Anantara is a global hotel chain headquartered in Thailand, with the kind of deeply ingrained service ethos that you'd expect from the Land of Smiles.
We had previously dined at a couple of Anantara hotels in Thailand as well as spending three wonderful nights at the Anantara Royal Livingstone in Victoria Falls and were very excited to see how the brand would express its unique style in this most competitive of hotel markets.
Finolhu is a radically different proposition to the majority of luxury properties in the Maldives. It is not looking to be the most OTT or the most luxurious, if that's what you're looking for you'll be disappointed. There are plenty of other resorts which will happily take $25,000 from you for a bottle of Mouton Rothschild before you wander back to the rooftop deck of your duplex villa....
Nine months after our initial visit, we returned for another four night stay. This fact alone should tell you a lot.
If you're booking this hotel using points, it's a complete no brainer. The villas are utterly spectacular and no other chain hotel on earth comes close to this in terms of value when redeeming loyalty points.
A destination that is almost tailor made for social distancing, with a stable entry policy, close to Europe, a low COVID rate and its steepest ever discounts on accomodation. If you've made the decision to travel during this pandemic I think it's almost impossible to make the case for a better destination.
Whilst BA has gone down the route of creating additional plastic waste and reducing the quality of wine on board, Qatar has instead opted to give full bottles of sanitiser to passengers in addition to providing them all with face shields, gloves and face masks.
I was curious to see the new First Class cabin in the flesh and when you compare it to the 14 seat cabins that previously graced the 777 this is clearly a superior product.
The doors are actually the least exciting change in my mind. I can see the business logic for installing them but in reality they make little difference to the overall experience.
My main takeaway with this property is that it looks and feels so much better in person that the pictures on the Four Seasons website would imply. It is also a hell of a lot busier than I would have imagined. There's a real scene here, even during COVID. For some people that may be off putting but if you enjoy the buzz of having various bars and restaurants right on your doorstep then this is the hotel for you.
I had two terrible nights of sleep here and despite that I would still return in a heartbeat and emphatically recommend this hotel to anybody.
The quality of the hardware and service isn't just better than everything in Dubai, its up there with the best I've ever encountered globally...
One of the big advantages to the old F cabin, is the amount you can see during take-off and landing. When we finished taxiing and the engines revved up for take-off, the feeling was exhilarating. Seeing the world rushing past, through 15 or more windows, gave me the impression that I myself was flying. As opposed to the usual feeling of just being along for the ride, in a metal tube.
Shortly after the seat belt signs were turned off, one of the 2 female FAs came over with menus
The best I can say about the food component of the breakfast is that it was better than the abomination that was served to me on TG911 a few days earlier. Again, not worth coming to BKK early for.
Off the top of my head, I would take J lounge food in the NRT JL or NH lounges, the VS clubhouse in LHR and the QF J lounge in HKG, over this. Those are all great J lounges but a national carrier in it's home base shouldn't be losing to them in its F lounge.
All in all, this was one of my favourite ever flights. The FAs on TG can make or break a flight and once again this crew was a cut above. The hard product is very nice, the white trim does show some signs of wear and tear but really, that is to be expected. Ultimately though, the hard product is well above average and the crews are too. I highly recommend flying TG F if you haven't done so already.
I'd always choose the Singapore lounge over the Thai lounges, unless my gate was absolutely miles away. The only downside is that it has no toilets, not a huge deal but still, I overheard a few different people asking staff members and reacting in an astonished fashion when they found out that they would have to leave the lounge to use the bathroom.