICE
on the JFK route remains a
2-2-2). The interior design
has a contemporary feel, the
colors are bright and warm
and the amenities around the
seat are convenient situated.
I found the dual seat controls
particularly handy – one set of
buttons at shoulder height, the
other set available when the
bed is fully-flat.
THE FLIGHT: After we were
airborne, the cabin crew came
around with the drink carts
and dinner menus. My wine
choice was a 2016 Cabernet
Sauvignon from the ancient
Welmoed Winery in Stellenbosch, which paired well
with the braised beef short
ribs served with a sweet and
sour sauce. After a dessert of
key lime cheesecake, I settled
in to watch a first-run movie
from the inflight entertainment library on the pleasantly
responsive touch screen. The
flight is not nonstop; during the hour-long refueling
stopover in Dakar we were
required to stay on the plane.
There was plenty of activity,
and I was glad I waited until
we took off on the second leg
before I tried to sleep. Then I
reclined the lie-flat bed and
slept quite comfortably almost
until our arrival time.
ARRIVAL: Awakened an hour
or so before landing, I enjoyed
a light lunch with a cup of
much-needed tea. We landed
in Joburg some 20 minutes
ahead of schedule; I was able
Roundtrip starting at $8,167
roundtrip in mid-April
CONTACT
flysaa.com
to clear customs and walk
almost immediately onto the
Gautrain out to Sandton, my
final destination.
VERDICT: South African
Airways consistently tops
Business Traveler’s Best in
Business Travel Awards as the
best airline in Africa and the
best business class to Africa.
This business class product
shows why. It’s everything
you’d expect and more –
modern décor with a distinctly
African aesthetic, plus efficient,
friendly service. BT
May 2018 n 37
lifestyle
40 News
42 On the Case
46
46 What’s On
48 Fantasy Fulfilled
52 Meetings Afloat
48
56 4 Hours Stockholm
58 Patience is
a Virtue
May 2018 n 39
n Lifestyle News
United Launches
Spring Menus
United has rolled out new
spring menus with expanded
options for their Snack Shop
and Bistro on-board service.
Flights originating from
Canada are offering brand
new menu selections.
Think Jerky has joined the
organic snack menu with
their Sweet Chipotle beef
flavor. Nuts.com is also
available with a new organic
mix featuring butter toffee
cashews, roasted salted cashews, dried strawberries, raisins, and
sliced cranberries. The Mixed Berry Breakfast Bowl includes a tasty
combination of berries, pecans, and granola served with Chobani
Mixed Berry Greek yogurt.
Visit united.com for more information.
Estonia Maps the
Way to Wellness
Estonia has a surprising secret: The 100-year old
country is a wellness haven, with nearly a hundred
spas. They range from traditional spa therapies,
such as juniper body peels and home-brewed beer
treatments, to more luxurious hotel settings and
countryside smoke saunas.
To let the world know, Visit Estonia has created
a Spa Trail Map, your guide to the variety of
health and wellness offerings, from city spas to
eco spas to saunas. The smoke sauna traditions
of Old Võromaa were even added to UNESCO’s
Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.
Learn more at visitestonia.com/en.
The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah
Premieres on Al Hamra Beach
The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah Al Hamra Beach has opened
just an hour from Dubai. The property features 32 tented luxury
beachfront villas, each offering nearly 2,000 square feet of space
and a private pool. The resort offers guests fresh seafood and beach
views from their Shore House restaurant, and pampering in the onsite Ritz-Carlton Spa provides.
This is the second Ritz-Cartlon property in Ras Al Khaimah and
the fifth in the UAE.
For details visit ritzcarlton.com/alhamrabeach.
Eva Air Brings Iconic
Hello Kitty to LAX
Eva Air has brought its Hello Kitty Hand-in-Hand Jet to LAX
three times per week. The unique livery will operate on the
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday weekly routes for the carrier.
Travelers get special boarding passes and baggage stickers and
receive themed service items aboard the flight. The cabin crew
dons special Hello Kitty Jet aprons.
This aircraft incorporates 19 of the Sanrio Family characters
linking hands on the livery of the Boeing 777-300ER in a
rainbow of colors.
To find more information visit evaair.com for a guide to the
airline’s special livery jets. BT
40 n May 2018
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n Technology of Things
On
the
case
Putting the latest crop of larger
suitcases through their paces
to help you prepare for your
next long-haul trip
By Marisa Cannon
Tumi V3 Short Trip
Packing Case
This new polycarbonate case weighs
only 9.2 lbs and is larger than its
“short trip” description suggests. It is
easy to handle when filled, requiring
little effort to maneuver thanks
to four wheels. It has two main
compartments, with a large zip-up
pocket containing a plastic hanger
bracket for storing suits. The other
section is open and covered with
dark gray lining, with X-shaped tiedown straps. A third compartment
on the outside of the flap is useful
for storing documents. A threestage telescoping handle offers good
control. It also has an integrated TSA
lock.
VERDICT A solid, spacious
DIMENSIONS
26 in x 17.5 in x
10 in
VOLUME
2.15 cu. ft.
WEIGHT
9.2 lbs.
COLOR
Deep blue, hot
pink, mink, black
WHEELS
Four
PRICE
$565
tumi.com
case that is easy to handle. Best
for trips lasting several days.
42 n May 2018
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Technology of Things n
Victorinox Etherius Medium
Made from Bayer polycarbonate,
this hard-shell case is streamlined
and sturdy, with four wheels and a
retractable handle that can be set at
three different positions. Separate
grips on the side and top make
it simple to lift. It has two zip-up
dividing walls made out of mesh
and nylon fabric, plus two stretch
Y-shaped compression straps to
help keep clothes in place. It also
expands to allow up to 27 percent
more volume. A welcome layer of
security comes from the Access lock
combination recovery program,
whereby owners can register their
security codes online and retrieve
them if forgotten.
VERDICT Stylish and
good value for money, with
utilitarian interiors that help to
keep items in place.
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DIMENSIONS
24.4 in x 17.7 in x
11.8 in
VOLUME
2.3 cu. ft.
WEIGHT
8.7 lbs.
COLOR
Black, Evergreen,
bronze, Dark
Earth, Blue Lake,
steel
WHEELS
Four
PRICE
$345
victorinox.com
Antler Oxygen Medium
The soft, polyester Antler Oxygen
is a new ultra-light case with a
strong, rip-resistant frame, as well
as corner protectors designed to
withstand the ravages of rough
ground handling. Along with
the expandable zip, the flexible
material allows some give. It also
has four wheels, top and side
grip handles, an outer zip pocket
concealed under a flap, plus TSA
combination locks. Inside there
is a mesh zip-up pocket and
X-shaped straps for keeping items
in place, although, when full, it
can be a little unsteady. Carry on
cases from the series come with a
removable transparent toiletry bag.
VERDICT An extremely
DIMENSIONS
27.5 in x 16.9 in
x 10.6 in
VOLUME
2.6 cu. ft.
WEIGHT
4.9 lbs.
COLOR
Blue, black, gray
WHEELS
Four
PRICE
$253
antlerluggage.
com.au
lightweight case made with
durable fabric, although this
picks up dirt easily.
May 2018 n 43
n Technology of Things
w
Briggs and Riley Torq
Large Spinner
This hard-shell case is extremely
resilient, made with three layers of
ultra-strong Makrolon polycarbonate.
Inside, the front mesh pocket contains
an adjustable loop for hanging suits,
while the main compartment has two
slender zip-up pockets on either side
– good for holding small loose items –
and a panel that attaches to the frame
with clips, helping to compress the
contents. Recessed double spinner
wheels provide a decent level of
control, while top and side grab points
and molded side feet keep the bag
unscathed when placed on its side. It
is on the heavier side, but comes with
a lifetime guarantee.
DIMENSIONS
30 in x 20 in x
12 in
VOLUME
3.75 cu. ft.
WEIGHT
13 lbs.
COLOR
Cobalt, ruby,
graphite, Tech
Black
WHEELS
Four
PRICE
$599
VERDICT Although weighty, the
case is strong, with a number
of compartments and panels to
keep clothes wrinkle-free.
44 n May 2018
Samsonite Fuze Spinner
The name of this collection draws
on its combination of hard and
soft shell features, with the case
boasting a robust, molded frame
alongside soft, woven nylon panels
that allow greater flexibility. It
has double tube handles, top and
side grab points, four smoothrunning wheels, and front and
back pockets that are handy for
holding documents. There are
interior straps to keep clothes in
place, plus a zip-up compartment
with an extra pocket to keep loose
items. An outer zip allows the case
to expand a further 1.6 inches,
with TSA locks and a telescope
handle that releases at two levels.
DIMENSIONS
32.2 in x 20.8 in x
13.4 in
VOLUME
4.3 cu. ft.
WEIGHT
9 lbs.
COLOR
Blue Nights, black
WHEELS
Four
PRICE
£215 ($304)
samsonite.co.uk
VERDICT A good-sized checkbriggs-riley.com
in case with plenty of pockets
to help you stay organized.
Black is best for hiding stains.
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Technology of Things n
Thule Subterra 3-in-1
An inventive case that splits into
two, with a zip-on outer bag that
detaches to create a cabin-size
rolling duffel. A clip-on strap also
allows the outer section to convert
to a separate shoulder bag. The
design is impressive, with segments
attaching and detaching via a series
of zips and fastenings. When all
parts are attached to the trolley,
plastic clips help to compress the
contents. It has two wheels, a
telescoping handle, top, side and
bottom grab points, plus internal
straps to keep clothes in place.
An interior mesh pocket along
the length of the bag is good for
carrying keys and currency.
VERDICT The case holds just
enough for a three to four-night
trip, but its design is great if you
want a number of bag options.
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DIMENSIONS
14.2 in x 14.6 in x
21.7 in
BRIC’s Life Rolling Duffel
PRICE
$319.95
This lightweight duffel markets
itself as being environmentally
friendly, made with synthetic
suede and vegetable-tanned
Tuscan leather finishes. Alongside
its trolley handle, the case’s two
wheels and anti-tilt feet are useful
if you don’t want to use it as a
holdall. If you do, the handle can
be hidden with a zip closure, and
the two slender grips can be joined
with a button fastening for easy
carrying. Inside, the duffel has
two zip-up compartments and
compression straps made from
durable ribbon, while the top of
the case has another pocket for
extra storage.
thule.com
VERDICT Elegant and
VOLUME
2 cu. ft.
WEIGHT
7.6 lbs
COLOR
Mineral, Dark
Shadow
WHEELS
Two
functional, if perhaps not the
most hardwearing. Great for a
weekend trip.
DIMENSIONS
28 in x 14.5 in x
12.5 in
VOLUME
2.6 cu. ft.
WEIGHT
8.6 lbs.
COLOR
Camel, olive,
black, blue,
brown
WHEELS
Two
PRICE
$795
brics.it BT
May 2018 n 45
n The Scene
What’s On
Around The World
Mele Mei
We round up some of the top events
in the months ahead from all over
Giro d’Italia 2018
Hawaii
April 26 – June 16
This month-long festival of
Hawaiian music, hula and
culture is celebrating it’s eighth
anniversary. The focus this
year is on local musicians. The
Na Hokuhanohano Awards,
one of the Mele Mei highlights,
is Hawaii’s version of the
Grammys.
Visit melemei.com.
Italy and Israel
May 4 – 27
The Tour of Italy staged bicycle
race has been held every year
since 1909, except during
wartime. This year, the race
begins in Jerusalem and winds
its way through Sicily, Assisi, the
stunning Italian Alps, ultimately
wrapping up the final stages
finishing in Rome.
Visit giroditalia.it/eng.
Fuji Shiba Sakura Festival
Vogalonga of Venice
Mt. Fuji, Japan
April 14 – May 27
Japan’s largest Shibazakura
festival celebrates the coming of
spring as approximately 800,000
Shibazakura – pink flowers also
known as “moss phlox” – bloom
in the shadow of the majestic Mt.
Fuji. The festival coincides with
the Mt. Fuji Food Festival.
Visit shibazakura.jp.
Canadian Music Week
Toronto
May 7 – 13
This premier entertainment event
is an industry conference and
performance festival in one,
featuring workshops and talks
with industry professionals. It’s
topped off by the Canadian
Music Fest with 1,000 bands at
more than 60 live music venues
in downtown Toronto.
Visit cmw.net.
The Future Starts Here
V&A Museum, London
Starting May 12
From DNA to the Internet, the
Victoria and Albert Museum
brings together more than 100
objects that point toward an
unpredictable tomorrow. The
exhibition explores how these
developments might affect the
way we live, learn and even love
in the future.
Visit vam.ac.uk.
46 n May 2018
Venice
May 20, 2018
As many as a thousand boats
participate in the Vogalonga,
an 18-mile paddling and rowing
race through the city of Venice
and the lagoon up to Burano.
The race in not a competition – it
has no winners or losers. It’s all
about being there.
Visit vogalonga.com/en.
Isen Mulang Cultural Festival
Palangkaraya, Indonesia
May 19 - 24
This annual festival showcases
the cultural diversity of
Indonesia’s province of Central
Kalimantan. The highlight is the
cultural carnival when thousands
of dancers in traditional garb
wind their way through the
streets of the city, finishing at
Bundaran Besar.
Visit indonesia.travel/cn/en
Restaurant Week
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
May 15 – June 10
Foodies looking for a challenge
flock to Puerto Vallarta’s
Restaurant Week, now in
its 14th year. From modest
eateries to fine-dining to street
tacos, participating restaurants
showcase the abundance
of cuisines in Mexico’s top
gastronomy beach destination.
Visit restaurantweekpv.com.BT
Visit businesstravelerusa.com
n Escape To
Fantasy
Fiji’s islands are a piece of
paradise in the South Pacific
By Tamsin Cocks
fulfilled
Main image: Fiji Marriott
Resort Momi Bay; Right:
diving Fiji’s soft coral reefs
48 n May 2018
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Escape To n
S
waying lazily in a rope hammock strung between two
palms, I gaze through half-closed eyes at the glittering
South Pacific, mesmerized by the dramatic ombré effect
of inky blues blending into an emerald lagoon. Add to
this the perfect cerulean sky, a crescent of unblemished
white sand and the fact that the only way to get here is a five-hour
boat ride from Viti Levu (Fiji’s main island), and I’m basically living
out my desert-island fantasies.
In fact, for filmmakers, this is the archetypal island paradise,
with blockbusters from Blue Lagoon to Castaway being filmed on
neighboring islets in the Yasawa and Mamanuca island archipelagos. Several seasons of the hit TV show Survivor have also been
filmed nearby.
The Yasawas and Mamanucas are hugely popular with tourists
seeking a piece of heaven. A chain of about 40 volcanic islands,
they range from literal strips of sand in the ocean to hulking isles
with jungle-clad mountains, indigenous village populations – and
idyllic resorts to suit a range of budgets.
At the ultra-luxury end are options such as Turtle Island Resort
– the actual film setting for the 1980 Blue Lagoon remake – which
boasts a $2,600-a-night exclusive island retreat accessible via private charter, and has been the honeymoon destination of choice for
A-listers such as Britney Spears. At the other end of the spectrum
are options like Beachcomber Island – a hedonistic party patch of
sand for those on a budget.
My tropical home for the next few days falls somewhere in
between: The aptly named Blue Lagoon Beach Resort on Nacula
Island, one of the northernmost Yasawa islands. My beachfront
bure (pronounced booray) offers a clean, spacious bedroom and a
gorgeous outdoor bathroom. It might not come with a turndown
service, but I’m more than content with the five-star views from my
private porch. And if anything, the patchy WiFi reception is helping
to substantiate my shipwrecked daydreams…
A burst of song from the beach interrupts my glorious stupor;
the resort staffers are welcoming a fresh boatload of arrivals with
cheerful folk tunes kept in time with enthusiastic hand-clapping
and ukulele accompaniment. Music, it seems, is as much a part of
life for Fijians as breathing, or saying“bula!”– a customary greeting
delivered with gusto several times a day (apparently it can also be
used to express anything from love and friendship to boredom and
farewells).
I watch as the new guests alight on the crystal-clear shore,
delighted by the shoals of fish that have also turned up in welcome.
They’ve arrived in time for lunch and we all congregate in the
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beachfront restaurant. Many of the island resorts insist on allinclusive meal options, but there is plenty of choice available, from
Western dishes to traditional delicacies such as kokoda, a refreshing
Fijian take on ceviche with white fish marinated in citrus juices and
served in a creamy coconut sauce.
After lunch, an itinerary of optional island activities is arranged –
should lazing on the beach consuming fresh coconuts gets boring.
One afternoon, I find myself yelling enthusiastically at my hermit
crab (its shell painted with a number four) to beat the others to the
finish line in a crab-racing competition. Another activity sees us
hacking at palm leaves with machetes and weaving them together
into traditional baskets – though admittedly, I create something
more resembling a placemat.
The simple activities and relaxed schedules are part of Fiji’s
laid-back charm, and as a city-dwelling phone addict, I’m amazed
how easily I’ve adapted to“Fiji time”and the total disconnect from
modern life… with just a hint of regret I’m not able to flood my
Instagram-feed with jealousy-inducing posts.
Tales of the South Pacific
Another huge part of Fiji’s appeal is the interaction with friendly
locals – something apparent from the moment you land, as you’re
greeted at the airport by a band of brightly colored Hawaiian shirtwearing ukulele players.
Visiting local villages is a popular activity, and all new arrivals are
invited to partake in a traditional kava ceremony: While regaling us
with gruesome stories of the country’s cannibalistic past, the leader
mashes a murky brown liquid in a large bowl, before cups are offered round the circle. We clap once, say“bula” and down the liquid,
finishing off with three more claps. Made from powdered roots
of the kava (pepper) plant, the slightly silty mixture has a mildly
narcotic effect that causes a pleasant tingling sensation on the lips
and feelings of euphoria (depending on the quantity consumed!) –
though it is certainly something of an acquired taste.
At dinner, we see some of our new village friends again as we
are treated to a cappella renditions of church hymns from the local
choir. This is followed by a heart-stopping fire dance and machete
routine that has us spellbound. It’s made all the more suspenseful
by the imperfections; a machete slips through one performer’s fingers, while another sports a large bandage from where a fire trick
went wrong during a previous performance.
But as much as Fiji’s appeal extends to its pristine beaches,
tropical jungle and friendly people, it’s just as famed for its exciting
aquatic delights. The water is some of the clearest I’ve ever expeMay 2018 n 49
n Escape To
New openings
n Farther afield
Concealed on the edge of the Kadavu Island Group, a new
luxury private island resort encapsulates the essence of
barefoot luxury. Sweeping across 140 acres, Kokomo Private
Island boasts an abundance of lush rainforest, fine white-sand
rienced and even snorkeling
on the beach’s fringing coral
reef reveals schools of neonhued fish in vivid blues, pinks and
greens. I shriek with delight when a
sea turtle passes nearby, involuntarily swallowing a large gulp of
seawater in the process.
Scuba diving is naturally a major draw; the Blue Lagoon Beach
Resort – like almost all the archipelago resorts – has its own scuba
diving center with shark and shipwreck dives available. My favorite
underwater experience was the chance to swim alongside manta
rays, gentle giants of the sea that are huge but harmless, swimming
against strong currents and filtering plankton into their smiling
mouths. Far larger than a human – some can measure up to 23
feet across – to snorkel or dive alongside these majestic fish is an
incredible experience.
Fiji is also home to more hardcore dive adventures. Beqa Lagoon,
located to the southwest of the capital Suva, is famous for its
shark-feeding dives featuring one of the most feared underwater
predators: the bull shark. Meanwhile, on Vanua Levu, the nation’s
second largest island, the Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Island Resort
on Savusavu Bay (regularly awarded top eco-resort in Fiji) provides access to top dive sites like the Chimneys and Grand Central
Station, reef systems festooned with some of the richest soft coral
growth on the planet.
That’s not to say the “mainland”should be avoided. While the
beaches can’t compete, there are other forms of beauty, in the form
of verdant jungles boasting tropical flora and fauna and magnificent waterfall hikes, with a range of adrenaline-fueled activities
from treetop zip lines and whitewater rafting to more relaxed hotair balloon rides. And of course, the famous Fijian hospitality and
tropical climate is with you wherever you travel.
But for me, the real majestic beauty of Fiji is in its archipelago of
more than 300 islands. The Yasawas and Mamanucas benefit from
relative proximity to Nadi International Airport and easy access:
the Yasawa Flyer catamaran departs from Port Denarau – just 20
minutes from the airport – every day at 8:30 AM, stopping off at
30-odd island resorts before returning at 5:30 PM.
This also happens to be one of the most scenic transfers I’ve ever
experienced, with sunbathing decks to view the picturesque islands
as we sail past. We’re even treated to a glimpse of wild dolphins
playing alongside the ferry. Right now, though, the sight of the ferry
fills me with gloom: it signals my return to the real world and the
end of a holiday in paradise. BT
50 n May 2018
KOKOMO
Above: A traditional
kava ceremony
beaches and the azure waters of the Great Astrolabe Reef.
Each luxury suite boasts its own personal infinity pool and
private walled garden. Kokomo Island is a 45-minute flight from
Nadi Airport, with a private seaplane or helicopter transfer for
all guests. Rates start from $1,995 per night for a two-person
Private Beachfront Villa.
kokomoislandfiji.com
n Island escape
Occupying a secluded bay on Malolo Island – part of the
Mamanucas – Six Senses Fiji is due to open this year. The
exclusive resort will offer 26 spacious bures with private plunge
pools, plus 60 luxury residences. A private west-facing beach
offers beautiful Fijian sunsets, there’s a treetop yoga platform,
and the extensive F&B options range from restaurants and
bars to a gourmet food market and walk-in wine cellar. The spa
offers personalized programs for a range of issues from sleep
to nutrition.
sixsenses.com
n Mainland magic
Nestled in secluded Momi Bay on the western coast of Viti
Levu, the gorgeous Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay opened in
April. It features 114 Bure villas, including 22 over-water villas
(the only ones on the mainland), plus 136 Deluxe rooms. The
resort is surrounded by crystal-clear lagoons and has a private
white-sand beach. A 45-minute drive from Nadi airport, the
resort offers easy access to Cloud Break Surf for some of the
best waves in the world. Two scenic golf courses nearby and
the serene Quan Spa are among the other attractions. Online
rates for a Deluxe room in mid-November start from FJD400
($200) per night.
marriott.com
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I F
T O
Y O U
H A D
E X P L O R E
W H A T
1 /3/5
H O U R S
H O N G
W O U L D
Y O U
K O N G
D O ?
Discover authentic experiences at StayInspired.com.
Book now at ConradHongKong.com to enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi, digital check-in and more.
n Gathering Places
Meetings
Afloat
Corporate MICE planners are heading out to sea
to find more value and variety for their events
By Akanksha Maker & Tamsin Cocks
52 n May 2018
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Gathering Places n
C
ruising is a multi-billion dollar
industry – and growing fast.
According to the Cruise Line
International Association
27.2 million passengers are
expected to set sail in 2018. In 2017, an
estimated 25.8 million passengers cruised,
an increase of 20.5 percent over five years
since 2011.
One significant contributor to growth in
cruising is the discovery by corporate event
and meeting planners that these ships can
be exciting platforms for company gettogethers. Event managers see immense
value in planning meetings and events on
cruise ships.
First, it helps to have the entire group in
one location at all times, especially if one of
the goals of corporate events is team building. Cruise ships are the ideal environment
for official happenings in confined spaces
that offer a host of facilities and venues.
Second, it helps stick to budgets. Considering cruise packages are“all-inclusive,”this
greatly reduces the possibility of additional
expenditures. All accommodation, dining,
entertainment and facilities are included in
the price, making it simpler for managers
to plan and execute the event.
But beyond the relative ease of organizing the logistics of corporate MICE events
on board a vessel, there’s the value that
comes from attendees finding themselves
in more engaging settings, participating in
unique travel experiences. Indeed the trend
these days is toward travelers seeking more
experiential encounters in their journeys.
From cultural immersion and voluntourism to team building and brainstorming,
those returning from a cruise say they have
a shift in perspective and a sense of accomplishment. Some upcoming cruise itineraries include the opportunity to indulge in
local cuisine, guided tours through small
villages and even visits inside private homes.
Pictured: Genting
Dream
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Setting Sail
To get a sense of the opportunities for
meetings and events that are available
aboard a cruise ship, I was invited to set sail
on the Genting Dream, the latest offering by cruise and resort operator Genting
Hong Kong. Beginning with Star Cruises,
Genting Hong Kong ventured into the
cruising world in 1993, and acquired Crystal Cruises in 2015. Genting Dream, along
with World Dream are two cruise liners
launched by the company under its Dream
Cruises brand (dreamcruiseline.com)
which it calls its“first luxury cruise line.”
Genting Dream and World Dream
feature a weekend sailing itinerary that sets
sail into the South China Sea from Hong
Kong. For two nights, we cruised in Chinese waters, watching exceptional sunsets
and experiencing the facilities on board.
The Genting Dream sailed from Kai Tak
Cruise Terminal, the iconic silver-domed
building that juts far out into Kowloon Bay
like a long, thin finger.
The terminal occupies the water front
that was once home to Kai Tak International Airport. When Hong Kong moved its
aviation facilities to Chek Lap Kok, the old
airport was closed and demolished in 1998.
The huge 800-acre expanse that remained
was the largest available tract of land fronting Victoria Harbor, and became the focus
of intense development for government,
institutional and community facilities, as
well as residential and commercial areas
and extensive open green spaces.
The first major construction to be
completed was the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal
which was built on the former airport’s famous old runway. Launched in mid-2013,
the terminal has three stories, including
passenger and service areas, waiting halls
and concourses, and can accommodate two
mega cruise ships of up to 220,000 tons.
It is from here that I embarked upon the
Genting Dream, my designated home for
the weekend.
I was appointed a Balcony Stateroom,
the third-level accommodation option of
Genting Dream. Categories begin at Inside
Stateroom (no window and balcony) and
Oceanview Stateroom (with window).
There are several options for those looking to indulge a bit, including the Garden
Penthouse and types of suites. An alternative option is Dream Palace, a sort of boutique hotel within the cruise. It features its
own list of exclusive F&B and accommodation options that assure privacy, which for
some is the ultimate luxury.
Meeting Expectations
We explored a number of spaces on the
Genting Dream for all sizes of MICE
events. Its grand Zodiac Theatre, which
hosts live performances, works well for
staging conferences, award shows and 3D
cinema. This 17,000-square-foot theatre
can accommodate 999 attendees and offers
395 headsets for multi-lingual interpretation for those who need it.
For functions, seminars, meetings and
other events, Tributes (2,600 square feet)
can accommodate around 170 people.
May 2018 n 53
n Good Life
Clockwise from
far left: F&B at
Bistro by Mark
Best, and Blue
Lagoon; Zouk
Beach club; the
Dream Palace sun
deck and pool;
main pool deck;
Dream Deluxe
suite
There are also two meeting rooms (440
square feet each). More private events for
about 100 guests can be held at Palm Court
(5,300 square feet) that features an observatory, bar and afternoon high-tea menu.
The Zouk Beach Club along with Genting
Club Pool and Sun Deck are the outdoor
venues for informal happenings.
If run-of-the-mill MICE venues are not
of interest, Genting Dream has an array
of outdoor activities to consider for team
building. This includes SportsPlex — basketball court and multi-function outdoor
space, ropes course, rock climbing wall and
five rooms for karaoke.
While onboard offerings are bursting
with exciting embellishments, the cruise
industry is also diversifying away from
seafaring jaunts to river cruises. Practically
every major city in the world has a river
flowing through or nearby, so another way
for attendees to experience the culture and
cuisine of a region is to board a river cruise.
Short relaxing trips that open up vistas
of the host city’s skyline are perfect teambuilding respites from conference rooms
and coffee breaks. These are often coupled
with entertainment and epicurean delights
offered on-board. Further afield, day trips
to majestic river valleys with various stops
at picturesque towns and impressive local
sights are available as well.
54 n May 2018
Themed itineraries are also becoming
popular, with some groups exhibiting a
penchant for more challenging travel. For
example, Lindblad Expeditions’ purposebuilt National Geographic Quest allows
adventurers to explore the world’s poles.
Meanwhile, Carnival, the world’s largest
cruise company, recently launched a new
brand Fathom, which focuses on “impact
travel,” where passengers get involved with
community-based work that has a positive
social impact.
A Change of Plans
However, while creating corporate events
on ships present both extraordinary, everchanging venues and unique activities,
group cruise planning specialists Landry &
Kling caution that there are major differences in organizing such occasions afloat.
For example, cruise ships offer a variety of
public rooms which passengers use almost
around the clock. So scheduling facilities
needs to be carefully coordinated with the
cruise line.
The turn time for ships between cruises
is often very fast, so meeting planners
usually have only a few hours to set things
up onboard before their attendees arrive,
versus a couple of days as with a resort.
Likewise with a ship-board meeting,
advance planning is coordinated with the
cruise line’s shore-side headquarters. The
ship’s staff will not receive your program
documents until the week of sailing.
Shipping unaccompanied boxes of supplies, gifts, or equipment across international boundaries can be tricky. Freight
forwarders, local duty/taxes, and foreign
customs inspections require extra time.
Equipment must be registered with US
customs prior to boarding the ship to facilitate re-entry into the United States. Plan
accordingly.
Typically more lead-time is required to
book group cruises than resort bookings on
land, perhaps as much as 18 to 24 months,
depending on the itinerary and number of
participants. In addition to the ports of call
for the cruise, the facilities and resources
offered by the ship will also drive changes
in the daily agenda in order to capitalize on
all that being on a cruise offers.
The Landry & Kling website notes that
“pre-planning your meetings on ships with
the cruise line is the key to success.”
Time flew by on-board the Genting
Dream. A nature lover, I liked the views
from my Balcony Stateroom, a respite I
enjoyed returning to after a hectic day full
of activities. While the cruise is packed with
adrenalin pumping liveliness, it is here that
I felt one with the limitless high seas and
enjoyed myself most. BT
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n 4 Hours
1
Stockholm
Island-hop around the Swedish capital, taking in
Baroque palaces and a well-preserved shipwreck
ByTom Otley
1
RALAMBSHOVSPARKEN
Stockholm is a walkable city that
also has excellent public transport.
Assuming you only have half a day, it’s a
good idea to stay above ground and see
as much as possible, so this tour can all be
done on foot with the odd boat trip. Start
at the island of Kungsholmen, once known
for its small-scale industries in the 19th
century but now an elegant residential area
of apartment blocks and a lovely park – the
Ralambshovsparken.
Created in 1935, it links in with
other parks on Kungsholmen to make
a delightful place to stroll year-round.
56 n May 2018
You’ll find cafés, play areas for children, a
beach, a skate park, an open-air theatre (in
the summer) and sculptures by modern
Swedish artists. The Monument over
Yxman (1967) by Eric Grate will see you
off as you begin the attractive 20-minute
walk to the next stop, at the eastern tip of
the island.
STADSHUSET
Kungsholmen is also home to the
stunning Stadshuset (City Hall). It was
designed by Ragnar Ostberg in 1923 in the
Swedish National Romantic style, although
parts look almost as if they have floated
in from Venice – monumental yet playful,
2
and an arresting sight both from across the
water and from its attractive terrace, with
steps leading down to the Riddarfjarden bay
flanked by two statues, Song and Dance, by
Swedish sculptor Carl Eldh.
The golden crest on top of the 1,140-foot
tower is the Three Crowns or Tre Kronor of
Sweden, its heraldic emblem dating from
the 1300s. You can take a guided tour of the
interior if you have time (or if it’s raining),
which includes the Golden Room, the
Prince’s Gallery and the Blue Hall, where
the Nobel Prize banquet takes place each
December. 90 kr ($11). international.
stockholm.se
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4 Hours n
5
4
3
3
ROYAL PALACE
Cross the bridge next to City Hall
and go via Norrmalm then the
tiny island of Helgeandsholmen to reach
Gamla Stan (the Old Town). Take a little
time exploring its winding streets and
souvenir shops before making your way
to the Royal Palace. You could spend all
day here. As well as the huge expanse
of buildings, there are several museums
including the Treasury and the Royal
Armory.
If time is tight, simply wander through
the palace itself, the rooms of which are
impressive examples of late Baroque
opulence with their furnishings and
paintings. Must-see sights include Queen
Kristina’s silver throne, looking very empty
now but for all the visitors taking selfies;
and the richly decorated Royal Chapel,
which is up some stairs close to the entrance
and exit. Open Tues-Sun 10:00 AM – 4:00
PM; 160 kr ($20). kungahuset.se
4
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5
MODERNA MUSEET
From the Vasa Museum, take one of
the circular boat trips that stop here
(single tickets from Allmanna Grand pier
to Skeppsholmen cost 30 kr/$3.60). These
range in length from a few minutes to a
whole archipelago tour, or you can just
pick and choose your journeys. A short one
would be across Ladugardslandsviken bay
to the island of Skeppsholmen opposite,
where the chief attraction is the Moderna
Museet (modern art museum).
Collections change regularly but it is
well worth a visit and is a great spot for
lunch in the restaurant, where there are
views across to Djurgarden. The permanent
collection features works by Picasso, Dali
and Rauschenberg. Open 10:00 AM – 8:00
PM Tues and Fri, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM WedThurs, 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM weekends;
admission is free to permanent shows.
modernamuseet.se. BT
STOCKHOLM
1
2
3
5
VISIT STOCKHOLM
VASA MUSEUM
Swedes aren’t naturally boastful,
but it can sometimes feel that way
after listening to some of the recorded
commentaries you get on the city’s opentop buses and boat cruises. Everything
from Ikea and Tetra-Pak to the pacemaker
and dynamite is a Swedish invention, not
to mention car brands such as Volvo and
the much-missed Saab. If you’ve had to
listen to a lot of this self-congratulation,
the antidote is to swing by the wreck of the
Vasa and learn of its ignoble fate.
Intended as a mighty warship, even its
own designers doubted it would stay afloat,
and so it proved – having launched into
the harbor in 1628, the first gust of wind
caused it to capsize, killing 30 and sinking
into mud, where it remained remarkably
intact for 333 years until 1961. It was then
raised and restored. Open daily 10:00 AM
– 5:00 PM, until 8:00 PM Wed; 130 kr $15).
vasamuseet.se/en.
May 2018 n 57
4
n World Wise
Time is relative – depending on
where in the world you are
By Terri Morrison
e
u
t
r
i
V
a
s
i
e
c
Patien
A
lthough Keita Kadowki, director of sales and marketing
at the New Otani Hotels, was exactly on time for his
appointment in New York City, he was still concerned.
“In Japan, you must be at least five minutes early for an
appointment,”he explained,“or you appear ill-mannered.”Being early ensures that everyone will be comfortable and
the meeting can begin promptly.
In Japan, Germany and the United States, we have a lot in common when it comes to how we manage time. But while you may
run your day like a Swiss watch in your own country, time does not
necessarily equate to money in many parts of Latin America, Africa
or the Middle East.
Why is being late acceptable in some cultures? Isn’t 60 seconds
the same everywhere? Actually, physicists and anthropologists both
agree: No, it isn’t.
Time is relative, and perceptions of time vary widely. The cultural
anthropologist Edward T. Hall considered some cultures “monochronic” (where time is closely managed and schedules flow in an
orderly manner) and others,“polychronic”(where relationships and
personal priorities determine when things are done).
Different time zones, workweeks, and official holidays only add
to the complexities. To help us monochronics appreciate different
viewpoints on time and agendas, here are some characteristics of
two primarily polychronic cultures: Saudi Arabia and Brazil.
Saudi Arabia
Punctuality and Appointments: As a foreigner, you are expected to
be prompt in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. However, punctuality is
not a traditional virtue for Saudis themselves. Never take umbrage
at delays, because many Arabs already consider Westerners to be
“slaves to the clock.”Your Arabic counterpart may be late, or sometimes might not even show up at all.
In order to establish trust, your initial meeting may be spent
entirely on small talk (your journey, your health, etc.). By the end of
the meeting, a promising sign would be to obtain your prospect’s
cell phone number, because texting is a far more common form of
communicating with trusted associates than e-mails.
Prayers: Remember, Mecca is actually in Saudi Arabia, and the
whole Islamic world turns in that direction to pray five times a
day during: Fajr (dawn), Dhuhr (midday), Asr (afternoon), Maghrib
(sunset) and Isha (evening).
If you are going to meet with observant Muslims in any country
worldwide, plan your agendas around prayer times, and never step
58 n May 2018
in between a worshipping Muslim and the direction of Mecca. The
exact times of each prayer, the direction of Mecca and holiday information are available on smartphone apps and web sites like www.
islamicfinder.org.
Workweek: The workweek is Saturday through Wednesday, because Friday is the Islamic holy day, and no business is conducted.
Most people do not work Thursdays either, but firms may be open a
half day. (Workweeks vary across the Muslim world.)
The Islamic calendar, called the Hijri, uses lunar months of 29 or
30 days, so contracts and documents should carry two sets of dates:
the Western-designated C.E. (for Common Era) and the Islamic
date, designated A. H., or H.
Considering the various workweeks, holidays and perceptions of
time in different Islamic countries, it is always wise to confirm your
appointments before you go.
Brazil
Punctuality and Appointments: In northern Brazil, Cariocas (people
from Rio) may be more relaxed and less punctual than people
from the south, particularly Paulistas (people from São Paulo). As a
visitor, you should arrive promptly, but your Brazilian counterpart
may be 15 minutes to an hour late. Never express irritation about a
delay, and never overbook your schedule. Two appointments a day
is a reasonable agenda in Rio.
A physically present person has priority in Brazil. Being there
takes time, but it gives you the opportunity to get that solid relationship – which is the primary way business gets done.
Workweek: Monday through Friday, but business hours vary.
People from São Paolo often start earlier, have shorter lunches, and
may discuss work after hours at restaurants and clubs. On Fridays,
happy hours tend to lure people out of the office early. A good
Brazilian bar will not close until the last client leaves.
Finally, if you want your appointments to run like clockwork in
Rio or Riyadh, avoid doing business around holidays. Set aside your
Rolex during Carnival, and pretend you’re a Carioca, too. Samba!
Terri Morrison is a Speaker and co-author of nine books, including
Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands: The Bestselling Guide to Doing Business in More Than Sixty Countries, and her new book, Kiss, Bow or
Shake Hands: Sales & Marketing. She is president of Getting Through
Customs, developers of Kiss Bow or Shake Hands Digital - available
through McGraw-Hill Digital. Twitter @KissBowAuthor. Telephone
(610) 725-1040. BT
Visit kissboworshakehands.com.
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