When I received an email from British Airways asking me to join a press trip to Miami to review their First-Class cabins with improved onboard products and service as part of a £6.5bn investment for customers, I didn’t need to check my calendar.
I travelled First Class to New York last year, so I was interested to see how they could improve on this already impreccable service. And I’d never visited Miami before, so how could I refuse?!
The finest experience
“First is British Airways most luxurious way to experience flight. From your own stylish suite, to exclusive access to spa treatments, fast-track security, and excellent service, it’s the finest way to travel.”
What to expect
- Exceptional, elegant British service
- Your own private, spacious suite where you can work in peace, watch a film, or stretch out and fall asleep
- A fully flat bed with a foam and microfibre mattress topper and 400 thread count bedding
- Delicious, indulgent fine dining with exclusively designed crockery, cutlery and glassware from the finest British designers
- Exclusively designed Temperley London loungewear and slippers and an amenity bag containing Elemis products
- Access to luxurious lounges and spa treatments
- A full restaurant experience at 35,000 feet
- Luxury meals, including a new delicious à la carte menu, plus a range of lighter options that focus on fresh seasonal ingredients of British provenance
- A new signature afternoon tea service, showcasing the great British tradition of high tea
- A wide selection of Champagnes, wines, spirits and non-alcoholic drinks with flexibility to order whenever you like
- Exclusive and dedicated service
Hours of entertainment
You can lose yourself in a gripping series with the huge library of new releases, including music, eBooks and games, which means you can enjoy the 1,000 hours of programmes available on the in-flight entertainment channels.
All seats come with a 15in screen, with ports to connect up your own devices and high-quality, noise-cancelling headphones for minimal disturbance.
Space to prepare and relax
If you arrive at the airport early, you can take time out in an elegant departure lounge before flying. Modern and luxurious with quality wines, drinks and food, plus a range of business facilities for when you need to work.
On arrival into London Heathrow Terminals 3 and 5, you can stop by the Arrivals Lounge to freshen up, and enjoy more delicious dining options, showers and a clothes-pressing service.
The Concorde Room
You’re also invited to the Concorde Room – BA’s most luxurious lounge. It’s exclusive to London Heathrow Terminal 5 and New York JFK Terminal 7, with discreet booths, full waiter service, private cabanas and a state-of-the-art business suite.
Elemis Travel Spa
Indulge in a luxury complimentary massage or facial treatment with acclaimed British spa and skincare brand Elemis. The Elemis spa is in London Heathrow Terminal 3 and 5 or New York JFK Terminal 7.
First is faster
Flying First lets you skip the queues, with dedicated check-in desks and fast-track security at various airports.
The First Wing
Available in London Heathrow Terminal 5, the exclusive First Wing gets you through the airport quickly and smoothly. It’s a dedicated space for First, Executive Club Gold, and Oneworld Emerald flyers; offers a private check-in area, two of its own security lanes and a direct walkway into the Galleries First Lounge and Concorde Room.
Freedom to pack what you like
There’s no need to compromise when packing, with a generous number of bags allowed in First. Bring both a cabin bag and laptop or handbag on board as well as up to three bags in the hold.
Apart from a slight delay on our flight from Manchester to London, the check-in was seamless and most definitely faster. Our dedicated cabin crew warmly welcomed us with a glass of Champagne and snacks, hung our coats in the wardrobe, and handed us our Temperley PJs, slippers and washbag.
I’d had a busy month, so it was my intention to order my meal, choose a series, and sleep as much as I could on our nine-and-a-half-hour journey to Miami.
I ordered Loch Fyne Kinglas salmon with Granny Smith apple and fennel mayonnaise to start, followed by seared fillet of aged Herefordshire beef with smoked bone marrow butter, Bolney Lychgate jus and wild mushroom duxelles with roasted baby carrots, spring greens and dauphinoise potato. For dessert, I had rhubarb and ginger timbale. It was as delicious as its description. You certainly don’t go hungry in a First-Class cabin.
A lemon and ginger tea arrived, just in time for me to settle down and watch the first episode of Cheat, but it wasn’t long before the cabin crew made my bed, dimmed the lights, and I was sleeping. Waking in just enough time to have a cup of tea and freshen up before landing.
All in all, a five-star service and a luxurious way to travel. How can I ever turn right again?
British Airways flies from London to Miami twice a day. First fares from £2070 return including taxes/fees/carrier charges, are available to book on ba.com/Miami or call 0844 493 0787. Connecting flights are available from Manchester, Leeds Bradford, Newcastle and Scotland.
Welcome to Miami…
If you are going to be in Miami for just two nights, then British Airways First Class is the way to go. The nine and a half hour flight from London Heathrow flies by once you settle down with a glass (or two!) of Champagne.
After a short transfer, I arrived at the Eden Roc Miami Beach hotel. The Eden Roc is in the heart of the city, at the edge of the sea. My spacious room included an oversized balcony overlooking the ocean, and Nobu Hotel was to the left. I didn’t realise until the morning, but I was right across the road from a myriad of yachts and Millionaires Row.
Dining options are plentiful. Malibu Farm delivers simple farm-to-table freshness overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It comes with an amazing story of its creator, Swedish Chef Helene Henderson, and the food is something you will want to recreate on your return, so make sure you buy the Malibu Farm Cookery book before you leave.
Nobu Miami offers world-famous Japanese cuisine and features some of the best food and drink on Miami Beach. You can order the perfect cocktail at the Nobu lobby bar, which is a focal point of the hotel and hosts live entertainment at the weekend, or whilst you are soaking up the sun, at the Aquatica beachside bar. If you prefer to stay in, room service is available 24 hours a day.
Holistic wellness is key to the Eden Roc Miami Beach experience. Esencia Wellness features a spa and fitness centre to inspire personalised renewal, deep relaxation and refined treatments for the mind, body and spirit. The spa and fitness programs have been specially designed to offer a reprieve from the hot Miami sun, with specialised treatments that focus on anti-aging, after-sun care, dry skin, and more. Daily Spa passes can be bought for $25.
WHERE TO GO
MAGIC CITY ADVENTURES
Our private Miami City Tour was a four-hour VIP experience, which included the districts of Wynwood, Design District, Art Deco, Downtown, Brickell, Coral Gables and Little Havana. A must do on a first trip to Miami. magiccitya.com
Bal Harbour is known as a get-away for the rich and famous with ultra-chic shopping, deluxe ocean-front hotels, five-star restaurants and pristine beaches. Bal Harbour Shops is an exquisite collection of designer boutiques and restaurants in a tropical setting – a favourite playground for socialites, celebrities and fashionistas. balharbourflorida.com
This mile-long, pedestrian-friendly promenade is home to dozens of restaurants and umbrella-shaded sidewalk cafes, and a great place to people-watch, see dogs dressed better than their owners and watch street performers.
Shopping is the main draw here, with major national and international stores (complete with exclusives not offered in other cities), art galleries, souvenir and cigar shops. It is conveniently located for the beach, so expect to see people dressed in anything from swimsuits to cocktail attire. lincolnroad.com
The Design District is known for its sleek, modern architecture, upscale interior design stores and art galleries. Luxury fashion and jewellery boutiques, cafes and celebrity-chef restaurants draw an affluent crowd. Public art dotting the area includes the Fly’s Eye Dome, a geodesic dome designed by inventor Buckminster Fuller.
This was the first commercial development in Miami in the early 1920s, Today, this pedestrianised, South Beach street is home to some of South Florida’s most renowned restaurants and sidewalk cafes. You can dine al fresco under the Miami sky, with choices ranging from local and traditional Spanish and Italian dishes to the day’s fresh catches. We’re told this street is buzzing in the evening. I’ll remember Espanola Way for my first ever Mojito-to-go! visitespanolaway.com
TIME OUT MARKET
Time Out Market is one block away from Lincoln Road Mall, a few blocks away from the powdery, sandy South Beach and surrounded by the best hotels.
A concept that was created in Portugal in 2014 by the 50-year-old publishing company of the same name, Time Out follows one simple rule – if it’s good, it goes in the magazine; if it’s great, it goes in the market. So, you are ultimately getting the best talent that Miami has to offer – a hand-selected sample of everything you’ll want to eat, drink and see. Literally Miami on a plate! timeoutmarket.com/miami
Chotto Matte brings the artistic energy of underground Tokyo and modern sophistication of London’s Soho to the west end of Lincoln Road.
Blending authentic Nikkei cuisine with its dramatic contemporary environment, Chotto Matte Miami is a Lincoln Road destination restaurant that you won’t want to miss. Fresh ingredients, bold aromas and mouth-watering taste sensations. Japanese-Peruvian cuisine is best enjoyed as small sharing plates. You begin with cold, light flavoured dishes before moving gradually on to hotter, more robust tastes. chotto-matte.com/miami
RED, THE STEAKHOUSE SOUTH BEACH
Featuring only the finest Certified Angus Beef Prime on and off the bone, Red’s menu is a hybrid of classic cuisine and the freshest seasonal ingredients. Everything from the sauces to garnishes are prepared from scratch. Red, The Steakhouse has recently been named ‘Innovator of the Year’ by the National Beef Association. redthesteakhouse.com
A fabulous stay and one I’d like to repeat very soon. Everything was perfect; from the impressive Nobu lobby bar, my room, the pool, the beach to the food, Malibu Farm, the spa, the bar and the staff.
The Eden Roc Miami Beachis ideally located across the road from Millionaires’ Row, and chartered yacht excursions are available from the marina, and all of the places listed in this article are within easy reach.
And with a temperature of 30 degrees or more, what’s not to like?
For more information, go to: edenrochotelmiami.com