British Airways (Club Europe) to Malta (Intercontinental Hotel)

July 9th, 2014

This is a TR for a BA holiday so includes the flights (LGW-MLA-LGW), the airport/hotel transfers and the hotel itself (Intercontinental)

We flew out the day after the announcement of increased security on flights to the US. Nothing unusual at security at LGW. I hope they don’t introduce new rules about what is allowed in hand luggage as too many people still don’t understand the liquid rules after more than ten years.

After good service in the Flounge we went to the gate as soon as it was displayed and good job too: the boarding announcement was basically “we are ready for boarding so please proceed down the ramp”. Absolutely no announcement about priority boarding for Clue Europe, GCHs etc.

On board it was clear that whoever had tagged the hand luggage didn’t have a clue. Pax with only one bag had the tag for the overhead lockers, whilst pax in emergency exits had their bags tagged for under the seat in front.

Purser insisted that all the cabin crew took part in the safety demonstration as she didn’t “want people not doing anything”. No mention at all about the use of electronic devices.  Couldn’t fault the service on board especially as they had nine rows of Club to deal with. The crew were constantly walking up and down the aisle, making sure we were happy. The main course was a choice of Lamb navarin or Sweet chilli chicken. I went for the lamb and was surprised as I am a very fussy eater. Bus from aircraft to terminal but we had to wait while a Ryanair flight disembarked across the road before we could move forward. Our luggage arrived quickly.  As part of our BA holiday we had booked a private transfer to the hotel but we were told we had to share a bus, and only a phone call to the head office got us a taxi. Not a good start. We later phoned BA about this who were not at all happy and immediately offered to refund the transfer cost (which appeared in our bank account a few days later). BA said this was a new contract for them and they would follow this up.  However, the reception at the hotel was excellent, as our status was recognised and we were escorted to the club lounge floor where, whilst our paperwork was dealt with,we were given a free drink on the terrace. The paperwork for the holiday advised we should attend a “welcome meeting”. We didn’t

Excellent breakfast outside on the top floor terrace courtesy of the Club lounge. Later that day we had complimentary traditional afternoon tea with dainty sandwiches, scones, cakes and tea.

We had to advise the Club desk that our television wasn’t working but an engineer was there within minutes and fixed it. Club phoned to check we were happy. Very good service. Our room was a good size with a balcony which had a table and two chairs. Other rooms had larger terraces with their own sunbeds but we hadn’t seen this option when booking.  If staying at the hotel you should really book a “panoramic” room i.e. With a view of the pool. Otherwise there are some really awful views to be had (e.g. overlooking a courtyard or, worse, overlooking the busy street with noisy bars and restaurants. The staff, however, turned this from a four-star Trip Advisor report to five-stars. They were all extremely polite and helpful.  It was interesting to read in the local press that the government want to bring more affluent people to Malta but don’t know how to do it as the beaches are full and there is not much point in building five star hotels In three star areas.

Transfer back to the airport was a few minutes late and in a rickety old minibus, but at least it was only for us. Presumably the transfer was timed for their benefit rather than ours as we arrived at the airport about 2 hours 40 Minutes before our flight.

On the return leg we had hand luggage only (shock horror) and we were quickly through security, duty free and into the lounge. The lounge is quite pleasant with a reasonable selection of local nibbles.

Although we had to be bussed to the aircraft they still observed priority boarding with Club and status card holders on the first bus which meant we easily stowed away our hand luggage. Unlike on the outbound leg there was neither a pillow or blanket. Aircraft was one of the ex BMI A319s but I was happy with the setup of the plastic table in the middle seat. Cabin crew did their job but didn’t seem as proactive as the outbound crew.  I chose the roasted chicken with morel mushroom cream jus which was very tasty.The alternative was Haddock kedgeree.

At Gatwick the queues for passport control where pretty horrendous and after about ten minutes a member of staff (whose English was quite poor) started calling people from the back of the queue to go another little area where passport staff were waiting with no queues in front of them. We advised them that there were long queues in the main hall and they thought we were joking until one of them went to have a look! Overall a very good break. We were there for a long weekend which was about the right amount of time for me; I don’t think I could I could spend a week or longer. Malta 2014 (36)

Yumbo Centre

May 23rd, 2014


Best place during the day: Cafe Eden
At night
Reds Club ( least favourite)
Cellar Bar
The Box (new favourite)

For a meal:

Parrots Restaurant

The Villa

May 23rd, 2014

imageSame complex as the other villas we have used but different villa. Smaller inside than the others with a double bedroom, a bedroom with three single beds ensuite, with another bathroom on the ground floor. Small bedroom upstairs with two single beds. Ground floor also has seating area, dining table and reasonably sized kitchen with all the facilities.

Outside there is another seating area, a dining tables, comfortable sun loungers and a jacuzzi and swimming pool.


May 17th, 2014

Check-in for the 0620 flight to Madrid had dedicated desks which opened early at 04:30. No queue and then headed for fast track security. Although the fast track gates were open there wasn’t a fast track security lane but at that time of the morning it didn’t matter and we soon trekking to the first class lounge. Interesting to note that they have Heineken on draft on the main wine counter near the eating area. Hot breakfast accompanied by a glass of fizz.

Boarding was efficient with some chancers being turned back from the priority boarding queue. It was a 767 and we were in seats 9a and 9b which is immediately in front of the exit so when we arrived we were first off. Breakfast was a croissant but as I had eaten in the lounge it didn’t matter. At MAD we managed the obstacle course that is the transfer from 4s to the main 4 terminal via passport control, security and the shuttle and managed to squeeze in an hour in the lounge which is not our favourite one at MAD but is decent enough. The one thing that does annoy me is the thirty minute limit on the wifi. Yes, I can go and get another voucher and yes it is a first world issue but does seem a waste. Better than Malaga I suppose where you only get 15 minutes in total.

Boarding onto the Iberia Express flight to Gran Canaria was surprisingly civilised and well managed so we were first on again and settled into our emergency exit seats. Crew were good but seemed to take ages to start the service. Are they not incentivised to sell as much as possible like the orange LCC and others? Arrived a little early and we disembarked to the luggage reclaim where, miracles do occur, our four priority tagged cases all came off early on.


Sofitel @ LHR

May 16th, 2014

Arrived at LHR by tube and soon found the signs to the hotel. Quite a long walk but all under cover to the hotel itself. Quite a queue at reception but all desks were staffed and I was soon checked in. Wasn’t give much information, e.g. about the internet, breakfast or asked about newspapers, wake up,call etc.. Had to ask about lounge access and my key card had to be replaced with one to give me access. However, access worked, despite not having booked on the hotel’s own website as suggested by some on this forum.

Was upgraded to a superior room which was a good size but as I have never stayed here before I am not sure what the superior room has that a standard doesn’t.

Lounge decent enough although the food wasn’t my cup of tea. Three choices of both red and white wine. After a comfortable night’s sleep checked out and headed for the airport.


Saturday 23rd February

February 25th, 2013

BA disorganised at MAN – an earlier flight had a big delay so all the check-in staff were being used to rebook passengers onto later flights, including ours. It therefore took a long time to check in. Eventually flew back to Heathrow (en route the CSM used her Ipad all the way though take off and landing)  and took the pod to the business parking (just as a treat!). Then onto the Hilton at Newbury (North) where an efficient but not welcoming receptionist checked us in. Room had been refurbished to a good standard but this made the unrefurbished bathroom stand out somewhat. Out to the local Toby carvery and back to the room for a lazy night in. The same receptionist checked us out with the same display of happiness.

Friday 22nd February

February 25th, 2013

Second attempt this year to get Manchester after the first was affected by snow and we landed back at Gatwick. Flight was a bit late but not too bad, although there were some quite obnoxious passengers on board who, on landing pushed people out of their way to get their luggage and then pushed back to get to the front of the aircraft. Checked in at the hotel and then onto the new venue for Club Alert. Although smaller than before we had a better time.


Saturday 16th February

February 17th, 2013

Saturday 16th February


Started our search for a replacement of Colin’s laptop which is slowly dying. Had to rule out a tower pc as the cheap ones don’t have wifi. So tomorrow we will be looking for a new laptop.


Continued our “mattress run” by checking in at the Hampton by Hilton, about 200 metres from our flat!


Pleasant and efficient welcome. Although we had a pre-paid booking, they hadn’t actually taken the money which was a bit confusing. Top floor room with not much of view (not really surprising as this is Croydon!). Room was small but clean. Wifi worked quite well. I found the bed was comfortable but the size of the room meant it would not have been a pleasant stay for more than one night. We were continually getting in each other’s way.  Breakfast was what you’d expect: not spectacular but nothing wrong with it, although the eating area was quite small so people were overflowing into the main reception and bar to have breakfast. The information booklet in the room did not really have any truly local transport information – it only mentions East Croydon (just up the road) and Heathrow and Gatwick airports. What about West Croydon, the trams and local buses? Hotel is in a good location to get to central London and a short walk from the shops of Croydon.


Sunday 28th October

October 30th, 2012

munich-46.JPGAwoke to find the city covered in snow. After breakfast (had to sign again), this time in the bar where the table hadn’t been set properly (no milk, salt etc). Coffee was left on the bar and was cold. Out to the Olympic park and up the TV tower there. Decided against finding a Maredo for lunch, agreeing to eat at the airport instead (wrong move). At checkout they correctly removed the internet charges but incorrectly tried to charge us for eight breakfasts. After much discussing and photocopying of our confirmations the breakfasts were also removed. All this made me think we hadn’t been allocated the rooms we had paid for and were actually upgraded to the rooms we had paid for; all conjecture on my part though. This with the poor breakfast and location gives the hotel 3/5 on Tripadviser. Rather than take the U-Bahn into town and then the S-Bahn out of town to the airport we decided to try a different route: bus to an S-Bahn station en route to the airport. Not a bad choice even though we just missed a train and had to wait about 20 minutes. At the airport check-in was open (we were very early!) and lady was polite and efficient and we were soon in the queue for security. Although the queue was not long it did seem to take forever and my bags had to go through the machine twice. Only then did we realise we had made the wrong decision about lunch. We were in a small “terminal” which is part of the main terminal and had one small café. I fancied the Wiener Schnitzel but not the price (€13) so opted for a panini, seemingly made of cardboard. We soon moved to the BA lounge which is quite large (but did get busy) with very friendly staff. Fortunately there was a decent food selection (sandwiches, hot snacks etc).


Went to board exactly at the right time – we were first on. Flight was delayed because of de-icing and just as we entered the runway to take off we stopped – some sort of incident with an incoming plane – details are hazy. Food was a Hoisin Duck Wrap. On arrival an announcement were made that people travelling to GLA would be met off the plane – they were given “fast track” tickets to get through Flight Connections in time for their onward flight. Trains from Feltham to Waterloo were being diverted so we went by tube instead.



Saturday 27th October – Munich

October 30th, 2012

munich-42.JPGC’s birthday.


After a good night’s sleep we headed for breakfast where we had to sign (another sign we hadn’t got the package we had booked as breakfast was supposed to have been included. We weren’t able to get into the main restaurant and there was no toaster where we were. Coffee was cold.


Took tube into town, having bought a one-day partner card and wandered round the centre to see the main buildings. Stopped in the main square at midday to watch the musical clock just as it started to snow. Drink at a traditional bar just off the square. Lunch was self-service in Galleria Kaufhof. Back to the hotel via the Mexican restaurant I fancied and secured the last table for that evening and back to the hotel for a rest. Evening at Don Luca.  Very good restaurant but only gets 4/5 on Tripadvsor because starters didn’t come together (quite a big gap between them). Back at the hotel E went to bed and we and D played cards.