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The Khors of Oman- via Japan, Poland & the UAE. RTW in Biz (NH787,OZ,TG,EY,TK,LH)

The Khors of Oman- via Japan, Poland & the UAE. RTW in Biz (NH787,OZ,TG,EY,TK,LH)

Old May 10, 2014, 12:41 pm
  #16  
 
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Love the self-tipping beer dispenser, very Japanese!

Great photo's of Tokyo, awesome view from your hotel too.

Looks like you got a good fix of the blossoms as well.
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Old May 10, 2014, 2:33 pm
  #17  
 
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Very nice report! ANA Business Class looks great and it's high on my to-fly list. One tip of advice is to always pick the K-side on westbound flights as you won't have the sun burning and spoling pictures.

Tokyo looks great as always, which really reminds me that I'll have to make sure to plan a visit in April next time.

Looking forward to the rest.
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Old May 12, 2014, 9:11 pm
  #18  
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Originally Posted by HangukStyle
Nice, looking forward to the rest of the trip report
Thanks HangukStyle.

We will aim to keep the expectations up for the next chapters.

Originally Posted by DJ Bitterbarn
Looks like the start of a great TR! I think I slightly prefer the NH 787 over the LO 787 in terms of Y cabin, and by a great deal in terms of J. And the pictures are excellent, keep it coming!
Thanks DJ Bitterbarn.

I haven't flown the LOT 787 (or even LOT) for that matter, but judging from their LOT lounge in Warsaw, your assessment of them is likely accurate in terms of amenities and catering. ANA definitely kept the bar high during our experience.

Originally Posted by mkjr
Great start. I believe you are supposed to return the cardigans ;-) The SEA-NRT flight times really suck. Leave mid aft and arrive mid aft. Yuk. Love the booze in the arrival lounge. Never seen that before.

Whats wrong with Bogle? In BC, is probably about 25 or so a bottle. Their organic and sustainable. Sure, they are no Harlan Estate but not horrible. That said, they certainly make up for it by serving the Hibiki and the Sakes they list along with two different types of Sochu. I would have said sayonara to the wine on that flight hello.moreintensity.
Thanks for your support mkjr.

I also believe you are supposed to return the cardigans. I just didn't in the interests of research and testing.

I personally don't have a problem with Bogle. I didn't know that they were an organic winery - probably because I believe Benzinger and the other large big budget Californian's take most of the orgainic attention. MrsWT73's exacting standards on the other hand...

On a side note, you will be pleased to know that I did follow your suggestion and indulge in the Souchu tasting during the upcoming visit to the ANA Lounge - Narita International.

Originally Posted by quirrow
Very nice trip report so far!

It's a shame that the ANA service to YVR is on a 767... I sure hope they upgrade that to a 787 in the future!
Thanks Quirrow.

A great fan of your reports - especially your photography.

I'd agree that I'd love to see the B787 on the YVR-NRT route. Guess they want to test out the demand before moving flagship aircraft.

Originally Posted by Madone59
What a great TR, and route. I am really looking forward to the rest. Thank's for sharing ^
Madone59, thanks for your support.

It was a little tricky to get from Japan to Dubai, then Dubai to Poland but thankfully it worked out.

Originally Posted by DanielW
Love the self-tipping beer dispenser, very Japanese!

Great photo's of Tokyo, awesome view from your hotel too.

Looks like you got a good fix of the blossoms as well.
DanielW - the Westin's view blew us away. We certainly didn't expect to have such a great view.

Originally Posted by LH4116
Very nice report! ANA Business Class looks great and it's high on my to-fly list. One tip of advice is to always pick the K-side on westbound flights as you won't have the sun burning and spoling pictures.

Tokyo looks great as always, which really reminds me that I'll have to make sure to plan a visit in April next time.

Looking forward to the rest.
Thanks LH4116.

I usually try and sit as close to the front of the main cabin based on available seating. I try to avoid the mini cabins as I find them a bit noisy and claustrophobic. Your photography suggestion is a great tip. . . I'll have to keep it in mind for future flights.
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Old May 12, 2014, 9:19 pm
  #19  
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ANA Lounge (International)
Narita Airport - Terminal 1


Before we knew it, our time in Tokyo came to a close. We asked for a late check out and the Westin gave us a complimentary 4 PM check out without any negotiation.

We debated whether to take the airport limousine bus or the tried and tested JR Yanamote Line back to the Narita Express. We thought that the bus might be prone to traffic delays and so we opted for the Narita Express.



We took the JR Yanamote line to Shibuya and got temporarily stuck. We couldnt find a ticket office to purchase the tickets by credit card like we did on the inbound and the automated kiosks that allowed to book a seat reservation would not accept foreign credit cards (only accepting funds loaded from a JR Suica Card). I only had enough cash to purchase one ticket. MrsWT73 would not have been happy about being left behind here while I was on the way to the airport in comfort so I opted to locate an ATM or a JR ticket office.

In hindsight, we should have probably just ridden the train without a seat reservation (all Narita Express tickets seats are reserved) and paid for it at the other end. I eventually found a Shinkansen ticket office before I was able to find an ATM. This whole process made us lose our planned train connection and any time advantage over the bus. We vowed to take the airport bus next time for the simple convenience.

We arrived at the airport at about 2 hours before our flight. We checked in without anyone at the Business Class Counters. Narita has all Star Alliance Carriers checking in at B desks. Boarding passes issued and bags were tagged to Incheon. A useful map was given to the ANA / UA lounges which was helpful since Narita doesnt have a very intuitive layout.





Narita was pretty quiet at this time of night and there were no waits at security or at immigration. There were two lounges available to us today. We bypassed the familiar United Club and headed straight over to the ANA Lounge which was closer to Gate 41 where our flight was departing.





Down the escalators past the connections desks and we were there.





The ANA Lounge is one of my favorite Star Alliance Business Lounges. It has a contemporary dcor, a good food selection of food and wine (including sushi), a beer machine. Hey it even has a noodle bar and sake / sochu wine bar (unattended). Two types of sake and two types of souchu; you cant go wrong with that as far as Im concerned. Although there have been a few complaints about how dark it is, it seems that it doesnt bother me whenever I visit. Perhaps its because on my usual visits, I'm in transit so my clock is so screwed up I never even notice.







The seating is a bit compact. But of my three visits here, Ive never actually seen the place completely full.







Food on offer today were the usual small sandwiches, salads, some simple sushi (kappa rolls and inari) and the noodle bar. Of more interest was the wine / sake / sochu bar which was amply stocked.













We had some quick snacks as we had missed lunch. I was a bit gluttonous and had two servings of Udon; Kistune udon and Katsune udon. Of course, it had to be topped off with our last servings of Sake and Souchu.













The ANA Million Miler display. Sample luggage tags - not actually assigned to any actual fliers (yet).



Overall, the ANA Lounge remains my favorite lounge at Narita. The sake / souchu wine bar and the Noodle Bar are my favorite features and make a unique way to fill up. The fact that you can try a whole slew of different wines that you normally wouldnt get at home is a bonus. Make sure you stop by here the next time you are through Narita.
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Old May 12, 2014, 9:27 pm
  #20  
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Asiana Airlines
Business Class
NRT-ICN (Narita International Airport, Tokyo Incheon Airport, Seoul)
OZ 105 Business Class (I)
6:50 PM 9:30 PM
April 16, 2014
Booked: Boeing 747-400
Flown: Boeing 747-400 Combi


We ended up traveling to Dubai via Seoul, via Bangkok in a case of You cant get there from here. There were limited flights to Dubai from Narita if you werent flying with Emirates or Etihad, making the Star Alliance connection points Bangkok or Beijing. We opted for Bangkok as we had been through China previously and found the Air China service and catering a little lacking. For some reason, there was no nonstop Thai Airways availability was on offer- likely due to it being high demand Airbus 380 service between Narita and Bangkok. So that brought us to a flight to Incheon Seoul, an overnight at the Hyatt Incheon, then a another flight down to Bangkok, a visit to the Royal Orchid Spa and a last Thai Airways flight onto Dubai.

A trick of the book today. For some reason, Asiana is operating a three class aircraft on a two class route. We self assigned ourselves seats in the Asiana First Class nose of the Boeing 747-400. The service was usual business class service along with business class menus. Its a bit of a trick as without knowing, you could also book an Airbus 321 with traditional barca-lounger seats on this route as well which would be a substantial difference in comfort. Obviously, not everyone knows or asks about first class seats as there were as 3 empty seats up front tonight (5/8 load). One of the passengers was uniformed staff (male). Unfortunately, its also likely the last flight I will take seated in first class in the in the nose of a 747 as most carriers are retiring these aircraft in favor of more efficient models.



Todays flight started with double jet bridge boarding between business and travel class. Like other shorter Asian Business class flights, no amenity kits were offered. The usual Asiana branded slippers in a transparent case were made available.

We settled into the familiar OZ first class seat that we previously experienced on OZ201 LAX-ICN. Its getting a bit dated now but its still a very comfortable set up. Its not showing any wear and tear at all on the suite product itself. This time we opted for the center seats 4E/F instead of the outer seats of 3A/4A as we had previously experienced.













Business class menus were presented, along with a towel service. A pre-departure beverage of water, juice or champagne was offered. Dinner orders were also taken while on the ground in Narita.







On take off, the difference between the Boeing 787 and the 747 aircraft became apparent. The 747 transmitted bump and quivers throughout its frame as the plane climbed to altitude. These shakes, rattles and rolls were notably present compared to our last flight on the 787 which was shake and rattle free.

Tonights flight was a short one. In addition to the groans of the cabin on the climb, there were a substantial amount of bumps and turbulence on the flight. The seat belt sign on for almost entire duration of flight. The divider between 4E and 4F has a privacy screen but it can only be left in place with smooth flight. It has to stay down for most if not all of the flight. Given the bumps, I didnt get the opportunity to get up to talk to the back to see whether the regular business class section was being sold. My guess was that it was not.

The dinner of beef tenderloin presented all at once with salad. You can tell how bumpy the flight was by the state of the red wine in the photograph.





Dinner was followed by mixed nuts- in a pouch instead of a ramkin (the horrors!).

The plane had Video on Demand. I didnt get too into it given the short duration of the flight.





There were regular refills of champagne throughout the flight. The glass was never less than half full. Im happy to report that it was classic, reliable, attentive Asiana service.

Before we knew it, we were on approach into Incheon. After landing, we had a long 15 minute taxi to the terminal. This was followed by a long line at immigration with no option for fast track. We had another 15 minutes here since several large capacity jets from China appeared to be unloading at this hour. The bags were already on the belt on arrival to the carousel.

Exiting into the public side of the arrivals hall, we were accosted by taxi driver touts like never before. We were approached by four separate taxi drivers at separate times looking for fares on our walk to the Hyatt Regency shuttle bus. The touts were super aggressive. We had just come off a trip across Africa without any troubles similar to this. I actually had to tell one guy to bugger off and leave us alone. He actually followed us for about 5 minutes and wouldnt leave until we took his business card. It was a bit surprising since I certainly wasn't expecting this in Incheon!!
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Old May 13, 2014, 9:34 am
  #21  
 
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Very nice.

I did not walk in the park. I would like to return and visit Japan thoroughly as I only went to Tokyo in 1978.
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Old May 13, 2014, 9:54 am
  #22  
 
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Originally Posted by worldtraveller73
Exiting into the public side of the arrivals hall, we were accosted by taxi driver touts like never before. We were approached by four separate taxi drivers at separate times looking for fares on our walk to the Hyatt Regency shuttle bus. The touts were super aggressive. We had just come off a trip across Africa without any troubles similar to this. I actually had to tell one guy to bugger off and leave us alone. He actually followed us for about 5 minutes and wouldnt leave until we took his business card. It was a bit surprising since I certainly wasn't expecting this in Incheon!!
That's shocking. Please write complaint at VOC. They should be banned.
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Old May 13, 2014, 11:52 am
  #23  
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Shocked about the menu - not even a meatless or vegetarian meal available
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Old May 17, 2014, 12:08 pm
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Bretteee
Very nice.

I did not walk in the park. I would like to return and visit Japan thoroughly as I only went to Tokyo in 1978.
Bretteee, Japan is one of those places that's got tremendous culture with something more to see after every visit. I find that every time I visit, there is always something new to discover.

Originally Posted by nuff
That's shocking. Please write complaint at VOC. They should be banned.
Thanks Nuff. I'll explore that link. It seems to be broken but I think I can forensically re-construct it to get o the right place.

Originally Posted by offerendum
Shocked about the menu - not even a meatless or vegetarian meal available
Offerendum - this seems to be my experience on Asiana business class.

On my two short haul flights, dinner is two options only. Wines are three options only - one white, one red, one dessert.

It's survivable if it is a short 3 hour flight, but I'd imagine that a longer one with this level of catering would be a bit harder to enjoy. I don't know if your experience is any different.
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Old May 17, 2014, 12:19 pm
  #25  
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Hyatt Regency Incheon,
Incheon, Seoul.
King Room


Our twelve hour overnight connection in Incheon meant that we needed a hotel for the night. Instead of opting for a hotel in town, we made things simple and went for an airport hotel: The Hyatt Regency Incheon.

We easily found the complimentary shuttle for the Hyatt Regency Incheon Airport hotel. The shuttle departs every twenty minutes at XX:07, XX:27, XX:47 past the hour.



The hotel is immediately off the Incheon airport property in a yet to be fully completed airside industrial park. Although close, it does not appear to be walk-able given the configuration of roads and freeway barriers. The hotel can be accessed by the Airport Railroad- an elevated light rail train system that links the airport with other areas around Incheon. We didnt test it out on our visit but the elevated track was in place and the stations were indeed there.

A photo of the outside from the next morning



As with many newer Hyatts, we were welcomed with an impressive pleasant looking lobby with a friendly and efficient check in. We were assigned Room #863, a King Room. There were six staff working the front desk at around 11 PM when we arrived. The quick check in process was welcomed as theres nothing worse than arriving after a journey and having to wait in a long line.



The hotel featured a Karaoke and casino, plus a bar and a lounge off to the side of the lobby. There was also a soothing bamboo dcor, lobby art, and a full serve restaurant.







The King Room #863 was nicely furnished, if not somewhat dark on arrival. This was as bright as it would get.









A welcome fruit amenity was also made available, in addition to casino branded chocolates and a personalized note from the manager.





The King room had a plain, utilitarian bathroom. It did the trick.





We had a quick 6 hour sleep here prior to our next flight the next morning. The room and hallways were quite during the hours for 12 AM - 5 AM, which was a relief.

The next morning, we had a nice view of the morning landing runway. We also had view of the morning calisthenics from the construction side for the project immediately next door at the 7 AM roll call. The exercises were a bit unusual from a North American business perspective, but probably common in some Asian countries.







As we left the Hyatt Regency Incheon, the door staff pro-actively called me by name by looking at my luggage tags, asking if the service was up to standard. I thought this was a nice personal touch that you dont get very often at other hotels.

Overall, the Hyatt Regency Incheon is a nice hotel in the middle of nowhere. There is absolutely nothing around the area and aside from the usual food and beverage outlets in the hotel. There appears to be minimal entertainment around here. In true airport pricing, the room was valued at a steep $260 USD. We used Hyatt Passport Points to redeem at 8,000 points per night, which we found to be a much better value. Wed stay here again if we needed to if we ever had an overnight at Incheon airport again.
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Old May 17, 2014, 12:30 pm
  #26  
 
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I love this report because it covers many parts of the world! I'm looking forward to seeing it finished.
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Old May 17, 2014, 12:34 pm
  #27  
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Asiana Business Lounge
International Concourse
Seoul Incheon.

Incheon is regularly advertised as one of the top airports in the world. I had been through Incheon on international connections many times. Indeed, it is a easy and pleasant experience. This was my first experience that I have had departing Incheon as a passenger.

We had an easy, hassle free, check in with Thai Royal Silk Business. Our boarding cards on Thai were issued to BKK and onward to DXB. We were also given a hand written Star Alliance Lounge invitation.









We were directed over to a huge several hundred person long security screening line up. There were no priority queues for business class so we joined the masses. MrsWT73 wasnt impressed by this, but really there was no other alternative. Thankfully, there were over 10 security screening check point lanes being fed from this one single line and so it moved relativity quickly. My carry on was flagged for additional screening. They unpacked the bags looking for liquids and quickly lost interest in it when they discovered everything was in compliance- allowing me the lovely opportunity to re-pack it.



The conformity of Asiana flight attendants and the uniform look they provide:



After the bag was put back together, we took the train over to the north satellite concourse. The north satellite concourse appeared to be where most non Asiana airline flights departed from, including the newer Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge, Cathay Pacific Lounge and an outpost of the Asiana First and Business Lounge. The main terminal building holds the main Asiana First and Business Lounges that grace the trip report pages here most often.

The Asiana Lounge is found up the escalator immediately after the subway train, on the upper level.













The Asiana Business Lounge was a similar copy in appearance to the Asiana lounges in the main concourse, less the beautiful open air windows and feel of the main lounges. It included the traditional black centerpiece Young Chang piano.

Overall, the experience was sort of like hanging out in your grandmas house. It had an older dcor with many things not working or broken but that no one seemed interested in fixing.















Our visit was at 8 AM or what one would normally consider breakfast time. At this hour, the coffee machine was broken. Scrambled eggs were out when we arrived, but once they ran out there were no more to be had until 930 AM. I read this sign and understood breakfast to be between these hours, not 7:30 AM AND 9:30 AM. I asked about this and was informed that I had missed out and would have to wait until 9:30 AM. Seriously? This would be how youre treating your supposed best passengers? (Okay, as a points redeemer instead. They are still hard earned miles! )

As a result, I had a toasted cheese sandwich.

















There was also a small office area, and working printer. I actually used the facility to print some email confirmations of our Burj Al Arab reservations.



Sometimes lounges are memorable and make for a great experience. Unfortunately, this was not one of them. Not because of anything bad, but aside from the lovely piano and the library feel, there wasnt much to this place that made it feel different than any other lounge. We didnt stay too long here and opted for the more pleasant terminal and a leisurely walk to the gate.
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Old May 17, 2014, 12:37 pm
  #28  
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Thai Airways International
Royal Silk Business Class
ICN-BKK (Incheon Airport, Seoul Survarnabhumi Bangkok International Airport, Tokyo)
TG657 Business Class (I)
9:35 AM 1:25 PM
April 17, 2014
Booked: Boeing 777-300
Flown: Boeing 777-200ER


Todays flight was departing from Gate 122 on the Incheon North Satellite terminal. Thai Airways operated a two class service on this route. Incheons gate 122 also happened to be an Airbus A380 configured gate with three jet bridges- two of which were attached to our Boeing 777 today.









We were welcomed on board with the warm Thai Swadee-Ka. We settled into the purple Thai angled lie flat seats that are found on Thais Boeing products. Todays cabin was 12 out of 30 occupied today, making for a comfortable flying experience.















We were offered a pre-departure beverage and scented towel service.



Thai Airways has now switched to a very slick and err purple Porsche Design amenity kit. It was stuffed full of items, tooth paste, mouthwash, combs and Bogner branded lip balm and creams along with eye shades. It would be best amenity kit that we would received on this adventure.









Shortly after takeoff, lunch and drink menus were presented.









This was followed shortly with a pre-supper drink off the cart. I went with Piper Heidsieck champagne again, which was served along with some almonds.





I had the hot savory shrimp rolls to start.



Followed by the salmon and black sesame seed, mixed green salad with thousand island dressing served with Stir Fried Prawn with black pepper, sweet bell pepper sauce, steamed thai hom mali rice, pak choy.





This was followed up with assorted cheese cake and fresh fruits.





More gluttony as I had a fourth course consisting of a second dessert of apple crumble cheese cake.



Once service concluded, another towel service was offered. As with most of my Thai flights, the service crew pretty much disappeared after that point. Usually to be found chatting or fiddling with their phones in the galley with the curtains closed.

I settled into the Thai Video on Demand, which had a large selection of movies of all kinds.



Shortly before landing, we were offered a second service of finger sandwiches and juice. These were similar to the usual Thai sandwich offerings.



Before we knew it, we were over South East Asia an on approach into Bangkok. I always find that the clouds in this humid part of the world are always so unique.



An easy quick approach into Survarnabhumi and we were on the ground before we knew it.





Overall, there wasnt much to report on for this particular flight. The last time I flew Thai internationally, it was immediately departing Shanghai after an Air China domestic flight. The difference between Air China and Thai was obvious. The service was so much better on the Thai Airways flight. Better equipment, more comfortable seats, better food and beverage complimented by a much happier staff.

After the excellent service that we received on All Nippon Airways, it made this particular Thai flight a little less memorable. The crew wasnt nearly as enthusiastic, and all though the Thai cultural influences were there, it wasnt nearly as memorable an experience.
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Old May 17, 2014, 12:40 pm
  #29  
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Thai Royal Orchid Spa.
Survarnabhumi Airport,
Bangkok, Thailand.

This wont be news to many of you but here it is; Thai Airways offers massage services for Thai Airways premium passengers in business and first class. Business Class passengers are offered a thirty minute neck and shoulders or foot massage. First class passengers are offered a sixty minute full body oil or thai massage. We experienced the full sixty minute massage the last time we were through Survarnabumi on our last Round the World Trip and it was a terrific unique way to spend some time immediately prior to your flight. ^

After we disembarked, we entered into the older Survarnabhumi Bangkok airport. We passed through a security check and up one level and we were on the main departure concourse.



With some assistance, we found the Thai Royal Orchid Spa. The services are made available on a first come first served basis (no advance appointments accepted) and I had no idea how busy the spa was going to be. We decided to get the massage right away, instead of landing at the Royal Orchid Lounge where we might get too comfortable to get up again.



I dig the detail on the door handle pulls.



On arrival, we appeared to be the only ones in the spa aside from the staff. The usual information form was filled out. We both opted for the thirty minutes neck and shoulders massage.

We were led to a semi private walled area I was somewhat expecting a row of boiler room chairs for some reason. MrsWT73 and I were separated for this experience as we enjoyed our 30 minute massages.





The neck and shoulders massage was of Thai variety (think lots of stretching without massage oil combined with very strong pressure). I found it very relaxing. The pressure was much stronger than expected for a free massage. I provided a $5 USD tip but the masseuse seemed a bit embarrassed to accept it.

After the massage, we enjoyed a lemongrass tea in the lounge afterwards. The Royal Orchid Spa area is air conditioned as its in an enclosed space, whereas the Royal Orchid lounge is not since its in an open air format with the concourse. The usual comment cards were also provided.







The Thai Royal Orchid Spa is probably one of the most unique ways in the world to spend a connection. I especially like that they perform a full service- a 30 minute neck and shoulders massage or a full 60 minute full body massage. Its a much more "value add" than the smaller Spa services that Etihad offers in their Six Senses Spa in Abu Dhabi (15 minutes) or Elemis offers in their British Airways First Lounges at JFK New York or Heathrow, London (also 15 minutes).
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Old May 17, 2014, 12:42 pm
  #30  
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Royal Silk Lounge
Survarnabhumi Airport,
Bangkok, Thailand


With our hair sideways from the massage, we crossed the street to the Royal Silk Lounge. Both times Ive been here, Ive never been able to get the sign to photograph well. This is the view of the back door of the lounge.



Last time on our visit, we were fortunate enough to be in the Thai Royal First Lounge. Being my first visit to the Thai Royal Silk Lounge, it took some time to get oriented with the configuration of the lounge. It is essentially a very long and rectangular lounge with several different food stations throughout the lounge.








The food didnt represent to be all too appetizing, which I think is accurately captured in the photographs. Just the essentials please















There was also a small work area with computers available.



Having entered the through the lounge back door, it took us a little time to locate the bar service.

At each food station were fridges with Singa and Heineken beer. Despite trying my hardest, I couldnt find any wine or hard spirits. We initially considered heading to the Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge but didnt bother to make the trek or search it out. MrsWT73 wasnt too particularly pleased with the lack of wine, but having just had a massage, we werent displeased enough to leave and make a switch.



After about 30 minutes, I located the bar at the main entrance to the lounge across the escalator well where you board the golf carts to get to the Royal First Lounge. The escalator area feeds down from the Bangkok Business and First dedicated immigration counters so it would be somewhat easy to miss the bar since the lounge is on the other side of it in an open concept format.







The discovery of the bar greatly pleased the missus. We had a few glasses of hooch before we had to leave across the hall to Gate D1A (bus gate).
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