Steals

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] 

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.

Trip Styling on a T+L "World's Best" Isle

Ischia Italy Trip Styler

[trip style = sun + beach + food + wine + spa + luxury + steal]

Once in a blue moon your travels feel almost anointed and you encounter a destination that moves you.

For me, this place is Ischia, Italy, a small island an hour by boat from Naples or Capri.  

I'm writing about my "spirit isle" again for two reasons:

1/ I was there at this exact time last yearsipping Rose, noshing on vine-ripened tomato bruschetta, lounging in a spring-fed spa, hanging at beach clubsand I desperately want to return. At the time, I declared to Mr. Trip Styler, "we should come back here every summer," to which he agreed since it's magical, gorgeous, dripping in dolce vita and well-priced. But, alas, it's now "this summer" and we are not in Italy! Well, sometimes life has other plans for you. More on that next week. Eeeeek!  

2/ I just read an article in Travel+Leisure about The Best Islands in Europe in light of their World's Best Awards survey, and Ischia came #1 on the list beating Sicily, Hvar and Santorini! AH, the secret is OUT. Don't go. Ok, go! This accolade is also an exciting confirmation in Trip Styler trend-casting given that I submitted Ischia to Expedia six months ago as a destination to watch in 2016!

[photos by @tripstyler]

Scenery + Sizzle: Zion National Park x Vegas

Zion National Park + Trip Styler

[trip style = steal + active + adventure]

A few months ago, Mr. Trip Styler and I jet-set to Utah {by way of Vegas} for the weekend on an Expedia x US National Parks assignment. 

Our mission: Zion National Park, aka, the perfect trip styled fit since I've had my eye on Utah and its epic national parks for a long time. And, with Vegas being the closest gateway city, the woodland was easy to reach, and BONUS, allowed us to pair a side of sizzle with our trip into the sticks.  

Our five-day, four-night adventure saw us spending three nights in Springdale, UT—a small town cozied up to Zion's South Rim Entrance—and a final night in Vegas. Our plan: Go nuts in nature, followed by a bit of pool time under the desert sun.

Trip Styler Tip: Vegas has a number of non-gaming hotels sans smoke and slots, so YES, it is possible to relax to the max in the Glitter Gulch. My favorite trip style = luxe address: The Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, a hotel that redefines Vegas-chic. 

Here's a rundown of our highly-recommended getaway blending two trip styles I'm crazy over: active/adventure + luxe. {See more photos + hiking suggestions and a stylish packing prescription in the Expedia Viewfinder.}

[All photos taken while on assignment for Expedia x US National Parks' Centennial celebration. Mandarin Oriental pool photo via hotel website. Note: This trip is highly recommended, and if you're a longtime TS reader you know that I reserve the best for TS, and only my hottest picks are published.]

Swooning over Stockholm

Sweden + Trip Styler

[trip style = urban + steal + food + wine]

Ever since I started collecting stamps in my passportI've longed to visit Scandinavia. The fashion, the design, the architecture; need I say more?  

A CRAZY Flight Deal
Back in February, Mr. Trip Styler found a trip style = steal-of-a-deal fare for a nonstop SAS flight from LA to Stockholm for $220USD return. It was an opp we couldn't pass up. So, we packed our parkas, and along with Baby Styler, visited in March. Amazingly, it was mostly sunny and not too frosty, allowing us to spend a ton of time outdoors exploring the city-on-water's 14 islands, part of an archipelago where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea. 

Real talk: We learned a lot on the nine-day trip; namely that traveling with a 17-month-old toddler who likes to sprint everywhere and is still learning about instruction and boundaries, is not the ideal candidate for an 11-hour flight. While Baby Styler is a rock star traveler with 34 flights under his "wings" and a go-with-the-flow temperament, this time, our airborne adventures proved difficult. {Filing this under my "you live, you learn" drawer.}

The Plan
Instead of hopping between Scandi cities and hotels every few nights, we decided to stay put in Stockholm. Our aim: Travel slowly and get to know the city local-style. 

exploring stockholm with a baby

The Accoms
In keeping with this MO, we booked an apartment rental. Not only did we want a kitchen knowing we'd be hungry at all hours of the day/night as we adjusted to the time zone, we also wanted to immerse ourselves into the culture and be in close proximity to grocery stores and cafes.

We chose well. Our one-bedroom Airbnb was g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s {worthy of Elle Decor}, close to all that is cool, and our hosts were gracious enough to provide a new pack 'n play crib for Baby Styler so we didn't have to lug ours across the Atlantic.  

Most days we ate breakfast in our flat, then ventured out for "fika" {coffee} around 2pm. While this sounds a tad late, we woke up at 11am due to the time change, and once we put Baby Styler down for his morning nap, 2pm ended up being our "hello, world" time. 

airbnb sweden
fireplace airbnb sweden
dining room airbnb sweden
bedroom airbnb sweden
grocery store food sweden

Going kookoo for Cafes
To my surprise, aside from swooning over the street style and interiors of every flat I saw advertised for sale, Sweden's cafes ended up being our greatest joy. They are e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e, mirror each neighborhood's culture and design, and their food and fika is drool-worthy. When we ventured out before 11am, our typical breakfast dish would be strong coffee paired with a kanelbulle {Swedish-style cinnamon bun with extra cinnamon, low sugar, and no icing}, in the afternoon we noshed on a hearty sandwich or a burrata-topped arugula salad with rye crumble and beat purée. Stockholm's food game is strong.

 Sophies Canelé

Sophies Canelé

 Rosendals Trädgård

Rosendals Trädgård

 Kaffeverket

Kaffeverket

 Café Pascal

Café Pascal

Trip Styler Tips
- Packing: We did the whole trip with carry-ons. Mr. Trip Styler and I each had rollaboards, and we carried a suitcase-style backpack for Baby Styler with his clothes, plus a starter kit of wipes, diapers and nappy cream.
- Baby essentials: Pampers, wipes and baby food is easily accessible at any grocery store in Sweden. 
- Bus with baby: One parent can travel for free on the bus with a baby stroller in tow.
- Shopping: Want to dress for Scandi success? Save room in your bag for the Acne Studios {a local and iconic brand} Archive boutique for jeans, suits, dresses, and all that is on-trend.
- Airport transport: The easiest and fastest way to/from the Stockholm Arlanda Airport from Stockholm—even airline employees hop on this service—is the Flygbussarna coach, a 40-min bus transfer service.