Monthly Archives: November 2015

Emirates Business Class Seats on a 777-300ER

Emirates Business Class

Flying Emirates Business Class With Kids

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Melbourne to Singapore

We recently redeemed some Qantas Frequent Flyer points to have our first ever flights aboard Emirates Airlines. Our two boys are now experienced flyers and are at the ages where they’re very well behaved on long flights so we decided to take them Business Class. Some people may frown upon having kids in Business Class, but we always make sure that our boys are immaculately behaved.  Plus it’s nice for the kids to indulge and to get spoilt once in a while as well.

Our flight with the kids was aboard an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Melbourne to Singapore. As our flight was en-route to Dubai, we were still entitled to the benefit of getting one of the Emirates Chauffeured pick-ups (this is one of the perks of flying with Emirates to Dubai in Business and First Class). Once at the airport, we enjoyed a couple of hours in the Emirates Lounge (read review here). The lounge had enough meal and drink options to keep both our kids very happy and they loved the views across the airport so they could do some plane-watching.

Once we boarded our plane, the kids started getting very excited. The huge, comfy seats and Emirates Ice entertainment system complete with wireless control pads were going to keep them occupied for quite a while. Once we were settled in our seats the crew came around with Champagne for the adults and juices for the kids. We were then all provided with the Emirates Business Amenity Kits (kids received these also).

Once we were up in the air, the crew came around to take food and drink orders for the flight. We had already pre-ordered the kids meals through the manage your booking options on the Emirates website a few days beforehand, so they were already taken care of. Before the meal service begins you can have a choice of drink from the extensive bar menu as well as a serve of mixed nuts.  For the adults, the starter consisted of an Arabic-Stye Tomato Soup.

The kids meals consisted of a penne pasta with ice cream for dessert. They were very happy with their meals and said it was the most amazing pasta ever! Our choice for main was also quite delicious, the Lamb Cutlets with green pea mash and grilled vegetables.

For dessert the adults had the chocolate and caramel dome then it was time to turn the seats into lay flat beds and enjoy a quick sleep before arriving in Singapore. Another bonus of flying Business Class is that you get off the plane first and to the customs area before the rest of the economy passengers. With Emirates Business on the Dubai flights you also get the Chauffeured Limousine service when you arrive at your destination and even though we didn’t travel onto Dubai, we did still get use of this service.

Flying Emirates Business Class Without Kids

Emirates Airbus A380 from Melbourne to Auckland

Travelling on an Emirates A380 in Business Class had been on our bucket list for a few years now, but with no plans to travel to Dubai in the near future we thought it would be a while until we got to achieve it. That was until we discovered that the Emirates Dubai to Auckland A380 flight has a stopover in Melbourne. We used some Qantas points for a weekend trip over to Auckland, leaving the kids at home this time.

The Business seats on the A380 are upstairs on the top deck and we both had window seats for this flight (window seats are singles). The seats come with their own little mini bar with water, juice and soft drinks as well as noise cancelling headphones, a pillow, blanket, socks and eyeshades.

This was an early morning flight so only breakfast was served although after take off the amazing A380 Bar was set up at the back of the top deck which has various snacks like muffins, danishes, fruit kebabs, nuts, pretzels, olives and dried fruits which you can help yourself to. Breakfast of choice for us was the Omelette which came with tomatoes, baked beans, sausages and potato. Accompanying the hot dish was a croissant, some fruit and a mango yoghurt.

Once breakfast was over and done with, we headed straight to the A380 bar. This is a great little area where you can socialise with other passengers as well as the crew. The crew on our flight were fantastic and as it was pretty quiet on the business deck, we even got the chance to experience what crew life is like behind the bar.

As the flight from Melbourne to Auckland is a short haul trip, you do not receive the Emirates Amenity kits. In the toilets however you can find dental kits, combs, shaving kits, cotton buds freshener sprays and other amenities to freshen up with. Also on this flight you are not eligible for the Chauffeured transport service as you are not en-route to Dubai.

The Emirates Business Class A380 experience definitely lived up to all our expectations, we only wish it had been a longer flight! Now we have added flying in First Class on an Emirates A380 to our bucket list, so it is back to saving up all our Frequent Flyer points again.

For more information on travelling with Emirates Airlines go to www.emirates.com

City View Room at the Hilton South Wharf Hotel in Melbourne, Australia

Hilton South Wharf Review

Hotel Review of the Hilton South Wharf – City View Room

After previously reviewing the two bedroom suite at Hilton South Wharf Hotel (read review here) we thought we would take the opportunity of a kid-free weekend to stay in Melbourne at the Hilton South Wharf again and enjoy one of its standard City View rooms.

As we touched on in our last review, the location of the Hilton South Wharf is excellent – next door to the South Wharf DFO which is great for shopping as well as the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre. In our opinion this location gives the Hilton South Wharf the best views of Melbourne down along the Yarra River. For this reason we would always recommend booking a city view room when staying here.

The standard rooms here are a good size with a nice big comfy bed. The bathroom is well set out and comes complete with separate shower and bath. Like at all Hilton Hotels, the Peter Thomas Roth bathroom amenities now come in smaller sizes than they previously did. We love the very effective blockout blinds at the Hilton South Wharf, it makes for a good sleep in. If you need to be up early, make sure to set an alarm.

If it is in your budget we would also recommend getting a room on the executive level floors. The extra cost is definitely worth it. The executive lounge at the Hilton South Wharf is a really large size with both inside and outdoor seating. We rate this lounge very highly compared to some other Hilton lounges. As well as all day snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, the lounge offers breakfast, afternoon tea and evening pre-dinner canapés with alcoholic beverages. The evening drinks are available from 6.00pm-8.00pm on weekdays and from 5.00pm-7.00pm on weekends. The drinks are self pour sparking, wine and beer but you can order spirits from staff if that is preferred. Each night there is a selection of two hot canapés along with a good variety of cold canapés. Also since our last stay, the wi-fi here has improved and they have updated the computers which was nice to see.

During this stay we also tried out Dock37 Restaurant and Bar for a bite to eat. All we can say is try the burger here, it is amazing!

If you are a Hilton HHonors Diamond member, don’t expect too much from the Hilton South Wharf. We have been staying here for a few years now while being Diamond members and never get an upgrade or even a welcome note from management.  At check-in we were told that we have been “upgraded” to the exact same room that we booked, just with executive access. Also if you book for more than one night, you will only get the free bottled water on the first night and no other nights – unlike most other Asia/Pacific Hilton hotels. This may be something that the Hilton South Wharf management might want to look into.

We do however love that we get access to the executive lounge as it is well worth it. We also love that we always get to enjoy the buffet breakfast at Dock37 as it has quite a good selection and we always find the staff lovely and helpful.

Another feature of the Hilton South Wharf that we enjoy is the Lobby area. Every time we come here there is something different being showcased in the lobby. As we stayed here during the Melbourne Cup Spring Racing carnival, this time the lobby consisted of a racing theme with photos, paintings and horse sculptures.

You can view our walkthrough of a Hilton South Wharf City View Room on Youtube here.

For more information about the Hilton South Wharf go to www.hiltonmelbourne.com.au

Suite Balcony View at the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa

Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort

Hotel Review of the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa

The Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa is set on a huge tropical 75 acre property, so this is going to be quite a long review to cover all aspects of the resort. It is about an hours drive from Phuket International Airport, depending on traffic. We organised an airport transfer through the hotel, which is helpful when staying here as the Hilton cars get access to drop you off right at the lobby. If you arrive independently, you will probably have to get dropped off at the main gates and then you have to get the Hilton Shuttle Trolley to the lobby area.

Check-in was smooth and efficient and we were greeted with some very delicious welcome drinks on arrival. Travelling as a family of two adults and two children, we were allocated two inter-connecting ocean view rooms (one king and one twin) on the 10th floor in the Andaman B Wing. As they were unavailable to upgrade us at the time (we are Hilton HHonors Diamond), they sent a bottle of wine to our room as compensation. The rooms were a good size and had wonderful views, but are starting to show a bit of age. This became evident after our first shower in one of the bathrooms where the drainage was not working properly and was unusable. We reported this fault and the next day maintenance came to try to sort it out but it was unrepairable without moving us out.

We were then moved down the hallway on the same level to a lovely suite with an inter-connecting twin room. We had no complaints with these rooms and were even treated to a bottle of sparkling wine for the inconvenience. The suite had a nice living area, great sized bathroom and a huge balcony which wrapped right around the room. House keeping here was a bit hit and miss, with the amenities not always getting replaced every day. We were always left with plenty of bottles of water however which we appreciated in the hot and humid weather.

There are five different pools here at the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa – the main two are the Garden Pools closest to the lobby. The two pools are split over two levels (upper and lower) and have a waterslide between them. One end of the Garden Lower Pool is designed for younger toddlers and has a little kiddy slide for them as well. There were plenty of sun lounges around the pools, with cheerful poolside staff who are only too happy to take your for order for food and drinks. There is also an eating area with tables and chairs if that is preferable. Happy hour drinks are available by all the resort pools between 4.00pm and 6.00pm (buy 2 get 1 free).

There are another two pools closer to the Saitong Wing of the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa which are the Seafarer upper and lower pools. These are again separated by a waterslide but note that this waterslide is not as good as the Garden Pool slide. These pools are definitely a lot quieter than the Garden Pools. The upper pool here turns into the Tranquility Pool Zone which is a quiet zone for those 14 years and older.

The last pool here at the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa is the Ocean Beach Club. There is a Bar & Restaurant here as well which is open for lunch and dinner.

The main dining restaurant here is the Sails Restaurant where you can enjoy a nice buffet breakfast or dinner. We only ate here for breakfast and it had a good variety of Asian and Western foods. Sails is located just below the lobby and next to the Garden Pool. For those that are staying in the Saitong Wing of the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa, they do have an additional buffet breakfast available at Buon Appetito which is over that side of the resort.  

For more casual dining, there is also the Caffe Cino available for snacks from 7.00am to 9.00pm. If it is local flavours and culture you are after then there is the Thai Thai Restaurant which is open from 6.00pm until 11.00pm.

As Diamond Hilton HHonors members we had access to the executive lounge which is called the Panorama Lounge. Located on the 12th floor of the Lotus Wing, this lounge is open from 7.00am until 9.00pm daily. Breakfast is available here as well as all day refreshments. From 5.00pm to 6.30pm you can enjoy complimentary alcoholic beverages as well as hot and cold canapés. This lounge is quite small so would suggest arriving right on 5.00pm to get seating. The canapé options were very nice, we especially loved the banana chips here. The drinks are not self serve but the staff here are very generous with their pouring and provided excellent service.

The main bar here at the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa is the Andaman Lounge which is situated next to the lobby area. They have live nightly entertainment and happy hour is between 6.00pm and 8.00pm (buy 2 get 1 free). Snacks are available to purchase here as well. The lounge is open until 1.00am.

There are certainly enough facilities at this resort to keep you occupied, including a 24hr Fitness Centre, Squash Courts, Tennis Courts, Steam Room, Games Room and Putting Green.

Our kids especially loved the kids club here – known as Kidz Paradise. Suitable for under 12’s this is free of charge but if they participate in any of the arts and craft activities there is a small fee. Our boys stayed for lunch on a few of the days so they just picked a meal from the room service menu and it was charged to our room.

With the kids off at the kids club, it was a good chance to check out the day spa here, just called The Spa. It is located by the beautiful lagoon and features private individual treatment villas. There is an extensive treatment menu which is of course more expensive than out on the Thai streets, but it was nice to indulge in a little bit of pampering in such a beautiful lush atmosphere. After the massage it was so relaxing to just sit out on the verandah and enjoy a nice cup of ginger tea and to enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

Now onto the location of the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa – it is situated between the two towns of Karon and Kata. We easily walked along the beach to both towns, taking about 15 mins each way. While the resort is not right on the beach, you only have to cross one road and then you are there. The resort even has a security guard outside the beach entrance who escorts you across the road. Outside the beach entrance to the resort, there are plenty of taxis and tuk tuks waiting if walking is not your thing or if you want to travel into Patong (about 15 minutes) or around Phuket. Just outside the resort and at the nearby towns are plenty of eateries, bars, shops and mini-marts. The beach area is quite clean with jet skis and parasailing available for hire as well.

If you do want to get out and about to see the sights around Phuket, there is a tour desk in the lobby but it is run independently of the hotel so you can’t charge tours to your room. Next to the tour desk however is a computer room if you prefer to go online and book tours.

We really enjoyed our stay here at the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa as it was perfect for families travelling with young kids. If you do stay here, make sure you walk right around the resort from the start of your stay so you realise what there is to offer – and don’t forget to look out for the peacocks, chickens and other animals that roam this huge resort.

We would also like to say a big thank you to the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa for the birthday surprises left in our room for Craig’s birthday and also for the late check out of 6.00pm which came in very handy for our late flight!

For more information on the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa go to www.hilton.com

We have also posted blogs about Things to do in Phuket with kids as well as our review of the popular Phuket FantaSea.