I feel somewhat rewarded for being so loyal to Qatar Airways! I’ve been telling my friends for the past four years to fly via the airline since i’ve taken it on separate trips to Italy, Spain, England and France. This post is about my fifth return flight with Qatar, and how they’ve spoilt me nicely by sponsoring me a seat in Business Class!
If you’re familiar with traveling then you should be familiar with the brand, as Qatar Airways was named Airline of the Year 2011 and 2012 at the annual Skytrax World Airline Awards. It’s quite amazing that over 18 million travelers worldwide cast their votes with the same airline winning the chief title two years running.
For an airline that was launched 15 years ago, Qatar Airways has also established itself as an industry innovator and set new onboard standards as the “World’s 5-star airline”. It currently flies to 127 destinations across six continents, and promises to increase that number to over 170 destinations by 2015, with orders for more than 250 aircraft worth over US$50 billion. I can’t even fathom that kind of money.
Besides orchestrating a network of flights that other airlines can only look up to, Qatar Airways looks like it’s trying to outdo itself by simultaneously marking its reputation in the arena of airport lounges.
A prime example would be its new Premium Lounge at London Heathrow’s Terminal 4 – the airline’s first dedicated facility for First and Business Class passengers outside Qatar (where the airline operates its award-winning Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport).
The lounge was just opened in January last year and is a massive 750 sq metres, or 8070 sq feet, if you will. Pardon my pardon but i was expecting to relax in a, well, lounge; not a sprawling establishment that resembles a private members club like the RAC, with luxury bathrooms and showers, different dining rooms, martini bar, and secretarial service!
The new Premium Lounge took eight months in the making, and involved Qatar Airways staff visiting airline lounges throughout the world. In the end, the final inspiration for its design and concept was garnered from some of London’s best 5-star boutique hotels and the renowned architecture of The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha.
Straying away from the convention of typical airport lounges, Qatar Airways gave designers a brief to create a space “with understated luxury, with an Arabic feel, all based on the boutique hotel concept, with Five-Star service” thus setting a new global benchmark.
The moment i entered there was a Qatar Airways host greeting me with an iPad in hand to discreetly record down all my requests.
Touches of the airline’s Middle Eastern heritage lie in the Arabic calligraphy on walls and carpets, the mosaics and water features. All the furniture in the lounge are carefully sourced luxury goods that include Italian designer furniture and a stunning black and white mosaic from an Iranian artist.
At the end of the large room, to my right was a corridor holding more lounge seats, and leading to the dining areas.
I did think about whether i should buy a book thirty minutes prior, guessing that they would have reading material, but buying the book anyway. Of course.
The book was a truly comical and entertaining read tho. No regrets.
I was served a mocktail of my choice while settling down in the lounge.
Me with no make up on. I’m honestly not that vain as to wear make up to sleep on the plane… i just can’t do that to my skin. Plus with my self-satisfying habit of rubbing my eyes, i’m most likely to scare a passenger or flight host with my panda eyes if i wore eyeliner.
Much further behind me (where the yellow light is on the left) is the Business Centre – which holds PCs, printers, fax machines and secretarial services. I didn’t have to go there to surf on my laptop of course, as there’s Wi-Fi throughout the lounge and discreet power sockets at every seat.
When i felt a bit famished, i ventured down the corridor to explore (what i later read up) the innovative Delicatessen, a theatre-style Global Brasserie kitchen, and the elegant Signature Martini bar.
The Delicatessen is a casual dining area with two dozen seats, an open Deli Counter, and three real olive trees specially juxtopositioned through holes in the middle of the tables. The Deli Counter was really pretty to look at, with its inviting warm glow and varying dishes to tempt me…
The staff in the lounge were supremely gracious. They spoke in the friendliest tones to everyone, but not in the way where you’d think it was fake. I had a decent conversation with one of them called Moira, and even observed her patiently administering to a 10-year-old’s desire for what i am guessing was a video game.
You’d be a minority to discover that you’re not understood, for the 12 dedicated staff recruited for the lounge speak 10 languages. They have all been handpicked sfrom boutique hotels, with half from within the airline; as one of Qatar Airway’s unique propositions is their absolute 5-star service.
Pictures of the spread at the Deli Counter, which includes an extensive range of international and organic food, like artisan breads and cheeses, which is all prepared on the spot for you.
Beyond the Delicatessen is the stylish semi-formal Global Brasserie restaurant where diners can enjoy at-table service and witness chefs at work in an open theatre-style kitchen. The restaurant has 22 seats and a private dining room facility catering for 8 people.
The chefs cater for special dietary requirements of even the most discerning travelers of any age, which i’m guessing also means children who are fussy with their food will be tended to as well. The seasonally changing menu is inspired by Asian, Arabic and Middle Eastern cuisine, and you get to pair it with top wines and champagnes from around the world.
Those with a sweet tooth will keel over at the luscious display of candies in giant jars.
Going back outside to the Delicatessen, i spot what is the lounge’s elegant Signature Martini Bar which has 20 seats, a dedicated mixologist to prepare 10 signature cocktails, and a striking sculptural wine cellar which offers a wide choice of red and white wines from around the world. Notice the stunning “martini glass” chandelier that hangs above the bar.
I felt a bit peckish so i had some lobster, prawns, artichokes and aubergine from the Deli Counter.
Then saw that i could also order anything from their menu… but i settled for a hot potato and leek soup instead of being greedy.
It was exactly what i felt for at that moment.
When i went to the bathroom, there was someone to open the door for me and i saw a whole row of luxury bathrooms. The one pictured above is the smallest one by the way -_- There was another massive one i didn’t get to go into cos someone was using it. All the bathrooms feature spacious private shower rooms with chrome rain shower and massage jets, heated floor and mirrors, and Five-Star hotel quality linen with an assortment of natural beauty products.
Now that you’ve seen what the Qatar Airways’ Premium Lounge in London looks like, i have to add that it’s also the little touches that fabricate its fabulosity. Understated mood lighting, candles and fragrances engage the senses; and elegant white orchids decorate the spacious interconnected areas.
I was utterly relaxed when i got onto my flight from Heathrow… and snapped this picture before the Business Class section filled up, it was almost full actually!
No other pictures for my London-Doha flight besides the one above cos i went to sleep for the whole journey. I changed into a set of comfy pajamas provided and snuggled into my seat which i set to sleeping position. It felt SO AWESOME to be able to sleep lying down in a flight..! I have to admit that i stared at the many buttons for awhile to figure out what they were all for – sleeping position, relaxed position, sitting position, and many other buttons to adjust different parts of the seat in the slightest way i desire.
When i woke up, we’d arrived in Doha (where all Qatar Airways flights have to transit).
I had a surprise waiting for me as i adjourned down the steps of the plane to where Business Class passengers take a special bus dedicated to them. Someone was holding a sign with my name on it, and ushered me to a white BMW right in front of us. I was like, “Awesome!” but i didn’t get to take a picture because they were SO quick to carry my bags and put them in the boot for me (and my cam was in my backpack). It’s okay, that feeling of being such a rockstar will live within me forever (and make me want MORE).
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Jet lag, work, stress about work.
I haven’t been sleeping well the past week.
I’ve also been bouncing around with emotions on an extreme plane.
very loved up
All the above emotions rotate throughout the whole day, every day for the past week.
I could probably roll it into ONE definition called = ‘very crazy’.
I just suddenly felt like i wasn’t doing things right,
or maybe i’m making the wrong choices,
or shit, why am i feeling like this, maybe my period is coming?
I really had NO idea and just…. felt CRAP.
Needing some spiritual guidance, i felt compelled to whatsapp DB who enlightened me on why i was feeling blah. The reason i’m writing down her advice here is cos surely there must be other people out there who sometimes feel a bit lost like i do too? I mean, i’d like to portray myself as strong all the time and a super fairy, but i’ve come to terms that i’m HUMAN and not perfect. I never thought of myself as a perfectionist (cos i never was!!) till i got pissed at myself when i cooked something one day and didn’t get it 100% right. Clem said: “Baby, you can’t expect a dish to come out perfect the first time you try it.” And i found myself thinking RIGHT after he said it: “I DO, YES I DO. Cos it usually happens and i want it to happen ALL the time.”
Sound like a psycho right. Anyway back to advice that made me direct my energy to being more… positive.
DB said that i have all this energy and if i don’t direct it to do something creative and physical like dancing or painting, then the energy becomes destructive. (place long pause in between writing here) Ok i just reread her messages and think i can’t even relay the message properly without misconstruing it, so i’m just gonna share some snatches of what she wrote to me here, word for word:
“You can even call me in your dream state i’m only half kidding, you’ll be surprised how much work gets done when you’re sleeping. So priority is getting you some good sleep love.”
“Don’t define the energy as good or bad or this specific illness, or that habit, or a terrible painting… that same energy is used to do everything so channel or move it from the mental into the physical. Dance more, paint more, move your body, it will give you the information you need and work out the kinks and toxins, as well as help with unlocking memories. It’s not tragic, it’s what author Joseph Campbell calls The Hero’s Journey. It’s what Star Wars was based on and many other movies. It’s the story of our lives, our purpose. We are the heroes we’ve been waiting for.”
“… old memories or anything that we perceive as dark/negative energy that is blocking us will come up now so that we have the opportunity to see it in a new light and give it forth (forgive)”
It’s kinda funny that she brought up the thing about old memories, cos i’ve recently being remembering really OLD memories that i’ve buried deep inside my mind cos they are things that i’m ashamed of and never wanted to remember again. They usually pop up at night before i fall asleep… but i don’t get overtly bothered by it. I do tell myself to let go and forgive myself. So it’s quite strange she confirmed it to me.
Anyway i don’t even know how to end this post now cos i have nothing else to say without revealing too much. Think i revealed enough today. So – The End.
*Written by Louise Carmen*
To all aspiring designers out there, this is your chance to shine! Kronenbourg 1664 has created a fashion platform – Kronenbourg 1664 L’Aperitif Fashion – for young designers out there to showcase their best designs yet, and broaden their horizons in the fashion industry.
The most exciting part of the competition is *drum roll please*… the GRAND PRIZE! The Kronenbourg 1664 L’Aperitif Fashion Show winner will get an amazing opportunity to intern at one of the top fashion houses in London with all expenses paid for three months! This is definitely a dream come true for many aspiring designers out there, and it’ll allow the winner to learn from the best in the fashion industry at an international level, which will also open many doors in the future!
The theme for this year’s competition is French Masterpieces - cultivate and celebrate the rich cultures of France. Designers will be graded according to their creativity, workmanship and inspiration. The top 20 designers out of all applicants will participate in a qualifier challenge before they get shortlisted as top 5 finalists! Each finalist will then have the opportunity to showcase their collection on the 2013 Kronenbourg 1664 L’Aperitif Fashion Show runway.
A public voting system is implemented for the top 5 finalists this year, and it will create a more interactive process leading up to the finale. Gillian Hung, President of Malaysian Official Designers’ Association (MODA), will act as professional mentor so designers are assured diverse ideas and feedback.
The only radio station i listen to is Capital FM. I don’t know, i guess it IS my favourite channel, and i’m too lazy to switch with other channels. If i feel like listening to my own music then i play my MP3s. But it’s pretty much between my selection and Capital FM.
I love Asha Gill’s show in the late mornings. She’s usually on when i make my way to a meeting or my workout. If you’re a woman around your 30s, you’ll love listening to her show. She’s so INFORMATIVE about food, health, children and LIFE; yet makes it so FUN to listen to. Sometimes i listen to Asha and think, “Goddemm why can’t i talk like that.”
They play chill out lounge music in the afternoons, and oh, my favourite weekend slots are when April goes on and plays all types of music from all over the world on her Global Passport show. You discover so many new sounds and artists there! I love her selection so much i’ve asked her to let me copy some tunes off her :p
So yeah, i’m well acquainted with Capital FM and all their shows.
I got even more acquainted when i dropped by their studio last Thursday to sit in the Talk of the Town morning show with announcers Xandria Ooi and Joanne Kam. I’d been in the studio before, having sat in one of The Jam Break shows when Liang interviewed me some time last year (or was it the year before?). But it was really nice to see how energetic they actually are in the room so early in the morning!
Xan and Joanne
Since it was a Thursday, Working Your Mojo was on with them. It’s a segment where their personal life coach Zarina Zainal shares tips and guides on self-improvement.
From left: Zarina, Xandria, Joanne, and producer June.
Zarina was talking about how one goes thru CHANGES in their life, and how we can turn negative ones into positive ones. It’s all within ourselves, and something i already know… but i was firmly reminded of the power of our own energy that morning.
An interesting fact that Zarina touched on, was how we are are just like atoms (which i agree with, we’re all made out of dots at the end of the day). When atoms change to a different level, they vibrate a lot more cos of the additional energy they’re releasing (think water evaporating into air, remember science class?). It’s the same with us human beings. Whenever we are in a shift to change, we release a lot more energy, whether it’s in the form of anger, frustration, excitement, etc. So having all these emotions can be a GOOD thing cos that means you’re changing and evolving.
I was in total admiration when she talked about her personal story (this was all on air btw, if you missed it) on how she was divorced with two children. Her divorce was amicable and she and her children stayed with her parents for awhile till she was kicked out for many different reasons. Then she stayed in her car for a month before finding enough money to rent an apartment and living with her children again.
Just when she thought things were going well, a few months down the road the bank wanted to take back the apartment she was renting cos the owner wasn’t paying up! She said she actually laughed when she saw the letter cos she couldn’t believe how much worse things could get. But she kept on telling herself: “There’s a silver lining behind every cloud, and that i just have to FIND it.”
So she wrote to the bank and they replied that they’ve actually heard about her situation and how she’s really nice, and offered to let her stay in it till they found a buyer. Rent free! She ended up staying in that apartment for a year without having to pay rent, isn’t that amazing!?
Of course in a time like that, you just hope the bank doesn’t find a buyer. Zarina wasn’t obliged to show off her apartment to potential buyers, but she was so nice, that she did just that. By doing so, she became friends with this couple who ended up loving her so much they gave her her first big job in personal training.
Amazing! I loved listening to her story and was in such awe of how strong and positive she is. When we left the studio she gave me a big hug and we both voiced what a pleasure it was to see each other again (we’d met before thru her sister Azura). What an inspiring morning you gave all of us Zarina!
Joanne, Xan and i
Besides their arresting conversations and music, the radio station is currently hosting a contest called Capital FM Reconnect, a memory game on radio runs till 24th May 2013.
To play it, listeners will have to guess the correct memory combination in order to win.
(A template of 40 grid boxes will be made available for listeners to download *here*)
These boxes will only contain numbers but they actually represent different amounts of cash and prizes. You can win up to RM20,000 cash and different prizes like an all-expense paid weekend getaway, a bag from Kayu, spa packages and many more.
Five lucky callers a day will get to turn over two boxes and try to find a match. If you successfully match two tiles, you win the prize in the box! I’d be waiting for that RM20,000 box…
Capital FM Reconnect runs 5 times a day:
For this week (13-17May) >
Twice a day on “Talk of the Town with Joanne and Xandria”,
once a day on “Capital Wave”,
and twice a day on “The Jam Break with Debs and Non”.
For next week (20-24May) >
Twice a day on “Talk of the Town with Joanne and Xandria”,
twice a day on “The Jam Break with Debs and Non”,
once a day on “Groove Down with Priscilia”.
For more info, you can check out
the Capital FM website: www.capitalfm.com.my
Capital FM Facebook Page: facebook.com/CapitalFM88.9
And follow them on Twitter @iAMCapitalFM
Capital FM 88.9 is the radio station for Malaysian women. It is designed to inspire and empower women. Keeping listeners company throughout the day are our well-accomplished celebrity hosts and announcers.
Capital FM broadcasts to the Klang Valley and covers areas in Bidor, Sungkai, Tanjung Malim, Nilai and parts of Seremban. Alternatively, you may stream online or download the Capital FM app.
I remember Laundry first opening some… 8 years ago? I used to spend SO much money drinking there, and back then, there weren’t many neighbourhood pubs in the area so we would joke that Laundry was our ‘mamak’. It resembled nothing like a mamak, just that we were so comfortable going there all the time that we ended up wearing shorts and t-shirts and once, even our pajamas.
As it is with fickle twensters, we moved on to other drinking holes and i’d dropped by Laundry every now and then for a Moonshine gig or some brand’s launch. Haven’t been back there for ages, but am glad to know that they’ve finally revamped. It’s about time! I couldn’t go for it to see for myself, but i did want to see some pictures. Thanks to Jessie who went in my place
+ + + + + + + + +
* Written by Jessie Lem *
Laundry is one of the longest-standing bars in the PJ area, and it has recently gone through a facelift!
I like the new entrance façade which resembles a vintage theatre front, displaying titles of events the old-school way.
Wall of (creepy?) animal masks and quirky light bulbs hanging above them.
Laundry Bar now has a DJ console & performance stage at the far end of the bar, for all the performance and gigs they’re bringing in. I can be easily amused by shiny things, the numbers of disco balls they have certainly got my attention.
The re-launch was packed, and a crowd filled up the whole place by 8pm. Despite that, the staff were so friendly and attentive throughout the night I was quite overwhelmed by their hospitality.
Recognized for supporting the local music scene, Laundry presented indie band Tabloid. They were energetic and pretty good! I enjoyed them the most when they did a cover of Passion Pit’s Take A Walk as well as Of Monsters & Men’s Little Talks.
Additionally, Laundry will also be bringing in international indie bands from time to time. American band Yacht is next on the upcoming performance list. To keep up with what’s happening at Laundry, check out www.facebook.com/LAUNDRYBAR.
* written by SweetEe *
Dr Brandt has recently introduced the new Glow series promoting healthier, younger and radiant skin using the latest Ruby Laser Technology. Wonder what that is? Read on! I went to the launch event which was held in Selberan Boutique, Pavillion.
The caption for the Glow series is ‘Unveil Luminous, Glowing Skin’. Mimicking the infamous Ruby Laser Technology, this range of products allows you to achieve the result of Ruby Laser Technology without having to visit any dermatologist or skin care centre.
Ruby Lasers are one of the most powerful lasers for eradicating skin imperfections, and is usually performed on patients with dull, uneven skin tone and texture. It emits red light rays which will be absorbed by skin cells, causing them to regenerate faster, revealing a fresh healthy layer of skin with a luminous healthy glow.
However, the procedure also has its negative side. Certain patients may experience damage on their skin due to its strong exfoliation, experience irritation, and take several costly visits to correct the visible damage.
Hence the move by Dr Brandt to introduce its latest ’Glow by Dr Brandt Ruby Laser Technology Kit’.