#redcarpettrip: We are back to base!

Hello everyone from Mumbai. Shipra and I hope you had a great time during the holidays and bringing in the new year and we wish you the best for everything for the year ahead! We sure did have a ball of a time travelling over 30,500 miles on what we fondly christened the #redcarpettrip. This was not just a hashtag for us to track our travels, but you can indeed also look at the @livefromalounge twitter feed and the @livefromalounge instagram feed to have a peep at our travels. For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook, I’d also been posting pictures on my personal Facebook feed.

Flight Map #RedCarpetTrip

The flight map for the #redcarpettrip

The initial plan was to write a daily travelogue or at least one episode of the trip report. However, once we were on the road we decided against it to be able to focus fully on the experience and report it to you later! While a full trip report will be rolled out, I wanted to whet your appetite with some pictures which we took along the way!

Packing for #redcarpettrip

All packed for the #redcarpettrip

We travelled from Mumbai to Los Angeles in the Singapore Airlines Suites Class, and the airline had an inkling this was a special trip for the both of us, so they were ready! More than just the usual Golden Ticket!

Golden Ticket and other Golden Tickets

A Lot of Gold out there

I did have my last morsels of Indian food, some of my favourite chaat, at the GVK Lounge in Mumbai Terminal 2 before take off. Because, how could I say no to it and stay away from it for so long?

GVK Lounge Mumbai Terminal 2

Some Indian Chaat at GVK Lounge First Class section in Mumbai

Like I mentioned ahead, SQ set us up with a set of their congratulatory cards and teddy bears for us. We were thoroughly impressed with SQ for having it all figured out! We spent about 25 hours runway to runway after departing from Mumbai to arriving in Los Angeles, largely in Singapore Airlines Suites Class, apart from two lounge stops, one at Singapore in the Private Room, and then at Tokyo Narita Airport in JAL’s First Class Lounge.

SQ ups the game

All set for our #redcarpettrip in Singapore Airlines Suites class

Arriving into LA, we headed to the Andaz West Hollywood. I had already confirmed a suite upgrade, but they got us doubly covered by handing us the keys to the Penthouse Suite! We thoroughly enjoyed our 3 nights here with all the scenic views from Sunset Blvd.

Andaz West Hollywood Rooftop Suite

View from the Rooftop Suite at Andaz West Hollywood, on arrival

Day view from Andaz West Hollywood

Day view from the Andaz West Hollywood

Then, it was time to pull the honeymoon card! We headed out to French Polynesia for a very very quiet and scenic holiday (inside a holiday!)

Sunrise French Polynesia

Sunrise, closer to French Polynesia

We flew in Air Tahiti Nui’s Economy class to Papeete, from where we caught another short flight to Bora Bora, our eventual destination. We were very excited to sight the Intercontinental Bora Bora Thalasso Resort and Spa from the plane.

InterContinental Bora Bora

Can almost smell InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso Resort & Spa

When we finally arrived, we had some champagne waiting for us, and this was one of the best sights, to sit out in the patio on the sun deck beds and just look away into the horizon.

 InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso Resort & Spa

View from our Sapphire Villa at InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso Resort & Spa

Of course the Mount Otemanu, which is in the centre of Bora Bora, was always present, wherever you watched out from.

View of Mt. Otemanu

Mt. Otemanu from InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso Resort & Spa

Five days later, it was time to go back to Los Angeles to continue the rest of our continental USA vacation, but on the airport, we still had one more gorgeous sunset to meet before flying out.

Bora Bora Airport

Sunset from the Bora Bora Airport

Back into the US of A, we headed to Sin City Vegas, where some gorgeous views of the Bellagio Fountains kept us company day and night!

Bellagio Fountains Night

Night View of the Bellagio Fountains

Bellagio Fountains Day view

Day View from the Bellagio

Of course, one has to throw in a show from Cirque de Soleil when one is on a leisure trip in Las Vegas.

Cirque Du Soleil

Zarkana at the Aria

We then headed to Texas to spend some time with family over Christmas, but hey, everything is so big in Texas!

Gaylord Texan Christmas Tree

Christmas Decorations at the Gaylord Texan, a Marriott Resort

For our travels around Continental USA, we stuck with American Airlines since I am an Executive Platinum and we could both get to travel domestic First Class as a benefit! Nevermind we did get stuck getting out once due to weather and mechanical issues!

Park Hyatt Washington

Welcome to the Park Hyatt Washington D.C.

We arrived at Washington D.C. on the second last leg of our US of A stay, and stayed at the Park Hyatt Washington D.C. They had us set up in a Park Executive Suite, but moved us up to the Georgetown Suite, and got us the most awesome amenity ever! When we arrived, they had a picture of me and Shipra set up and framed for us to bring home. Before some of you start thinking it is creepy, I was in on this plan but Shipra was not!

National Christmas Tree

The National Christmas Tree, Washington D.C. by night

To close the trip, we went to the Big Apple, but the weather slowed us down finally by having a massive drop! We stayed at the InterContinental Times Square for a couple of days, and then moved to the Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan, which I have to admit was the worst hotel of this trip! But hey, the view!

Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan

Hudson from the Hudson View Room at Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan

We did also take a shot at doing the touristy thing of being at Times Square for the Ball Drop, but we dropped out of the attempt eventually.

Times Square Ball Drop

Times Square on January 1, 2016

When you start a trip of a lifetime with Singapore Airlines Suites, of course, you cannot end it with anything lesser. So, we flew back to Mumbai last night in the Etihad Apartments on the A380, which is the hottest First Class product in the premium cabin space right now, and the both of us had ample of space to ourselves!

Etihad A380

Etihad’s beautiful A380

Etihad Apartments 3A and 4A

Two Apartments make a home, right?


The Etihad Apartment in its glory!

This was also the first time I got to shower on a plane, and I can’t stop marveling on this for a long long time to come, till they make the next big thing in air travel perhaps!

But how can everything always go alright. So, in spite of having snagged F space on the AUH-BOM leg of my trip, I eventually travelled Business because someone either at American Air or Etihad did not ticket it all properly! They also eliminated our chauffeur ride from Mumbai Airport in the process!

Etihad Business Class on Jet Airways Boeing 777ER

Etihad’s Business Class on a Jet Airways Boeing 777ER

But hey, eventually we were home, and this was a good trip indeed! Now back to the regular transmission, and here is hoping you all have a healthy and a great 2016. Wish you lots of miles, points and status and travels to use them in the year ahead!

If there are any aspects of the trip you would like me to touch upon in detail,  apart from the usual, do share your inputs below and I will try and cover it as well!

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Congrats Ajay! You were perhaps a week late to New York for good weather. Right until December 25th, it was almost scorching. Christmas Eve was 19 degrees Celsius. And immediately after that the mercury has steadily dropped. It was -8 last night. Really interested to know how many things, if any, did you pay for by cash and how many points did you spend overall!

  2. Hi Ajay,

    Congratulations to both of you! Also, Happy new year! Been a long time reader of this blog.

    Agree with the previous comments – would love to see a breakdown of all legs of the journey (incl surcharges, if any).



  3. Hey,
    Looks like you had an amazing trip…. Would like a review of the Intercontinental Times Square, as I’m planning to book that hotel in March.


  4. Great trip indeed AJ !! Wishing you both a happy married life 🙂

    I would love to see a breakdown of all the points and cash you used for the flights and hotels you booked.

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