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News: the Emirates T3 lounge reopens, Hilton opening a 37-room hotel in Santorini

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News in brief:

Emirates reopens its lounge in Heathrow Terminal 3

The Emirates lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 3 reopened yesterday.

It will be open from 5.30am to 10pm. The ‘premium seasonal buffet’ is back – no table ordering here – alongside a complimentary bar. Showers are available.

Our last review of the Emirates lounge in Heathrow T3 is here. It is a good size and the 2015 refurbishment made it feel less like a Holiday Inn lobby, but it doesn’t aim for the premium experience delivered by the Qatar Airways lounge in Terminal 4. There is no dedicated First Class area and no facilities for children.

That said, the wine selection was always exceptionally good and you get direct boarding from the lounge, which is a novelty at Heathrow.

The Emirates lounge is quite a walk from the Terminal 3 shopping area, so it is best to get any purchases done before you head down there.

Hilton Curio Santorini Sea Breeze resort

Hilton announces a Curio boutique hotel in Santorini

Hilton is continuing to pick up new independent hotels for its Curio Collection brand.

This one sounds especially interesting, and the good news is that it is due to open in Spring 2022.

The Sea Breeze Santorini Beach Resort has its own private beach. At just 37 rooms, it definitely falls into the category of ’boutique’.

Each room will have its own private terrace as well as a private hot tub or swimming pool. Despite having just 37 rooms, the hotel will have two restaurants and two bars, two of which will be on the private beach. There will also be two communal swimming pools and a spa.

I don’t know the geography of Santorini, but it is described as being on the southern tip, less than 2km from Vlichada.

The hotel isn’t listed on hilton.com yet, and the only image released is the one above. It does sound very promising, however.


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Comments (44)

  • Pablo says:

    The Hilton in Santorini is visible on google maps as Sea Breeze Santorini Beach Resort – Curio Collection by Hilton. Satellite images imply it’s a new build.

    • Waddle says:

      This appears to be the website complete with more pictures and details of the accommodations: https://seabreezesantorini.com/

      • meta says:

        Yep, wrong side for caldera views…

        • Phillip says:

          Vlichada is one of the flat beachy parts of Santorini. Lots of lounges/restaurants along extended stretches of beach. It’ll probably be a good option for someone who wants to split a longer stay in two between the Caldera towns and the beach, and wouldn’t be surprised if it does well with the Greeks who want to avoid the crowds.

          • Paul says:

            I am not sure Greeks take much interest in places like Santorini or Mykonos. Too many people, too expensive and very limited value for money.
            I spent 4 nights at the end of August there and while all very beautiful and caldera sunset dinners were very nice, it’s not a place I’d rush back too.

          • John says:

            Don’t Greeks like to come to London?

          • Phillip says:

            @Paul, you’ll be surprised! Especially Mykonos!

            Also, Santorini attracted a lot of Chinese pre Covid in the winter months!

  • Nick G says:

    Hope the Sofitel has had a deep clean!

    • John says:

      I hope it had a deep clean before being used as a quarantine hotel.

    • Blenz101 says:

      Why the stigma? By definition by the time your fellow citizens were released they were Covid free.

      The same can not be said of people staying if any other non quarantine hotel.

      • AndyGWP says:

        I guess the only reason for a deep clean would be that it has been more “lived in” for the past xx months (as opposed to normal times when most people might normally just turn up in the evening, sleep there and then leave the next morning) 🙂

        • Blenz101 says:

          Staying 10 nights is surely less wear and tear having unpacked and staying put than the constant turn over, dragging dirt cases and refreshing the doom x 10.

          If you had a different guest in your spare bedroom every night as opposed to another room where they stayed a minimum of 10 nights I know which one would take the hardest hit.

          • AndyGWP says:

            Maybe. Dunno – not my field of expertise, was just offering a possible reason 🙂👍🏻

          • Bagoly says:

            Quarantine use (assuming equal numbers of guest nights) will indeed have reduced wear on corridors (and the lounge 🙂 )
            But how about desks, chairs etc?
            In normal times occupancy of the room other than sleeping in the bed probably averages 2-3 hours per day, whereas with quarantine it will have been closer to 16.

            Your spare bedroom analogy matches if they are out working all day, but if they stay in all day every day?

  • Judge says:

    Stayed at Sofitel T5 on Sunday. So it opened before Monday.

  • Lulu says:

    Sofitel has not been open to the public since Monday. It has been opened since Saturday. I stayed there Sunday evening.

  • Mike says:

    I hope there was a decent period between the last quarantine use and opening It is not clear) – I still feel a bit yucky at staying in a ex quarantine facility !

    • Blenz101 says:

      Surely staying at a hotel that every single person is thoroughly tested and can’t leave until they are certified as Covid free is better than a hotel where any guest or previous guest could have Covid?

      Plenty of reports on how short hotels are of housekeeping like the rest of the hospitality sector. At least the Sofitel will be getting more than a cursory wipe down between guests.

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      It was a “quarantine” for arrivals, not a holding facility for the COVID +ve. Residents there were no more likely (in fact less likely) to have COVID than any random hotel guest in a UK hotel. Shows what an insidious (and regressive) idea it is that those arriving from abroad are by definition “unclean”

      • Blenz101 says:

        Well said 👏🏻

      • Mike says:

        It wasn’t those arriving from abroad are by definition “unclean”, it was people arriving from a defined list of countries, coming of their own free will, having to stay in a hotel for a defined period. They had to make lots of choices to be in that situation. The mistake of quarantine was to not do it in February 2020.

  • Mike says:

    The Sofitel is showing up on last minutes secret hotels under “ Luxury Hotel offering unforgettable stays at Heathrow.”

  • Anna says:

    I need a night next summer at the Sofitel before a long haul flight. Accor website is only quoting suites for the 3 of us – best non-refundable is £276 with lounge access. This sounds quite reasonable for this property (having stayed several times in the past) – is the lounge decent – we’d just need a snack and a drink in the evening?

    • Number9 says:

      We stayed 2019 and lounge had plenty of snacks sandwiches and cakes etc

      • Anna says:

        Thanks – not seen you for a while! I’ve looked at other hotels but the sheer amount of faffing around they require don’t cancel out the saving.

  • Alex Sm says:

    Is the demand for quarantine hotels declining? A sign of red list to be scrapped soon?

    • Blenz101 says:

      Taking the Middle East off the red list will have had a bog impact on demand given the number of ex-pats in the region.

      Most people have also worked out that entry via the CTA cuts the need completely for hotel quarantine.

      • Pete M says:

        I doubt many expats in the Middle East are silly enough to go down the hotel quarantine route, frankly.
        Most of the people I have seen entering quarantine hotels look like the least likely to be able to afford it…

      • ADS says:

        Yes, the Republic of Ireland has reduced it’s MHQ list to just seven South American countries. And for those seven it is only for NON vaccinated.

        To officially avoid the English MHQ list you’d need to spend 10 days in Ireland. Not sure if UK Border Force airline data collection is good enough spot that you’d recently travelled from a Red List country to Ireland.

        • WaynedP says:

          “Not sure if UK Border Force airline data collection is good enough to spot that you’d recently travelled from a Red List country to Ireland.”

          Irrelevant of you’ve spent 10 clear days outside a Red List country before returning to the UK.

          • ADS says:

            Indeed. But I’m suspect some people will be tempted to avoid the full 10 days in the Emerald Isle !

          • WaynedP says:

            In which case failure to complete a PLF declaring where you’ve been in the last ten days is an offence, ignorance of which is no excuse.

            The kind of person who thinks they can get away with that will most likely be the kind of person who openly brags about how clever they think they are, which is one step closer to being reported by anyone with a grudge.

        • John says:

          Irish immigration passes data to UKBF, so they can target DUB to GB flights if they believe someone has been in a red country fewer than 10 days ago

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