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Splurge weekend (AF / EY F cabin + Grosvenor/St. Regis stay)

Splurge weekend (AF / EY F cabin + Grosvenor/St. Regis stay)

Old Jun 4, 16, 3:51 am
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Splurge weekend (AF / EY F cabin + Grosvenor/St. Regis stay)

I started my trip report last year, right after. But didn't finish it. Bad me! Today decided to finish it!

----

Time for my first TR. Been a lurker for quite some times now and learn many useful tips/tricks here

Last year I decided with my best friend to take 'the trip of a lifetime'. We found an miles trip in F to Dubai and then thought about flying the new KL Dreamliner C cabin on the way back. The VIP Centre in Amsterdam was a very nice thing to try.

Then I read the Points Guy about ET F cabin booked with AAdvantage miles. I had enough Starwood points, so transferred them to AA, canceled the KL part and the trip was booked in F both ways

As a last plan I decided to book best rated hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for the only 3 nights we were there. All booked with great BRG rates

As a last surprise the new F lounge in AUH was opening 1 day before our trip, so in total lots of new ground to cover.

1. VIP Centre Amsterdam
2. AF F lounge @ CDG
3. AF F cabin CDG - DXB
4. Grosvenor House (with a nice upgrade to a 2 bedroom apartment)
5. St Regis Saadiyat Island (with a fantastic upgrade to an Ocean Suite )
6. EY new F lounge @ AUH
7. EY F cabin AUH - LHR

SOME FACTS
AF miles spend: 260.000 Flying Blue Miles+ € 424,38
AA miles spend: 80.000 AAdvantage Miles (!!) + € 190,12

This was for 2 persons and before both AF and AA miles needed went up. Today the AF trip would cost you 320.000 Flying Blue miles and 125.000 AAdvantage Miles.

O...and the total trip would take us 4 days. Had much fun about it before the trip, thought about not doing it again after Next time will just plan a nice week abroad to recuperate.

We got some nice upgrades at both hotels and the rides to/from the airport also A+. In the end we really had the Splurge weekend that we intended to have.

Total trip (flights+upgraded rooms) was worth near € 30.000,-, we paid just under € 2.000,- + miles

Last edited by kevinflyaway; Jun 4, 17 at 12:47 pm
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Old Jun 4, 16, 3:52 am
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VIP Centre Amsterdam Schiphol

To find the VIP Centre is a bit of a hassle. When you drive to Schiphol, you have to follow 'long term parking' first and then only will you find the VIP Centre signs :roll eyes:

We drove around for 10 minutes. I got mad, since it would be less time in the lounge.

We arrived at 08:15 and the flight to CDG would depart at 09:30.

Forget to make the arrival picture (TR first timer ), so you arrive at the VIP Centre and take the elevator to the second floor. There you will arrive at the VIP Centre and greeted by a receptionist, or in our case the KLM rep.

General lounge area


We were taken to Lounge 2.


All other lounges were busy also. Tried to piek into the Royal Lounge (which was occupied it seemed), so got the word to kindly stay away from the entrance.
We had my partner bring us to the lounge and he was allowed to escort us during our time in the lounge. It is allowed to bring 1 guest extra to the lounge, even though that person doesn't travel.

After settling in a nice lady offered coffee, thee and breakfast.


It felled uncomfortably that you wait for somebody to bring to the aircraft, as you learned to go the gate on time. It seemed boarding was a bit slow and they waited to bring us, just they didn't tell us.

Some nice art in the lounge. Almost everything in the lounge is made my Dutch artists only. The wooden table for instance is a Piet Hein Eek. A table purely made from re-used wood. The cost of the table however, no so cheap



Then finally at 09:10 (!) we were pick-up for our ride. My my, the sweetness of this perk really grows on me during this trip.


We even looked up the cost for this for our upcoming trip for next month (€410)...but decided to next time just go back to the KL Crowne Lounge.

And then we were handed over to the AF flight crew that would bring us to CDG.

Last edited by kevinflyaway; Jun 4, 16 at 4:27 am
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Old Jun 4, 16, 3:52 am
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Air France F lounge @ CDG

Our flight to CDG was delayed by 30 minutes, due to a passenger not showing up....arghh!! We didn't make up the time when we landed in CDG, so less time in the lounge.

Original arrival time: 10:45
Actual arrival time: 11:12
Departure to DXB: 13:55

We were met by a nice AF agent at the door of the aircraft and swiftly escorted to another car to bring us to the F lounge.


It just love these rides! It gives another view of the airport, but just the whole greeted at the plane, don't meet anybody else and no lines make this so perfect!

Then the arrival at the F lounge after only a 5 minute drive


The lounge was actually quite full this morning. It seems that during the weekends (it was a Saturday) more people make use of the lounge. I wouldn't have expected this but ok.


Of course I wanted to try everything, so an agent quickly looked for availability for the spa. After 10 minutes I could enjoy a 30-minute facial. It was heaven.


My friend went to the spa right after me, which gave me the possibility of just stepping out of the lounge to find some (real French) macarons. You can use the elevator to go down, directly into the terminal area. Well, how quickly this way of travelling grows on you. The elevator doors opened and it was just horror...people walking around me, bells ringing, people screaming. So luckily the macaron shop was just in front of the elevator. So I quickly bought some and stepped back into the elevator to go back to the bliss of the F experience.

So then we had about 40 minutes left, what to do?! Let's try a 3-course lunch

Entree - Pasta with truffle (recommended by the agent, very lovely, not to little/to much truffle, just right. Large for a entree though)


My friend had the chicken sandwich (which was just ok)


Main course - Lobster (just perfect)


My friend had the steak, which I read much about in this forum. But without the pepper sauce it wasn't all that and the structure of the steak was off. Still beats every average steak in dinner for sure!


Then our luck ran out. We really had to leave for the aircraft. We were stuffed to the fullest though, so it would be hard to eat anything on the plane anyway. Ok, I will say goodbye to the dessert area. Looked perfectly, but those light walls are a ** to photograph.

Overall our lounge experience was superb! Even though I found it busy, it was still very quite and peaceful. Even with only 1 spa person working, still managed to get time for the both of us. All in all A+

Last edited by kevinflyaway; Jun 4, 17 at 6:36 am
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Old Jun 4, 16, 3:53 am
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Air France F cabin CDG - DXB

Back into the car and a 5 minute drive to the plane.

Up we went, passed the que line for passengers still boarding the plane and through the front door. We were met by our personal FA for this flight. Lovely lady I have to say. I've flown with AF a lot and I always find them correct and giving good service. Nothing less, but certainly nothing more. She went above and beyond for us.

Our seats 1A and 1E




Let's get this party started. A lovely rose champagne was served.


And one more surprise. During the few months I kept an eye out and saw the other two seats empty, but some how somebody managed to join our little party in seat 1L. O well. Partition up and back to 'our' First experience

Lunch was still digesting so we decided to have our on board lunch later (more during dinner time in DXB). But not to totally spoil our fun....let's just order a snack.

This lemon meringue tartlet from Leontre with Earl Grey thea was fantastic. Same counts for the Belgian chocolates.


Funny thing during the flight. We were both watching a movie (side note: the entertainment sucks! Very little new movies, old TV series, just as KL. It keeps getting worse) and all of sudden we hit some turbulences. We both look at each other as if we had forgotten we were on a plane. The entire cabin is so peacefully decorated. It gives it a homely feeling. Also the Bose headphones are fantastic. When putting them on, you hardly hear the engine at all! Never had that before on any aircraft.

Then, after an hour or 3 we decided it was time for dinner.

Let the games begin!

Nice set-up. Really like the AF plate and asked if they sell them. The FA thought it was a great idea, but they didn't. I told them KL mostly tries to sell anything that has the ability to have a KLM logo on it and they make good money with it seemed. So laughed.


Started out with Mise en bouche; Sturia Baeri caviar, whipped cream with mascarpone and vodka, lime and blini. Accompanied with Taittinger Cuvee Comtes, 2005


Followed with a cream of asparagus soup with crostini. Always like soups in the sky, the asparagus itself was low on flavour. De soup itself was nice.


I'm sorry, I just like the duck foie gras. Never eat all of it, but I always take it when I'm on AF. This accompanied by a mango and pineapple compote. All very nice. FA suggested to pair it with a glass of Muscadelle, Barsac Chateau Doisy-Vedrines, 2008. Worked very well and really enjoyed it!


There were 2 options for a Cheff Joel Robuchon. The slow cooked fillet of John Dory Fish OR the duck confit with truffle. Although not really the season for it, decided to go for that one. Also because the FA suggested it. It was the most delicious course. It didn't look all that much. I took a bit out to show on the picture that the duck was on the bottom and the mashed potatoes was so soft and creamy. Really top notch! Tried both red wines (I'm not a favourite of red wines), but I really didn't like either. (Cabernet Sauvignon from Margaux Chateau OR Grenache Noir from Chateaunef-Du-Pape) All in all I found that the entire wine selection was a bit off...especially for a French airline.


Then a selection of cheeses came. Not to interesting, expect for the Langres.

And then dessert. Well I already had the lemon meringue tartlet. So went straight for the fresh fruit. Lovely presented.


After only 6,5 hours we landed at DXB airport. Were picked up by an airport represented and swiftly escorted out of the airport in 15 minutes. We had to walk though, no car, no golfer So sad.....the trip has ended for sure!

Last edited by kevinflyaway; Jun 5, 16 at 4:28 am
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Old Jun 4, 16, 3:54 am
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Grosvenor House, A Luxury Collection Hotel

Our return flight with EY would be from AUH. So after a 'long hard' day of travelling, decided we didn't want to travel to AUH at 1 o'clock at night. After reading several reviews on FT, ended-up booking a 1-night stay at the Grosvenor House.



Check-in was swift. We booked the cheapest room for sure, depending on my SPG Plat status to get us to a nice standard suite. We actually got a 2-bedroom apartment in Tower 1 I believe. It was massive. Didn't take a picture of the second bedroom, but that also had it's own bathroom. There was also a decent size kitchen. Really all you need for a 10-hour layover





In the end maybe a hotel suite would have made a better experience, because it wasn't as luxurious as I thought it would be after reading FT. But just take make sure, it was a fantastic room for under €200!

The next morning had breakfast (forgot to take photo) and that was bizar. Must have been one of the biggest buffets I ever experienced. So after trying a lot, we took a walk down the Marina.





Then at around 12:00 it was time for a trip to Abu Dhabi. Of course the whole trip was to splurge....so we just booked a 'standard' transfer....not!



A swift ride to Abu Dhabi in a little over an hour. We were going to the St Regis Saadiyat Island. I have never stayed at a St Regis before, so I was very curious. Well, it would be the cherry on our splurge weekend for sure!

Last edited by kevinflyaway; Jun 4, 17 at 3:27 am
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Old Jun 4, 16, 3:54 am
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St. Regis Saadiyat Island

During check-in I had to work some magic. We booked 2 superior rooms, then made a BRG-claim that I found. €120 per night, including taxes and half board . Originally we were assigned 2 sea view rooms, but I thought that was small leap in upgrade. So I informed about a suite upgrade. The lady went away for around 10 minutes and then came back. I said we didn't made if the had a 2-bedroom, so we would loose 1 night/stay credit to have 1 room. That upgrade would cost almost €400, so we declined. But the 1-bedroom upgrade was per SPG regulations, so I got an Ocean Suite room. My friend could visit

This is what the Ocean Suite looks like






Lets remember for the €120 we also got breakfast and diner included. Both were in the same buffet area and I don't really like buffets for dinner. So the next night we just had to make due.



For the next 1,5 days we chilled at the pool and relaxed. Really liked the St. Regis and would mind coming back one day for the same suite. Didn't take to many pictures, but you can find them online easily. To bad we had to go home again already, but wait!

Last edited by kevinflyaway; Jun 4, 17 at 3:52 am
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Old Jun 4, 16, 3:55 am
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EY new F lounge @ AUH

We booked our trip more then a year in advance. We had to cancel it ones and then find availability again. In the end we actually made the trip only a few days after the new F lounge opened.

There was only real downside of this trip and that was that the flight left at 08:10. So in order to enjoy some lounge time, we got picked-up at 05:30.



I had been looking forward to this trip for months. Researched the hell out of it, so the lounge was a nice touch. Since there was no real review yet, when we got there.



Easy, breasy arrival, check-in and security and off the lounge....





I'm missing some pictures I find. In the end we didn't have time for a full breakfast, so just make use of the small breakfast buffet in the back of the lounge. It actually became a little crowded at around 07:00. Of course we made use of the Spa, took a 15-minute facial. Went back for some coffee and then it was already time to board or Apartment!

Last edited by kevinflyaway; Jun 4, 17 at 4:07 am
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Old Jun 4, 16, 3:55 am
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EY First Apartment AUH - LHR

Then it was time to board our flight. We were greated by all but 3 EY people, swiftly taken to our seat and all I say was just...wauw!





The space is unbelievable, truly! It also doesn't feel claustrophobic (which I am) at all with all these walls. My neighbour was all but 10 years old or something. Couldn't imagine if you grow up thinking that this is actually the way to fly



Ok. Me time!



Funny thing is that when you travel together, you can actually travel without seeing our travel mate at all! Must be nice for some unlucky couples, but as friends we decided to at least dine together. Since it was only after 9 o'clock, we took some second breakfast and decided to lunch later.




Still find this one of the best pics. Think that this should be the only way to drink coffee on board a plane


Time for some rest...



And after 2/3 hours of lying in bed, one must clean before getting dressed! O wel...



So then it was time for lunch!







And then we were at LHR already and our splurge weekend ended! Well not really, we still had a flight to AMS to catch with BA and stay in the Business lounge T5 at Heathrow. Well let me tell you (or if you've been, you already know) the splurge weekend ended for real! The whole experiences was fantastic, bizar, bliss and then you get back to the BA lounge were it's dirty, busy, delayed (yes 2 hours) and I just closed my eyes and try to imagine I was still in the care of AF or EY

Hope you enjoyed the delayed trip report.

Last edited by kevinflyaway; Jun 4, 17 at 4:05 am
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Old Jun 4, 16, 6:04 am
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Really looking forward to this, kevinflyaway!
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Old Jun 4, 16, 8:20 am
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Originally Posted by JohnRain View Post
Really looking forward to this, kevinflyaway!
Thanks

Will try to post more tonight or tomorrow. Didn't know how much actually goes into writing a TR...
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Old Jun 4, 17, 4:08 am
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So it took some time to finish the trip report, but today was the day
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Old Jun 4, 17, 11:17 am
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I am confused about F Flying Blue Awards on Air France.

I thought they are only allowed for those who have special Gold / Elite Status? Am I correct? I have no status. Just a regular.

You needed 260,000 miles for 2 people or one for a one way flight to Dubai on AF?

The 80,000 on Ethihad I presume is for 1 person?

Sorry to sound like an ignoramus but what does BRG stand for?
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Old Jun 4, 17, 12:53 pm
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Originally Posted by Bretteee View Post
I am confused about F Flying Blue Awards on Air France.

I thought they are only allowed for those who have special Gold / Elite Status? Am I correct? I have no status. Just a regular.

You needed 260,000 miles for 2 people or one for a one way flight to Dubai on AF?
Yes, you need to be a Flying Blue Elite member in order to book F awards on AF. The 260.000 were for one person. Before august of '15 the miles needed for CDG-DXB was 130.000 Flying Blue Miles per person. I believe now it's 160.000

Originally Posted by Bretteee View Post
The 80,000 on Ethihad I presume is for 1 person?
Now, it was for two persons Before the AAdvantage change last year, you only needed 40.000 miles for a Europe - Middle East F booking. Now it's 62.500 per person. But still waaaay cheaper then on AF. I do have to say that the ground service of AF is far above EY standard.

Originally Posted by Bretteee View Post
Sorry to sound like an ignoramus but what does BRG stand for?
It's the Best Rate Guaranteed program from Starwood Hotels.
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Old Jun 4, 17, 1:07 pm
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Originally Posted by kevinflyaway View Post
So it took some time to finish the trip report, but today was the day
Glad you finished it kevinflyaway, excellent report.

EY F looks great but I still think the understated elegance of AF La Premiere wins. I still plan to have an EY experience one of these days though...
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Old Jun 4, 17, 1:27 pm
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Great TR, I really enjoyed the AF part. It's for me in the TOP 3 First class product in the World.

The lounge itself worth every bucks.

Thanks for sharing.
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