EK418 AIRBUS A380-800 | Dubai to Sydney (stopover in Bangkok) | First Class Suite | Seat 1K | 5 hours, 36 minutes (DXB-BKK) + 9 hours (BKK-SYD) | Reviewed by Steve Hui, founder of iFLYflat.com.au
Emirates A380 has 16 First Class suites in a 1-2-1 layout. The window suites have a two layered window shade, twin suite doors and a pop-up mini-bar that are all electronically powered.
The fully flat seat has a seven-way adjustment. The four-function in-seat massage was comfortable, adjustable for speed and intensity. Comfortable and padded bedding is laid over the seat when you decide to sleep. The absence of overhead storage gives a greater sense of headspace; instead there is ample storage – enough to hold three cabin bags – beneath the TV screen without cramping your stretched-out leg room and a deep side compartment that can keep all your bits and pieces handy. The suite doors are high enough to provide privacy. The large dining or work table is easy to maneuver.
Upon boarding you are shown around the controls and the features of your cabin and seat. This is followed by Dom Perignon 2009, a welcoming hot towel, and an Arabic coffee with a fresh date, a traditional pairing in the Middle East. The crew is highly attentive and always smiling, they checked on me to see if I wanted anything at just the right frequency.
When I land on Nosy Ankao, it feels as though I’ve seen one hundred slices of Africa all muddled into one. Not surprising, considering Madagascar has long fascinated naturalists with its varied and fanciful landscape and distinctive flora and fauna. As I climb out of the helicopter onto the velvety beach of Nosy Ankao, I’m met with a team of staff clad in white and turquoise linen garb, one man holding a tray of icy drinks and chilled towels. I glance at the pearly stone hotel buildings behind him and the glistening pool that overlooks the beach. Could this be a five-star property in the Seychelles? (Considering the architects be- hind the hotel built another property in the Seychelles, it certainly could.) “Welcome to Miavana,” says the general manager, with an ease that can only come from someone living on a tropical island.
The new gem of the Indian Ocean, Miavana is a 14-villa, five-star paradise strung along a secluded beach on an almost-untouched island. It is the first and only property of its kind in Madagascar in that it isn’t only committed to five-star luxury, but also to protecting and preserving a small slice of Madagascar – a country which has been ravaged by deforestation, poaching and overfishing.
Caviar, caviar: I repeat it because I ate it twice. As my route had a short stopover in Bangkok, I got to try two on-demand meal services. On my first leg I chose chicken with Moroccan spices and for the second I chose stir-fried prawns. Both mains were delicious, matched with fine French red wine that the crew offered to decant. I skipped the desert and cheese as I was keen to enjoy some beverages.
As a new fan of scotch whiskey, I was keen to try a number of the different brands onboard. I tasted Chivas Regal 21 years and 18 years, Johnnie Walker Blue label, Woodford Reserve, Jura Superstition and Dalmore King Alexander III single malt.
The suite has a built-in mini bar that can be raised or lowered at a push of a button containing mini bottles of water, juice and sodas. There is also a small basket of snacks such as chocolate, crisps, mints, a fruit bar and cookies.
The entertainment system, known as ‘ICE’, features nearly 3500 channels including the latest movies and TV shows, games and music. There is a large touch-screen and a separate cordless remote with its own mini touch-screen that lets you control the screen plus the seat adjustments, massage function, lights and electrically powered suite door.
The Onboard Lounge
The Emirates A380 has a lounge at the rear of the upper deck, accessible to Business and First Class passengers. This is my favourite feature, allowing you to stretch your legs and engage in conversation with the bar staff and fellow passengers.
This is the best of the best, a seamless experience before-during-after flight experience. Highs include the hotel-airport-home included chauffeur-drive, the onboard service, the large selection of food, snacks and beverages and the onboard lounge. The aircraft also features two private A380 Shower Spas – a rare and refreshing addition at 40,000 feet.