Day 23 – Abu Dhabi part 2

14 Apr

Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi.

It’s spectacular when you arrive:

And it’s interesting to see how “physically disabled” translates around here:

As the light fades it gets more and more photogenic:

And keeps getting better until you’re torn between staying for more photos or racing back to the hotel for the end of happy hour in the Club lounge:

If you visit the middle east, the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi at sunset should be top of your list.

Although, I was glad I decided to leave when I did because the Martinis, whiskey sours, and wagyu beef canapes in the Rosewood club lounge, are absolutely first class.

Day 24 – Etihad First Class Apartment

16 Apr

This will be a long post because when you fly on a £9000 ticket there’s a lot going on!

First, you’ll probably have breakfast. For me, that was in the superb Manor Club lounge at the Rosewood. Just save some appetite for what’s coming.

(Rubbish photo but incredibly delicious French toast)

Then the Etihad chauffeur will collect you at the hotel for a transfer to the first class terminal.

After check-in you’ll head to the First Class Lounge and Spa, clutching a very important piece of paper.

You’ll enjoy a glass of champagne while you decide what to have from the extensive menu.

And you’ll also struggle to choose from the drinks menu while you eat and watch the activity outside the window.

Then it’s time to board the top deck of the A380 and turn left, where you’ll see the apartments.

And find apartment 4A, selected because it faces forward and the seat is by the window.

Some rows face backwards, or have the seat by the aisle, or have one window not three, like this…

but you spent so much time and effort researching and planning that you were sure to identify the best seat and find a flight where it wasn’t already booked.

The butler will bring you more champagne and some dates…

and show you your own personal mini bar and vanity unit with amenity kit…

and your noise-cancelling headphones…

and pyjamas.

There’s plenty of storage under the seats. No fighting for overhead bin space when you’re travelling first class.

Next you’ll peruse the menus.

You’ll be very pleased with how private it is, even with the doors open. From your seat, you don’t see anyone else. The next person in your row is all the way over on the other side of the cabin. If you lean forward you can just see their legs.

After take off you can close the doors for even more privacy…

but only after the butler has brought you a glass of Bordeaux and some amuse bouches.

Next, you’ll dine. Or maybe later. Or both. Whatever you want, at any time, it’s up to you, and if you want to tweak the dish just chat with the chef.

After your third extravagant meal of the day (it’s still only 3pm), you can ask the butler to make up your bed. Nothing as common as a simple reclining chair with a blanket, here you get a separate bed with proper sheets and a duvet.

If you’re enjoying it too much to actually sleep, the TV screen folds out and there’s another remote control and headphone socket so you can have another cocktail and watch a movie in bed.

Of course, you’ll want to close the blinds on your three windows.

Later, if you’re nice to the butler, you might get a private tour of the exclusive and staggeringly expensive First Class Residence. No photos allowed, but you’ll get to sit where you’d normally have to pay three times the price of the apartment and the previous passengers were Rihanna and Nicole Kidman.

Perhaps a light meal before landing.

Finished with movies? No problem: Etihad has live TV.

With a mocktail, because you’ll be driving soon.

When it’s all over, there’ll even be an Etihad employee waiting to lift your suitcase off the luggage belt in a special section reserved just for first class.

After that, all that’s left is burning off the 25000 calories you just consumed.

£9000? No thanks.

£23 and 60000 air miles? Absolute bargain, and it takes the total value of this trip, if I’d paid the best cash rate for all the flights and hotel upgrades I’ve done with points and miles, to over £31000…

Post from RICOH THETA. #theta360uk – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Post from RICOH THETA. #theta360uk – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Post from RICOH THETA. #theta360uk – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA