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Old 30th May 2014, 06:23 PM   #31
yflyer
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I used a hotel car to get around the city for meetings.

Some landmarks I drove past, along Constitution Avenue, included...

The Supreme Court…



Prime Minister’s office…



Needless to say, security was tight in this part of Pakistan, with well-armed security and anti-terrorist personnel very visible at almost all locations.

On my second last day in Islamabad, a minority religious group staged a small protest outside the Pakistani Parliament. Security presence that day was massive, with police and security forces in their hundreds in the area. Thankfully, the protest was largely contained and mostly non-violent, although I believe there were a few minor scuffles.

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Old 30th May 2014, 06:30 PM   #32
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For the 2nd half of the week, I shifted to the Serena Hotel, widely regarded as the best hotel in Islamabad, and a hotel in the "Leading Hotels of the World" group.



Also located near Constitution Avenue, this hotel was set in a very scenic location, with great views of the Margalla hills.




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Old 30th May 2014, 06:32 PM   #33
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Beautiful flowers lining the walkway.



An elaborately painted electric buggy.


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Old 30th May 2014, 06:32 PM   #34
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The interior of the Serena was impressive…







Live music at the Serena…

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Old 30th May 2014, 06:33 PM   #35
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The rooms were beautiful as well…





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Old 30th May 2014, 06:34 PM   #36
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In Pakistan, alcohol can only be legally sold to non-muslims, and in both the Marriott and Serena, a small selection of alcoholic beverages was available through room service only, and only to non-muslim foreigners.

The sole alcoholic beverage I had that week was a single can of the local Murree’s beer, brewed in nearby Rawalpindi.





By that point, I was really looking forward to heading back to the Emirates Lounge in DXB for more of that Leoville Las Cases…

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Old 30th May 2014, 06:36 PM   #37
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After a week of back to back business meetings in Islamabad it was time to head home, on the 3am red-eye from ISB to DXB.

Again, this was a 3-4-3 777-300ER, and it was full. We began boarding a full hour before scheduled departure, and it took that long to get all the pax and a huge amount of carry-on luggage sorted.



The unique ambience of a chock-full 10-abreast 777...



I decided to try the breakfast…a spicy beef curry which was quite delicious.



We arrived on time in Dubai at around 7am.

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Old 30th May 2014, 06:42 PM   #38
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I spent the day in Dubai before heading back to the airport that evening.





For my transit stop in Dubai, I pre-booked a room at the Ibis Mall of the Emirates (Which is actually next to the Mall, not directly attached.) which was extremely good value at SGD 90 a night, and extended my checkout till 6pm for a half-day charge.

This gave me a base to explore Dubai for the day.
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Old 30th May 2014, 06:43 PM   #39
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To shake off the jetlag, I started the day with a run in the morning from the Ibis hotel to the Burj Al Arab.

I learnt that morning that Dubai was not really a pedestrian friendly place, and when Google Maps said their walking routes were “beta”, they weren’t kidding: I had to cross two expressway slip roads (not the main freeways, mind you, just the on-ramps with little traffic at that hour) along the route to get the Burj.



They have air-conditioned bus stops in Dubai…



I continued my run along the waterfront…



…and finished at the Souk Madinat Jumeira, for a total distance of 10km, in 32 degree heat at around 9.30am.



In the afternoon, the temperature would rise to a scorching 39 degrees, but by then, I would be shopping inside the Mall of the Emirates.

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Old 30th May 2014, 06:45 PM   #40
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In the early evening, I headed back to Dubai Airport T3 for my flight home on EK 354 DXB-SIN.

Emirates has a dedicated check-in area for F and J in a separate part of the terminal, with dedicated immigration and security queues as well.



This was a huge space, which was fairly empty at the hour I arrived. I breezed right through without any intervening queues, and entered the airside area of DXB.

Emirates has an official store. SQ should open one too.



My next stop was the Emirates F Lounge.



But before that, I booked a complimentary 15 minute spa treatment (Examples were a back massage, or foot reflexology. Haircuts were also available) at the spa next door. This is available to Emirates F pax and any premium FF pax eligible to use the F lounge. You could also opt for paid spa treatments.


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Old 30th May 2014, 07:00 PM   #41
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I spent the rest of the evening before my flight exploring the Emirates F Lounge. This was the stunning new Emirates F Lounge in T3 Concourse A, a dedicated A380 concourse with 18 A380 gates. This lounge opened in January 2013.



As stargold pointed out, this felt very different from other F lounges in that the lounge was spread out over the entire level of the terminal. With this layout, not only was the lounge enormous, but it also allowed direct access to your boarding gate from the lounge. I thought it was a great concept.





My first stop in the lounge was one of several seating / lounge areas dotting the length of the lounge...

This had comfortable seating and very warm, pleasant ambience.



Beverages in the lounge...



More Leoville Las Cases 1989 ...



An amazing premium cheese selection...







And other snacks and starters, such as sushi...


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Old 30th May 2014, 07:02 PM   #42
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Business center and meeting facilities...



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Old 30th May 2014, 07:06 PM   #43
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One of my favourite zones, was a separate, soundproof quiet lounge. An oasis of calm, and the perfect place to take a nap if you had a transit stop at an odd hour.



Voss water at the entrance to the quiet zone.



Lounge chairs, with pillow and blanket, in a dimly lit room, with eyeshades on each side table.







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Old 30th May 2014, 07:07 PM   #44
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Shower area...







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Old 30th May 2014, 07:18 PM   #45
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My next stop was the fine dining room.





Both buffet and ala-carte options were available.



Voss water to start...



Bread basket...

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