This is part of our Thanksgiving Round the World trip, you can find my initial thoughts / intro here, Flying All Nippon Airways Square Class, Flying All Nippon Airways Business Class, The Grand Hyatt Tokyo review, Touring the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Japan, The Grand Hyatt Beijing, and the Hyatt Regency Mainz.
In the course of tweaking an amazing round the world trip for my wife, my mother in law, and myself, somehow my flight from Tokyo to Beijing got lost. Learning from Lesson 6 of my valuable lessons learned, I accepted defeat from United and took the opportunity to have my first flight on JAL.
I specifically planned our flights to be within 15 minutes of each other. A further benefit was that we all would be leaving from the same terminal, so for all intents and purposes, we were able to enjoy the same airport experience until such point my wife said she wanted to check out the ANA Business lounge. Of course, that left me having to “settle” for the JAL First Class Lounge (note: even when flying on Avios points, if you have better status in OneWorld, make sure you add that number to your ticket – let’s call that rule #9).
The duel of the lounges
My wife, enjoying the ANA Business lounge made the first blow via Twitter. She found some Ichikawa Sake (we had visited and toured the Ishikawa brewery back in 2011 on our first visit to Japan).
I was jealous, I won’t deny. I was still trying to get my bearings in an expansive JAL First Class Lounge. First I found a chef making pancakes, in addition to an elaborate array of foods and beverages. But as I made my way through the lounge, I saw a sign for massages and “relaxation.” I’ve never been one to turn down a massage. I was told a slot was available in 10 minutes time – perfect I thought, I can explore, maybe use the “automatic beer pouring machine” (let us forget that it was 8am), and look around.
My wife on the other hand was finding a very nice noodle bar.
She introduced her mom to sake and enjoyed the expansive (and empty) ANA Lounge.
Though since it was 8 in the morning she avoided the “automatic beer pouring machine”. There was a wide array of food though no massage. Which was a bit of a bummer. They did have shower rooms, though.
When it was time for my massage, I headed over to what I’ll call “the spa.” A masseuse was ready for me and directed me into a small alcove. I saw a massage bed like I’d never seen before, so much padding that I thought my neck would be re-adjusted had I laid down on it. After the masseuse took my sports coat, she directed me to lay on my side. She gave me a nice knee pillow (which, I might add, are way under-rated at hotels. Hotels need more knee pillows!).
So here I was, on my side, and receiving a massage. I’ve had 15 minute massages before. I had a good one at the Emirates First Class lounge (both in the old terminal, and the A380 terminal), I’ve had great hour massages at the Thai First Class Lounge (the Orchard Spa as I recall). But I can’t say until this time, that I’ve had a great 15 minute massage. This was so great, I fell asleep in the first 5 minutes. In all fairness, we could chalk it up to me being a side sleeper, but I also think it was a pretty damn good massage. I had a photo of the table but it was entirely too blurry, even for a camera phone for the blog, so hopefully I was descriptive enough.
Oh, and they had chairs of doom too, but I steered clear.