Redefining Luxury Travel

Turkish Airlines’ state-of-the-art lounges

Shereen Shabnam

Using Istanbul as a stopover when I head over to my Spanish home is a lot more fun now as the stop in Istanbul breaks the journey and gives us an opportunity to experience the luxuriously revamped airport lounges that Turkish Airlines is famous for amongst seasoned travellers.

The newly expanded airport lounges align with the Turkish Airlines’ brand of luxury and offer travellers a more rewarding airport experience. When flying with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul Airport, Business Class passengers and Economy passengers with Miles&Smiles membership can make use of one of the 2 international lounges, the Business Lounge or the Miles&Smiles Lounge depending on their eligibility, or they can use the Domestic Lounge for domestic flights.

The Business Lounge sprawls across 5,800 sq.m, seats 765 guests, and is easily one of the most well-equipped lounges in the world. With 13 private suites, shower cabins, a Turkish museum, a movie hall, and a variety of delicious Turkish food, the lounge offers world-class refinement and promises a one-of-a-kind experience.

The Miles&Smiles Lounge, designed for Turkish Airlines’ frequent fliers, also offers a diverse range of entertainment which make the transit between cities the best part of the journey. Open 24 hours, passengers can spend their downtime at the cinema, console gaming or use the spacious children’s playground where the fun never ends.

Meeting rooms and a library are also available. Turkish Airlines’ Miles&Smiles Lounge has an area of 5.600 m2 and can seat up to 765 people. The lounge houses 11 suites with 11 showers, comfortable couches and delicious treats of Turkish and world cuisines.

The Domestic Lounge is accessible through a special entrance gate located outside the terminal and is designed to help passengers relax and revive. With a brand-new children’s play area equipped with game consoles, and an interactive gaming experience, the lounge offers parents a chance to enjoy a stress-free experience as the play corners are overseen by a dedicated Turkish Airlines supervisor.

A selection from the Istanbul Modern Collection can also be seen at the Turkish Airlines Lounge in the airline’s brand new hub, Istanbul Airport. Turkish Airlines and Istanbul Modern entered into a cooperation to introduce Turkey’s modern art to the world.

As the Turkey’s first modern and contemporary art museum, a special selection from the Istanbul Modern will be displayed in Turkish Airlines Business Lounge at Istanbul Airport. Spanning 130 square-meters, the exhibition titled “A Selection from the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art Collection” will bring significant examples that represent four main dispositions of modern art of Turkey together.

Made possible with the collaboration of Turkish Airlines and Istanbul Modern, collection selections will be renewed three times annually within the project. Within the exhibition there will be varied type of artworks ranging from the early 20th century landscape painting tradition to the abstract paintings of artists looking for a synthesis between eastern and western arts during 1950s.

Housing the works that illustrate the daily life presence of figure painting, the exhibition will also display compositions that interpret cultural values of Anatolia with a new perspective.

Now with an advanced new hub and superior facilities, Turkish Airlines’ goal remains to continue expanding globally by increasing both its destination and fleet numbers, while providing passengers with unparalleled customer service in-flight and on the ground.

Perfect Portugal

By Shereen Shabnam

When I look back at my time in Portugal, what comes to mind is the medieval castles, palaces, hilltop castles, picturesque cobblestone villages, bustling towns and great food.

My favourite time was sitting in the open-air cafes, watching the locals while enjoying freshly baked bread, delicious fried sardines served with sauces of your choice, olives, a wide variety of cheeses and the best potato dishes that I have never been able to emulate in my kitchen. If you like desserts as much as I do, indulge in an egg custard tart from the many cafes around the city.

As a foodie, I found the Mercado da Ribeira a haven, in particular the local produce in the food hall with a wide variety of cuisine to suit different tastes.

Portugal is idyllic and has a bountiful coastline, fertile countryside, scenic vineyards and some of the best markets to wander through. I was lucky enough to venture outside the city in search of ceramics one year and loved the true beauty of Portugal.

The country has biking and hiking trails with pristine scenery, olive trees, all the beautiful colours of nature, historic villages, riverside cafes, beaches with calm blue seas, boating, surfing and kayaking areas along the meandering Rio Guadiana, country fairs and music fests all along the coast.

In Lisbon, I recommend taking the vintage retro streetcars to explore the city’s narrow streets and normally unseen streets. Take the historic Alfama tour which takes you through Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhood.  There are walking tours, rail tours and private day trips offered by local agents who know the city best.

The museums and Aquarium tours and the Tagus River sunset cruise leaves you with a really great feeling afterwards and the cruise is one of the most relaxing activities you can do in Portugal.

I flew to Lisbon with Emirates and stayed in the town square which was a perfect place to wander around in the evenings.

#Portugal #Travel #destination adventure #GoingPlaces #aircraft #Tourism LuxuryTravel #TravelDiary #AmazingPlaces #Travelling #Globetrotter #Traveller#OffTheBeatentrack

Pearl of the Orient: Penang Malaysia

By Shereen Shabnam

During my nine years in Malaysia, Penang was the most popular local exotic holiday destination we used to head to for a dose of cultural sights and natural scenery.

Known as the Pearl of the Orient, Penang is famous for its many soft sandy beaches and viewed as the food capital of Malaysia. As students, we used to spend most of our time trying street food in hawker stalls and exploring night markets with local delicacies which on the weekends was popular among residents of Penang and visitors to the Island.

Penang is also popular because of the palm fringed sandy beaches of Tanjung Bungah, fishing villages, the Snake Temple, the vibrant Georgetown area with heritage houses, small shop houses, old British colonial buildings and the Tropical Spice Garden.

As a UNESCO World Heritage site, many of the old derelict buildings are being restored to their former grandeur, offering even more places to visit on the island.

We love staying on the Batu Ferringhi Beach when we visit Penang as it offers a long stretch of shoreline ideal for swimming and the hotels are in abundance to suit every budget. Tanjung Bungah is another popular option for tourists.

Penang is an island that leaves you wanting to stay longer because of the historical sites, sandy beaches, night markets and so much more.

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Indulgent Escape: Gramado

By Shereen Shabnam

One of the most memorable trips I have taken as a motoring enthusiast was to Gramado, a tiny mountain resort that has the Hollywood Car Museum and a place for super car driving experiences. The town is like a Swiss mountain village with boutiques selling avant-garde glasswork, gourmet chocolate and has some of the best local clothes and shoe designers.

Cuisine

For food lovers, Gramado is a town that arouses all of your senses. The smell of chocolate and fondue is all around and the gastronomic experiences at cafes with restaurants along the streets that specialize in fondue. The city’s strong European influence can be seen in several traditional local dishes, but delicious Brazilian-inspired favorites can also be found throughout this destination. 

Italian and German recipes, brought to the city by its European colonists and founders, are the most popular of the city’s diverse options. I had my best Italian meal in Gramado.

Architecture

Most of the architecture comes from Bavarian inspiration with a lot of timber-framing and hotels are decked out like Swiss chalets with an Alpine vibe. The city is a delight to explore with building designs that are head turners.

Lago Negro

One of my favourite stops was the manmade lake Negro with pine trees grown from seedlings from Germany’s Black Forest. A great place to walk and explore nature and visitors can enjoy the paddle boats as well. The walk around the lake is memorable and a must if you are in the area.

Hollywood Dream Cars Museum

One of my first stops in Gramado was the Hollywood Dream Cars Museum with a collection of some very interesting vintage and rare cars, memorabilia from the past with period music andan eclectic atmosphere. Visitors can step back in time as this collection explores the golden age of both the automobile and the movie industry.  

The museum showcases cars dating from the 1920s to 1960s that have been restored and polished to perfection. I enjoyed adding some retro props to my attire for some nostalgic pictures during my tour. It is the most fun I have had in a car related journey I took in an exotic location.

Gramado is definitely a place I would love to go back to try more super car experiences, have more fun at the car museum and for a dose of chocolate treats along the way.

#Travel #Gramado #globaltrendmonitor #destination #business #trendingbusiness #magazineUAE #magazine #lifestyle #mediaUAE #UAEmedia #UAEbusiness #myDubai #Emirates

The Lion City: Singapore

By Shereen Shabnam

Singapore was my favorite cosmopolitan city for weekend visits during my nine years in Kuala Lumpur.  As students took the overnight train and ventured the streets for culinary experiences trying hawker food, Indian food, seafood, scrumptious Chinese cuisine and strolled through the lovely hiking trails or enjoy the beaches in the South.

As a working adult, not much has changed when I visit Singapore except that the city now has more world class exhibitions and even more attractions than ever before. With a strong Malaysian, Indian, Chinese, Arab and Western cultures merged into one society, there is plenty of activities to suit every taste.

The strength of the city lies in the melting pot of cultures and the most efficient and widespread public transport systems that makes it easier to explore. I particularly enjoy staying on the Sentosa Island and then use it as a base to go on walking trails, Botanic Gardens and for retail therapy.

My Singaporean friends love Orchard Rd so we generally walk down the street but later head to local neighbourhoods for independent designers, quirky art galleries, Chinatown, vibrant night markets and of course no visit is complete without a visit to the museums and the science centre.

The MacRitchie Reservoir Park is a lush city park with an eight-kilometer treetop hike, bridges suspended high above the forest floor and has flying lemurs, monkeys, squirrels, monitor lizards and owls.

Top of my list is the Singaporean Zoo, the Tiger Balm and the Botanic Gardens, the Marina Bay Sands area, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Pulau Ubin Island, Little India and of course Chinatown to get a sense of Chinese culture within the city and enjoy the craft shops, restaurants and other bargains. If you like architecture, visit the Thian Hock Keng Temple. Enjoy music outdoors as well as the Singapore Symphony Orchestra hosts various free concerts at different venues around the country.

I flew to Singapore directly with Emirates Airlines. It is a great Asian city to visit and you need at least five days to a week to be able to explore all the attractions.

Turkish Airlines proud to receive “Diamond” status for health and safety review by APEX and SimpliFlying

As the airline that flies to the most international destinations in the world, Turkish Airl  ines also managed to become one of the busiest airlines during the pandemic period that has been plaguing the globe since last year. With its extra guidelines for safe travel and comprehensive hygiene precautions due to pandemic, the flag carrier airline has been awarded the highest “Diamond” status by APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) Health Safety powered by SimpliFlying.

Analyzed in three categories named Gold, Platinum and Diamond according to the hygiene precautions and preventative measures taken by airlines in the face of the ongoing pandemic, the online audit was conducted with 10 categories and 75 touchpoints in mind as the answers about the health and hygiene precautions were entered with concrete indicators by the participants. Reviewed alongside other airlines, Turkish Airlines achieved the Diamond status which symbolizes the highest health and safety level, thus maintaining its unparalleled service approach and quality in these extraordinary times.

Meticulously implementing comprehensive precautions and newly developed changes since the start of the pandemic in order to continue providing a healthy and safe travel experience for its passengers, Turkish Airlines achieved the Diamond status with numerous criteria such as touch-free check-in process, implementation of social distancing, temperature measuring at entrances, Covid-19 test service at the airport, extra hygiene precautions, in-flight social distancing, hygiene expert cabin crews appointed in flights and hygiene kits offered to passengers.

As the pandemic and its effects are still present around the globe, the precautions may differ from time to time due to rapidly changing conditions. But since the fight against the pandemic requires continuity and commitment, the precautions and measures taken by the airlines in the report will be reviewed every three months to check on the continuity of their statuses.

On the results, Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee, M. İlker Aycı stated: “We continue to meticulously implement the comprehensive hygiene precautions in order to ensure that our passengers can travel in health and safety during the pandemic. We provided comfort and reassurance for our passengers with our Hygiene Expert cabin crews appointed in our flights and hygiene kits offered to all of our passengers, along with all the precautions taken in airports and in our aircrafts. We are glad that our guidelines for safe travel have achieved the highest “Diamond” status. We will continue to work selflessly to provide the best possible travel experience for our passengers.”

In his statement on the matter APEX CEO Dr. Joe Leader said: “Turkish Airlines consistently has provided incredible passengers experience now topped by Diamond level certified, hospital-grade health safety for its customers. From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic forward, Turkish Airlines has demonstrated a step-by-step customer health safety plan as expansive as its 127 country route-map.  APEX applauds the incredible commitment and diligence by Turkish Airlines for passenger safety worldwide.”

Turkish Airlines launches “TK Extra Care”, a new hygiene programme with Dr. Oz.

Turkish Airlines, flying to more countries than any other airline, launched a new hygiene programme “TK Extra Care”, which highlights new protective hygiene measures, in collaboration with the global carrier’s ambassador Dr. Mehmet Oz, the producer and host of the world-renowned “The Dr. Oz Show.”

The announcement of the new animated in-flight video comes at a time when health and safety is a top consideration on travelers’ checklists. Inspired by the airline’s ongoing dedication to its passengers’ well-being, the three-minute video follows Dr. Oz through the travel experience passengers should expect when flying with the global airline today. From the moment Dr. Oz checks-in for his flight to when he arrives at his destination, viewers will not only be reminded of the airline’s hygiene protocols necessary for a safe flying experience, but will have full assurance that Turkey’s flag carrier is enforcing a higher level of protection for every stage of the journey that goes above and beyond industry standards.  

Turkish Airlines puts passenger hygiene at the forefront, protecting its guests at each stage of the journey. In the three-minute animated video, Dr. Oz shows that from checking-in online and carrying only personal items in the cabin, passenger contact is reduced. Viewers learn that upon entering the airport, all passengers must wear a mask and are provided with hand disinfectant and body temperature screenings throughout the terminal. The video also highlights that Turkish Airlines has taken extra safety steps to ensure peace of mind, such as disinfecting luggage with a UV system and boarding passengers in smaller groups from the back of the plane to the front. Hygiene Experts are present on each flight to maintain a high health and safety level, while each passenger will receive a hygiene kit upon boarding.

Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee, M. İlker Aycı commented on the video’s debut; There is no question that travelers around the world are facing an immense need for enforced safety measures and peace of mind while traveling. At Turkish Airlines, the hygiene standards for our passengers are our top priority and we offer the highest standards. These extra safety precautions have been introduced following the authorized committees’ evaluations and approvals. With the release of ‘TK Extra Care’, we are hopeful that viewers will recognize Turkish Airlines’ hard work and dedication in keeping both passengers and crews safe, and we are pleased to have Dr. Oz share our message with the world.”  

In June, with the resumption of services, Turkish Airlines announced new ‘Guidelines for Safe Travel,’ as well as two new in-flight services to protect the health of its guests. The airline continues to distribute “Hygiene Kits,” containing a face mask, disinfectant and antiseptic tissue to its guests, while “Hygiene Expert” cabin crews are appointed to flights to enforce all on-board hygiene and social distancing measures for the healthy travel of passengers.

Dr. Oz has been sharing his expertise with Turkish Airlines’ passengers since 2017, when the airline launched its “Fly Good Feel Good” project, created to provide an even more comfortable and healthy travel experience to its passengers.

The videos are also available in one-minute and 90-second versions featuring animation of Dr. Oz. To watch the full “TK Extra Care” video featuring Dr. Oz, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vvaXwuRcN0  

In the Heart of Nature – Crans-Montana

By Natasha Dury

The Swiss Alps have so much more to offer than just winter sports and snowy mountains. The destination has visitors all year round and is just as popular in the summer, when walking outside is easier with views of breathtaking nature and for outdoor sports.

This summer we headed out to Crans-Montana in the district of Sierre in the canton of Valais, Switzerland. It is a ski resort that was created through the fusion of the two centers of Crans and Montana and is now a sought after destination for celebrities.

Other than hosting spectacular World Ski Championships, guests also come from far to Crans-Montana to enjoy the pop rock festival, bicycle racing and the Omega European Masters golf tournament.

Crans-Montana offers an impressive view of mountain peaks from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc and offers visitors luxury holiday retreats with expansive natural landscapes and panoramic views of the Valais Alps.

We were able to enjoy shopping in the quaint village shops, get high end luxury brands, walked near aromatic mountain forests, and along a lake, learnt first hand how to make cheese with a local farmer and tried our hand at golf with a talented golf trainer.

For panoramic views, visitors can take the gondolas from Crans-Montana to the top and enjoy places like the Plaine Morte Glacier, experience mountain rides such as the “Petit Bonvin”, the “Cry d’Err” or “Les Violettes, or just hike at their own pace.

Crans-Montana is perfect for family holidays as local parks and summer camps offer numerous activities like sledge runs, tobogganing, swings, drawing competitions, golf clinics at the “highest golf course in the world”, a fun Forest Adventure Park, lake walks, water sports, hike excursions, music festivals and amusement parks.

We visited the Beach Club, which had beach volleyball, banana boating on the lake and cable wakeboarding. We had coffee on the deckchairs watching the locals swim, enjoying meals with families and relax with board games.

Art enthusiasts can visit various museums and art galleries in Crans-Montana which has galleries dedicated to art fans and collectors having access to the works of internationally renowned artists as well as new talent.

Food in Crans-Montana was a delight. With mouth-watering sushi at our hotel’s Japanese restaurant, MiZUKI by Kakinuma’, raclette and fondue during the evenings.

Highlight was the gastronomic meal in the mountains at Chetzeron Hotel which was memorable at 2112 m. The menu included an “Alpine refined” flavoured cuisine from traditional Valais-based specialities to contemporary inspirations. We had great seafood at La Plage and even had Lebanese food for dinner, similar to what we would find in Dubai.

We stayed at the Guarda Golf Hotel & Residences located in the heart of the picturesque Crans-Montana. It was an intimate and elegant home for us with personalised service and it is clearly one of the finest luxury hotels in Switzerland being a member of Swiss Deluxe Hotels as well as of The Leading Hotels of the World. Our room had spectacular panoramic views of the Swiss Alps.

To get to Crans-Montana, we flew SWISS from Dubai, which was a comfortable and enjoyable arriving in Zurich in time to start our travel adventure in different parts of Switzerland using the Swiss Pass that allowed us to see many parts of beautiful Switzerland.

 

Cesme – Boyalik Beach Reosrt & Spa

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By Shereen Shabnam

I seem to continually say Turkey is always a good idea because of the beauty of every city I have visited every year over the past two decades but this nature blessed country continues to surprise me with more adventure and enthralls me every hour I spend there. After a few days in downtown Izmir and falling in love with the food, the people and the shopping in the bazaars, I headed to Cesme in the summer, a resort town that is both breathtaking and charming.

While having an afternoon meal at the Boyalik Beach Cesme that offered an amazing array of fresh and beautifully prepared dishes, we experienced pure tranquility in the green manicured grounds and uninterrupted views of the blue ocean.

At Boyalik Beach Hotel & Spa, you can focus on rejuvenation and renewal, or take advantage of the sports and leisure facilities. Here you can spend a holiday sipping your tea and coffee outdoors or enjoy the wireless in the peaceful environment of your room with a stylish five-star hotel which is what I normally do as a workaholic.

The hotel has standard and family rooms as well as suites. As an Islander I naturally prefer sea views and Boyalik Beach Cesme has plenty of sea view rooms with Sat TV, complimentary tea and coffee, 24 hours room service, wireless internet, exclusive bath kits, magnifying mirror, mini bar and hair dryer.

Boyalık Beach Hotel & Spa is the ideal place to combine business and pleasure and has fully equipped meeting rooms. If you feel like going out, I highly recommend visiting Cesme’s bustling markets, crystal clear sea, clean beaches and dive and sailing centres, picturesque bays, healing thermal resources and sports activities.

Çesme is one of the most ideal places for surfing and our visit to the Alaçatı Surf Paradise gave us insights into the local passion of the sea among the youth and adults. Seeing teenagers enjoying the surfing made me wish I had a few more days in Cesme as my daughter was keen on trying some water sports. I suggest at least three days to get a good feel of the towns and beaches.

 

Scenic San Francisco

casey-horner-ReT_tlX_DvE-unsplashBy Shereen Shabnam

As one of the most fascinating and eclectic cities in the world, San Francisco has always drawn me in with its charm and history each time I visit my relatives. Since San Francisco’s attractions are spread out, the best way to see the attractions is to have road trips. Luckily my base is always in Hayward with my favourite aunt and over the years, the attractions below have been the ones I love going back to.

The Golden Gate Bridge

As one of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks, The Golden Gate Bridge is a must visit for a walk across the bridge, for amazing pictures and onwards to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which has a waterfront promenade and a number of hiking trails.

The Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts is majestic and the Corinthian columns always catches my eye each time I am in San Francisco. The lagoon area is perfect for a leisurely stroll or for a picnic on the grass. It always has interesting events but my favourite stop is always the theatre.

Alcatraz Island

Home to a former federal prison that had some of America’s most notorious criminals in the past, Alcatraz Island is a national landmark that tourists can explore. Take a guide when taking the tour of the Island so that the rangers can give you historical information with some interesting stories thrown in.

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Fisherman’s Wharf

This waterfront is always my definite destination as I love spending time people watching at the cafés on the pier as well as enjoy their famous clam chowder soup with sour dough bread. The street performers are great and I love the souvenir shops that have a wide variety merchandise including my favourite Ghirardelli Ice Cream and chocolate shop. If you love cruising, head towards San Francisco Bay to see the city from the water.

Cable Car Tours

Cable cars are fun to ride and a great way to explore the various neighborhoods of San Francisco. These tram-like vehicles are the only public transport system to be declared a historic monument and they save you loads of time walking up and down the city’s hills.

Museums and Science Centres

After opening a science exhibition at the Tech Museum in San Jose, I dedicated one of my visits to San Francisco to interactive centres. I started my tour with a visit to the Exploratorium, a popular science museum with a huge number of diverse exhibits and hands-on learning experiences designed to educate and entertain.

Next up was the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art visit which took a lot longer with 10 floors, and a large gallery space that took half a day. The next day I ventured to the Young Museum of fine arts that features a wide variety of exhibits from different geographical locations.

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Country Tours

While most visitors head to the Napa Valley for a bit of country air, there are other options as well. One year we decided to escape to Solvang and do the ‘Sideways Tour’ on our own by following the trail exactly as it was done in the award-winning film ‘Sideways’. The scenery was as gorgeous as Napa Valley and we got to see a new part of California.
Chinatown

The San Francisco Chinatown is the most famous in the United States and the most vibrant with the best places to eat Chinese cuisine, get souvenirs and people watch. I would suggest as least dedicating half a day to get a feel of the area.

Overall, the entire California is an amazing destination but I have a soft spot for San Francisco because of my many relatives living there and the fact that it offers so many attractions and entertainment within and beyond the city.