12-22 November 2010
Emirates A380 Economy Class Sydney to Dubai
Before departing, I had use of the Emirates Lounge in Sydney. I have used this lounge on numerous occasions and it’s always a very comfortable space to sit in with a very nice selection of food and beverages.
On the flight, I had an exit row seat and was very grateful for the extra leg room as the flight was full. The best economy class seats on the A380 are the window seats, the row behind the exit row being 68A, 68K, 81A and 81K. There’s no seat in front of these as the exit row in front is only two seats, so there’s an amazing amount of space! The A380 is a fantastic aircraft; it’s quiet and the air onboard seems fresher than onboard a 747. The service was good, the meal was tasty and I enjoyed a glass of Austrian white wine.
Upon arrival in Dubai I had to queue for half an hour with hundreds of others to pass through security to enter the transit area. The transit area goes on forever and was packed with people. From 5am to 9am seems to be the peak time. For those who do not have access to an airline lounge, there are two basic pay to enter lounges called Marhaba offering light refreshments, however there are no showers in these lounges. I did find showers in the main concourse but there were no towels and I couldn’t locate a facility that sold or provided towels. Marharba services can also arrange escorts to and from the aircraft but from what I understand, there is no queue jumping at security or immigrations. Visit their website for more information >>
B777 Business Class Dubai to Vienna
After being down the back for 14.5 hours, B777 Business Class to Vienna was a treat! Very comfortable seats that form a fully flat bed. The service was excellent from a very professional crew. An amazing desert trolley was presented after the main course. Arrival in Vienna was very easy; no forms, no formalities.
A340 Economy Class Munich to Dubai
On the A340 Economy Class Munich to Dubai, I once again had an exit row seat. A short 5 hour flight with good service.
A380 Business Class Dubai to Sydney Check-in
The A380 Business Class Dubai to Sydney was very comfortable. The lunch service was outstanding; bordering First Class service standards for many airlines. Every course was nicely presented and served individually. The seat converts to a fully flat bed, however I was very uncomfortable with the pillow as the head rest when in bed mode is high and makes the pillow even higher. I did sleep, however be warned, the last two rows of Business Class on the A380 have the “bar” directly behind. The rest of the group I was traveling with were in these seats and did not get a wink of sleep during the 14 hour flight because of the constant chatter and noise from this social area. Though, this bar is a great place to go to sit, stretch and relax away from the main cabin. I could even order a martini if I wished. The Emirates ICE in-seat entertainment system is amazing with a huge range of films, though not many recent releases. Also, you have an in-seat telephone which worked (I phoned home twice from 35,000 feet). Emirates is a premium airline with an outstanding product.
The Imperial Hotel Kartner
In Vienna, I stayed at The Imperial Hotel Kartner. I stayed here on my first visit to Vienna about 13 years ago, too. It still is as sumptuous as it was then and is still the preferred residence of visiting Heads of State. The hotel was built in 1863 as the Vienna Palace of the Prince of Wuttemberg. It became a hotel in 1873. It maintains an efficient and discreet service; the concierge knew my room number and gave me my key each time I returned, before I even asked. The hotel may be over the top for some people; it is all marble, onyx and crystal chandeliers. On this occasion I found my room, even though quite sumptuous, lacking warmth. The formal (hard) settee and chairs were not conducive of flopping down in front of the TV to relax, especially after the long flight from Sydney. The costs were pretty steep as well. I had 4 shirts pressed and 10 items laundered which came to 140 euro! A call to a local Austrian mobile cost me 15 euro.
If you’re interested in staying here or would like some more information, contact Rosemarie Regner, Director of Leisure Sales: Rosemarie.firstname.lastname@example.org >>
Hotel Sacher Philharmonikerstraße
I absolutely love this hotel. Very residential, very sumptuous, yet not “over the top”. The owner of the Sacher Hotels is a lady, which is reflected in the soft furnishings. The rooms and fabrics are gorgeous. I could have easily flopped down on the settee and settled in for a night. I would recommend this as the best in town.
If you're interested in staying here or would like some more information, contact Harti-Wagner, Chief of Sales and Marketing: email@example.com >>
The Ring Hotel Karnter
From the outside, the Ring Hotel Kartner looks like an 18th century building. Inside it’s modern and simplistic. It’s worlds away from both the Sacher and the Imperial. A modern Bistro with two original Andy Warhol paintings of Marilyn Monroe. The rooms are comfortable, the design is hip and happening.
If you're interested in staying here or would like some more information, contact Roland Hamberger, Director of Sales and Marketing: Sales@grandhotelwein.com >>
Hotel Sacher Schwarzstrasse
Just the one night here in Salzburg. This hotel is located right beside the river; so many of the rooms boast beautiful views of the water, the old town and the castle. My room was very small with an equally small bathroom, however the soft furnishings were wonderful, the bed blissfully comfortable and I could work the TV easily. At the Imperial in Vienna you needed a degree in computer science to operate the TV! I was very impressed when I came back to my room early in the evening. I had unpacked my suitcase and had strewn clothes over the bed. The maid had folded these all up and left them neatly on the chair. She had also hung up all of my jackets. My room service order was beautifully presented. All the staff used my name at all times. If service is key for you, you will love this hotel!
If you're interested in staying here or would like some more information, contact Evelyn Wickoff, Director of Sales: firstname.lastname@example.org >>
- The reception and gala dinner in the Great Gallery at Schonbrunn Palace Vienna was the ultimate highlight - it was an amazing night! This is the room where the Austrian Government holds State Dinners for visiting Head of State. Just gazing up at the ceiling above me during dinner was an experience!
- The Austrian Tourist Office and all the local authorities pulled out all the stops to highlight the best that Austria has to offer.
- Flying one stop from Australia to Vienna was fantastic!
- I loved Vienna; the great pride the locals have in their Imperial past is very obvious! It’s a wonderful city to walk around in and just immerse yourself in the culture and history. The shopping is good and the local coffee houses are a treat. I found costs on par with Australia with the current strength of our dollar against the euro.
- I could open the windows in all of the hotels I stayed in. Now, that’s something I like to see in a hotel!
- Salzburg; I loved the old village. However even in November there were many tourists in groups (like us), I think it would be swarming with people in summer time.
- The drive from Salzburg to Innsbruck was really great with amazing scenery!
- The German high speed ICE train I took (first class) from Innsbruck to Munich last Saturday was on time, clean and efficient.
- Austria as a destination – I would highly recommend it. A wealth of history, stunning scenery, wonderful cuisine and, being located in the “heart of Europe”, it’s easily accessible.