New-generation airport lounges and laser tag cruise ships

Whoever said lounging is a bad thing didn't do it right

Credit: Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Bliss

From northern getaways to airport hideaways, your insider guide to travelling smarter, for business and pleasure

Cool summer 
Swim against the current this summer by going north. Norwegian Bliss debuts out of Seattle as the largest cruise ship to Alaska, with a racetrack and laser tag for the kids, Jersey Boys and Margaritaville dining for grown-ups. Or catch some Yukon midnight sun: flights to Whitehorse are 2.5 hours from Vancouver or Victoria, and Dawson City a one-hour connection away. Plan around the fiercely local Yukon Culinary Festival, August 23 to 26.

Reinventing the lounge
New-generation airport lounges are a place to grab WiFi or a shower, to down an espresso or a cocktail, to catch the game or that conference call—away from the hubbub.
• The best of the new bunch? The free Instant Paris mega-lounge in Terminal 2E (Hall L, Duty Free area) at Charles de Gaulle. It has a library of 300 international titles, children’s play areas and an affordable Yotel.
• The VIP Lounge at Frankfurt (B transit zone) starts at €330 for amenities like a cigar room, a gaming lounge and gourmet food and drinks. Book a private suite, or a luxe package including a VIP handler for transfers.
• At Toronto Pearson, the Air Canada Signature Suite (International Departures, Gate E77 area) offers business class customers a menu by Vancouver chef David Hawksworth, Moët & Chandon bubbly and gallery-worthy Canadian art and design.

Jet setter

Ray Signorello Jr. runs importer Evolution Fine Wines from Vancouver and is proprietor and co-winemaker of Signorello Estate in the Napa Valley. Since losing his Napa home and winery tasting room in the 2017 wildfires, Signorello has been working out of rented quarters—he knows his hotels.

“Hotel ratings are a bit like wine ratings,” he says. “If five wine critics like a wine, my guess is I’ll like the wine, so I like to see several recommendations for a hotel before
I book.”

Signorello starts on TripAdvisor, using the map to pick an area, and consults Condé Nast Traveler‘s Gold List and Travel + Leisure. He’ll research flights on Kayak but book airline-direct (Singapore and Emirates are faves), “which makes it far easier if I need to cancel or change a flight—or if my flight is delayed or cancelled.”

How does Signorello find time to book his own travel? “For me, travelling –whether on business or on my vacation with my family–is important time, and I don’t want to hand it over to someone else like a travel agent or employee who doesn’t know my values,” he says. “If you are willing to invest the time to plan your travel, no one is going to do it as well as you can. But you definitely have to set aside the time–so I’ll carve out an hour on a Sunday to do the research.”

The download down-low

With seat-back screens becoming an endangered species, download airline apps before you fly to unlock free entertainment on your own device, even without paid WiFi inflight. Expect movies and TV series galore, plus airline-specific extras like meditation on Air France, Broadway theatre exclusives on American and language courses on Lufthansa.

While you’re downloading: Netflix and Amazon Prime subscribers can create offline-viewing binges within their mobile apps. And grab Google Maps or for your destination, to navigate data-free when you land.


Always use night-screen mode on your device inflight, to reduce blue-light wakefulness and eyestrain.