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QR J (A380, 77W & B787) - Ritz-Carlton Tokyo - Sakura, Sushi & a Birthday Celebration

QR J (A380, 77W & B787) - Ritz-Carlton Tokyo - Sakura, Sushi & a Birthday Celebration

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Old Apr 18, 16, 8:44 am
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QR J (A380, 77W & B787) - Ritz-Carlton Tokyo - Sakura, Sushi & a Birthday Celebration

Following the great feedback my last Trip Report generated (you can read it here) I decided to start a new one, this time about a city I've wanted to visit for a long time: Tokyo.
Add to that the fact that Mrs JohnRain's birthday was during Sakura season and off we went to spend a perfect week in this most amazing city.

Here's the itinerary:

-QR J A380 CDG-DOH
-Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge DOH
-QR J 77W DOH-NRT
-The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo: Tower Suite & Club Lounge
-Sakura at the Shinjuku Gyoen Park & Imperial East Gardens
-Meiji Shrine & Senso-ji Temple
-Downtown Tokyo
-Tokyo Zoo at Ueno Park
-Happo-En Japanese Garden
-A foodie's paradise: Hinokizaka Sushi, Nadaman, Andaz Tavern, Kyubey, Narisawa, Sushi Iwa, Yakumo Saryo
-Hotel-lounge-hopping: The Palace Hotel, The Shangri-La, The Andaz, The Aman, The Peninsula
-JAL Business Class Lounge HND
-QR J B787 HND-DOH
-QR J A380 DOH-CDG


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Old Apr 18, 16, 8:59 am
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Having just got back from Japan and having also visited Narisawa I'm looking forward to this!
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Old Apr 18, 16, 2:24 pm
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can't wait. starting to plan for a family trip for March...
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Old Apr 18, 16, 5:17 pm
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Very excited to see another TR, JohnRain, and what excellent timing! Just finalizing plans for our May trip

Looking forward to the pics, and if you're still there, hope you're having a great time!
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Old Apr 18, 16, 5:33 pm
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QR J is great as it is on the planes to the US.
I can't wait for the A380 pics.
The next level up is A380 in F class, but I missed my chance on AA miles from CDG-Asia
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Old Apr 19, 16, 2:27 am
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Originally Posted by matthandy View Post
Having just got back from Japan and having also visited Narisawa I'm looking forward to this!
Thanks for your kind comment, matthandy. Narisawa was indeed quite a culinary journey!


Originally Posted by farbster View Post
can't wait. starting to plan for a family trip for March...
Thanks a lot farbster. Japan at the end of March/beginning of April really is a unique experience.


Originally Posted by LM225 View Post
Very excited to see another TR, JohnRain, and what excellent timing! Just finalizing plans for our May trip

Looking forward to the pics, and if you're still there, hope you're having a great time!
Thanks a lot for your enthusiastic comment, LM225! You'll certainly have a great time in May. I just got back and I'm in the middle of selecting the pictures for this TR.


Originally Posted by brg View Post
QR J is great as it is on the planes to the US.
I can't wait for the A380 pics.
The next level up is A380 in F class, but I missed my chance on AA miles from CDG-Asia
Thanks for your kind comment, brg.
QR J (especially in the A380) is by far my favourite business class cabin. In case you missed it, I reviewed QR F A380 in my last TR. My plan was to buy a cash upgrade to F this time, but unfortunately the F cabin was fully-booked.

Update: the next installment will be online later today.
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Old Apr 19, 16, 5:04 am
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Due to the current security situation in Paris I came to CDG 45 minutes earlier than usual, only to find that the whole QR check-in area had been sealed off by the police because of a suspicious piece of luggage. By the time the counters opened again, well over 200 people who were waiting to check in rushed to the counters. Strangely enough the C line moved faster than the F line (I had noticed the same on my last QR flight ex CDG in December). As the CDG lounge situation still hasn't improved, I didn't even bother and went straight to the gate. Premium passengers receive a Fast Track voucher for security, but there were again so many people in the line that once I cleared security, boarding had already started. I'm really looking forward to QR's own lounge opening later this year, as the current ground experience is extremely poor.

I quickly settled into my bulkhead seat and had my first (and last) glass of Drappier rosé champagne. As I was still thirsty I had a second glass but this time I chose So Jennnie, a very enjoyable non-alcoholic rosé champagne ersatz I discovered a few years ago on QR and that I have been drinking ever since when I don't feel like alcohol.


So Jennie and warm nuts.




The bubbly selection: the Billecart is nice enough, the Drappier on the other hand, well...




I went for the Smith Haut Laffitte for the entire meal, as it was lovely.




Time to eat something: the Mezze are always a good choice.







The chicken was tasty.




Some cheese.




And a mango mousse to finish off.




The food on QR rarely disappoints, but the real highlight is of course the lounge. The CDG-DOH leg is a short 6 hours and leaves at 16.40 CET, which means that sleeping isn't an option for me. Until a few months ago a stroll to the lounge meant a nearly 100% chance of getting a glass of Krug served, but unfortunately this is no longer the case. Of course I didn't want to disappoint this young lady and ordered a G&T.
(The below pic is from my last QR trip in December. Can you spot what gives it away?)







Said G&T.




In need of some inspiration I ordered the cocktail menu.




The Espresso Martini sounded appealing, so I had one three.




There's no better way to start a holiday than to have one cocktail after another, comfortably seated on the Poltrona Frau bench of the QR A380 lounge while enjoying this view and listening to the satisfying purr of the powerful engines.




As the day faded, the atmosphere in the lounge changed due to the cool mood lighting.




So many bottles, so little time.




To voice my protest regarding the poor champagne selection I ordered a champagne cocktail, a cardinal sin if it were made with a glass of Krug, but actually quite a good idea when it's Billecart.



Conclusion: another fantastic QR A380 flight, unfortunately not in F this time, but still very enjoyable.

Up Next: more food (but still no Krug) at Al Mourjan

Last edited by JohnRain; Apr 20, 16 at 10:53 am
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Old Apr 19, 16, 5:36 am
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Nice start to the TR, and great destination (I need to do another Tokyo trip soon).

The QR trip reports really make me want to fly this airline, especially for the food and the seats (787/a350/a380)
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Old Apr 19, 16, 10:26 am
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Nice start! Now I´m hungry for mango mousse
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Old Apr 20, 16, 2:39 am
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Originally Posted by grandgourmand View Post
Nice start to the TR, and great destination (I need to do another Tokyo trip soon).

The QR trip reports really make me want to fly this airline, especially for the food and the seats (787/a350/a380)
Thanks grandgourmand! Your handle tells me you'll be interested in the food installments of this report...


Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
Nice start! Now I´m hungry for mango mousse
Thanks offerendum. The mousse was very enjoyable indeed...

Update: the next installment will be online later today
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Old Apr 20, 16, 2:45 am
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Am eyeing off a QR or EK BKK to BCN J or F trip. Thanks for the info and report, will all help in the decision making
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Old Apr 20, 16, 5:18 am
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My layover in DOH was just under two hours which isn't all that long if you intend to dine twice and to snap some pics for the TR.

First stop: the formal dining area on the first floor of Al Mourjan.




When this lounge was built crude oil probably traded around 100 bucks, a pond therefore appeared like a necessity as the ultimate status symbol in an airport lounge. Today crude trades at 40 bucks and the bartender gives you a funny look when you want to order a glass of Krug. I guess reality has kicked in, even in the Middle East.




First some mezze to start.




Followed by a decent curry.




I started daydreaming and thought what it would feel like if all of a sudden a waiter came to pour me a glass of this stuff...
(Picture from my last visit to Al Mourjan in December. Happy times.)




The desserts looked nicer than they tasted.




Back on the ground floor, looking up to the formal dining area. A good vantage point to take in the sheer size of this lounge.




On the way to the more casual snacking area, I walked by some greenery...




... a reading/relaxation area...




...and the gaming room.




The lounge is so massive that by the time I reached the snacking area I was hungry again and had a toasted chicken sandwich with a tomato/mozzarella salad.




The ceiling is at least 10 meters high.




No time for dessert as it was already time to leave the lounge again and head to the gate. On the upper left and right you can see the tracks of the monorail that is currently being tested (I saw it drive back and forth a couple of times with no passengers on board and the seats still wrapped in plastic).



Conclusion: even without Krug, Al Mourjan is an excellent business class lounge.

Up next: To Tokyo on a QR 77W.
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Old Apr 20, 16, 5:56 am
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Old Apr 20, 16, 6:50 am
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Great start to what promises to be an outstanding report!
Love your always excellent pics and narrative.

BTW, your last amazing report has inspired us to visit the UAE.
We've booked Al Maha for next February... although in an exercise of fiscal restraint, opted only for the basic Bedouin Suite.
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Old Apr 20, 16, 2:49 pm
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Really looking forward to another JohnRain TR

Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post
BTW, your last amazing report has inspired us to visit the UAE. We've booked Al Maha for next February... although in an exercise of fiscal restraint, opted only for the basic Bedouin Suite.
Note to self: Don't write a trip report in February...everyone will be reading SFO's
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