Other Grandeur Travelers.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Philippine Airlines (PAL): Soaring High with New Airbus Business Class

Whether it's a local or international flight, I feel comfortable flying with our flag carrier for many reasons. There's that sense of comfort and safety that I do not get from budget airlines in the Philippines. I also love my Mabuhay Lounge access, especially now that it has been beautifully renovated.

As the first airline in Asia,  Philippine Airlines aims to bring back its glory days. With President Ramon Ang's vision and passion to modernize its fleet, PAL has been acquiring new planes from Airbus and Boeing.

A few days ago, I was invited to the launch of its newest long-range aircraft  that came straight from Toulouse, France --- The Airbus 330-300 HGW (High Gross Weight Jet). I was excited to be part of this event. The aim of PAL is to target more sophisticated travelers who want to travel in style. This is an important market that is unique to PAL since most budget airlines do not provide this service. The A330 can accommodate a total of 368 passengers - 323 in economy, 27 in the Premium economy and 18 business class with hi-tech seats that can be full-flat beds!'
Mr. Ramon Ang giving his speech.

Gary Valenciano also gave us solid entertainment before we boarded the plane. 
Now Boarding. 

The more spacious Premium Economy at 34 inches (31 inches for Economy)

As for my favorite business class, PAL showcases the Equinox 3D seats designed by Sogerma, a French design firm. With its convenient controls, your seat can comfortably stretch into a full flat bed, which is a much needed feature for long-haul flight (at least in my case).

The seats also come with other bonuses: An Electrical leg with ottoman, USB ports (for charging our phones and tablets), In-seat power supply, retractable privacy divider, reading lights, coats hook and ample storage space for all your things. In short, the good stuff.

What is interesting about this launch is PAL's wireless In-flight Entertainment (IFE), a first in our airlines. PAL offers a unique wireless connectivity that allows passengers to stream content your own devices. This means that you can watch the movies using your phones, latptops, or tablets. You don't have to use theirs. GSM/Wi-Fi is also available via PAL's iN-AIR service, enabling everyone on board to surf the net and even make phone calls.


In my element.

We also got to see the rest area for the crew. 

And for the first time, I got to sit on the captain's chair in the cockpit.

I am happy that PAL has stepped up their game. Hopefully, we'll see more European destinations because of PAL's vision in the coming months or years. It is not far from happening.

I cannot wait to fly with PAL again on board this craft or any of the new ones. PAL is truly my home in the sky.  I believe there is a certain prestige flying with PAL (Considering the appeal of budget airlines). 

So, where am I going next? Middle East or North America, Perhaps? I will keep you all posted.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Loudbasstard Hand-Crafted Bamboo Speaker Dock: For the Love of Music

I am excited to share with you my new favorite brand in the market - Loudbasstard. Loudbasstard makes speaker docks (amplifiers) from real bamboo. This is just pure genius. Locally made in Cebu, Loudbasstard shows Filipino craftmanship and ingenuity at its best. You get an amazing product plus you directly help our fellow Filipinos make a living.

It is 100% Filipino. 100% Electricity-free. 100% Awesome.   

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Claska Tokyo: My New Favorite Designer Hotel

Sometimes, I like to do things a little different for new experiences. With my love for design and Japanese aesthetic sense, I chose Claska Hotel in Meguro for a change (I stayed in ANA Intercontinental last year near Roponggi Hills).  Having only twenty unique rooms, it seemed impossible to get a reservation last minute but with my luck, I was able to get a hold of room 704 - The "Plain" Room. 

Claska is probably one of the coolest hotels I have ever seen. It has an artsy vibe but it is far from being pretentious. In the 1960s, this used to be known as New Meguro Hotel. It was recently renovated with a crew of hip celebrated Japanese designers that retained the elements of the old hotel, adding to the authenticity of this place.

There is one drawback though. Claska Hotel is located in Meguro, a district that is not easily accessible from Central Tokyo. The nearest train station is a bit of a walk (around 15 minutes). It was a drag at first but I found that it was a good way to exercise while traveling. This was the trade-off for this boutique hotel experience in the city. 

Claska has a sleek and modern lobby.

It has a restaurant and bar named Kiokuh (means memory) that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Kiokuj serves Japanese Italian-Italian fusion cuisines. Nightlife is alive here, attracting mostly locals that want a "speakeasy" setup.
Our Room - 704. The Plain Room (23,000 Yen/ day)  - Minimalism at its finest. You need to take off your shoes before stepping inside the room. Your mind would feel clutter-free while staying here. It was liking living in a "MUJI" dream. 

Note: Be prepared for the sun in the morning. 
If available, pick a Tatami Room or Japanese Modern Room.
Photo from Claska.com
For Tokyo Standards, Claska has one of the most spacious rooms in Tokyo. 
Claska also has a rooftop with a 180 degree city view. Tokyo tower can be spotted from here. The rooftop is used as an event space. 
Sunset alert.

Claska's cutting edge interior design is sure to draw fashionable people who are looking for the contemporary Japanese hotels. Where else can you find a hotel with a canine beauty salon, gallery and boutique in Tokyo? At the end of the day, this boutique hotel will feel like your apartment in college that had a Do-it-yourself feel interiors but not really. Claska elevates it to a whole different level.


1-3-18 Chuo-cho, Meguro-Ku, Tokyo, Japan

How to get there:
From Narita, take the Narita Express to Shinagawa Station. A cab can bring you from there. (Around 15 minutes)

For more information, Click http://claska.com/en/hotel/

Rooms start at 9,000 Yen.