Cabin-Check: Business Class at Iberia

 Route: Bogota D.C. - Madrid

Flight Time: 10:20

Airplane: Airbus 340-600

Seat: 6G & 6E

Check-in: 9/10
Lounge: 9/10
Service: 8/10
Seat: 9/10
Food: 7/10
Beverages: 8/10
Entertainment: 9/10
Total: 8/10

After an amazing sleep and a wonderful experience at the Four Seasons Casa Medina, by the way the best place to embark for an exciting journey back to Europe crossing the Atlantic. After a 30-minute ride in our black limousine, we arrived at the brand new Bogota Airport. Upon entering the terminal, we headed towards Iberia Business Class counter without any queues and waiting time. The lady at the counter handed us over the boarding passes plus the invitation for the LATAM Lounge. Unfortunately, there is no dedicated Security Control for Business and First Class Passengers, however Security was not an issue at all and we found ourselves in the spacy LATAM Lounge within minutes. The staff welcomed us in a friendly way and we were impressed by the Lounge in Bogota.

Although the Lounge is branded and managed by LATAM (who is a partner of Iberia), it was wonderfully designed and in perfect shape. The entire furniture looked amazing and matched perfect with the design. There was a huge buffet with a selection of very good finger food, cold soft drinks, a selection of alcoholic drinks and a super cool wine bar with a nice selection of wines (2 white, 2 red and an excellent sparkling wine from Chile). We loved the opportunity to be at least able to test South American wines at the Lounge, after having Spanish or South African wine at the restaurants. Sometimes there is nothing more annoying if your flight is delayed, however this time it was just the best news of the day when we were informed that our Iberia machine arrived late so they would need to depart later than scheduled. We were very happy, ordering another round of Argentinian sparkling wine. If we wouldn’t have such an amazing hotel with a top spa (Four Seasons Casa Medina), I would have definitely chosen to take a shower in their super cool bathrooms. In general, I also loved their toilets, which were always extremely clean and had high ceilings. Super chic!

Once boarding started we were the first to board the plane and after a hand luggage control with dogs, we were allowed to our final destination: The Iberia Business Class! With 46 seats in Business class, it is the biggest business class cabin connecting Europe and Colombia. While it is an airy business class, with no galley separating the 46 seats, the seats itself already gave enough privacy and it did not feel too big. As soon as we were seated, we received the amenity kit, menu, wine list and headphones. I kind of liked the seat layout with solely single seats on the windows, and either single seats or double seats in the middle. So if you are travelling with a partner you can go for the middle seats, while single travellers may appreciate the window seats for full privacy. Before I could look for the entertainment we were served a glass of Cava and slippers to enjoy the time on ground. Generally, there was plenty of storage space with space to put your shoes, headphones, magazines, hand luggage and other things. The seats are similar to those in Emirates and Air Berlin.

As soon as we took off and reached cruising altitude, the staff began with service. The first course was a plate of cheese together with a kind of antipasti plate, including roast beef, salad, plums and mozzarella. Bread was served as well and instead of butter, Iberia served extremely nice olive oil. My colleague Lukas was responsible for the wine selection and chose a very nice white wine from Iberia’s regularly changing wine list – by the way the same wines you can have in the Wine bar at Iberia’s VIP lounges in Madrid. For main course we received a chicken breast stuffed with herbs on potatoes and vegetables. I really liked the combination and it was of very good quality, plus matched perfectly with this amazing white wine! The dessert consisted of a typical Catalan dish, which was very tasty and not too heavy. We had a glass of Port wine to the sweet dish and after a Spanish version of Grappa, I fell asleep like never before.

The seats in Iberia business class are extremely good, with a fully flat (180 degrees) bed, which is also long enough for my colleague Lukas. Thanks to the wonderful staff, could get a second pillow which made my sleep even more perfect. Toilets were also very clean and there was a bar in front of the business class where you could get a snack and drinks. Exactly one hour before we landed in Madrid, the staff began to serve breakfast, consisting of orange juice, coffee, scrambled eggs, fruits and a slice of toast. I liked the egg dish as it tasted very nice and creamy. Soon after we finished breakfast, we began with our descending and landed in Madrid quite on time, with just a few minutes of delay which was fine since we had to wait 5 hours anyways for our connecting flight to Munich. Therefore, we directly headed towards the Terminal 4 and Dali Lounge.

The Lounge Dali is Iberia’s flagship lounge accessible when flying within Spain and -Schengen countries. It is very airy, spacious and has lots of seating space. The centre of the lounge is the wine bar and the buffet. Although there is no Bistro and hot buffet like in Iberia’s Lounge at Terminal 4S, it was very nice and beautifully designed. Being arrived from a night flight plus having slight jetlag, we were super happy to see they offer a relaxation room which we made use of for the most time. Indeed, it was very relaxing and gave us some more hours of sleep – a nice invention. There are also shower areas which I also inspected during the 4-hour stay. Although the showers are not as spacious as in Dubai, it looked all very new, clean and I was provided with towels and toiletries by Melia. I like the idea of having the possibility to shower before a connecting flight so you arrive at your final destination refreshed and relaxed.

Our last leg was in an Airbus 320 to Munich, where we opted for the seats 2D and 2F, since these have the most legroom in the entire plane. Iberia was one of the first airlines to stop serving customers with snacks within Europe, tough when flying Business Class, it is still the same with any other European airline. You are served a menu on china and drinks in glasses. So after breakfast and a stop in the lounge, we were served a lunch menu consisting of chicken breast with kind of a risotto, a salad and a cheese plate as well as a Spanish dessert which was really really good. So basically we landed in Munich without being hungry or thirsty at all. Travelling in Business Class is really stress less and helps you so much to arrive in a relaxed way. You simply don’t feel that tired and are able to keep on working. Therefore, I can fully recommend choosing Iberia for your leisure travels and business trips alike! It is an excellent airline and probably the best option for Europeans to go to South America, especially Colombia, Peru or the Caribbean.

A very special thanks to Iberia for supporting us on our trip to Colombia with the flights. However all above written expresses our own opinion and has not been influenced.

72 Hours at the W Amsterdam

Sometimes in life there are extraordinary experiences waiting to be discovered. Well the fact that you are staying at a luxury hotel can be one of these experiences. But when is it actually accurate to call a hotel a luxury hotel? How is luxury defined in the 21st century, when hotel star ratings disappear more and more? Can an uber-cool design hotel be luxurious at all? Well, we don't know the answer to these questions, as luxury is defined by each individual in themselves. It is just an amazing feeling when you visit a city for your first time and stay at the best hotel or at the best location - best case, both are met. Now, let's consider a city like Amsterdam. The best place that meets both conditions is without any doubt: the W Amsterdam. Situated behind the Royal Palace and with amazing rooms, a top spa and even more spectacular dining venues; this is definitely a luxury hotel. 

Lobby at the Exchange Building

It was a sunny, wonderful Friday, we were arriving at the W Amsterdam by our Uber (interestingly a Jaguar through Uber X) and welcomed by an array of bellmen. Well not an array but for a city like Amsterdam, three staff members outside the hotel is a lot. The hotel is actually divided into the Exchange and Bank building - where we arrived at the only inconvenient thing about the W: You have to decide what you prefer in order to choose the building where you want to stay ;). If you have done that heavy decision, you are free to enjoy your stay. As everybody might already know, we prefer to Spa. Furthermore we were having a dinner reservation at THE DUCHESS, so no further doubts, we had to stay at the Bank building. I was curious as well since this was the newer building being reopened in October 2016 - so everything is brand new while the Exchange building has been reopened in October 2015already. Check-in was nice and welcoming and we made our way up to the room (W Hotels normally do not provide tours as this is part of the philosophy). Once we arrived at our WOW Suite, we were impressed. Never would we have expected to find such a vast suite with high ceilings in a city like Amsterdam. 

Living Room of our WOW Suite

Welcome Amenity by W Amsterdam

From previous experiences in the city we thought we knew what to expect from Suites in Amsterdam, this time, we were surprised to see the opposite. Where should we start with the wow things inside the suite? Was it the amazing round bed, the super cool safe-like minibar, the vast living room, the record player with funny records, the bathtub inside the bedroom or the gorgeous bathroom with automatic lightning. We cannot decide. Probably it was the bottle of Veuve Cliquot as a welcome and the peaceful view of the canals of Amsterdam. Every detail of this gorgeous WOW Suite was perfect. I loved the minibar with all products and the gorgeous glasses, while Lukas enjoyed the record player and the fact that the music from the player could be played over the Bose speakers in the entire suite. Literally we arrived in heaven. In fact it is exactly what we love and appreciate. The dark colours made the total W experience complete and proved once again - it's the coolest global hotel brand. 

The bathroom at our WOW Suite

How about the comfort inside the room? Well, the beds were magnifique, the bathroom had so many towels that we could have taken a shower three times within morning service and turn-down service, plenty of full size bliss toiletries as well as a separate guest toilet next to the entrance. There was absolutely no noise from outside, and that's also what makes Amsterdam so adorable. We just had fire alarm one night which probably was due to a guest forgetting what he signed at check-in: the no smoking policy. But don't forget you are in Amsterdam, coffee shops are on nearly every corner. Well, you are not in Amsterdam every day and you need to make the most out of the short time :)! Let's not forget about these heavenly beds so the next day we hardly remembered. But how can you focus on the past if your day starts in the most amazing way possible. We love the fact that you can choose between having breakfast in THE DUCHESS and MR PORTER, which is currently one of Amsterdam's most exciting restaurants.

THE DUCHESS

THE BUTCHER

While the breakfast at THE DUCHESS is more casual with wonderful egg dishes and some outrageous specials such as Egg Benedict in Tomato Sauce or the Avocado Boiled Egg, the breakfast at MR PORTER is more sophisticated in terms of views and dishes. You could even order a freshly prepared beef steak with French fries. I absolutely fell in love with this amazing dish - since MR PORTER is a steakhouse, their steaks are amazing and I thought myself why not having brunch in style? At least it was Sunday so it was a more than perfect breakfast. Although the steak was amazing, I would rather THE DUCHESS for breakfast since the atmosphere is more laid-back and the interior is more glamorous. I found it super cool that even as a guest of the Bank building you could have breakfast at MR PORTER and vice versa. You just have to bring your jackets in winter as you have to cross the street.  

After we explored the beauty of Amsterdam (a truly wonderful city) including a visit of the Van Gogh Museum, a shopping tour in the big Department store where we of course found some nice things plus having been to Amsterdam's north quarter with the renovated Adam Tower, we were looking forward to experience the highlight of the Bank building: the AWAY Spa! With one of Europe's coolest indoor pools, the spa was definitely breath-taking. I simply love to have a choice of pools, especially warm pools. Inside the spa, which by the way is in the vault of the old bank and therefore includes old safe doors and gold tiles, there was a sauna and steam bath area where you could find the cold pool and a hot pool. Next to this area was the main pool area with the indoor pool and super comfy and secret daybeds (we loved the one opposite the fire place) as well as another hot jacuzzi. Furthermore we had the pleasure to enjoy a wonderful hot stone massage, which was perfect and very relaxing. Generally said, we were simply impressed by the spa, and this is definitely reason number one for another stay at W Amsterdam along the perfect location next to the Royal Palace.  

On Friday evening we enjoyed a wonderful dinner in THE DUCHESS Restaurant. The atmosphere of the restaurant is simply amazing, being an old bank hall and some additional monuments make it even more unique. Exclusively for us they served a selection of different dishes including finest wagyu beef, Tagliatelle with caviar as well as finest black cod along a lobster-based dish. It was simply amazing and is definitely one of the fanciest and most glamorous places in the entire Netherlands! Together with the dinner we had a truly perfectly matching white wine from Israel, which made the whole evening even more unforgettable. As we were also having a gourmet dinner on Thursday night, we wanted to try the famous burger bar THE BUTCHER on the corner of the Bank building for Saturday. THE BUTCHER is a brand by the Entourage group; owned by Liran Wizman, the owner of the W Amsterdam and Food and beverage partner Yossi Eliyahoo. They have the BEST burgers we ever tried in Europe so far. You have the choice between the classic burgers, but without doubt go for their Truffle burger - what a fancy dinner option! I would say the concept of THE BUTCHER is simply gorgeous if you want something sophisticated but in an uncomplicated atmosphere. After the spontaneous burger dinner we went out and enjoyed the beauty of Amsterdam at night. If you are in for a truly outrageous experience, familiarize with the key staff members and try to get the password for the Private Club where the hidden bar is located at THE BUTCHER Albert Cuyp (not THE BUTCHER at Bank building but the other one opposite Sir Albert Hotel). We had the chance to get there due to the Personal Assistant of Liran Wizman (the owner of W Amsterdam and Europe Hotels Private Collection) - it's really just about connections and contacts.

A Wonderful Room in the Exchange Building

A Wonderful Room in the Exchange Building

Generally said, W Hotels are always a cool spot and perfect for young luxury travelers as well and stylish travelers alike. We already stayed at the W Bangkok and Bogota as well, but the W Amsterdam is definitely different. The spa is simply wow, the restaurants amazing and the rooms quite unique and more luxurious than the other W Hotels we have stayed so far. On top of all that, the design of the two buildings is something truly special! In fact, the prices are also higher than at other W properties, but the +200 euros a night are very fair and compared to other luxury hotels in Amsterdam, you get more than you pay for! 

This article might contain external pictures provided by the hotel, based on a strict policy of the hotel owner not to present self-taken pictures on online platforms. 

We were hosted by Europe Hotels Private Collection and Liran Wizman.

The View from our WOW Suite

A weekend at La Reserve Geneva

What we love:

  • The unique design - Feeling more like a private club in Paris instead a Swiss luxury resort
  • The fact of being an urban resort - just 5 car minutes by from the centre plus resort-vibes
  • A vast spa area with a cool indoor pool and one of the best gyms we have seen
  • Superb service - even the housekeeping knew my last name as the servers in the restaurant
  • It's all about scents, as soon as you enter you will be in the La Reserve mood

Best for:

Spa, Luxury, Gourmet and City Break

Points:

9.5 out of 10

The perfect song: 
Freedom Island -
The Free

We are in Switzerland, the small European country with the continents best luxury hotels (together with Italy and London). I recently had the pleasure to stay at some amazing Swiss properties such as on Lake Lucerne, St Moritz and now on Lake Geneva. When it comes to Lac Leman - as Lake Geneva is called in French - you would think of the glamorous Beau Rivage Palace in Lausanne, the Montreux Palace or the Four Seasons Des Bergues in Geneva center. However would you also think of La Reserve as one of Europe's best places to stay? Most probably not at first instance (as La Reserve is known to be intimate and frequented by the real insiders) and so did I. When you are going to stay at a Swiss five star hotel you already have certain expectations (and primary only big ones) but you never expect the wow effect though. Interestingly hotels in Switzerland are the ones that will surprise you most - be aware of high price tags! Therefore I love when I go to a hotel with certain high expectations and they even make it possible to exceed my highest expectations. Honestly, it rarely happens - probably twice a year! But what does that have in common with the La Reserve Geneva? And why is this relevant? 

It is simple as that story. My colleague Lukas decided spontaneously to visit me in Lausanne for the weekend. I was keen in showing him the Lac Leman from the most amazing site and was looking for amazing properties that were opened in Janaury and still create a little story. Since we had the pleasure to meet the Director of Sales and Marketing at the ILTM Cannes, my choice was sure. I finally had an occasion to stay at one of Switzerland's coolest high-end hotels. I picked my colleague up and we were heading towards Geneva. Of course shopping was a must, being Sale time. So we ended up with Shopping totes by Burberry, Uggs, Globus and Tods. Well, it escalated like the weekend before in Amsterdam but let's not go into details...

Just a short car ride of 10 minutes from Geneva we arrived in the town of Bellevue, where La Reserve Resort is situated. A small, unimpressive gate opened and we were driving through the vast ground of the resort. Honestly, we were not just impressed of the fire places outside the entrance and the elegantly dressed staff members waiting for us, we were also speechless of the cars parked at the hotel. From the latest Ferarri, via Bugatti to the most expensive Bentely. Welcome to the most glamorous place in Western Switzerland!

The Guest Experience Manager Justine was waiting along the bellmen and as soon as I stepped out of the car she was already doing the right thing by saying: "Welcome Mr Egger! Hello Mr Spendler". The first Wow-effect happened! The next Wow-effect followed when she was heading directly to the Junior Suite with us - at La Reserve no guest has to hassle with the paperwork at an indescreet front desk. She explained everything about the room and honestly I loved everything about it. From the gorgeous design, the comfy sofa, the out-of-this-world bed, the ultra glamorous bathroom with bath tub, double vanities and separated toilet and rainshower. While I was so impressed by the vast welcome amenities (consisting of a chocolate, fruit cocktails, fruit plate and a full size bottle of the company's own champagne), my highlight remained the perfect smelling toiletries - and the best they are branded by the hotel itself. I felt that the entire hotel had a signature scent and I really really love this - although some people cannot stand this. For me Wow-effect number four.

The next thing is something that has even been new to me and is more than wow. Instead of using trolleys for the housekeeping team, maids are running around in chic Longchamp bags where you can gather towels and shower gels popping out. Isn't that an impressive way of showing discreet service? By the way, once the housekeeping arrived to ask when they could prepare our room for turn-down, they also spoke to me by last name! This is outstanding service. It's in the little details that show that a hotel is simply managed in a flawless way. We both did not found a thing inside the Junior Suite that we would like to change. Everything was 10/10 points and they even provided any wardrobe amenity you can dream of - I am still wishing I would have taken the suit bag with the hotel logo on it.

Before we headed to our dinner reservation at the hotel's michelin starred restaurant, Lukas and me discovered the gym and spa. Never would I have imagined that the Spa as well as the gym is so big. Within the gym there were four different rooms where one could do the work-out with the absolute latest equipment and most elegant finishings. What's better than a dip into the wonderful mosaic tiled pool after the work-out? Probably nothing and so did we hit the most impressive part of the spa at La Reserve. In general the spa was flawless as well, maybe the pool could have been warmer being it January and there is no jacuzzi on site. They even have a Spa restaurant with a small complimentary buffet (including fruits, water and various nuts) plus a menu for lunch and breakfast. I loved the fact that you have the choice between a healthy breakfast option and the regular breakfast at the main restaurant. For dinner we had the pleasure to try the michelin starred chinese restaurant which is predicted to be the best on Lake Lemain.

Since we already did the workout during the evening, we had breakfast in the main restaurant. The design and set-up was truly unbelievable: they had a decorated tree in the middle of the restaurant that even looked real. There is a small buffet with products of the highest quality (including best salmon, fresh sushi, wonderdul cakes and Millefeuille (I adored the rasberry one!), as well as a menu with every dish you can just dream of. Don't ask why bur anyhow we both were stuck at the classics and had scrabled eggs and omlette. The only thing that was missing has been the champagne ;) Fun aside, who needs alcohol when there is such an impressive breakfast buffet with a service that already catches your breath?

So what else is to say than that La Reserve Geneve perfectly represents the definition "Urban Luxury Resort", since it is still located in the city of Geneva, tough feels like a resort rather than just a hotel. If you stay at the hotel from spring to autumn, you will benefit from the complimentary boat shuttle with a Venetian luxury boat from La Reserve's private pier (reachable via a 5-minute walk along the outdoor pool and through the hotel's own tunnel) to Geneva centre. We did not have the chance to do that so we are already looking for a date to return... How about you? 

We were invited by Michel Reybier Hospitality Group and stayed at La Reserve Geneve for editorial purposes. However all above written expresses our own opinion and has not been influenced. 

24 Hours at The Artisan DC, Bogota

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As one of Bogota's latest additions to the five star market, we were quite excited to stay at The Artisan DC. After an amazing stay at the B.O.G Hotel and the W Bogota, we had very high expectations towards the service and check-in efficiency. We found out that these two hotels remained an exception. As one would expect you simply need time and patience with the front desk staff in South America, so at The Artisan DC. In general we found the complete appeal of the hotel very attractive and the cool design was not really fitting to the old-school check-in process (they used hard files for the booking and therefore the process of finding a reservation took slightly longer).

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Once we were through the check-in we went to our rooms which were located on the 6th and 8th floors in the first tower. We were staying in a Metropolitan Double Room with two vast queen beds and a very spacious room layout. While the one on the 6th floor was more spacious, the one on the 8th floor had a better view. We really loved the accessories inside the room such as the vintage telephone, the cool toiletries or the handmade blankets and carpet. In general the bathroom was very spacious and had lots of storage room. There was a walk-in shower, a toilet and a bath sink - they could have added a bath tub inside this spacious bathroom ;).

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After a very heavenly sleep in the amazing beds, we were ready to explore the breakfast. Once we had a seat in the restaurant, a server arrived and asked us for our egg orders and coffee. Compared to our recent hotel stays in Bogota, the breakfast buffet was quite limited. They had a station to make waffles on your own, a microwave, a small selection of ham and cheese, very limited choice of bread, two jams and a lame choice of muesli. The fruit selection was very nice but we were shoked that they did not refill the buffet at all during our breakfast time (from 9 am until 10 am). We really appreciated the friendliness of the server tough and their explanation of the products was really nice as well.

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They also have a small but sufficient gym which is situated on the top floor. We had the feeling that it is still not finished yet, as there was one third of the room without any light. Being situated in Zona G, the Gastronomic heart of Bogota, there are plenty of amazing restaurants in the area around the hotel. Also the hotel's own japanese restaurant looked iviting and was super busy. We would definitely stay in this area rather than in Usaquen or La Candelaria. It is a very safe and upscale neighborhood.

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When we checked-out we unfortunately had to experience some troubles with our bill. There were still checks of the guests who stayed in our room on the 8th floor before. It looked like they consumed things even though they already left the room but checked out after we were checking-in. Although that it was obvious on the bills that the signature and guest names are not equal to ours, the PR Manager sent me an email to tell that the signatures would look the same and they would need to investigate the case. For me this was a little bit unpleasant - how can we have a transfer from the airport to the hotel when we were droven to the Artisan DC by the W Bogota and paid there already for this transfer? And how can we have a bar check timed a few minutes before we were even left the W Bogota? It is very important to consider, that The Artisan DC is still brand new and therefore can have some beginner's problems which will definitel disappear in the next years. The management by Marriott will be doing a better job and I am sure the way of handling such inconvenient situations will be a different one at our next stay.

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We were guests of OXO Hotels and The Artisan DC Hotel for Editorial Purposes. Our stay has been arranged by Communication Alternativa, however as you can read, this review has not been influenced.