Thursday, November 13, 2014

Etihad Airways: Luxury Travel for the Rich!

During this holiday time of year many of us are making travel plans to see our family, friends, and loved ones--although not necessarily in that order, right?

I'm hoping and praying, of course, that my grumpy old employer will be making travel plans as well.

It's no big secret that the rich travel differently from the rest of us, is it? If they don't have their own jets or if it's out of service for the weekend and they're forced to fly on commercial airlines, you can bet you won't see them sitting back there in coach along with the rest of us, with their legs going numb from crowded seats and crying babies all around. Instead, they'll be up there in first class with plenty of space, peace and quiet, and seats that recline all the way into beds for overnight flights. (Their crying babies, of course, are left at home with their nannies.)

You won't see them in the airports either, huddled in the crowded waiting rooms at each gate. They have their own luxurious first-class lounges, complete with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, and when all the riffraff have boarded the plane, they're escorted to their first class seats just moments before the plane takes off. Nice, right? And champagne and lobster will be on their dinner trays, complete with linen napkins and silverware, as opposed to plastic knives and forks back there in coach.

From TV and films we also know about their private jets and luxury yachts cruising the Caribbean and Mediterranean. I even wrote a post here about some rich people that have their own private railway cars. 

But now there's something quite extraordinary I want to tell you about--a whole new way for the super rich to travel.

It seems that Etihad Airways from the United Arab Emirates is installing private rooms on their Airbus A380 Superjumbos for the discerning traveler. Designed for only two people, it's called "The Residence" and consists of a private three-room suite.

The living room has a big flat-screen TV, a chilled-drink bar, luxurious leather furnishings and a dining table. The separate bedroom has a double bed with fine Egyptian cotton sheets. And the bathroom not only has a shower but also high-dollar toiletries and bathrobes, like you might expect in any five-star hotel.

But it doesn't stop there. There's also a gourmet chef and some poor jerk like me (in this case, from the Savoy Butler Academy) to see after their needs, including fancy dinners and limousines on both ends of the flight.

This private suite will cost you between $43,000 to $48,000 round-trip to get you from here to there. (Which is only about $24,000 per person, after all.) But no doubt you'll wake up refreshed, right? With a nice shower before the plane lands.

My only question is--for real?

Here's a link to "The Residence". See for yourself.

Thanks for dropping in tonight, and happy holiday travels,


Monday, November 3, 2014

The Holidays are Coming!

Okay, so the Trick-or-Treats weekend has come and gone. It's time now to take a deep breath and fully admit to ourselves that the holidays are about to slam us in the face! No more excuses, no more putting things off until after Halloween, right? Here comes Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's in rapid order, like it or not.

While we might be trying to concentrate on Thanksgiving at this point, Christmas is unavoidably on our minds, thanks to eager TV advertisers who are already beginning to throw up their ads for perfumes, watches, jewelry, chocolates, liqueurs, and any day now we'll start seeing the Energizer Bunny and the Pillsbury Dough Boy start popping up. Even at this early date in November, there's hardly a retail store anywhere that's not already displaying Christmas items and decorations.

If that's not enough, we also have the autumn social season to deal with--cocktail parties, charity balls, fund raisers and other galas--as well as impromptu chicken-wing and pizza parties as the annual football competition gets more interesting and intense.

Without question it's a busy, exciting time of year which can seem overwhelming at times, right? Unless you're rich and have personal assistants, personal shoppers, and some idiot like me to do all the organizing and work. In fact, I wrote an article at this same time last year entitled "A Practical Strategy for Christmas Shopping". 

The truth is I have a small army of help to get through it all. Our events planner is in charge of everything, from printing invitations to engaging the caterers (usually Lydia, who's been seeing after this house for years), scheduling the musicians, audio/visual techs, security, valet parkers, and whatever outdoor tents, tables, chairs and linens are needed from the party rental company. We have our own florist, as I've mentioned before, who works with the events planner to carry out her themes. (And she hates him as much as I do, by the way.)

All said and done, I guess I have it pretty easy during the upcoming craziness. There's some organizational work and house decorating, for sure. But mainly I just need to be on hand when the caterers are setting everything up, and of course I need to show up at the front door to greet all these guests upon arrival--something I actually enjoy.

What I don't enjoy, of course, is having to devote all my time to this nutty house where I work, rather than to my own family. But that's the nature of this kind of work; you either accept it, or get out and move on.

I hope you're looking forward to all that's ahead. We'll get through it one way or another, and maybe even have a little fun along the way--horrible house guests and relatives notwithstanding!

Thanks for stopping by tonight,