Con­nec­tions with Mean­ing

Fuel­ing the mind, body and soul

Business Traveler (USA) - - WORLD WISE - By Ross Atkin­son

Tra­di­tion­ally we oc­cu­pied our con­nect­ing time in an air­port by charg­ing the lap­top bat­ter­ies, log­ging on to send and re­ceive e-mails, and – a dis­tant third given the lack of choices – grab­bing a bite to eat. How­ever our de­sire for more than just a con­nec­tion has given rise to new ser­vices, so we can now plan our air­port so­journs around more mean­ing­ful op­por­tu­ni­ties that fuel the mind, body and soul.

Par­tic­i­pants in Busi­ness Trav­eler’s fo­rum sound off with their opin­ions on the el­e­vated qual­ity of ac­tiv­i­ties in and im­me­di­ately around great air­ports. The dis­cus­sion thread cov­ered the globe, with com­ments on air­ports from A to Z and over 45 air­ports around the world gar­ner­ing spe­cial men­tion. Pop­u­lar threads in­cluded at­tributes of air­ports and their as­so­ci­ated ser­vices span­ning sev­eral cities in­clud­ing: Hong Kong Van­cou­ver Bangkok Sin­ga­pore Abu Dhabi Jo­han­nes­burg Seoul Doha Los An­ge­les Guangzhou

Stim­u­lat­ing the Cere­bral

Dubai Lon­don Syd­ney Copen­hagen Frank­furt Today’s air­port hot spots of­fer a long list of ac­tiv­i­ties – for those just pass­ing through as well as those spend­ing the night. Air­ports and air­lines lounges present ex­pe­ri­ences that in­clude art, mu­se­ums, gar­dens, cin­e­mas, lo­cal brew­eries, tem­po­rary of­fice space, and meet­ing and even event space for up to 2000 at­ten­dees. Get wrapped in thought while tak­ing a swim in a rooftop pool, lounge with a per­fect view of the city while planes take off and land or even in­dulge your cre­ative side ap­pre­ci­at­ing fine art in one of the mu­se­ums that many air­ports of­fer.

One Busi­ness Trav­eler fo­rum par­tic­i­pant even com­mented on the ameni­ties and ac­tiv­i­ties for one par­tic­u­lar air­port ho­tel, say­ing:“I could quite hap­pily spend sev­eral days be­tween flights there!”

Fuel­ing the Body

Sorry soggy sand­wiches are now a dis­tant sec­ondary op­tion at most top-tier air­ports and lounges. Lo­cal fare, high-end bistros, and lux­ury din­ing once only found in cities like Paris, Tokyo or Seoul are now an ev­ery­day part of the air­port ex­pe­ri­ence.

Is there Miche­lin-rated din­ing in an air­port restau­rant? Ab­so­lutely! Geneva and Stuttgart to name a few. In ad­di­tion to the rat­ings, the cui­sine around the world has gone from your quick bite in the food court to a quick meal that de­liv­ers a gas­tro­nomic ex­pe­ri­ence. From caviar at the Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar at Lon­don’s Heathrow, sushi at Tokyo’s Sushi Ky­otatsu to French haute cui­sine at Charles de Gaulle’s Ladure`e, jet­set­ters are mak­ing time in the air­port for their din­ing de­lights.

Part of this food frenzy, made-to-or­der meals in air­line lounges have also added tasty op­tions to the trav­el­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Now and for fore­see­able fu­ture, gas­tron­omy will con­tinue to be of grow­ing im­por­tance both in the sky and on the ground.

Wellness does not have to be sac­ri­ficed on a busi­ness trip. Busi­nesses look­ing to sup­port their em­ploy­ees and in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity may con­sider mix­ing a lit­tle bleisure travel (busi­ness + leisure) while con­nect­ing at the air­port.

Today’s ser­vices in and around the air­ports have grad­u­ated from fruit bars to es­capes of won­der that in­clude a trop­i­cal rain­forest­themed lounge to give trav­el­ers a re­lax­ing re­treat with soft mu­sic and trop­i­cal flora and fauna decor. Premium lounges today of­fer a full ar­ray of ex­pe­ri­ences and ameni­ties.You can find lounges and spas at sev­eral air­port open at all hours with ser­vices that you might ex­pect to find on a yoga re­treat, such as oxy­gen ther­a­pies, nap­ping suites, body mas­sage, foot re­flex­ol­ogy. Some full ser­vice air­port spa op­tions range from var­i­ous styles and types of en­er­giz­ing mas­sage treat­ments to fa­cials, wet shaves, and mani / pedi’s to help trav­el­ers freshen up and fuel the fire af­ter a long flight.

Of course the tra­di­tional show­ers and chang­ing rooms, fit­ness fa­cil­i­ties, and food choices have gone full-ser­vice and gourmet, with healthy food al­ter­na­tives, re­ju­ve­nat­ing ex­er­cise equip­ment, steam rooms, Jacuzzi tubs and lap pools. Con­sider a quick round of golf, a walk through na­ture trails or gar­dens and even a chance to set aside time for some ice-skat­ing.

Don’t let low ex­pec­ta­tions limit your imag­i­na­tion on the pos­si­bil­i­ties that await on your next con­nec­tion. Make plans to take a healthy, en­rich­ing sab­bat­i­cal dur­ing your next trip. Even though it may only be for a cou­ple of hours, you can have a con­nec­tion with mean­ing. BT

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