Review: Ockenden Manor Hotel & Spa In The South Downs

Ockenden Manor is just a romantic, country home resort into the Southern Downs, simply an house’s drive from London. This charming, Elizabethan household, in pretty village of Cuckfield, is packed high in character. Surrounding your house is nine acres of grounds, offering wonderful views throughout the the Southern Downs. Beyond the main home is really a big and modern spa in another building.

Hotel Review

Ockenden Manor is situated up a teeny tiny lane from the high-street of Cuckfield in East Sussex. We drove past the main household and parked in a motor vehicle park near the impressive spa center and overlooking the fields beyond.

Checkin was in the historic primary house. We had been then lead out to your space that was in amazing spa building. The space ended up being modern however you like and offered a large open restroom having free standing shower. Beyond a sitting area, sliding doors opened towards very own private patio with superb views on the Downs. If you prefer a historic space it is possible to request a character space however home.

Bar and Restaurant

There was clearly an elegant drawing space and a historic tiny oak panelled club for drinks. The restaurant offered views within the gardens and downs. The meals into the restaurant had been presented beautifully and utilized neighborhood components. In summer time it is possible to simply take an afternoon tea or drinks from the sun-drenched terrace in gardens.


The contemporary spa ended up being massively impressive and makes this hotel a “must do” for any Spa junkies. A sizable modern building offered numerous therapy spaces, a great sized indoor/outdoor pool, hot tub and Jacuzzi. The contemporary area was finished with many glass and natural materials. Outside, a decked area around the pool made the perfect sunlight trap for relaxing after your remedies or swim.

Ockenden Manor Hotel & salon supplies the most useful of both worlds. Utterly contemporary rooms inside spa building if you like become moments from pool and want your very own yard, or move back in its history by having a historic space in the primary house. Spend a night within midsummer to sunbathe across the pool and take advantage of drinks regarding the terrace in movie stars.

Ockenden Manor Resort & Salon

Top 5 activities to do during the Monaco Grand Prix

a visit on Monaco F1 Grand Prix, is on everyone’s bucket list and to make certain you have a wonderful time, i’ve built my top 5 things to do within Monaco Grand Prix. The Monaco Grand Prix is the Formula One motor competition held by the end of might each year regarding the Circuit de Monaco (the streets of Monaco it self!) and an exemplary location of glamour and prestige! The competition has been running since 1929 and is commonly regarded as one of the most essential and prestigious vehicle races on earth, closely accompanied by the Indianapolis 500 and Le Mans 24 hours. Celebrities flock for this occasion like bees to a honey pot because it is potentially the world’s most glamorous sporting event. To call several which have visited in recent years: Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Hugh Grant, Patrick Dempsey, Liz Hurley, Geri Horner, Ronan Keating, many soccer stars and Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich.

As an F1 fan myself, i really could bore the specifics such as the reality it is one of the most demanding tracks in F1 plus the only Grand Prix that does not stick to the FIA’s mandatory 305km (190-mile) minimum competition distance, but that’s maybe not what I’m here to share with you about, as an alternative allow me to familiarizes you with the glamorous things you will get up to while attending this impressive and glitz-filled occasion!

It’s vital that you note the Monaco GP may be the just one on calendar where practise falls regarding the Thursday, so you can have a free time on Friday before qualifying while the competition on Saturday and Sunday correspondingly. Tip: the only things you can’t do whilst the racing is on, is visit the Casino or the slot, therefore it’s worth visiting these in the Friday.

1) go through the excitement of Monaco from water

Visiting Monaco in GP season is one thing of a experience in it self, however, if you are taking to your water you will get an utterly different viewpoint of Monaco’s seascape and impressive monuments. I thoroughly recommend a Wajer Yacht Tour arranged by GPexperiences, that’ll include another touch of beauty and flare to your Monaco Grand Prix experience. You’ll be whisked away for a mesmerising tour through beauty of Monaco while the French Riviera all from comforts of the Wajer 38 luxury yacht. This luxurious trip will give you an original view of some of Monte Carlo’s most impressive sights such as the Hotel de Paris Casino, the Fairmont Hotel, the Grimaldi Forum and all the impressive yachts which can be docked in famous harbour. And during all this you can settle-back having chilled glass of fine premium Champagne in hand – bliss!

2) Look At The Casino

While attending the Monaco GP, it’s definitely worth taking in a little bit of the pre or post-race atmosphere and in which a lot better than a glamorous casino? Entrance towards Casino de Monte Carlo will cost you a mere €10, however don’t forget to bring your passport also to pack something smart to wear – tip: jackets are suitable for men no trainers are allowed.

3) Hire your own personal yacht or be a guest on somebody else’s!

Okay, so I’m maybe not made from money and truthfully employing your very own yacht can be prohibitively high priced with slot fees alone being over £20k for decent size yacht! But whenever you can splash the cash (around 50k for yacht hire) many yachts can accommodate 10 of the family members instantaneously for the whole 5 times of the big event and host a further 50 guests throughout the days, so it may not be therefore farfetched most likely if 60 of the closest friends are prepared to chip in! But, if £70k is beyond your reach for a lengthy week-end, then often there is the option of chartering an inferior yacht for the day and anchoring away from port. From under £400 per head for 10 guests you may get a 70ft Sunseeker for the time – that’s lower than the price of a grandstand solution! From anchor, you will be able to get a glimpse of automobiles while they round Portier and scream into the tunnel along with the home conveniences of huge satellite TV’s aboard you are able to proceed with the battle is likely to style and comfort.

If yo happen to would rather to become a small closer to the action, you should buy individual tickets to enjoy the battle from a luxury yacht within the coveted “zone 1” of Monaco harbour! From £2000 for the week-end you may get aboard a 50m yacht moored in a trackside berth which provides you direct views of all action. Why perhaps not lay straight back for a sunbed whilst the team acts you another cup of Cristal before lunch, an haute cuisine event, is offered in the aft deck?

As an alternative, Monaco Terraces provide another unique way to benefit from the race being a real VIP. You are able to secure a spot at one of GPexperiences´ Terraces by Ste Devote and Beau Rivage for an exciting overview of the track and slot, accompanied by VIP hospitality features including available Champagne club and premium meal buffet.

4) Embrace the crowds with products, dinner … and breakfast!

Post-race, immerse yourself within the F1 crowds by going to Los Angeles Rascasse, a lively club that’s kinder towards bank stability than the likes of Jimmy’z, Ebony Legend or Moods, where you could be prepared to spend at the least €30 a glass or two! Using the celebration spilling out on the racetrack itself regarding Friday and Saturday nights, it is a great little destination for a grab something chilled before heading off to somewhere like the SAS Cafe for the light bite for eating before striking the famous Amber Lounge for lots more dancing into the evening. And also for the early morning after the evening before, the Cafe de Paris does top Bloody Marys around plus break fast bites that will help you recover.

5) Private Beaches

Monaco enjoys an average of 300 times’ sunlight annually therefore the GP falls by the end of May – a gorgeous time for you to look at the French Riviera, so if you desire a break from the fast pace of F1 and a small R&R, then a getaway towards the beach is what’s needed. Nice’s city beaches are shingly, nevertheless the beachfront resorts and restaurants significantly more than replace the ouch-factor in the luxury solution they supply their visitors. So, when you have enough time, make an effort to devote a minumum of one afternoon to visiting sweet up to a bit of cocktail-sipping and people-watching regarding coastline – my favourite and by far the poshest is Plage Beau Rivage, really worth a trip and in case you fancy a little action on the water your self then decide to try Blue Beach. For those who have a few more days to kill, you might constantly go further afield to St Tropez using its breathtaking beaches and fantastic restaurants to take pleasure from too.

You can find couple of destinations on earth because glamorous as Monaco, an excellent destination for a visit anytime of the year, but if you might be joining the public as soon as the Formula One circus rolls into town, then ensure you like a few of these activities too.

Learn about a different part to Monaco with this consider Monaco at Christmas and for where you should remain, have read of our guide to the most useful luxury resorts in Monaco.

Prototype Of Spike Supersonic Jet To introduce Summer 2017

Who will function as very first to launch a passenger supersonic transatlantic jet? Following a announcement from Boom, whom plans to build their model imminently, Spike aerospace have actually announced that they’re expanding efforts to build up the world’s first Quiet Supersonic Jet. The sleek 18 passenger design will result in a quieter, quicker and much more efficient supersonic aircraft.

Engineering is on course for the first journey of a subsonic model of this jet by late summer of 2017. The model will demonstrate low-speed aerodynamic journey attribute. This will be accompanied by a few larger jets having supersonic demonstrator by the end of 2018.

“We made a lot of progress in 2016 in engineering along with the addition of a quantity of engineers and lovers. Our plans for 2017 is much more exciting as we continue growth of the Spike S-512 Quiet Supersonic Jet. I’m anticipating our very first journey later on this present year.” stated Vik Kachoria, President & CEO of Spike Aerospace.

The Spike S-512 will be the first supersonic jet fashioned with Quiet Supersonic Flight (QSF), the proprietary technology manufactured by Spike to minimise the sonic boom by optimizing the aerodynamic design. Flying at supersonic cruising rate, the Spike S-512 will cut the journey time by half within price equivalent to a company course chair. The aircraft is expected to achieve the market by 2023.

Supersonic Aircraft businesses Spike Aerospace, Aerion and Airbus also have proposed transatlantic plans for his or her Supersonic passenger aircraft and now we can share some interesting photos for the proposed interiors among these supersonic jets.

Supersonic Jet Information

Glamping In Bali – the most effective Luxury Tented Camp Hotels

Continuing our group of top 5 most readily useful beaches and luxury hotels around the globe, in this specific article we find the top 5 most readily useful luxury tented camp accommodations for glamping in Bali, Asia.

1. Luxury Tented Villas at Menjangan Dynasty Resort

For the ultimate luxury glamping experience, in some sort of course scuba diving location, look no further than Menjangan Dynasty Resort Beach Camp and Dive Centre. The Menjangan Dynasty Resortm (pictured above), is an eco-friendly, tented, boutique resort that will be set on 16 hectares of land on a quiet peninsula beside a striking white sandy coastline in Northwest Bali. This might be ultra-luxurious glamping and facilities consist of an all-day dining restaurant; Pasir Putih, an infinity swimming pool, a spa plus dive club and water recreations centre.

The tented rooms and villas take care of the charm and mood of luxurious safari accommodation with natural materials and muted tints as well as the odd quirky touch occasionally. You will find 24 Beach Camp Tents also 2 stunning one-bedroom Cliff Tent Villas and 2 two-bedroom Cliff Tent Villas aswell. This will be about as far from old-school camping as you are able to get and much closer to a luxury five-star resort. The Beach Camp Tents are 39.5 sqm you need to include a sizable decking area with time sleep and loungers. The villas are 61sqm and 82sqm as well as include a personal infinity plunge pool. Combine the sensation of sleeping in the open with only canvas between you therefore the movie stars, with flat display TVs, air conditioning and Wi-Fi and you also have the concept. There clearly was a good luxury restroom with hand-painted tiled flooring, a monsoon shower, a well-lit vanity product with washbasin and mirror and a lavatory with a bamboo screen for privacy.

A really impressive infinity swimming pool is placed right on the cliff side and there’s additionally a beachside swimming pool surrounded by bamboo cabanas and beanbags on white sandy coastline the more sedate moments of one’s go to. The turquoise sea is calm and inviting; perfect for kayaking, canoeing, or stand-up paddle boarding. The 5-star PADI dive resort centre and water activities centre is perfect for year-round professionally-guided scuba diving and snorkelling excursions therefore the reefs around Menjangan Island are merely a half hour ship ride through the resort where dazzling marine life is simply waiting to be explored.

2. Sandat Glamping Tents

Sandat Glamping Tents offer a low-key eco-resort built by neighborhood craftsmen set between jungle and rice areas in a beautifully maintained lush garden.

If you book uber luxurious tents you’ll sense (and hear!) the character throughout you. The jungle comes alive at night so if you are really a light sleeper, bring your ear plugs! The tent it self can just only be referred to as amazing. The beds and bathrooms are deeply fashionable, and although there are no TVs, Wi-Fi protection is great. The tents and lumbungs all offer an individual pool and veranda with complete privacy, for the very own slice of jungle luxury.

Ubud is just ten minutes away by free shuttle where you are able to visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, have a therapeutic massage or consume at one of the many exceptional restaurants. Sandat Glamping Tents also sits about one hour from money, Denpasar.

Sandat Glamping Tents are a unique plus and glamorous method to camp. A way to enjoy nature without missing out on any of the luxury of a five-star resort. A distinctive and enchanting solution to see another side regarding the magical Island of Bali.

Sandat Glamping also features in my best luxury wilderness resorts in Asia.

3. Spiritual Glamping at Fivelements Puri Ahimsa

The Fivelements Puri Ahimsa found near Ubud and around the sacred Ayung river, which carves its way through the jungle valley. Each of the nine tented suites have actually open verandas overlooking the river’s swirling currents and providing religious enlightenment. Personal bamboo enclosures household a big open-air bathtub for romantic washing. Other contemporary amenities include air-conditioning, sound system with iPod dock, Wi-Fi hairdryer and a ample variety of toiletries completing the blissful luxury glamping experience.

4. The Bamboo Eco Cottage at Firefly Cottages

From just $65 per night, The Bamboo Eco Cottage is our most affordable glamping option in Bali. This bamboo cottage is just a secluded eco-retreat, down a quiet footpath nestled within the rice industries and only a five-minute walk to main Ubud. Open-air basket weave bedrooms with mini-loft trigger the current elegant bathroom and outside living area. This really a unique Bali experience.

There’s no air conditioning, however the bamboo walls permit the cool breeze to filter in, to keep you comfortable whilst the mosquito web keeps the mosquitoes away. A complimentary cell phone is given to you upon check-in to help you have access to the complete menu and space service and wi-fi connection is roofed.

This bamboo-roofed, versus tented resort, is the closest you can expect to arrive at experiencing normal Bali without contemporary interruptions. At night you’ll see fireflies and hear the rushing river, crickets plus the distant sounds of the temple.

For something similarly romantic and back again to nature, have a look at my top 5 most useful overwater villas inside Caribbean, my top backwoods lodges in the world and my top 5 most readily useful luxury resort hotels and resorts in Maldives.

Finnair Expands Asia Flights Connecting To 11 UK Airports

Finnair has established long-haul expansion for cold temperatures 2017. You’ll read my overview of Finnair in operation Class regarding A330 plus Finnair running a business Class on A350. With additional frequencies for the cold weather 2017 season, there are several interesting locations now you can happen to be with this particular flight.

The banner carrier will operate a twice-weekly service to Goa (where I can suggest the Park Hyatt Goa) between November 30, 2017 and March 18, 2018, as well as increasing the frequency of its Delhi solution to six routes per week throughout the winter months.

Also Finnair will travel two times once a week to Havana between December 1 and March 23, weekly to Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) between November 19 and March 18, and weekly to Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic) between November 30 and March 22.

The airline will even increase frequencies on specific tracks during the winter weather including two extra once a week solutions to Bangkok, bringing the path to 16 routes weekly, two extra weekly solutions to Singapore, making the route daily year-round and three extra regular solutions to Hong Kong, bringing frequencies to ten flights per week year-round.

Using the anticipated arrival of four new Airbus A350 aircraft in 2017, Finnair is pushing ahead with their development strategy, making Finnair an appealing airline choice when going to Asia from European countries via their Helsinki airport hub.

There are two main company course lounges at Helsinki airport; i’ve evaluated both the the Non Schengen Lounge plus the Premium lounge, to help you select which will be well.

Finnair recently announced an expanded codeshare contract with Flybe, so clients can now book Finnair routes departing from the total of 11 UK airports making Finnair an viable choice when travelling from the UK to Asia.

As soon as in Asia, we recommend a stay at an extra backwoods retreat or for a private area or be thinking about a resort yours private or infinity pool.


Apple iPhone 7 Plus Reviewed

The iPhone 7 is arguably a stop gap, Apple no doubt has something special planned for the iPhone’s 10th anniversary this year. That aside, I’ve had my iPhone 7 for over a month now. We’ve travelled far together. Whilst my initial reservations about upgrading remain, overall the new iPhone impresses.

The removal of the physical home button, from the front of the iPhone 7 is a notable change from predecessors. I know how upset some folks can get about that sort of thing, but the haptic feedback of the new integrated home button is great. 3D Touch also benefits from subtle variations now too: the harder you press the iPhone’s screen, the bigger the tap.

The changes to the home button were in part due to the effort of making the iPhone 7 ‘water‑resistant’. Not being inclined to taking photos in the bath, this wasn’t a feature of Apple’s new phone that had me clamouring to upgrade.

During day-to-day use I’ve not noticed a dramatic difference in performance between the iPhone 7 Plus vs. the iPhone 6S Plus. However I have noticed considerable and very welcome battery life improvements. I’m no longer clamouring for a charger at the end of every day. It’s not unusual for my heavily used iPhone 7 Plus to go well into the evening without needing a charge. Such a difference, my iPhone 6 Plus seemed to be permanently tethered to a wall.

In truth this update is all about the cameras. The front facing or “selfie” camera is much improved to 7 megapixel. The real show stopper though is the rear facing 12 megapixel wide-angle camera and the 12 megapixel telephoto camera, (featured only by the iPhone 7 Plus).

Either the 12MP wide-angle camera or the 12MP telephoto camera can be selected when taking a normal photo, enabling the switch between a wide angle or telephoto shot. However it’s when the two are combined, producing a portrait photo that things get really interesting.

The shots that the new portrait mode delivers are exellent. Imagine photos taken with a decent SLR, by somebody who knows how to properly compose a photo. Stick a portrait photo up on Photo Stream and wait for all the comments from friends.

The portrait photos feature is still in beta, (as of iOS 10.2), and there are some issues. Forget about taking a portrait photo in low light, even when conditions are perfect it’s all a bit “back a bit”, “forward a bit”, before the all important yellow “Depth Effect” label appears. There’s also noticeable lag between tapping the button to take a portrait photo, and the photo actually being taken. This can create some blurry shots.

Criticism aside, when you get a portrait right it really is an WOW moment. The iPhone 7’s brighter, more colourful screen gamut combines with the improved cameras to really make the photos “pop”.

So is it worth upgrading to an iPhone 7? All the fundamental elements of the iPhone 6 have been incrementally improved: speakers, (louder and stereo), battery, screen, audio and performance. This feels like an “S” update: a perfected iPhone 6S, something to get once your current phone looses its lustre but not something to rush out and buy.

There’s little to convince any iPhone 6 user to upgrade. However the iPhone 7 Plus is a different story. The update to the battery makes this iPhone far more appealing – the hassle of constantly charging my iPhone 6 Plus was a drag. But it’s the update to the camera and portrait photos, that means a month on i’m still loving my new iPhone 7.


Apple AirPods Reviewed

I wasn’t looking for a new pair of headphones, though grateful when I received some AirPods as a gift, they were put in a draw and forgotten about. It was only when packing for my Christmas vacation that I remembered my new headphones. Curious I finally took them out of the box.

To save you the bother of reading the rest of the article, Apple’s AirPods are awesome. So easy to set up with other Apple devices and so intuitive to use. No buttons, you just ask Siri to turn the volume up, play a song, make a phone call etc. I wasn’t much of a Siri user before I started using my AirPods, but it has now become second nature.

There’s no turning them on and off, the AirPods know when they’re in your ear and when they are not and when you’re using one or both of the buds. There’s almost no physical interaction required.

For something so small the AirPod’s battery life is impressive. Apple says up to 5 hours and I wouldn’t disagree. Charge them backup to almost full in 15mins. Which leads to my favourite feature of the AirPods: their case, which doubles as a mobile charger. This awesome little white box will hold a up to 24hours of juice for your buds. Just put them back in the box and in less than 15mins your almost back up to full power – repeat as necessary.

Of course the case itself will eventually need charging. To do that plug one end of the included Lightning cable into the charging case, the other into a USB device of choice, or even borrow the wall hugger from your iPhone and charge them with that.

The AirPods fit snugly in my ears and I don’t think I have unusually small ear holes. I exercise and go jogging with them and one hasn’t tried to escape yet. The only time they do fall out is if you inadvertently knock one of the protruding stalks.

So far I’ve managed not to lose an AirPod. I take my case with me whenever I’m wearing my AirPods, making sure if I do take one or both off I can keep them safe. Should the worst happen I understand that Apple will offer single AirPod buds for approx. £50.

What surprised me at launch was that Apple hadn’t built a “find my AirPods feature”, something my family rely on heavily to find lost phones. Thankfully this feature is included in iOS 10.3 – you can now use the “Find iPhone” web or iPhone app to ping individual AirPod’s sounding an audible beep, or track your AirPod’s last location.

The most important aspect of any headphone has to be the quality. I’m no audiophile, (on my travels I generally rely on a pair of Beats Studio Wireless Headphones), but what I can tell you is they are every bit as good as my Beats. For my money better. Clearer, generally crisper. They’re just as good with calls and FaceTime as they are with movies and music.

AirPods have instantly become my go to headphones. They’re just so simple to use and easy to store in a pocket or chuck in a bag. For the price they seem like an absolute bargain. Before I looked I assumed they’d be at the same sort of price point as Apple’s new wireless Beats Solo3. Try £100 less. No brainer, treat your self to some AirPods, their the future.


Best Transatlantic Airline For Business: British Airways Vs Virgin Atlantic

Which is the best transatlantic airline? British Airways offers First, Business or Club World, Premium Economy and Economy. Virgin Atlantic Offers Upper Class along with Premium Economy and Economy. When booking a flight, it is important to know what you get for your ticket and which is best, if the prices are comparable.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are the two main British airlines that fly transatlantic between London and New York along with a number of other American cities. Both airlines feature in my top 10 best airlines for longhaul Business Class. I have written about the best transatlantic airline in Premium Economy separately.

British Airways Vs Virgin Atlantic First Class Cabin – Which Is Best?

For this one, British Airways wins. Virgin Atlantic offers “Upper Class”, which is equivalent to the British Airways Business Class product (outlined below). British Airways is the only British Airline that offers true transatlantic First Class and you can read my recent review of the new British Airways First on the Dreamliner to find out what you get.

For me, the advantages of travelling in First are:
1. Access to the Concorde Room lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5,
2. Exclusivity – For example, on the Dreamliner there are just 8 seats spread across two rows in a 1-2-1 herringbone configuration, all of them having direct aisle access,
3. Seat space – With a generous pitch of 73 inches (185 cm) and width of 22 inches (56 cm),
4. Privacy – Contrary to the enclosed First Class suites with sliding doors that you find in the Emirates and Etihad First Class Suites, the BA First Class seat features an open design, although it’s located within its own cocoon and feels totally private (no other passengers can see you, thanks to the herringbone layout and high seat walls).
5. Amenity Kit – This is an improved version of the Business Class kit. The men’s one contains shave gel, revitaliser moisturiser, lip balm, deodorant stick, and eye gel from London based, grooming emporium for men, in addition to essentials such as such as a pen, eyeshades, socks, earplugs, hairbrush and razor. See which airlines offer better amenity kits see my top 10 best airline amenity kits.
6. Pyjamas – Even on medium-haul day flights, British Airways supply pyjamas. This is a very nice gesture bearing in mind that Qatar Airways and Emirates – both famous for their onboard luxury and service – do not provide pyjamas on this length of day flight. The lightweight, British Airways dark green pyjamas are presented with a ribbon bow, and feature the BA First Class logo on the chest.
7. Food – The menu in First is extensive, usually with a starter, soup, main and dessert. All is usually tasty, well executed, visually appealing and with more choice than in Club World. An afternoon tea is also usually offered with sandwiches, scones and a pastry.

This is not the best First Class seat or suite in the sky. This accolade goes to the First Class suites offered by Emirates & Etihad. But for transatlantic routes, British Airways in First is about as luxury as it comes.

British Airways Vs Virgin Atlantic Airport Lounges – Which Is Best?
If the layover is important to you, you might want to choose your British carrier by the lounge on offer at its respective airport hub.

The British Airways lounges are the Galleries First (exclusively for First customers and Gold Executive Club members) and the Concorde Room (First Customers only) in London Heathrow Terminal 5. These are excellent First Class only lounges. In particular, the bar in the Concorde Room is iconic and harks back to the heydays of luxury travel making it one of the best First lounges in the world. Business or Club World passengers only get access to the two Galleries Club Lounges in Heathrow Terminal 5 or the Galleries Club Lounge in Terminal 3. These lounges are huge and pleasant with decent buffet food. They have everything you need but are not noteworthy and can be busy with entire fleets worth of Club World and Club Europe passengers coming and going.

Virgin Atlantic Offers The Clubhouse at London Heathrow. The Clubhouse also has outposts in LAX, Newark, JFK, San Francisco, Boston, Washington Hong Kong, Johannesburg and Gatwick. These lounges are fun, well designed and offer better food than the BA Galleries lounges.

British Airways therefore wins when travelling in First for its exclusive Concorde Room and Galleries First lounge for First Class passengers. But the Club House knocks the socks off the British Airways Galleries lounges for those travelling in Upper Class or Club World.

British Airways Club World Vs Virgin Atlantic Upper Class – Which Is Best?

I have published several trip reports from my recent flights on Virgin Atlantic in Upper Class and on British Airways, in Business or Club World. You can read these reviews below:
Review: British Airways Business Class London to Vancouver, A380
Review: British Airway’s Business Class, Calgary to Heathrow, 787-8 Dreamliner
Review: British Airway’s Club World, Los Angeles to London Heathrow, A380
Review: British Airways Business Class London to Tehran, B777-200
Review: British Airways Club World London to Los Angeles, A380
Review: Club World on the Dreamliner B787-9,
Review: British Airways Club World Tokyo to London, B777
Review: Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

I have outlined below which aspects each airline wins.

Why Is British Airways Club World Better Than Virgin Atlantic Upper Class?

1. Ambiance – The British Airways cabin offers an air of sophisticated and contemporary wellbeing. I prefer the look to the mildly gaudy Virgin cabin so British Airways wins.

2. Seats – Both Virgin AND British Airways win this category depending on your personal preference. The British Airways seats are arranged in the so-called “ying/yang” layout, where the seat next to you faces the opposite direction affording more privacy and space. This also means that some seats face backwards which I am not keen on. In fact, all the window seats face backwards. Virgin Atlantic goes with the herringbone layout where seats are angled, (see photo above), which feels odd, with window seats facing towards the centre of the cabin.

Virgin’s seats offer more privacy, but for couples, the Virgin seat can prove problematic. With young kids the problem is even more accentuated because you cannot see what anyone else is doing. The middle seats in BA Club World are a perfect playground for a pair of children, with the parents sat on either side to keep them in check!

3. Consistency of product – On the whole, British Airways Club World offers a fairly consistent Business Class offering across their fleets so you know what to expect. Virgin does not. Virgin offers its newest seat (pictured above) on its Boeing 787 service, but it is hard to predict which Upper Class seat you will experience, which makes booking on Virgin Atlantic more of a gamble.

It is worth noting that British Airways is launching a new seat in Club World which will have direct aisle access. This may make the actual Business Class seat more appealing overall on this transatlantic route.

Why is Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Better Than British Airways Club World?

1. Airport Lounges – While the British Airways First lounges are excellent, the Galleries Club lounges are good but lack character. Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouses are more unique, offer better food and overall are a more fun experience, so Virgin wins here.

2. Sleep – For this category Virgin wins. The BA seat simply glides flat, the Virgin seats flips to a bed more like Singapore Airlines. This means that you do not sleep on the seat surface which makes it a more comfortable and restful sleep experience than Club World.

3. Seats – Both Virgin AND British Airways win this category depending on your personal preference. The British Airways seats are arranged in the so-called “ying/yang” layout, where the seat next to you faces the opposite direction affording more privacy and space. This also means that some seats face backwards which I am not keen on. In fact, all the window seats face backwards. Virgin Atlantic goes with the herringbone layout where seats are angled, (see photo above), which feels odd with window seats facing towards the centre of the cabin.

The advantages of the Virgin layout are the privacy, as you face a wall rather than another passenger. If you fly on British Airways Club World you run the risk of being in the middle pair of seats. Every Virgin seat also has direct aisle access, unlike BA, so no-one is going to jump over your feet in the middle of the night. The downside of this is that the booths are so private that you will have difficulty sharing the flight with your partner or children as you can’t see anyone else!

4. Onboard Bar – On Virgin Atlantic A380, there is an iconic onboard bar with a real-life bartender which is a great place to mingle with other flyers. On Virgin’s B787s the bar is less impressive but remains a place to grab a stool. British Airways offers a walk-up “Club Kitchen” onboard, where Business and First Class fliers can graze between meals. The Club kitchen in no way compares to the funky bar on Virgin Atlantic so Virgin wins here.

5. Food – Virgin wins again as British Airways seems to be insistent on constantly cutting the quantity and quality of its offering – most recently removing the choice of starter in Club World and forcing everyone to eat the mozzarella salad starter.

On Virgin, the food is good and there is plenty of choice, from prawns and caviar starters to chicken, beef and salmon mains. Examples of puddings include lemon curd sponge, which is very good, and strawberry panna cotta. To finish Virgin push a traditional cheese and port trolley around the cabin which is a classy touch. Later in the flight you can eat a choice of sandwiches, cakes, jam and clotted cream scones or a burger. In comparison, BA offer a specific selection of sandwiches with no choice.

6. Amenity Kits – Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Relax Packs have been developed by Canadian lifestyle brand Herschel and come in two innovative designs. On outbound flights from the UK, it’s a hangable wash bag. On inbound flights to the UK, they offer a bag inspired by the famous Herschel Network Pouch. I like the different bag supplied each way. Both packs include: A Rituals hand cream, lip balm and face cream. A toothbrush, a new larger, branded tube of toothpaste, earplugs, eyeshade, socks and a Virgin Atlantic pen. BA offers a more bog standard Elemis amenity kit in Business which is the same both ways so Virgin wins.

7. Wilbur and Orville, the Virgin salt and pepper characters, returned in 2013. Possibly the coolest salt and pepper pots in the world, you can ‘borrow’ them and take them home with you – it is almost worth flying Upper Class to take home these lovelies.

8. WiFi – British Airways currently does not offer WiFi on its planes so Virgin wins here.. for now.

9. Pyjamas – Virgin Upper Class supplies passengers on overnight flights with a black jersey sleep suit, a simple, cozy pyjama set. On British Airways you only get PJs in First.

Other features such as entertainment and staff tend to be comparative between the two airlines with no clear winner.

Conclusion – Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Beats British Airways Club Class

When comparing Virgin’s Upper Class to British Airways Club Class, Upper Class wins in almost every respect. The Clubhouse lounge is fun and has better food than BA’s Galleries lounges. If you want privacy, direct aisle access, Virgin also wins. Although it is worth re-highlighting that if you are travelling in a couple or as a family, you will probably prefer the layout in British Airways, assuming you want to see your family or other half! Virgin’s onboard food offering is more generous, the seat is more comfortable for sleeping and it has an onboard bar. Of course, the Middle East Airlines; Emirates, Etihad and Qatar offer a better Business Class product altogether but they don’t yet cover transatlantic routes. American Airlines, Delta and United also offer Business Class on these routes and should be considered.

British Airways Vs Virgin Atlantic Air Mile Redemption – Which Is Best?

Upper Class return to New York on Virgin Atlantic costs 95,000 Flying Club miles (35,000 in Premium Economy & 20,000 in Economy). This compares to 100,000 Avios (off peak) or 120,000 Avios (peak). Both airlines add around £500 in taxes. Unless you have a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher. Virgin works out cheaper.

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

Review: The Mount Somerset Hotel & Spa

Name: The Mount Somerset Hotel & Spa

The historic Mount in Somerset is a country house hotel with 3 Rosette dining, ESPA spa and the prettiest views over the English countryside.

Situated on the side of a hill and built in 1805, the original owners of this stately manor house clearly selected this idyllic location for the views over the rolling hills and green fields. Today this country house, which is surrounded by manicured lawns and gardens, offers those same far-reaching views over the Vale of Taunton and many fluffy sheep!
You arrive by driving up a narrow country lane. As you climb the hill the imposing cream-coloured mansion that is The Mount comes into view. Outside there is plenty of parking, terraces, a darling pond and vine covered pergolas, framing pathways through the gardens.

Inside, The Mount has bucket loads of period character. A pretty octagonal hall leads through to a sweeping staircase that rises above the reception area. Drinks are served in the bar/lounge area off to your right and you will find an impressive ESPA spa to your left. Upstairs, all the rooms offer views of the countryside, and have the feel of a cosy country escape.


We stayed in Barrington which was one of the largest rooms in the hotel with a massive and comfy bed. Blue walls and gold hued curtains framed an enormous bay window, which looked out over the fields and gardens. In the evening, you could see Taunton twinkling in the distance. Inside, a mix of country furnishings (a large sofa, window seats, a coffee table and numerous drawers and wardrobes) gave the room the feeling of staying at a rather wealthy relatives house. The bathroom was modern, immaculate and huge, with a his-and-hers double shower, Victorian-style bath and the same immense country vista from the large window. Thoughtful little touches included an extra heater in our room in case we felt the cold (thanks to the heater the room was gorgeously toasty), hand cooked fresh biscuits, sweets and fruit along with tea and coffee making facilities. Also, because the hotel spa is ESPA, the toiletries in the bathroom were ESPA which I like.


The bar was busy throughout our weekend stay. During the day, it seemed popular with locals taking advantage of generous afternoon teas. At night, it attracted guests with 2 roaring fires, a piano and plenty of plush sofas to melt into. Much of the bar was located at the front of the house, so the views out of the long sash windows, were once again across the lawns and countryside beyond. In the summer, you can drink under the stars on the terrace.


Having just achieved a 3rd Rosette, we were excited to try the hotel restaurant and it did not disappoint. The formal dining room was the setting for our meal. The room was decorated with a huge crystal chandelier and gilt-framed mirrors. The food offerings were equally impressive. We chose the “Du Jour” menu which was £35 for three courses (there was also an à la carte menu if you prefer). Amuse bouche started with bread-crumbed whitebait and a cup of creamy green; which sounds odd but was also utterly delicious. Starters were pork lasagne and smoked salmon with beetroot and the choice of main was a chicken or hake dish. Dessert was a sweet cinnamon apple delight. The whole thing was delicious and I appreciated the staff being extra-specially friendly with my son – they had him in fits of giggles and clearly cared about the restaurant and the food they were serving.

Breakfast was also excellent, with a buffet of cereals, fruit, yoghurt, pastries and lots of appetising fruit, as well as lots of egg options including full English breakfast and apple and cinnamon scotch pancakes.

The Mounts is just under a 10-minute drive from Junction 25 of the M5, so it’s a convenient stopover if you’re heading down to Devon or Cornwall.

Winter break prices currently start at £209 for one night in a Deluxe Room, a 3 course Du Jour dinner, a glass of Winter Pimm’s, full English breakfast & use of the Spa facilities. In my opinion, this is exceptional value for such a lovely boutique rural retreat.

The Mount Somerset Hotel & Spa

The Best First Class Suite In The Sky: Emirates Vs Etihad

I have already compared the Emirates, Etihad and Qatar in Business Class. Now I investigate Emirates and Etihad First Class Suites. Which is the best in the world and why.

Etihad and Emirates both come in my top 10 best business class airlines in the world and I am a great fan of both for their First and Business class product. In fact, you are a blessed traveller if you are fortunate enough to afford either. If you intend to book a First Class ticket on either Etihad or Emirates, I hope this comparison will help you decide which airline to choose. It is also worth noting that I have also flown on Qatar First Class but this product comes in third place after Etihad and Emirates.

For the purposes of this comparison I am comparing the First Class suites on the Etihad and Emirates A380 planes.

Emirates Vs Etihad First Class Cabin – Which Is Best?

Emirates Airlines, based in Dubai, is regarded by many as the most luxurious carrier in the world. Emirates has more than 240 wide body planes in its fleet, carrying more than 40 million passengers to more than 100 destinations in the world per year. The Dubai based airliner is also the largest operator of the Airbus A380, with 74 of this aircraft type in its fleet and 66 more on order. The success of Emirates is very much based on the comfort and space onboard its A380s which are used on both shorthaul and longhaul.

First Class is located in the forward upper deck of the Emirates A380. The cabin features 14 enclosed suites in a 1-2-1 configuration. All have direct aisle access. The 8 suites along the windows are spread across 4 rows, while the 6 middle suites are spread across 3 rows. All suites enjoy complete privacy, as none of the rows quite line up, so nobody is directly looking into the suite across the aisle, even when you don’t close the sliding doors of your suite. I have written a full review of my last flight in First Class on Emirates.

Etihad Airways is a flag carrier and the second-largest airline of the UAE (after Emirates). The First Class cabin is located on the forward upper deck of the A380. The First Class cabin on Etihad’s A380 is stylish, with two beautifully crafted walls framing a small corridor leading to the forward staircase and contain the sliding entrance doors of the Apartments. The lighting patterns in the ceiling projects Arabian mosaic-like figures on the walls and floor, adding to the relaxing atmosphere.

Etihad Airways’ A380 First Class cabin is the industry’s first ever single aisle cabin and there are only nine First Apartments on the plane. There are 5 First Apartments on the right side of the cabin (with 2 toilets in the front), while the left side features 4 First Apartments. This asymmetry is explained by the fact that the missing 5th First Apartment and lavatories on the left side of the cabin are replaced by The Residence (featuring a private living room, separate en-suite shower room, and a bedroom with a double bed).I have written a full review of my last flight in Etihad First Class Apartment and have taken further pictures on a second trip in Etihad First Class.

In my humble opinion, for ambiance, space, look and style, Etihad is best. The Emirates cabin is glitzy and full of golds and bright colours which isn’t to my taste. The privacy and space is also better on Etihad.

Emirates Vs Etihad First Class Seats – Which Is Best?

Emirates First Class is configured with only four suites per row see upper deck seat map. The First Class suites on the sides are ideal for solo travellers (with a generous 3 windows per seat, offering great views), while the 6 suites in the middle are perfect for those traveling with a companion since dividers between these suites can be raised or lowered to provide a feeling of extra spaciousness.

Etihad, have configured their cabin with only two First Class suites per row which is clearly better. See Etihad seat map. The very comfortable recliner seat is equipped with in-seat massage and a pneumatic cushion control system. The seat has two arm rests: one holds the tray table, while the other holds the Apartment and inflight entertainment system controls. By pressing a button, you can change the position of both the ottoman, raise or lower of the window blinds, and control the light settings for a variety of lamps situated within the Apartment. Next to the seat, there’s a minibar, stocked with a premium selection of beverages, as well as a cabinet which holds the noise-cancelling headsets.

Clearly, two suites per row is much better than four so once again Etihad wins for the best First Class seat.

Emirates Vs Etihad First Class Bed – Which Is Best?

On Emirates, at the push of a button, the seat automatically reclines into a fully-flat bed of 86 inches (218 cm) long, with fully retractable armrest. When you want to sleep, a member of the cabin crews installs a mattress, fluffy pillow and soft duvet.

Etihad creates an entirely separate bed using the ottoman in your suite, allowing the bed to be made without having to sacrifice your seat. If you have a significant other traveling with you, certain rows of the First Class cabin allow you to lower the divider located between suites so that your head is next to your loved one’s head. If you want a double bed, you’ll need to upgrade to The Residence by Etihad.

Once again Etihad wins on space and privacy for sleeping.

Emirates Vs Etihad First Class Food – Which Is Best?

Emirates and Etihad offer meals equivalent a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Emirates’ First Class menu is extensive, and you can order whatever whenever. These were my lunch choices:
Canapés: tartlet of marinated feta with aubergine caviar and schichmi; foie gras on gingerbread with smoked salt; and arm salmon tempo sushi with herb crust.
Appetiser: caviar, presented with traditional selection of finely chopped onion, grated egg, sour cream and lemon, served with melba toast and blinis.
Pumpkin soup with croutons and sour cream.
Main course: seafood harra, which is a traditional Middle Eastern dish of oven-baked prawns and fish in spiced tomato sauce, served with saffron rice.
Dessert: banana cheesecake with toffee sauce.

And this is what I had for dinner:
Chicken consommé with vegetable julienne.
Main course: braised beef short ribs, with balsamic juice, braised red cabbage and pan-fired gnocchi with herbs.
Dessert: seasonal fruit, an assortment of fresh-cut fruit.

Etihad has real life onboard chefs (recruited from Michelin-starred restaurants around the world). The food is an exquisite seven-course tasting menu with amuse bouche, granita and pre-dessert tasters. The Mezoon Grille menu is available to Etihad’s First Class customers only, featuring a variety of premium produce, including beef, chicken, lamb and seafood, along with a range of delicate sauces, sides and delicious desserts, all of which were prepared to order. Everything is served on fine bone chinaware, cutlery and crystal glassware.

I choose the following items from the menu:
Amuse bouche: Middle Eastern style chicken salad.
Chickpea Soup, with Arabic spiced ratatouille.
Starter: marinated prawns, with Quinoa and wake salad, and red pepper sauce.
Grapefruit sorbet.
Entree: US rib-eye steak, with steamed green beans, creamy mashed potatoes, and garlic and herb butter.
Pre-dessert mini-choclate mousse.
Dessert trio of berry and cinnamon frangipani, apricot cheesecake, with passion fruit meringue, chocolate mousse.

So the best food is definitely offered in Etihad First.

Emirates Vs Etihad First Class In-Flight Showers – Which Is Best?

Both Emirates and Etihad have two showers at the front of their cabins. However, in the all-important category of shower-to-passenger ratio, Emirates wins, with one shower for every seven passengers, while Etihad only provides one shower for every nine passengers. I have written a completely separate article with Emirates sky shower pictures. There is very little to choose between the shower rooms themselves although Emirates’ showers have a panoramic wallpaper view of the Dubai skyline on the walls. The volume per passenger is key here which is why Emirates wins.

The reason there are less showers on Etihad is because they feel their passengers in The Residence need their own shower.

Emirates Vs Etihad First Class Bar/Lounge – Which Is Best?

Both Etihad and Emirates have lounges. The Etihad bar is designated as “The Lobby” but even in First Class, you’ll have to have your drinks refilled from the display case, rather than having an onboard bartender serving you.

If you prefer a more traditional bar experience, you’ll find it on Emirates with extensive seating, mood lighting, a horseshoe shaped bar and a real life bartender.

Emirates therefore wins harking back to the heydays of luxury air travel.

Emirates Vs Etihad First Class Wine List & Bar Menu – Which Is Best?

Emirates and Etihad both have complimentary top-shelf alcohol for those over the age of 18. These include extensive wine lists and a vast range of spirits, liquor, and champagne all served in proper crystal glasses.

Both airlines offer extensive alcohol, but in terms of brand and cost, Emirates wins as it offers more drink options breaking the $100 USD per bottle ceiling. They are also the only airline serving Hennessy Paradis Cognac in First Class, with a retail price around $700 per bottle.

Emirates Vs Etihad First Class Entertainment & WiFi – Which Is Best?

Both Etihad and Emirates First Class suites on the Airbus A380 feature big screens with a wide variety of content. You can also surf the web with your smartphone or laptop using their satellite-based WiFi systems. Emirates has made WiFi affordable for everyone – free for the first 10 MB and only $1 USD for 500 MB of data. Unfortunately, this means the internet connection is virtually unusable due to the number of passengers logged on.

Etihad wins with a superior entertainment system, a screen that not only swivels back to let you watch TV in bed, but it also has split-screen capabilities with four different screens. Plus, surfing the web is actually possible on Etihad.

Emirates Vs Etihad First Class Amenity Kit – Which Is Best?

I have reviewed the best airline amenity kits in the world and in this listing, Emirates comes second offering bespoke beauty goodies from one of my favourite scents; Bulgari. They also give you a fragrance. Emirates have also introduced the world’s first moisturising pyjamas in first class designed for airline use and to overcome dry air thus giving the passenger a better nights sleep.

Etihad comes in lower at number 5 in my best first class amenity kits and passengers get Christian Lacroix loungewear and toiletries from Hungarian skincare brand, Omorovicza. The amenity kit from Emirates is more generous and therefore wins. I love a free fragrance and their pyjamas are ground breaking.

Emirates Vs Etihad First Class Airport Lounge – Which Is Best?

If the layover is important to you, you might want to choose your Middle Eastern carrier by the lounge on offer at it’s respective airport hub. I a big fan of Etihad’s First Class Lounge & Spa in Abu Dhabi and have also reviewed the Concourse A Emirates First Class Lounge at Dubai International Airport. In this case, I prefer the Etihad lounge.

To add a fly to the ointment, I consider the Qatar Airways’ Al Safwa First Class in Doha’s new Hamad International Airport is the best airline lounge in the world so although in every other way, Etihad and Emirates win; In this respect, Qatar is worth considering.


Which is the best First Class Suite In The Sky; Emirates or Etihad? Etihad wins in five categories, Emirates wins in four. Etihad has the better suite, seat, bed, entertainment, and food. Emirates has the better shower, onboard lounge, amenity kit and alcohol. So I choose Etihad as the winner offering the best First Class suite. Etihad wins by a small margin so your final choice depends on what matters to you onboard.

How To Buy A First Or Business Class Seat In Etihad Or Emirates First With Miles

Emirates Skywards miles can be earned from and redeemed on travel from nine partner airlines. These include Alaska, JAL, Jet, JetBlue, Korean Air, Qantas, South African Airways, TAP Portugal, and Virgin America. The miles earned depends on the class of service flown, and the miles accrued on partners do not count towards tier status. Etihad is a partner of American Airlines, and AAdvantage miles can be redeemed directly for Etihad First Class flights. The best ways to collect AAdvantage miles are by flying AA or a Oneworld partner, through signing up for and receiving credit card bonuses, or by transferring them from the Starwood Preferred Guest program.