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Valerian Ho VIRGIN ATLANTIC B787-9 Premium Economy/Hong Kong-LHR


VIRGIN ATLANTIC REPLACED ITS AGEING A340-600 with the new B787-9 on the Hong Kong-London route in July last year. Flight VS207 is 12 hours 25 minutes duration, departing at 2355 and arriving at 0450.


CHECK-IN AND BOARDING: When I checked in at the premium economy counter, there was no queue, so the process was fast. Premium economy passengers can select their seat up to 336 days before the flight. I had pre-selected aisle seat 24H; however, due to two passengers requesting to sit together, I was pleasantly surprised to find staff had moved me to the front-row aisle seat 21H. Once onboard I was offered a welcome drink. THE SEAT: There are 35 premium economy seats arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration, located in front of economy class. The leather seat is comfortable and spacious, with decent-sized armrests meaning you won’t easily nudge your neighbour. The touchscreen entertainment system is


stored between seats, and offers more than 100 movies, TV programmes and music options. There is a USB port located under the screen, where you can charge your smartphone or iPad. A touch-sensitive remote control is also attached. THE FLIGHT: After the seatbelt sign was turned off, a cabin crew member addressed me by name and offered me a footrest cushion. For dinner, the starter, a garden salad with balsamic vinaigrette, was fresh and the vegetables were crunchy. Main course options included braised pork, fusilli pasta in tomato sauce, and braised chicken – I chose the latter. The chicken breast was enhanced with a ginger and onion sauce and accompanied by steamed rice,


broccoli and fried ginger. There was a choice of one red and one white wine – I tried the Spanish sauvignon blanc. The lights were dimmed at around 0200. I reclined my seat fully. After I woke up, I went to the galley to pick some nibbles from the ‘Wander Wall’ – a feature available to premium passengers, where you can choose snacks such as chocolate, popcorn, crisps and a selection of soft drinks. Lights came on again around eight hours later, at 0215 local time for breakfast. VERDICT: The seat was comfortable, and the crew was friendly. I particularly enjoyed the freedom of choosing snacks placed on the Wander Wall. Some additional storage space would have been nice.


Tom Newcombe THE CAPITAL


22-24 Basil Street, Knightsbridge, London SW3 1AT capitalhotel.co.uk


THE CAPITAL IS A BOUTIQUE five-star townhouse hotel, located in central London, close to Hyde Park. The family-run property opened in 1971 and is still run by owner David Levin. It is a 30-second walk from Knightsbridge Underground and around a 20-minutes drive from Euston and Kings Cross rail stations.


ROOMS The 49 rooms and suites come in six categories. Rooms are individually designed and feature satellite TV, safe, free wifi, minibar, bathrobes and toiletries by Temple Spa. Beds come with Savoir mattresses and Egyptian cotton sheets. The Capital also offers nine serviced apartments – rates start from around £1,000 per week and include a fully-fitted kitchen with microwave, a fridge freezer and a washing machine. RESTAURANTS AND BARS: Michelin-starred restaurant Outlaw’s at The Capital is run by seafood-championing chef


BUYINGBUSINESSTRAVEL.COM


Nathan Outlaw. Ingredients are sourced from Cornwall and menus change regularly. A set two-course dinner menu is available for around £45, with lunch costing about £24. The restaurant is also available for private hire. The hotel bar offers a vast selection of whiskies, with the hotel’s head barman regularly travelling up north to select and sample the latest Scotch. It also offers a cheaper dining option – the Metro restaurant. Dishes include sirloin steak, sea bass and confit duck leg. The wine is sourced from the hotel’s own vineyard in the Loire valley.


BUSINESS FACILITIES: The Capital offers two private areas that can be used for meetings and events. Both the Eaton Suite and Cadogan Suite offer flexible layouts. The Eaton has good natural daylight for up to 14 boardroom-style, or a reception for up to 30. Located on the first floor, the Cadogan can host 30 theatre-style. Both rooms come equipped with all the standard AV equipment, and free wifi is available. LEISURE FACILITIES: The Capital offers access to the nearby Peak Health Club and Spa for £10. There is also


whisky tasting at the bar with award-winning barman Cesar da Silva. VERDICT: The service at the Capital was exceptional – the friendliness of the staff and homely atmosphere were both real attractions compared to larger high-end properties. Despite being in a busy area of London, the hotel benefits from being tucked away from the thousands of tourists visiting Harrods and Harvey Nichols. However, the popularity of this area of London could mean you are struggling for space in the bar and sitting areas.


BBT JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 131


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