Luxury

Flying Well :: Cathay Pacific's Revolutionary A350

cathay pacific A350 Vancouver to Hong Kong

[trip style = luxury + steal + urban]

Landing in Canada for its first scheduled flight last month, Cathay Pacific's newest jetliner, the state-of-the-art Airbus A350, brings flying to new heights. Last week I boarded the ace airliner in Vancouver enroute to Hong Kong to get acclimated with the latest in wellness and luxury at 40,000 feet.

After jet-setting in this revolutionary aircraft—which felt more like a chauffeured Rolls Royce than a 280-seat aircraft—I felt refreshed, which is not something I can say after most aviation experiences.  

Wellness
Wellness and flying aren't topics that typically go together. Time spent in a capsule above the clouds often results in dry skin, red-rimmed eyes, and swelled hands and feet—unless you fly aboard the industry's leader in inflight innovation.

On Cathay Pacific's specially designed A350-900, which adds three flights per week to the carrier's Vancouver to Hong Kong route, my skin didn't crinkle like scrunched tissue paper due to greater air humidification. My wedding ring, which is always hard to remove after flying, slid off with ease thanks to smarter cabin pressurization that reduces inflammation and fatigue. And my eyes were bright instead of bloodshot thanks to panoramic windows and a lighting system capable of emitting more than 16 million hues to pamper my peepers and reduce jet lag.

The A350 Experience
As someone who has logged thousands of miles around the world on almost every conceivable aircraft currently used in commercial aviation, I prefer this type of jet by an {air}mile!

A series of subtle and staggering differences enhance the overall Cathay Pacific A350 experience, starting with the engines. I wasn't kidding when I mentioned the inflight ambiance is akin to rolling in a Rolls. A set of Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines power the airplane, reduce rattle and contribute to this couture capsule's 25 percent greater fuel efficiency over its peers.

And then there's the jetliner's sky-high handling. From the moment you roll down the runway, the wheels seem to float, and that's before the plane even lifts off. At cloud-level the cabin is so quiet you could meditate. Landing is surprisingly effortless, like a figure skater who gently glides from airborne to arrival.

I scored a window seat at the edge of the wing, a position I was tickled pink about knowing the wing surface is the largest single piece of carbon fibre structure ever produced for civil aviation, with flaps capable of morphing their shape midair to improve fuel efficiency.

From my perch in pod 21k, I wined, dined and signed-off so I could sleep in the sky. Wrapped in a blanket made from recycled materials, I didn't even try to take advantage of the onboard WiFi to work or connect with the outside world. I was happy in my cocoon basking in the experience of feeling better inflight, and about flying in a Rolls chauffeured by Jeeves—I mean, Captain Graham.

Walking to my flight from the  Cathay Pacific lounge in Vancouver

Walking to my flight from the Cathay Pacific lounge in Vancouver

My business class pod with a lie-flat bed that stretches to 75"

My business class pod with a lie-flat bed that stretches to 75"

My personal TV: big and high-def touch-screens are found in all cabin classes

My personal TV: big and high-def touch-screens are found in all cabin classes

From where I lounge aboard the A350

From where I lounge aboard the A350

Counting sheep with ease due to the A350 being one of the quietest aircrafts in its class 

Counting sheep with ease due to the A350 being one of the quietest aircrafts in its class 

One of my breakfast courses, complete with an illy cappuccino

One of my breakfast courses, complete with an illy cappuccino

Dinner part one: Smoked salmon and crabmeat with bread and greens

Dinner part one: Smoked salmon and crabmeat with bread and greens

Dinner part two: Rigatoni pasta topped with olives and parmesan

Dinner part two: Rigatoni pasta topped with olives and parmesan

Dessert: International cheese selection with grapes and quince jam paired with Port

Dessert: International cheese selection with grapes and quince jam paired with Port

Cathay Pacific A350 Details
- The Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 carries a total of 280 passengers: 38 Business, 28 Premium Economy, 214 Economy Class.
- Cathay Pacific currently has 13 of this aircraft type in operation, with dozens more on order.
- The A350 adds three flights weekly {Tues, Thurs, Sat} to Cathay Pacific's Vancouver to Hong Kong daily, nonstop offerings. 
- All cabin classes: The aircraft's extra-wide body offers more space and greater comfort, panoramic windows, LED mood lighting and hand lotion in every lavatory!
- Business Class: In addition to the fully flat bed and greater stowage space, travelers can personalize their pod with “Do Not Disturb” and “Wake-up Call” functions.
- Premium Economy Class: Ergonomically designed seats with integrated leg rests have dedicated tablet holders, power outlets and USB ports. 
Economy Class: In addition to Cathay's proprietary six-way headrest, each seat comes equipped with tablet holders and power plug-ins.

Other Dispatches in this Series
My Most Beautiful Meal in Hong Kong
6 Hong Kong Hints {that will make you want to book a ticket ASAP} 
Style Inspiration :: The Pier Business + First Class Lounges in Hong Kong
First Look :: Cathay Pacific's GORGEOUS New Lounge at YVR
Hong Kong :: Instagram Diary
Cathay Pacific Vancouver to Hong Kong

[Photos by @tripstyler, except lead, taken as a guest of Cathay Pacific, one of my favorite airlines] 

Hong Kong :: Instagram Diary

Hong Kong Diaries

[trip style = luxury + food]

Hanging on the edge of Asia, Hong Kong is both a world hub and a destination that transcends "top 10" or "world's best" lists. At the cusp of culinary, cultural and cool-factor, the trendsetting city is in a class of its own.

I *just* returned from the city of skyscrapers last night, and before I highlight trip styling throughout the neon-lit streets, as well as my flight aboard Cathay Pacific's A350-900—a latest-gen aircraft adding three flights per week to Cathay's Vancouver to Hong Kong nonstop route—I could't wait to share some initial details:

Bird's eye view of Hong Kong. #LifeWellTravelled #A350

A post shared by Trish (Trip Styler) (@tripstyler) on

Hiking in the jungle-tropical hues of Hong Kong. #LifeWellTravelled

A post shared by Trish (Trip Styler) (@tripstyler) on

Stacked city. #LifeWellTravelled

A post shared by Trish (Trip Styler) (@tripstyler) on

Rooftop bar bliss on the edge of Hong Kong. #LifeWellTravelled

A post shared by Trish (Trip Styler) (@tripstyler) on

Design inspiration, c/o the Tea Room in The Pier Business Class Lounge in Hong Kong. #LifeWellTravelled

A post shared by Trish (Trip Styler) (@tripstyler) on

Splurgy Stays in the Hawaiian Islands

luxury hotels in the hawaiian islands where to splurge

[trip style = luxury + sun]

Over my trip styling tenure, I've had the pleasure of putting on my modern muumuu and jumping aboard the pineapple express more times than I can count. And, if I'm going to splurge, Hawaii is my go-to destination to add a few extra stars to my stays given its sure-thing weather, palm tree perfection, rock star-status hotels, and legacy of curated escape.

When I go, sometimes I do a quick, three-day getaway to a edited abode; other times I save to splurge, and set aside the last few nights for a chi-chi stay.

With this, here are a few posh pins to consider placing on your Hawaii map. Aloha!

mauna lani hawaii

THE ISLAND OF HAWAII: Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows
Without naming names, let’s just say that a number of travelers—the types who have private jets—touch down at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows regularly. While the hotel has numerous rooms and suites fit for fabulous frequent fliers, the Bungalows provide that extra dose of wow-factor with their 2,700-square-feet of living space sprawled across two bedrooms, two master baths {complete with TOTO Toilets, and rain showers cascading into a tropical garden}, a kitchen, and a wet bar. Couple this with a private pool and jacuzzi, and sunset views over the Pacific, and you may want to move in {or become BFFs with a private jet owner}.

Trip Styler tip: Want a taste of upcountry life? Don't miss the ultra-authentic Aloha found at Puakea Ranch {reviewed here}, a four-cottage farm stay gorgeous enough to grace the cover of any travel mag {and a favorite stays in all my trip styling days}.

fs maui

MAUI: Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
As a regular stop on celebs’ travel itineraries—every time I go I spot at least one member of Hollywood royalty—the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea is a staple stay for those who like the finer things in life: haute-couture art, chic poolside treats, customizable beds, and the option to “posh” your drinks {insider tip: Add bubbles to put some sparkle in your “spirit”}, and suites with a personal assistant. In a meticulously planned move, the property just “poshed” itself transforming everything from the presidential suites to the pool cabanas to an exclusive place to see, be seen—and be unseen—on the Wailea coastline.   

LANAI: Four Seasons Resort Lanai
Dear, Fellow luxury lovers, don't walk, R-U-N to the Four Seasons Resort Lanai, an off-the-beaten-path hideaway catering to those who want to explore Hawaii’s private island paradise in style {spoiler alert: It’s only a 35-minute ferry from Maui}. Like its luxe sibling in Maui, this Four Seasons also underwent a recent multimillion dollar renovation upgrading every fit and finish to it-status. Case in point: Their pool is actually a lagoon, their room keys are actually waterproof wearables (so you don’t lose your key while playing in the waves), and their restaurant, NOBU LANAI, is actually the world’s only NOBU to source greens from its own on-site garden. {Fun fact: Not that he'll remember this, but NOBU LANAI is where we celebrated Blue Styler's 6-month birthday. He wore a blazer with a pocket square for the occasion.}

halekulani

OAHU: Halekulani
As one of the Aloha State’s most sought-after stays since 1907, this Waikiki legend offers a throwback to the warm and welcoming hospitality that has made the tropical paradise famous (in addition to the gorgeous beaches, that is). Inside the 453-room hotel, Halekulani‘s rooms are beautifully decorated with plush white-on-white textures to highlight the technicolor shoreline meeting each guest’s gaze. At the cusp of this coastline, don’t miss House Without A Key, the hotel’s outdoor restaurant preserving a time-honored tradition: cocktails, live music, and hula under their century-old Kiawe tree. Visit at the day’s end to drink in one of Hawaii’s most dreamy scenes with a Mai Tai in-hand.

Trip Styler Tip: If pairing Aloha and ah-mazing design is more your thang, don't miss The Modern Honolulu.

koa kea resort

KAUAI: Ko`a Kea Hotel & Resort
With 121 rooms, this boutique-style hotel recalls retro Hawaii with its tiki architecture and modern Hawaii with its upscale amenities (think: In-room Nespresso). Located on the sunny South shore of the Garden Isle, Ko`a Kea Hotel & Resort is the island’s closest hotel to the ocean, and ups its own ante brining the surf to turf with its saltwater pool. Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, beeline for the hotel’s Red Salt restaurant to nosh on local favorites: macadamia nut- and banana-topped topped Belgian waffles and lemon-pineapple soufflé pancakes to get some Vitamin T (tropical) before you even hit the beach!

Trip Styler Tip: Get money-smart about splurging on hotels in Hawaii. Many of the above resorts offer fourth-night-free promotions in shoulder season, think: Sept-Nov and April-June.

[All photos courtesy of hotels mentioned. Lead photo of Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows’ pool. This piece is a variation of an article I recently wrote for the Expedia Viewfinder Travel Blog.]

Mexico with Familia

Mexico with family + punta mita

[trip style = luxury + steal + beach + sun]

Ah, Mexico. Blessed with more than 450 beaches stretched over 6,000 miles of coastline, the southern part of North America is one of my trip styling faves.  

Almost every January since I've been hitched to Mr. Trip Styler, we've taken a trip to kick off the New Year. This year we started 2017 on an o note playing on the beach, eating guacamole {at every meal} and sipping cervesas in Riviera Nayarit with the little stylers AND Ama and Papa Styler!

Here's a snapshot of our tiempo en Mexico

View over Playa Las Destiladeras, a gorgeous, mile-long swath of sand that's perfect for walking, or running after your toddler. Blue Styler was SO elated be playing at  la playa , he spontaneously broke out in song {Jingle Bells, btw} every day his feet touched the sand.

View over Playa Las Destiladeras, a gorgeous, mile-long swath of sand that's perfect for walking, or running after your toddler. Blue Styler was SO elated be playing at la playa, he spontaneously broke out in song {Jingle Bells, btw} every day his feet touched the sand.

Daily "diet" {all of which was made, chopped and mashed by hand}.

Daily "diet" {all of which was made, chopped and mashed by hand}.

Palapa vibes at our first hotel,  Rancho Banderas , a 48-room, all-suite, beachfront stay where palm trees merge with practical amenities in '90s-styled glory. {Mr. Trip Styler and I feel Rancho is rare gem even though it's not chocolate-on-your-pillow fancy or design-focused.} Here, one main dining room overlooks the Pacific Ocean, and at mealtimes  you can choose to do all your eating in the dining room, pool or beach via a "meal plan" option, or do your own thing.

Palapa vibes at our first hotel, Rancho Banderas, a 48-room, all-suite, beachfront stay where palm trees merge with practical amenities in '90s-styled glory. {Mr. Trip Styler and I feel Rancho is rare gem even though it's not chocolate-on-your-pillow fancy or design-focused.} Here, one main dining room overlooks the Pacific Ocean, and at mealtimes you can choose to do all your eating in the dining room, pool or beach via a "meal plan" option, or do your own thing.

Blue styler with Ama and Papa Styler. 

Blue styler with Ama and Papa Styler. 

Our version {these days} of a family photo.  Perfect in its imperfection . 

Our version {these days} of a family photo. Perfect in its imperfection

Mr. Trip Styler and Pink Styler enjoying my favorite time of day: The golden hour before sunset when the sun embraces you in hug-like warmth.

Mr. Trip Styler and Pink Styler enjoying my favorite time of day: The golden hour before sunset when the sun embraces you in hug-like warmth.

Just down the beach: The  W Punta de Mita , opened in mid-2016 and dripping in all kinds of gorgeous. {This is where I'd like to escape for a quick trip with Mr. Trip Styler.} 

Just down the beach: The W Punta de Mita, opened in mid-2016 and dripping in all kinds of gorgeous. {This is where I'd like to escape for a quick trip with Mr. Trip Styler.} 

Beach walk with my main man, while the kiddos spend time with Ama and Papa Styler. 

Beach walk with my main man, while the kiddos spend time with Ama and Papa Styler. 

Playing airplane with Pink Styler.

Playing airplane with Pink Styler.

Trying to outrun the waves with Blue Styler.

Trying to outrun the waves with Blue Styler.

The second week we stayed at another all-suite resort closer to Puerto Vallarta. Our three-bedroom room was more than enough space for all of us, but on the last night we were upgraded to a villa with its own palapa and plunge pool. 

The second week we stayed at another all-suite resort closer to Puerto Vallarta. Our three-bedroom room was more than enough space for all of us, but on the last night we were upgraded to a villa with its own palapa and plunge pool. 

Pool por uno, por favor.

Pool por uno, por favor.

Golden hour view of Playa Las Destiladeras. The amount of people you see in this shot was part of this beach's perfection: Busy enough so you're not worried about safety, yet deserted enough that you have space and serenity. 

Golden hour view of Playa Las Destiladeras. The amount of people you see in this shot was part of this beach's perfection: Busy enough so you're not worried about safety, yet deserted enough that you have space and serenity. 

This photo has NOT been intensified; the sunsets in the Riviera Nayarit are this shade of red almost every night. Fun fact: Another locale sunsets are this deeply hued and dramatic is on the Island of Hawaii, which is along the same latitude where distinct markers such as clear air and low light make for a unique viewing plane.

This photo has NOT been intensified; the sunsets in the Riviera Nayarit are this shade of red almost every night. Fun fact: Another locale sunsets are this deeply hued and dramatic is on the Island of Hawaii, which is along the same latitude where distinct markers such as clear air and low light make for a unique viewing plane.

It is Well

[trip style = luxe + food + beach]

Editor's Note: Hello 2017! Here's a dose of wellness to kick off Trip Styler version 2017!

Built on land known as Kalahuipua’a where Hawaiian royalty used to retreat for mind-body-spirit rejuvenation, Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows is a touchstone to its well beginnings. Just stepping foot on the property you feel a sense of renewal beyond the bliss that splashes your soul when you first arrive at a destination.

With a prime position pointing due West, the arrow-shaped property is situated along the Kohala Coast where quiet coves, sugary sand, and the rugged remains of the Hualalai volcano cozy up to the coastline. 

As one of the first hotels in the area, the land is wide open {read: Views for miles} and filled with native Hawaiian flora and fauna saturating the resort from its ancient fishponds to the hotel’s atrium, a botanical garden where nature is the main showpiece. 

At this divide between surf and turf, sparkling water, historic petroglyphs, a thatched-roof spa, or dinner at the sunset's edge will make you want to relocate to the island permanently. Wherever you go in the 30-acre property, it becomes clear why the land was once a royal retreat. It is well.  

The pool at twilight.

The pool at twilight.

The supermoon I captured at 5:30am from my oceanfront suite.

The supermoon I captured at 5:30am from my oceanfront suite.

I spy a Trip Styler beelining for the shaded beach cabanas, an inclusion that ensures there's somewhere to retreat from the heat. {Most hotels charge extra for beach lounges like this...}

I spy a Trip Styler beelining for the shaded beach cabanas, an inclusion that ensures there's somewhere to retreat from the heat. {Most hotels charge extra for beach lounges like this...}

A feel-good stay: Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows was the first resort in Hawaii to implement commercial-scale solar energy with a photovoltaic system so major, its panels span three acres. 

A feel-good stay: Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows was the first resort in Hawaii to implement commercial-scale solar energy with a photovoltaic system so major, its panels span three acres. 

Bird's-eye view of the pools.

Bird's-eye view of the pools.

Blue Styler plotting his path for the day.

Blue Styler plotting his path for the day.

A bridge over one of the seven ancient  Kalahuipua'a Fishponds  used by ancient Hawaiians to raise fish and supplement their ocean fishing efforts. 

A bridge over one of the seven ancient Kalahuipua'a Fishponds used by ancient Hawaiians to raise fish and supplement their ocean fishing efforts. 

I'm pretty sure he was thinking: "Why can't I spend every day like this?" 

I'm pretty sure he was thinking: "Why can't I spend every day like this?" 

Plotting my retirement, part one...

Plotting my retirement, part one...

Plotting my retirement, part two...

Plotting my retirement, part two...

The Mauna Lani Spa, ahhhhhhh, one of the island's best wellness retreats.

The Mauna Lani Spa, ahhhhhhh, one of the island's best wellness retreats.

Outfitted in a traditional lava lava, I felt lighter the minute I stepped on the ancient lava flow’s grounds graced with thatched-roof huts, pools of orchids, and palms rustling in the wind.

Outfitted in a traditional lava lava, I felt lighter the minute I stepped on the ancient lava flow’s grounds graced with thatched-roof huts, pools of orchids, and palms rustling in the wind.

Two treatments that keep you connected with Hawaii's healing and calm your senses draw on the energy of the island’s essential elements. In the first, detoxify and destress as you sit under the sun in open-air lava sauna slathered with volcanic clay. A private outdoor shower is the treatment’s cleansing crescendo. Also using water—but a lot more of it—is the Lava Watsu Pool situated in an ancient lava tube. Here, aquatic body work focusing on tranquility, stretching, and meditation harness the power of planet Earth to fill your cup with more than just water.

Two treatments that keep you connected with Hawaii's healing and calm your senses draw on the energy of the island’s essential elements. In the first, detoxify and destress as you sit under the sun in open-air lava sauna slathered with volcanic clay. A private outdoor shower is the treatment’s cleansing crescendo. Also using water—but a lot more of it—is the Lava Watsu Pool situated in an ancient lava tube. Here, aquatic body work focusing on tranquility, stretching, and meditation harness the power of planet Earth to fill your cup with more than just water.

Room service breakfast, obvi.

Room service breakfast, obvi.

Sesame-encrusted island goat cheese with Waimea strawberries and edible flowers enjoyed {immensely} while partaking in the below view at CanoeHouse...{more below} 

Sesame-encrusted island goat cheese with Waimea strawberries and edible flowers enjoyed {immensely} while partaking in the below view at CanoeHouse...{more below} 

CanoeHouse: A mainstay in Hawaii's dining scene since the 1980s, and the resort's alfresco, oceanside eatery where Chef de Cuisine Allan Nagun dials Hawaiian regional cuisine up a notch with his take on every dish, including his signature and award-winning poke: Served in a flavor-enhancing glass and topped in truffle dust.

CanoeHouse: A mainstay in Hawaii's dining scene since the 1980s, and the resort's alfresco, oceanside eatery where Chef de Cuisine Allan Nagun dials Hawaiian regional cuisine up a notch with his take on every dish, including his signature and award-winning poke: Served in a flavor-enhancing glass and topped in truffle dust.

[Photos by @tripstyler, taken as a guest of Mauna Lani. Select photos, including lead, courtesy of the hotel. PS: I only write about standout experiences, read my strict editorial policy.]