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The Burj Khalifa was constructed as the worlds tallest building in order to transition the United Arab Emirates from solely and energy based market place into a world market place where more international recognition would be bestowed on the city. Visiting the observation deck at the Burj Khalifa was an experience we were keen to try, in this city of man made attractions. Our visit allowed us the ability to experience what it felt like to stand on the one hundred and twenty fourth floor of the world’s tallest building.


This post is one chapter on our second Round the World trip via Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Poland. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


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Activity: At The Top, Visiting the World’s Tallest Building, Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates


The Burj Khalifa has been the tallest skyscraper and free standing structure in the world. It is a well known structure that has made it’s way into the landmark books of skyscrapers around the world. It was designed to be the centrepiece of large-scale, mixed-use development, which includes the elegant Dubai Mall. The decision to construct the building was based on the government’s decision to diversify from an oil-based economy, and for Dubai to gain international recognition. 

The building has a total height of 829.8 meters 2,722 feet, or some 154 floors including 9 additional floors for maintenance. The building cost over 1.5 billion dollars to construct over 6 years. I can’t imagine the amount of construction mess that this took to build, but it’s certainly a sight to see after it’s completed and ready for viewing.

A Few Upwards at the Burj Khalifa

Booking “At The Top”:

The booking for the world’s highest observation deck is completed on line. The reservation windows opens ninety days in advance. The access is time controlled, meaning that a time slot is required to be selected for your visit. The reservations were fully booking up about 3 weeks out at the time of our visit. I left it a little late and was unable to get my first choice sunset time, instead ending up with a 3:30 PM time.

The tickets announced “Get ready to enter the record books”. Get ready to enter the record books alright- the internet advance purchase admission price of 125 AED ($40 USD) is much better than the walk up price of 400 AED ($125), the most expensive observation deck ticket I’ve ever purchased. Indeed, these tickets can escalate like plane tickets if you don’t purchase early enough.

Arriving to the Burj Khalifa:

The Burj Khalifa is in the middle of a mixed Commerical Residential area with a whole variety of things that could keep visitors (and residents) of Dubai entertained.

The entrance to the Burj Khalifa is accessed through the Dubai Mall. We walked over to Dubai Mall after arriving by Dubai Metro from our stay at the Four Points by Sheraton Sheikh Zayed Road.

The Dubai Mall
An opulent mall
Fish Tanks of the Dubai Mall

Accessing “At The Top” at the Burj Khalifa:

The Burj Khalifa At the Top observation deck is accessed by elevators. The building holds several world records with the elevator construction including world’s highest elevator construction and worlds longest travelled distance elevators.

After a short wait, we entered onto a double decker elevator and took the ride all the way up to floor 124. It’s a bit surreal seeing “124” as the floor when you step off.

Floor “124”

Viewing “At The Top” at the Burj Khalifa:

Once you’re At the Top, you’re pretty much free to roam around for your reservation time. The attraction recommends a two hour visit, and we pretty much took that amount of time on our stay. It is especially weird viewing from so high up on floor #124; just surreal being on top of all the other buildings.

There were great views of the Dubai Fountain and surrounding complex area.

Views of Dubai Fountain from the At The Top
Views of Dubai Fountain
Views looking towards the Dubai Aquarium (left)

There were also views of the business district along Sheikh Zayed Road and the E 11 highway, which is the main through fare for Dubai and part of the primary highway that criss crosses the coast line of the United Arab Emirates. It stretches to Saudi Arabia at the Western side and all the way to Oman at the other Eastern side.

The Business District of Sheikh Zayed Road
Towers near Sheikh Zayed Road
Views Along Shiekh Zayed Road, including construction yet to begin

While the views towards the central business district and it’s towers, I thought that the views of the man made Dubai Fountain on the reverse side were the star of the viewing platform.

My Closing Thoughts on At The Top at the Burj Khalifa:

Much like some other attractions in Dubai, the At The Toop Burj Khalifa falls into the category of “I’m happy I did it”. It was a visit to the world’s highest observation deck.

Despite all the marketing and packages that can be sold to enhance a visit, our visit was perfectly pleasant without “luxurious beverages” or other enhancements. The experience of taking photos at the top, while memorable, won’t ever make it i

It’s still pretty cool to be on the 124th floor of any building. I think this makes the visit the most memorable part. Either way, we were happy to have visited and to have made this destination one of our attractions while visiting Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


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The Burj Al Arab has developed a reputation as one of the world’s most luxurious hotels. It has been described by travel writers as one of the view world’s “seven star” properties. With room rates starting at over $2,000 USD per night, it remains an exclusive place to be. While it doesn’t allow walk in visitors, there is a way of visiting the hotel by enjoying it’s afternoon tea or a meal in one of it’s fine restaurants. We set ourselves up for a visit with afternoon tea at the Skyview Bar, amid spectacular views over the Dubai shoreline.


This post is one chapter on our second Round the World trip via Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Poland. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


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Activity: Afternoon Tea at the Burj al Arab, Skyview Bar, Dubai, United Arab Emirates


On our last visit to Dubai, we missed out on afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab on our last trip through. Naturally, it was high on our list to try out on our second visit to the city. In a city of escalating costs, The Burj Al Arab have recently increased the Afternoon Tea price up to 580 AED ($157 USD) with a glass of champagne in the Skyview Bar rooftop restaurant. They also had a lower priced offering in the Sahn Eddar lobby bar at 510 AED ($138 USD) with champagne or 450 AED ($122 USD) with unlimited non alcoholic drinks. The lobby bar doesn’t have any water view at all, and doesn’t match the views from the Skybar. If you are going to partake in this over the top experience, I’d highly recommend having tea in the Skybar.

The Burj Al Arab Hotel – Home of the Skyview Bar

Booking an Indulgent Afternoon Tea:

We booked on line via the hotel website. We booked about 30 days in advance and had our choice of availability. We aimed to start the experience right at the start of the first tea time seating at 1 PM – 3 PM in order to get the better window tables. There is also a seating time at 4 PM – 6 PM as well. The Burj Al Arab hotel has recently monetized the tables near the windows at an extra 100AED ($27 USD) per table, which seems like an easy decision if you’ve come all this way.

We had to provide an advance credit card along with a photo identification for the reservation. The reservations were handled promptly and professionally.

Arriving to the Burj Al Arab:

We arrived to the hotel by taxi from The Grosvenor House in Dubai Marina. We had to show a printed emailed reservation slip at the front gate. This was cross checked by a security guard using a wrist attached iPad. There were heaps of onlookers at the front wanting to take photographs of the building. Several (a small busload of) tourists were outside gawking at the whole experience so it’s plain to see why the security screening is enforced. 

Our taxi dropped off at front of hotel where the hotel staff had no issues with us taking photographs. Several guest or house cars were parked at the front, including several Rolls Royces.

Arrival Fountain at the The Burj Al Arab
Valet Cars at The Burj Al Arab
Arrival Valets
The Burj Al Arab Hotel Sign

Inside the Burj Al Arab Hotel:

We entered into the lower lobby and were personally greeted by a host who explained where to go. The lower lobby has a large fish tank as a feature. The lobby was a bit of a scene. It was full of tourists gawking like us, who happened to have restaurant reservations. There were indeed quite a number of tourists which was were slightly less than the amount outside. I think this would be expected considering that the hotel is a bit of a tourist attraction in itself.

Lower Lobby at The Burj Al Arab
Fish Tanks on the Escalator Ride to the Upper Lobby
Dancing Fountaints – As one does in a seven star hotel
Reverse View to the Lower Lobby

We self led ourselves up the escalators to main lobby. A lot has been said about the décor of this property. Although it’s not personally to my liking, I can understand the challenges in decorating a property that needs to make a statement and to have its guests remember the experience. The Burj Al Arab does that in spades.

Upper Lobby – The Burj Al Arab
The Outlandish Lobby at the Burj Al Arab
Lobby Restaurants

The building itself is hollow as there is a large atrium, making it able to see almost to the top floor inside the cavity of the structure. All the hotel rooms appeared to face the water. There was also the Sahn Eddar lobby bar, which faced the land side and vehicle entrance. There were also several interesting water features.

Looking Up: The Inner Lobby Atrium
Views of the Lobby from the Elevator Access
Resort Views from The Burj Al Arab

Arriving to the Skyview Bar:

The Skyview Bar at the Burj Al Arab is situated on the seventh seventh floor of the hotel. Given the expense of the tea, I was keen to get us a window seat in the Skyview Bar. We approached the visitor access elevator to the Skyview Bar at 12:30 PM and was turned away. “Come back at 1 pm.” It’s worth noting that the early tea is at a set 1 PM reservation time. We returned to the lobby and waited around. We returned to the elevators at 1245pm, explained the aim to get a seat by the window and were permitted access.

We rode up an outside elevator up to a very small holding area that was the reception for the restaurant. We were held here along with everyone else until a few minutes after one o’clock. We were then seated in order of arrival. A bit of an amusing experience as many people just walked into the restaurant thinking that they own the place and the staff do their best at frantically keeping people to hold in the reception area. Do these people really think that twenty people are standing around waiting here in the lobby just for fun? (Laughing). There was one Chinese woman who arrived and walked in without listening to any instructions. Within about 2 minutes, they had a staff member speaking to her in Chinese to prevent her from wandering about the restaurant. Overall, it was quite impressive on how Jumeriah dealt with the situation professionally and sensitively. In the end, it seems she had gotten lost from her tour group, which shows you how exclusive this place really is (or isn’t).

Lobby of the Skyview Bar
Reception at the Skyview Bar

Eventually, we were led to our seat. We were fortunate enough to be seated near a window, which is really best part of the whole experience. On our visit, the restaurant was configured with 6 seats on the right hand side (East facing) of the restaurant that has double seats angled outward at ninety degrees with both seats faced toward the window. With the other tables of two in the north side of the restaurant, one sesat faces the window and the other seat faces inward toward the middle of the restaurant. If you want a window facing seat where both of you are facing the window, make sure you get there early as the restaurant only had 6 tables for two that were configured this way on the east side on the date of our visit. 

The Bar at the Skyview Bar – The Burj al Arab
The Setting for Afternoon Tea at the Skyview Bar
A White Piano at the Skyview Bar
The Seating Area of the Skyview Bar

The Indulgent Afternoon Tea Menu:

As mentioned earlier, the Afternoon Tea set menu was offered at 580 AED ($157 USD), including a glass of champagne. Since we’re on the topic of price, there was no mention of included gratituity but there was a spot for it at the end of the bill. I thought it was a bit over the top asking for gratuity on a set menu $400 bill without it being included. Most places I’ve experienced at this price point have it included. There was also a live classical piano playing music throughout the service. 

Afternoon Tea Menu – Part I
Afternoon Tea Menu – Part II

Afternoon Tea – a six course affair:

The service started with Louis Roederer Brut NV champagne and some “off menu” fresh welcome dates.

Louis Roederer Brut NV and welcome dates
The Table Setting for Afternoon Tea at The Burj Al Arab
Views of the Dubai Skyline from the Skyview Bar
Skyline Views
The Burj Khalifa as seen from The Burj Al Arab

We had peek-a-boo views of the Palm Jumeriah in the distance…

Views of the Palm Jumeriah

As the food service got underway, our first course was a berry tart. 

A Berry Tart
An elegantly placed first course

Followed by the Chef’s Carvery of the Day. Today was Roast Beef served with mashed potatoes. It was perfectly cooked at medium rare.

Chef’s Carvery of the Day: Roast Beef with Mashed Potatoes

The third course was an etagière of finger sandwiches and soft buns. All were tasty with delicate unique Middle Eastern spices and influences.

The fourth course was a second etagière of home made scones with Devonshire clotted cream and home made jams. The jams were super tasty and we each quickly found our favorites.

Home made scones with Devonshire clotted cream and home made jams

Part way through the festivus of food, the champagne had gone down awfully well. We had to indulge in another drink. MrsWT73 had a Cosmopolitan, where as I had a Tom Collins decorated with a rose petal.

For the fifth course, we enjoyed a lychee and rose sorbet, along with a choice of teas. 

Lychee and Rose Sorbet
Afternoon Tea and Lychee and Rose Sorbet

Of course, things wouldn’t be complete the visit without take away chocolates.

Take Away Burj Al Arab Chocolates
Beautiful Chocolates to Conclude

Overall, the food was very good but not of excellent quality. The service matched this as being very good but a bit “assembly line” in nature. For example, many dishes were brought on on etiagères and it would be common for staff to bring out more than one etagière on their arms, rush through the explanations of the dishes holding the other etagiere at an awkward angle, then move directly onto the next table to repeat the process. One would expect that at a hotel of this caliber that the service would have been the top of the class. Needless to say, I was expecting a little bit more at this price point. I happened to mention this in a after the fact e-survey and received several apologies from the hotel property. 

The two hour service was taken leisurely. As can be expected, it was too much food. The best part of the experience was the view and the pleasure of a dining in a unique experience and atmosphere. It’s best reserved for a special occasion. If you are coming, aim to arrive early for one of the better tables. Those on the inside were not as enamoured with the view as we were, and left much earlier.

My Closing Thoughts on Afternoon Tea at the Burj Al Arab:

There are travel attractions around the world that fall into the category of “I’m happy I did it”. The Burj Al Arab fits into that category quite nicely.

While the Afternoon Tea itself was exceptionally pleasant, it wasn’t over the top memorable. The memorable portions of the visit included the over the top lobby, the indulgent views from the Skyview Bar, and the concept of eating in one of the world’s most exclusive hotels. The setting was lovely and the food was pretty divine. Initially, I thought that while we enjoyed the experience, we’d likely never be back. Now, with the passage of time, I actually look back on this afternoon as a memorable travel occasion well worth celebrating.


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For our second visit to Dubai, we decided to return to the Dubai Marina area. It was situated in a nice neighbourhood with access to nearby Jumeriah Beach. It also had reasonable access around Dubai thanks to being close to the Dubai Metro less than 10 minutes walk from the property.


This post is one chapter on our second Round the World trip via Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Poland. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


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Hotel Review: The Grosvenor House, Apartment Suites, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Dubai Marina, Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Updated


Booking and Getting there:

This was our second stay at this property after having previously stayed at The Grosvenor House on our last stay to Dubai. For more information on how we ended up chosing this property, I invite you to read our earlier post on our past stay.

Like before, we booked directly on the Marriott website. The property was chosen as it was in the modern newer part of Dubai. It was also situational near the Dubai Marina and Jumeriah Beach, the property was set back 1 block from the beach area. The property also offered a courtesy shuttle to the Royal Meridien Jumeriah Resort and access to its beach facilities and restaurants.

We were able to locate a rate of AED 1,150 per night and adding municipal tax at 10%, and a service charge of 10%, the total rate per night came to AED 1,380 ($375 USD) per night for a three night stay.

The Grosvenor House is located in the thick of all the towers in the eastern edge of the Dubai Marina.

It is an impressive first impression as you arrive to an area full of towers and luxury condominiums.

Approaching The Grosvenor House Towers
Entry to The Grosvenor House
The Lobby – The Grosvenor House

On arrival, we were led in from the street up the escalators to the lobby. Each time we had arrived here, check in is usually done completed on the lobby couches. The lobby always contains a beautiful fresh flower display. Today’s colors, as with last time, were yellow.

The Grosvenor House Lobby
Impressive Colors in the Lobby
An Over the Top Lobby Floral Display

A welcome drink was provided while our check in was completed on the lobby couches.

Welcome Beverages at the Grosvenor House Check In

We had originally booked a superior king size non smoking room. Regretfully, on our arrival at 11 PM, we were informed that they did not have our room type available. The hotel attempted to offer us two doubles instead. I wasn’t super keen on it and MrsWT73 made some comments toward the host who was handling our check in. This process worked and by the time they returned with the keys, we had received a complimentary upgrade to an Apartment King Suite in Tower One. 

The Room: An Apartment King Suite in Tower One

There are two types of rooms at the Grosvenor House: hotel rooms and apartment rooms. There are also two towers at the hotel: Tower One and Tower Two. Both towers contain hotel food and beverage outlets. Tower Two is closer to the Jumeriah Beach views and appears to contain mostly apartments. We’ve stayed (by choice) in Tower One on each of our visits.

Room #1018 – An Apartment King Suite

A Large Living and Dining Area:

Overall, the room had a nice living area and was quite large. The living area had a nice stereo that we used to tune in a little Dubai radio.

Apartment King Suite Living Area
Apartment King Suite Living Area
Apartment King Suite Living Area (and Dining Tables)

A Spacious One Bedroom King:

The bedroom was quite large and spacious, with plenty of room for our bags.

A King Bed in the Apartment King Suite
Ample Space in the Apartment King Suite
A comfortable wall mounted television in the master bedroom

The Apartment Suite contained one and a half bathrooms, with a wonderful rain shower that was the best of our trip. 

A Large Master Bathroom

A Full Kitchen:

The Apartment King Suite was equipped with a full kitchen, refrigerator and freezer. 

The kitchen was useful to store our duty free wine, since you can’t actually purchase wine with any ease inside the United Arab Emirates. The high ceilings made the living accommodations look large. 

A Kitchen with a Peek a Boo window into the living room
A Fully Stocked Kitchen

The Apartment King Suite hallway was large enough to feature its own hallways with doors, and another ensuite.

The Ensuite Bathroom

A Room with a View:

One thing that I have found with hotel upgrades is that they are never as good when you know that there are excellent rooms available in the system and your upgrade isn’t one of them. Although the apartment upgrade was a much larger footprint, the view was not as nice as our last stay here. Our view had a peek-a-boo view toward the Dubai Marina. 

View from the Room #1018

Separate Building Access:

The Grosvenor House also had a separate discreet entrance on the side for the Apartments in Tower One. We ended up using this side entrance most often. It was ideal for longer term stays so that guests were not exposed to the hustle and bustle of the regular main lobby.

The Recreation Facilities:

We used the recreation facilities on our second stay. The Grosvernor House offered a hotel pool. Being a luxury building, it’s a pretty small pool. It’s also on the shady side of the building for most of the day.

The Grosvenor House Pool
The shaded pool area at the Grosvenor House

The real pool to visit if you’re staying here is at the sister property of the Grosvenor House. Guests at the Grosvenor House get reciprocal privileges at the Royal Meriden Dubai Marina Hotel. The hotel is situated right on the Jumeriah Beach. A complimentary shuttle runs between the two properties every twenty minutes. We spent a day here on this trip and again it was a lovely experience. The Royal Meridien Dubai Marina is right on the public Jumeriah Beach, and is a great gathering spot to check out the sunset. 

The Royal Meridian Dubai Pool Area
On the Royal Meridien Dubai lawn near Jumeriah Beach looking back towards Dubai Marina
The Royal Meridien Dubai Beach Area
Royal Meridian Jumeriah Pools

Around the hotel:

The hotel is located in the Dubai Marina and there are ample restaurants a short walk from the hotel. We were able to take several dinners off site and off hotel hotel pricing. We also used the Dubai Marina walkways for early morning runs amid the spectacular towers.

Dubai Marina near the hotel

There is lots here to keep you entertained with walkways that stretch around the Dubai Marina and it’s residential neighborhoods for miles.

The Grosvenor House Overall:

Despite the lesser suite view, and the slight smoking smell to our room, we had a very comfortable stay at the Grosvenor House in the Apartment Suite King. We are fans on the Dubai Marina neighborhood, which is a trendy upscale area that is maturing quite nicely. The visit privileges to the Royal Meridien Dubai Marina make this hotel an easy one to stay at, given that you can access the beach at a great resort at any time.  

Of interest is that unlike other Starwood / Marriott properties on this trip, the Grosvenor House rates stayed pretty much the same over the four months prior to our booking.

We would stay here again in a heartbeat if returning to the Dubai Marina area. As a result, I would highly recommend a stay here.


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Thai Airways is one of the more unique carriers to grace the Star Alliance network. It generally has great reward seat availability, a unique in service product that involves elaborate costume changes on the part of it’s flight attendants, and world class transfer services at Bangkok Survharnabhumi airport that include massages for all Business Class and First Class travelers. This flight certainly set the mood for our inbound flight connecting through Bangkok on our way to the United Arab Emirates.


This post is one chapter on our second Round the World trip via Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Poland. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


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Review: Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class A330-3 Bangkok Survharnabhumi – Dubai

“Thai Airways offers one of the most unique flying experiences by offering traditional Thai Hospitality, Thai oriented cuisine on board and the most purple themed aircraft around

After a wonderful time at the Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa and time spent in the Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge, It soon came time for our next leg. From the lounge, we headed over across the hall to Gate D1A, the gate that is usually used for bus departures. 

Shell of the Bangkok Survharnabhumi Airport
Walkway to Gate D1A
Bangkok Flight Information Screens
Thai Airways International
Royal Silk Business Class
BKK-DXB (Survarnabhumi Bangkok International Airport – Dubai International Airport)
TG517 – Business Class (I)
4:15 PM – 7:40 PM
April 17, 2014
Booked: Airbus 330-300
Flown: Airbus 330-300

After a short wait, boarding started from Gate D1A. There was another big line crush when the initial boarding call was announced. Thai ground staff actively enforced the boarding priority, which was good on them since it’s much easier for gate staff to “forget”. 

Airside Views

We hopped the bus as one big group out to our Airbus 330 that was parked at a close by remote stand. Double door boarding was used with stairs at the front and rear of the aircraft from the apron. It’s never fun to have a bus gate and Bangkok, even with all its gates, seems to have to use them sometimes.

On Board Thai Airways Royal Orchid Business Class:

The seating configuration of the Airbus 330 was almost identical to that of the Royal Silk product on the Boeing 777 that we had flown in on Thai Airways Seoul – Bangkok. The configuration in business was 2-2-2.

Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class – Airbus A330-3
Thai Airways Angle Flat Business Class Seats

The seating configuration is pleasant for relaxing and the seats had ample room between themselves and the passengers in the rows in front and behind you.

Thai Airways Business Class Seat.
Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Cabin

The entertainment system was controlled by a wired remote control. The seat back featured the same adjustments as on the Boeing 777-200 configuration. The angle flat seat was great for relaxing but not so comfortable for sleeping.

Wired Remote Controls and Seat Adjustments

Thai Royal Silk Business was a full cabin today with a blend of people typically associated with flying to and from the Middle East. This meant customers of all races, shapes and sizes. It was a contrast from the homogeneous Asian countries we had just visited. Our seats, 12 K/ 12H, were surrounded by a family of eight Asians traveling with two children. One of the children, aged about 9, took a special interest in us and actually invaded our seating area on two occasions, having to be physically pried back by the nanny and grandparents. These incidents prompted masses of attention as they tried to sort things out and occurred mid sleeps or during meal services.

Pre Departure Service:

Today’s service started with Piper Heindsek champagne and cashews. Thai was actually opening the expensive stuff on the ground in Thailand (as opposed to a cheaper sparkling wine) as evidenced by the actual PH champagne bottle that was brought around on the refill while we were parked at the remote stand waiting for boarding to finish.

Pre Departure Piper Heindsek

It was so good, I actually had a second one.

A Second Pre-Departure Beverage Champagne.

The Amenity Kits: by Porsche Design

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. I still prefer the traditional black color of Porsche Design although I’m sure Thai Airways feels differently.

A Thai Airways collared Porsche Design Amenity Kit
Porsche Design Labelling
It was among the better designed kits I’ve received in my travelling lifetime
Stuffed Full of Goodies

Time to Take Off:

The Menus were dropped off just prior to the taxi. The wine list was the same as from our Incheon – Bangkok flight.  

Thai Royal Silk Business Class Menu

Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Menu BKK-DXB

The drink list was also presented. It featured wines exclusively from France: two whites, two reds and one Champagne. It was exactly the same wine list from our earlier Incheon – Bangkok flight.

Thai Royal Silk Drink Menu
An exclusively French Wine List

There was some terrific plane spotting as we taxied and climbed out of Survarnabhumi today. We also had some great views over Bangkok and the winding Chao Prayha river, in addition to the Scirroco Sky Bar in the Lebua hotel made famous in the Hollywood movie “Hangover 2”.

A Cathay Pacific Airbus A330
On the Climb over Bangkok

A pre-dinner drink was offered today, as served off the cart. I decided to mix it up and went for a Gin and Tonic this time. The Thai Airways flight attendants were displaying their beautiful in flight dress that Thai flight crew wear while flying. Regular Thai fliers will be aware that the flight crew change outfits once on board and have an in flight outfit, and a ground outfit. 

Pre- Supper Gin and Tonic
Gin and Tonic’s with Ice Cubes

The Meal Service: A Four Course Dinner

Today’s crew seemed to struggle with keeping up with the full passenger load in business. The dinner service was a bit rushed and there wasn’t much sticking around for pleasant conversation. The appetizer nuts would come out but drinks wouldn’t turn up until 15 minutes later. These aren’t bad things, but rather the crew seemed to be a bit stressed about the execution. Despite this, the crew managed to bring the bread basket around twice. 

Marinated salmon loin, beef loin, jellied tomato gazpacho with a potato salad

Today’s starter was a marinated salmon loin, beef loin, jellied tomato gazpacho with a potato salad and a mixed green salad with Italian Tizano dressing.

New Zealand Lamb Cutlet with a tarragon tomato concaisse, roasted potatoes with rosemary and roasted vegetables

Today’s main was a New Zealand Lamb Cutlet with a tarragon tomato concaisse, roasted potatoes with rosemary and roasted vegetables on the side.

Thai Airways Cheese Plate

The meal concluded with another gluttonous double dessert of a fruit and cheese plate and a serving of walnut cheese cake. 

Walnut Cheesecake and Coffee

After the dinner, we settled into the seat and tried to relax. First world problems here: but aside from the old-fashioned business class barca-lounger seats, these are the worst business class seats ever for long haul travel. After 11 total hours in the angle flat seats between the two flights, I have to conclude that the Thai configuration really isn’t super comfortable for long haul flights; especially where sleeping is involved.

They don’t lie flat or any further than 138 degrees (Seat Guru statistics) or recline, which results in the dreaded slide down the seat as time passes. As a taller person, I also find the seats a little tight. On my particular seat, the foot rest flap was also broken on the lower seat rest with one side detached- hanging off the seat lopsided. This wouldn’t be a key issue, but the flap is integral as it was supposed to prevent you from sliding down the slope on the business class seat.

MrsWT73 didn’t find the seat very ergonomic either. When I asked what she thought of Thai Royal Silk compared with our last experience on Thai Royal First, she commented “It’s by no means horrible, and those dinky little wine glasses. Every drink is a shot”. Top it off with lots of galley noise as well on this particular segment and it make us look forward to getting off the plane and into Dubai. 

Entertainment on Board:

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

Thai Airways Advanced Video on Demand

The Second Service: A light sandwich snack

About ninety minutes before landing, we were offered a second service. The service was typical Thai Airways snacks – sandwiches in a cafeteria style with cello wrap. I opted for juice to go along with this.

A Sandwich for the Second Service

Throughout this last flight, we had 60 km/h headwinds that added an hour to the flight. We had a quick landing and a short taxi to the terminal at Dubai.

Arriving to Dubai International Airport:

On arrival in Dubai, we disembarked and walked through a very narrow arrivals hall on an elevated concourse. The design must have been a bit older, as it was clearly not designed to handle wide body jets. There was lots of congestion with crowding with slow walking families walking 5 abreast with kids.

We eventually made it down the escalators and over under the aprons to the older Dubai Terminal along the underground moving walkway. There was a long 25 minute wait for immigration to get stamped in. Sadly, there were no fast track services available tonight. We eventually hopped a quick and efficient taxi to the Grosvenor house for 92 AED, ending our 16 hour travel day. 

Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Impressions:

Overall, there was not much difference between the two Thai Airways flights. Thai Airways plays well in Star Alliance by offering great reward availability, and a pleasant transfer experience at the older Survarnabhumi Bangkok airport. Unfortunately, their soft product service seems to vary greatly and their hard product is starting to get really dated in comparison to the flat beds that other carriers are offering. The amenity kit doesn’t make up for these deficiencies. One could argue that the Royal Orchid Spa, depending on your mood, either does or does not make up for the product in flight. I guess it depends on what you value in your travel and whether the travel is fully paid or a reward ticket.


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Thai Airways operates one of the most unique features in air travel today at is home airport of Bangkok Survharnabhumi. Thai Airways has set up a full, purpose built, airline spa to compliment it’s premium traveller lounge services. For passengers lucky enough to be traveling in business or first class, they are able to access a fabulous facility for a complimentary treatment.


This post is one chapter on our second Round the World trip via Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Poland. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


Read More from This Trip


Review: Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge, Bangkok Survharnabhumi, Bangkok, Thailand.

This review is of the Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Lounge Bangkok Survharnabhumi. This post should be read in tandem with the review of the Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa at Bangkok Survharnabhumi, as if you have access to the lounge, you may have access to the spa – depending on which carrier you are flying.


“One of the world’s longest Business Class Lounges end to end, with liquor and wine only available at the opposite end”

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

The Back Door – Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Lounge

Locating the Royal Silk Lounge Bangkok:

The Lounge is very centrally located for Bangkok departing passengers. The lounge shape occupies a massive rectangular shape in the central part of the Bangkok terminal. After you clear security and departure immigration, the lounge is located at the bottom of the escalators.

It’s a bit dis-orienting for Bangkok connecting passengers as the primary entrance to the lounge is located in an areas away from the connecting security check points. The best advice I can provide is to orient yourself towards the central part of the airport by Concourse “D” for access.

Accessing the Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge:

In order to access the Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge, you need to be departing on a Star Alliance flight in Business or First Class. If you are a member of Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus Gold Status Member (over 50,000 status miles per year) or higher tier, you also get complimentary access.

Our access today was courtesy of a Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class ticket on our Bangkok – Dubai flight scheduled for later that afternoon.

Inside the Thai Airways Royal Silk 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.

The Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge is a massive facility at 2,410 sq.m (25,940 sq ft). It’s elongated foot print makes it essentially a very long and rectangular lounge with several different food stations throughout the lounge. It has the ability to accommodate 275 passengers when fully occupied.

The Long Rectangular Royal Silk Business Lounge
Food Station (left) next to Lounge Chairs
Ample Seating
Lengthy Seating

Having arrived to the lounge by the back door, we eventually located the main entry to the lounge and the sole bar.

Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge Main Entry
Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge Entrance and Bar

There was also a small work area with computers available tucked into the back of the lounge, for those that needed internet connectivity.

Workstation Areas with Available Computers

Food and Beverage:

The lounge advertised a Buffet Bar with a selection of hot small servings, snacks and refreshments. It was a bit of a strange offering. It was a pretty preserved and packaged style offerings, that didn’t appear overly appealing or attractive.

Pastries Selection
Buffet Selections
Salad Selections
Salad Offerings
Finger Sandwiches
Buffet Counters

The food was definitely more along the “snack” lines, rather than being able to substitute for a whole meal. This was a bit surprising since Thai Airways has positioned itself as a connecting airport for Asian and Australian travellers.

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 couldn’t find any wine or hard spirits. We initially considered heading to the nearby Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge but didn’t bother to make the trek or search it out. MrsWT73 wasn’t too particularly pleased with the lack of wine, but having just had a massage and being in relaxation mode, we weren’t displeased enough to leave and make a lounge switch. 

Enjoying a Post Massage Singha Beer

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 Sole Bar in the Thai Royal Silk Lounge

The Bottom Line: The Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge

Thai Airways offers a pretty unique suite of connection features which include the longest lounge I think I’ve ever been in, and a suite of massage offerings at their nearby spa. While the Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge isn’t going to blow you away, it’s a relaxing place to spend some time in prior to any flight. The Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa is the feature that’s not to be missed, so make sure you arrive early for your spa treatment if you are eligible.


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Thai Airways operates one of the most unique features in air travel today at is home airport of Bangkok Survharnabhumi. Thai Airways has set up a full, purpose built, airline spa to compliment it’s premium traveller lounge services. For passengers lucky enough to be traveling in business or first class, they are able to access a fabulous facility for a complimentary treatment. We got to experience this luxury as we transferred through Bangkok on our way to the Middle East.


This post is one chapter on our second Round the World trip via Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Poland. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


Read More from This Trip


Review: Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa, Bangkok Survharnabhumi, Bangkok, Thailand.

This review is of the Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa at Bangkok Survharnabhumi. This post should be read in tandem with the review of the Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Lounge Bangkok Survharnabhumi, as if you have access to the lounge, you may have access to the spa – depending on which carrier you are flying.


This won’t be news to many of you frequent travelers but here it is; Thai Airways offers complimentary 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 flying Thai Airways First Class Bangkok – Madrid, and it was a terrific unique way to spend some time immediately prior to your flight.

As described from their website:

THAI has recreated the fine art of the Thai spa in our home airport, offering our guests a relaxation and rejuvenation experience that’s found nowhere else in the air travel industry. Meticulously decorated in quieting Thai aesthetics colours and themes, and insulated from the noise and bustle of the airport around it, the Royal Orchid Spa is a multi-sensory oasis that brings the art of the journey to new heights. Enjoy a full menu of Thai, foot, or oil massages that use aromatherapy and gentle music to ease you into supreme relaxation, or take an herbal steam or sauna treatment to ease the aches out of your travel-weary body. Finish with a cleansing shower and a fine meal, and you’ll emerge from our spa in an almost impossibly refreshed state, ready for the next travel adventure.

Thai Airways

Locating the Royal Orchid Spa Bangkok:

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.

Bangkok Survharnabhumi Departures Level: After Transfer to Secure Side

With some assistance, we found the Thai Royal Orchid Spa. This was our second visit to the spa, but the first visit on the business class side.

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. 

Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa Entrance
I dig the detail on the door handle pulls

Accessing the Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa:

In order to access the Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa at Bangkok Survarnabhumi airport, you need to be departing on a Thai Airways Flight in Royal First (First Class) or Royal Silk (Business Class). If you are a member of Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus Platinum Status Member (over 80,000 status miles per year), you also get complimentary access. Unfortunately, if you are departing on another Star Alliance Carrier or are a member of Star Alliance Gold level, this does not entitle you to access to the spa.

Our access today was courtesy of a Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class ticket on our Bangkok – Dubai flight scheduled for later that afternoon.

Inside the Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa:

On arrival, we appeared to be the only ones in the spa aside from the staff. Thai Airways Royal Silk Passengers are offered a choice of “Neck and Shoulder” and “Foot Massage”, both at 30 minutes in length. First Class Passengers are offered a Touch of Silk Massage (Full Body Oil Massage) or a Royal Thai Massage (Full Body Massage), both at 60 minutes in length.

In order to complete the registration, 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. 

Bright and Cheerful : Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa
A Semi Private Lounge Chair

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. Not knowing the protocol, 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 it’s in an enclosed space, whereas the Royal Orchid lounge is not since it’s in an open air format with the concourse.

Royal Orchid Spa Tea Area
Seating Area – Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa
Royal Orchid Spa Bar

The usual comment cards were also provided.

Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa Comment Cards

We eventually transitioned over to the main Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge at Bangkok Survharnabhumi to spend the rest of our connection time.

The Bottom Line: The Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa – Bangkok:

The Thai Royal Orchid Spa is probably one of the most unique ways in the world to spend a flight 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. It’s 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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Thai Airways is one of the more unique carriers to grace the Star Alliance network. It generally has great reward seat availability, a unique in service product that involves elaborate costume changes on the part of it’s flight attendants, and world class transfer services at Bangkok Survharnabhumi airport that include massages for all Business Class and First Class travelers. This flight certainly set the mood for our inbound flight connecting through Bangkok on our way to the United Arab Emirates.


This post is one chapter on our second Round the World trip via Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Poland. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


Read More from This Trip


Review: Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class B777-2 Seoul Incheon – Bangkok Survharnabhumi

“Thai Airways offers one of the most unique flying experiences by offering traditional Thai Hospitality, Thai oriented cuisine on board and the most purple themed aircraft around

Today’s flight was departing from Gate 122 on the Incheon North Satellite terminal. Thai Airways operated a two class service on this route. Incheon’s 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. 

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
Incheon Concourse Terminal – Gate 122
Incheon Terminal One Concourse – Gate 122

Incheon Terminal One Concourse – Passenger Walkways

Soon, it became time to board, and we were treated to a great view of the purple Thai Airways livery as we descended the escalators in order to board our flight. We boarded through the first door at L1 onto the Boeing 777-200 Extended Range aircraft.

On Board Thai Airways Royal Orchid Business Class:

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 Thai’s Boeing products. The configuration in Thai Airways Business Class Boeing 777-200 ER is a comfortable 2-2-2. Today’s cabin was 12 out of 30 occupied today, making for a comfortable flying experience.

Thai Airways Royal Orchid Business Class B777-2
Thai Airways Royal Orchid B777-2
The Cabin of the Boeing 777-2 on Thai Airways
A View from the Seats with Map Pockets full of Loot

The seats offered multiple seating angles from upright, to angle flat. This was great for relaxing but horrible for sleeping.

Thai Airways Seat Controls and AVOD Remote

The seats featured in Seat Power, with the somewhat awkward hip power port.

EmPower In Seat Power

Pre Departure Service:

While we were at the gate at Incheon, we were offered a pre-departure beverage and scented towel service.

Thai Airways Pre-Departure Beverage and Towel Service

The Amenity Kits: by Porsche Design

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. 

A Thai Airways collared Porsche Design Amenity Kit
Porsche Design Labelling
It was among the better designed kits I’ve received in my travelling lifetime
Stuffed Full of Goodies

Time to Take Off:

Shortly after takeoff, lunch and drink menus were presented. 

Thai Royal Silk Business Class Menu

I generally like Thai Airways menus, as they offer something close to their home country. It’s typically something different than you’d expect on an international carrier.

Thai Airyays Royal Silk Business Menu ICN-BKK

The drink list was also presented. It featured wines exclusively from France: two whites, two reds and one Champagne.

Thai Royal Silk Drink Menu
An exclusively French Wine List

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. Thai Airways flight attendants have an separate attire for in flight versus the on ground outfit. The Thai Flight Attendants had changed into their in flight attire as they started service.

Pre-Supper Drinks from the Cart
Champagne & a Package of Almonds

The Meal Service: A Four Course Lunch

A full service meal was provided on this flight. I was pretty hungry by this point as we hadn’t eaten much having been shut out of most food in the lounge pre-flight. We started with a Hot Savoury Shrimp Spring Roll.

Hot Savory “Spring Shrimp Roll”

This was followed by First Course Starters: the salmon and black sesame seed, mixed green salad with thousand island dressing.

Salmon and black sesame seed & mixed green salad

The main course was presented. I went with the Stir Fried Prawn with black pepper, sweet bell pepper sauce, steamed thai hom mali rice, and pak choy. This was presented separately after the first course.

Stir Fried Prawn with Black Pepper with sweet bell pepper sauce, steamed thai hom mali rice, and pak choy

To close, this was followed up with assorted cheese cake and fresh fruits. It was served “old school” style from the cart trolley.

Service from the Trolley Cart
Thai Airways Cheese Plate

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

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. 

Entertainment on Board:

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

Thai Airways Advanced Video on Demand

The Second Service: A Sandwich Snack

Shortly before landing, we were offered a second service of finger sandwiches and juice. These were similar to the usual Thai sandwich offerings that you might find on their domestic flights.

Sandwiches and Orange Juice

Landing at Bangkok Survharnabhumi Airport:

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.

Puffy Clouds in the Tropics
Thai Airways on the Apron at BKK
Bangkok Survharnabhumi Airport

Overall, there wasn’t much to report on for this particular flight. The last time I flew Thai Airways internationally, it was a Thai Royal Silk Business Class Shanghai – Bangkok flight immediately after an Air China Beijing – Shanghai domestic flight. The differences between Air China and Thai was obvious. The service was so much better and attentive on the Thai Airways flight. They had better equipment, more comfortable seats, better food and beverage complimented by a much happier staff. 

After the excellent service that we received on our earlier All Nippon Airways Business Staggered Seattle – Narita, it made this particular Thai flight a little less memorable. The Thai crew wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic, and all though the Thai cultural influences were there, it wasn’t nearly as memorable an experience. Thai Airways still remains a favourite carrier of mine, thanks to their unique service, generally great catering and interesting flying experience.

Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Impressions:

The Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class offering is always an enjoyable experience. It’s made unique by the memorable outfits, the old school nature of the way that the hospitality and service is presented, and the memorable transfer services in Bangkok that include complimentary massages and world class transfer services. This particular Thai Airways flight didn’t shine as brightly as our recent flights on All Nippon Airways. Despite this, is still a memorable way to spend time travelling and you’ll always be well taken care of while flying Thai Airways.


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Asiana Airlines operates a very consistent and reliable product. Our brief stop through Incheon had us experiencing another one of their quality Asiana Business Lounges. The Asiana Business Lounge in the Terminal One Concourse featured many of the same qualities as their Asiana First Class Lounge and Asiana Business Lounge in the main terminal. It was a quiet restful area, prior to the start of our flight.


This post is one chapter on our second Round the World trip via Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Poland. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


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Review: Asiana Business Lounge, Terminal One Concourse, Incheon Seoul, South Korea

This review is of the Asiana Business Lounge at Incheon Terminal One Concourse. For another lounge at Incheon Terminal One, please see our experience at the Asiana First Class Lounge Incheon Terminal One.


Incheon is regularly advertised as one of the top airport’s 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.

Checking into Thai Airways Business Class:

After leaving the Hyatt Regency Incheon, 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. 

Thai Airways Incheon Check In
Thai Royal Silk Check In
A Stack of Boarding Cards and Lounge Invitations

As a mega airport, there are flights headed to and from almost everywhere in Asia.

Korean Flight Board

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 wasn’t 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.

Security Screening Lines at ICN
Asiana Flight Crews

Locating the Asiana Business Concourse Lounge

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.

Asiana Business Concourse Lounge
Incheon Concourse Retail Zone
Asiana Business Lounge Concourse Access Point

Accessing The Asiana Business Lounge:

The Asiana Business Lounge is designed as the departure lounge for all Asiana Airlines passengers in addition to Star Alliance Business Class travellers. Access is provided for

Asiana Airlines /Star Alliance members departing on regular flights:

  • Business Class passengers
  • Economy Class Asiana Club Diamond Plus members (with 24 month membership) plus one guest
  • Asiana Club Diamond members plus one guest
  • Star Alliance Gold members plus one guest

Departing on Asiana Airlines operated flights : 

  • Economy Smartium passengers taking an Asiana Airlines A350 long-distance flight (to the U.S., Europe or Australia)
  • Priority Pass Card holder on Asiana Airlines/Star Alliance Member carrier operated flight(please direct any inquiries regarding entry requirements and costs to the card issuer.) 
    • Check conditions of lounge use based on mileage 

Today’s access was granted courtesy of an Thai Airwys Business Class ticket.

Asiana Lounge Entrance
Asiana Lounge Reception

Inside The Asiana Business Lounge Concourse:

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. 

Asiana Business Lounge Concourse
The Asiana Grand Piano
Asiana Business Lounge Library

The one entertaining part about this place was that all the books that covered the walls were plastic model varieties and hollow. Aside from that comedic observation, the place was pretty deserted on our visit through. There were heaps of places to sit as you had your pick of seating.

An abidance of places to sit in colourful loungers
Just like grandma’s house: Don’t touch anything
Lots of Chairs Available
Semi Private Seating Areas

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

In addition to the lounge area, 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. 

A Small Industrial Computer Work Station Area

Food and Beverage:

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 you’re treating your supposed best passengers? (Okay, as a points redeemer instead. They are still hard earned miles!) 

Breakfast at Set Times
Coffee Machine “Out of Order”

As a result, I had a toasted cheese sandwich. Fortunately, there were some other salads available, along with some noodles.

Korean Fresh Salad Breakfast
Baked Breads for Breakfast
Organized Korean Tea Tray

Fortunately, the bar was open. The morning features offered a few hard whiskies, some limited wine, and cold beer.

Morning Bar Service for Eye Opener Beverages
Beer Instructions

The Bottom Line: The Asiana Lounge

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 wasn’t much to this place that made it feel different than any other lounge. The meal service coming out at set times was downright odd and a bit difficult to organize into your day if you already have an early morning departure like we did. We didn’t stay too long here and opted for the more pleasant terminal and a leisurely walk to the gate.


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As a result of some irregular and patchy award availability, we ended up having an overnight in South Korea. We needed something simple and close to the airport. As a result, we ended up with the Hyatt Regency Incheon as a place to sleep for the night. You never know what you’ll receive at an airport hotel, but we were pleasantly surprised to discover a conveniently located full service Hyatt Regency hotel.


This post is one chapter on our second Round the World trip via Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Poland. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


Read More from This Trip


Review: Hyatt Regency Incheon, Seoul, South Korea

While we stayed at the property in its days as a Hyatt Regency, this property has been re-branded since our stay to a Grand Hyatt and is operating as the Grand Hyatt Incheon. This will be a shorter review since we were only at the airport for twelve hours with the primary purpose of sleeping.

“The Hyatt Regency Incheon offered a full service hotel that was a great value on Hyatt Gold Passport points, just steps away from Incheon Airport.”

After getting off our Asiana Business Class Tokyo Narita – Seoul Incheon flight, 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. I had connected through Incheon South Korea as a gateway to Asia four times up to this point but had never set foot inside the country.

How we Booked:

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

We booked directly on the Hyatt Website. Initially, I had secured us in on a paid rate at 250,000 KRW ($260 USD) for a King Room. As we got closer to the stay, I ended using Hyatt Gold Passport points for the room. The hotel was operating as a Hyatt Gold Passport Category 3, where free rooms were valued at 8,000 points. Today, as a Grand Hyatt under the World of Hyatt Program, the hotel offers free rooms at 12,000 World of Hyatt points.

I find that it’s a pretty common trend in hotel loyalty programs to offer discounted redemption rates at airport hotel properties since no one is generally interested in redeeming their points there for holidays, and the average daily rates are quite high as the majority of clientele are business travellers that put upwards pressure on the rates. As a result, I can usually find some points advantages at these properites.

Given that Hyatt Gold Passport are worth approximately 1.7 cents each, approximately 8,000 points represented a cash value of $136 USD. Since I don’t normally collect a stack of Hyatt Gold Passport Points, I ended up changing the cash reservations to a points rate about 14 days prior to the stay. As a result, I probably came out about $114 USD ahead, but mostly I cleared off some Hyatt Gold Passport points that I wouldn’t have typically had the opportunity to use.

Transferring from Incheon to The Hyatt Regency Incheon:

The hotel is conveniently located almost directly at the airport. While not attached to the airport itself, it’s about as close as can be, although it is a little to far to walk.

We easily found the complimentary shuttle for the Hyatt Regency Incheon Airport hotel. At the time of our visit, the shuttle departed 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 didn’t test it out on our visit but the elevated track was in place and the stations were indeed there. 

The Hyatt Regency Incheon

Arriving to the Hyatt Regency Incheon:

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 there’s nothing worse than arriving after a journey and having to wait in a long line. 

Hyatt Regency Lobby Check In

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 décor, lobby art, and a full serve restaurant. Unlike some airport hotels that have absolutely nothing at them (or going for them), the hotel offered almost everything that you’d expect from a full service property.

Bamboo Features in the Lobby
A Full Service Restaurant
Lobby Art next to the Lobby Bar

The Room: A King Room

The King Room #863 was nicely furnished, if not somewhat dark on arrival. This was as bright as it would get. The room featured the usual beige and earth tones theme.

Hyatt Regency King Room
A Somewhat Dark, but Comfortable Space

The room featured a desk for two, in addition to a single lounge chair for one.

A Desk for Two
A Chair for One

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

Welcome Amenities Consisting of Fruit and Chocolates
A Personalized Welcome Letter


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. 

A Room with a View:

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.

A Room with a View: #863
Construction Site Morning Roll Call
Construction Site Morning Calisthenics

Around the Hotel:

There isn’t much around the hotel given it’s airport location next to a large airport. Indeed, the area appeared pretty dead during our time there. This probably wouldn’t be my first choice for a place if you were looking for South Korean entertainment or a central location to everything.

In Summary: The Hyatt Regency Incheon

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 don’t 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. Despite the disadvantages of the location, we’d easily stay here again if we needed to if we ever had an overnight at Incheon airport again.

Editors Note: The hotel is presently operating as The Grand Hyatt Incheon.


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Asiana Airlines is like an old friend to us. They offer generous award availability to its Star Alliance partners and they offer a pretty reliable product between North America and to cities too and from South East Asia. We were able to get seated in the Asiana First Class cabin for our short international flight from Japan to South Korea where we experienced the usual excellent Asiana Airlines service.


This post is one chapter on our second Round the World trip via Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Poland. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


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Review: Asiana Business Class B747-4, Tokyo Narita – Seoul Incheon

“Asiana offers seating in its First Class Cabin for the price of business if you happen to be flying Asiana’s Boeing 747 product. While the seating is first class, the Business Class service is also excellent

We ended up traveling to Dubai via Seoul, via Bangkok in a case of “You can’t get there from here”. There were limited flights to Dubai from Narita if you weren’t flying with Emirates or Etihad, making the Star Alliance connection points Bangkok on Thai Airways, or Beijing on Air China. 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 from Japan to Thailand 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 Regency 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 had last flown in this cabin on our Asiana First Class Los Angeles – Incheon flight. For today’s flight, 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. It’s 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 and downgrade 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, it’s 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.

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

Asiana B747 at Tokyo Narita Terminal One

We left the ANA Lounge at Tokyo Narita Terminal One. We boarded through Gate 41. Today’s flight started with double jet bridge boarding between business and “travel” class.

On Board Asiana Business Class, in Assigned First Class Seats:

We settled into the familiar OZ first class seat. It’s getting a bit dated now but it’s still a very comfortable set up. It’s not showing any wear and tear at all on the suite product itself.

Asiana First Class – Seat 4A
Asiana First Class – Seat 4A

This time we opted for the center seats 4E/F instead of the outer seats of 3A/4A as we had previously experienced.

Asiana First Class – Seat 4E & 4F
Asiana First Class – Seat 4E
View of the Monitor – Seat 4E – Asiana First Class
View of the Cabin – Seat 4E

The monitors were controlled by the old school wired remote. The wired remote was once a common feature but it’s slowly disappearing or being upgraded to better models.

A Wired Remote

The cabin itself is pretty spacious, if not a little dated in color.

Asiana First Class Cabin B747-4
Asiana First Class Cabin B747-4

Pre Departure Service:

While we were at the gate at Narita, 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. 

A Pre-Departure Champagne

Like other shorter Asian Business class flights, no amenity kits were offered. The usual Asiana branded slippers in a transparent case were made available.

Time to Take Off:

On take off, the difference between the ANA Boeing 787 and our Asiana Boeing 747 aircraft became apparent. The B747 transmitted bump and quivers throughout it’s 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.

Tonight’s flight from Tokyo Narita to Seoul Incheon 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 remained 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 didn’t get the opportunity to get up to talk to the back to see whether the regular business class section upstairs or on the main deck was being sold. My guess was that at least one section was out of service for this short international flight.  

The Meal Service: Dinner

A short full service meal was provided on this flight. The menus were presented on the ground at Tokyo Narita. The wine lists on Asiana Business aren’t all too spectacular, with one white, one red and one champagne offered. It’s a little more limiting than other carriers, but for a less than two hour flight, I’m certainly not complaining.

Asiana Business – Narita to Incheon
A Simple Wine List
Cattier Champagne

The dinner of beef tenderloin seasoned with red wine sauce, with carrot, potato and saffron risotto presented all at once with prosciutto ham with mixed greens.

Grilled Beef Tenderloin, seasoned with red wine sauce

You can tell how bumpy the flight was by the state of the red wine in the photograph. 

A Simple Steak with Sauce

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

Dinner was followed by mixed nuts- in a pouch instead of a ramkin. This was a little entertaining as, at the time of the flight, a Korean Air Executive had just berated the competitors flight attendents for failing to serve the nuts appropriately in a ramekin, resulting in substantial negative publicity.

Entertainment on Board:

The plane had Video on Demand. I didn’t get too into it given the short duration of the flight. I did check out the flight path, which was straight across the water.

Asiana Advanced Video On Demand
Asiana Flight Path

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. Thankfully, 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 wouldn’t leave until we took his business card. It was a bit surprising since I certainly wasn’t expecting this in Incheon!!

Asiana Business Class Impressions:

Asiana Airlines offers a pretty reliable product. The service on board, whether in Asiana First Class or Business Class is typically excellent. The food is often reliable and straight forward. The wine list is sometimes a little limited compared to other carriers but for a short flight of less than two hours, this becomes less of a point of concern. The best trick is to see if you can score one of the First Class Seats if you are flying on a Boeing 747 when First Class is not typically offered as you can get quite a nice free upgrade by just asking for a specific seat assignment.


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