Our summer holiday started off as it usually does at Newcastle International Airport.
British Airways operate up to 5 flights per day between Newcastle and the UK's busiest airport, London Heathrow.
Check-in was quick and efficient, as we were able to use the Club Europe desk.
Newcastle has a British Airways Terraces lounge. The staff are always really friendly and it's a great place to relax with a drink before your short flight.
There's a great selection of spirits and over the years I've become partial to a Grey Goose or three!
As it's a short flight, in Club Europe you're served with a light snack appropriate to the time of day, typically a panini or small salad. You're also offered a complimentary drinks service. An individual bottle of champagne is just the right size for this flight.
We had decided to start our holiday a day earlier and stayed at the Hilton, Terminal 5. We managed to get a great rate and as Gold HHonors members we got a complimentary breakfast.
(I won't lie, I love a Hilton breakfast, especially when it's free!)
The frustrating thing with all Heathrow hotels is having to pay up to £5.00 per person each way. (if you pay on board for a return, you'll get it for £9.00. Bookings made in advance on the Hotel Hoppa website will pay £8.00 per person for a return).
Depending on the location of your hotel, you can get a free TFL bus if your hotel is in the Heathrow Zone.
We received a complimentary upgrade to an Executive room which included lounge access. We didn't use the lounge (will review next time).
The room was comfortable and had a king size bed, the bathroom had the usual toiletries. Overall we had a very pleasant stay.
When we arrived back at Terminal 5 for our flight to Singapore, we dropped off our bags at the bag drop and made our way through security. As a Club World passenger we had Fast Track security, this took about five minutes and we made our way to the Galleries Lounge.
We had quite a bit of time to kill, so I sat back and read my bookend sipped some of the Castlenau champagne. The lounge offers a wide variety of drinks, hot and cold. If you're after a glass of champagne, just ask a member of staff and they'll bring it to your seat.
British Airways have a number of lounges in their hub, Terminal 5. The Concorde Room is the flagship lounge for BA. Only passengers travelling in First for BA or have a special card have access. Gold Executive Club members have access to the First lounge. Business class passengers and Silver members have access to the Galleries lounge. There's a Galleries lounge at either side of the terminal and an additional lounge in the 5B terminal. This lounge tends to be quieter, so that's the place to head if your flight departs from B or C gates.
Depending on the time of day, the lounge serves time appropriate meals. A choice of bacon or cheese omelette rolls are available for breakfast, along with toast, pastries and yoghurts. Lunch and dinner you're offered a choice of hot buffet food, typically a vegetarian curry, a chicken dish and a chilli/bolognese with rice. Jacket potatoes and salads are available too. An afternoon tea wth sandwiches and cakes is served in the afternoon. The lounges get very busy and it can take you some time to find somewhere to sit during peak times.
Funnily enough, on this trip the chicken dishing served was Singapore chicken. It was very tasty with a slight chilli kick. I have to admit I had seconds!
Our flight to Singapore was on an Airbus A380. The aircraft has a lot of critics, but I love it. Each time I see it taking off, Im in awe at its sheer size. How does it get in the air? Seriously, how?
Our flight was in Club World, which is the brand name of BA's business class cabin. On boarding the aircraft we were offered a glass of chilled champagne. I'm not the biggest fan of champagne, but it's amazing how much you enjoy it when it's free! (included in my ticket price, so not 'free').
BA operate 2 flights per day to Singapore, an A380 and a Boeing 777. The 777 then flies to Sydney after a short refuelling stop in Singapore and picking up new passengers.
Each of these flights depart within a short time of each other. As a night time flight, I like to get changed into more comfortable clothing. I popped on a t-shirt and some shorts. I always tend to overheat on board, so would prefer to warm myself up with the blanket if need be.
We were offered a menu and a toiletry bag. I didn't accept the bag, as I didn't need any of the contents. BA are currently rolling out a new amenity kit/toiletry bag on their New York route. On this flight the amenity kit was in a blue Elemis branded bag. The bag can later be used as a shoe bag. Some people criticise the bag, thinking its cheap. I have to disagree. Unlike the bags given on other airlines, this is actually useful when you get it home. I've got about a dozen of these, one is used as my peg bag (really, it is!) and the rest are used as shoes bags and a cable bag for all my gadgets and gizmos.
The contents are all branded Elemis, which is the BA spa in T5. You get lip balm, moisturiser, eye mask, socks and a pen amongst other things.
On flights departing the UK in Club World, you're able to log into Manage My Booking on ba.com and pre-order your main course.
I'm more of a carnivore and don't really like salads, however, my starter was basil panna cotta with tomato jelly, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls. I also helped myself to the warm garlic bread the crew passed around. The flavours were quite strong and tasted delicious.
For my main course I wanted to try something different. I usually go for chicken or beef. This time I opted for the pork belly in ginger and soy sauce with broccoli and enoki mushrooms in garlic with steamed rice. The photograph doesn't do the meal justice. I loved it
Theres only a choice of one dessert or cheese and biscuits. Naturally I went for the roasted white chocolate and hazelnut tart with vanilla and mascarpone cream. Yum!
I love the fact theres a little snack section called the Club Kitchen. Typically you can help yourself to sweet and savoury snacks. You can now get ice cream, although there wasn't any on this trip.
There was a fair selection of in-flight entertainment. My favourite film of this trip was Hidden Figures and it's now one of my all time favourite films. Try it, its an inspiring true story.
I usually sleep quite well, and normally manage to wake up just in time for breakfast. Full English always goes down well.
We only had one night in Singapore. I really wanted to stay at the Marina Bay Sands hotel. It has the most spectacular pool area and was featured in a BBC show about the worlds best hotels. It's spectacular. As this was essentially a layover, we booked to spend the night at Hilton Garden Inn, which is situated in Little India.
The hotel has 328 rooms and was ideal for the night. We were exhausted after our long flight so didn't really explore the area. We grabbed a bite to eat at a local restaurant specialising in fried chicken. You may have heard of it, its a chain called KFC! I know we should have tried local cuisine, but we wanted to eat and run.
There a number of options to get top Bali from Singapore. We chose to fly with KLM. They fly from Amsterdam to Singapore and then continue on to Bali. The flight was very busy. We thankfully had an exit row, which offered decent leg room. The aircraft was a Boeing 777. This is the first time I've flown on a 777 which has ten seats across in economy. Most airlines are doing this and BA, have started refurbishing their London Gatwick fleet to this configuration.
I'd loved to have flown in business class, but I couldn't justify the price on a flight of a few hours.
We were served a small snack and complimentary bottle of wine. The cabin crew were very friendly.
This was our second visit to Bali, having been the year before. I never imagined I'd ever visit the island, and here I was my second time in twelve months.
In an effort to save money, we split this trip over two hotels. We booked a suite at the Hilton Garden Inn, which is a few minutes from Bali, Dempasar airport. We got a great rate for the room and again we had free breakfast.
One fo the benefits of being a Gold HHonor member is the occasional free upgrade. I tried my luck asking for an upgrade. After all "shy bairns get nowt". I was told the next level room up was the Presidential Suite,but someone was already in there.
The Duty Manager said we could move into he suite in a few days when it was vacated. I'm sure you can imagine we were thrilled at the thought!
Our junior suite had a large bed and a separate living area. the room was well appointed and very comfortable. There was the all important fridge to store your beers!
Due to the location of the hotel, most of the guests were only staying one night. This meant the pool area was rarely busy. If it was busy, it tended to quieten down after check out.
The pool area was well looked after and staff were always at hand to take your order for any food or drinks.
The Presidential Suite was amazing, a video tour will be posted soon.
After a few days we moved over tot he Conrad in Bali. This is our third stay there ( last year we planned on splitting our stay between Conrad and Sofitel. After one night at Sofitel we went back to the Conrad).
The Conrad is right on the beach and has several pool areas. We loved our time at the hotel. Theres a private area where you pay extra to have a lounger. The price includes lounger service, fresh fruit, lunch and afternoon canapés brought to your lounger. As we knew we'd be eating anyway, it made sense to pay a little extra and treat ourselves.
************** Pop back for my review of the hotels we stayed in ********