“What would you care to drink Madam?” The train host asked me. Once we were finally and comfortably ensconced in our chosen seats and on our way to Paris – a short 2 hour 15 minute journey time from St Pancras International, London. My eyes flittered over the alcoholic and soft beverage options available to us, as complimentary on a Business Premier ticket. I thought to myself – ‘This is how to celebrate a 25th Wedding Anniversary.’
It had only been a short while before – after a very quick passport control visit and x-ray of our bags, Vince and I had found ourselves entering the Eurostar Business Premier Lounge. I think these extra touches, are what made this travel suitable for us on this occasion.
The acknowledgement from the member of staff as we entered, asking if we had visited the lounge before and then on finding out we hadn’t – continuing to to explain to us what was available and where everything was. For me was a great customer service touch. It made the service feel personal. Which is always important to me. As even in the bigger picture, life is lived in the detail!
Business Premier Lounge:
- Choose to work or relax in extra comfortable seating
- Stay connected with computers and fast Wi-Fi access at no extra cost
- Hold a meeting with colleagues in spacious meeting areas
- Help yourself to savoury pastries and refreshing drinks at two self-service bars
- Keep up with current events with our extensive range of newspapers, magazines and live television feeds
- Freely charge your laptop at the seat side power sockets
It was a very quiet space in all the hustle and bustle of a busy international train station and perfect I thought, for those business travellers needing somewhere to work, relax and be comfortable as they wing their way across Europe. Business and travel can be an exhausting combination, so to be as comfortable as possible in that situation for me is ideal. Yet here we were, for a totally different reason-to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. It was perfect for this also. My eyes lingered over the drinks tray. It was still a little too early for me-I opted for a diet coke and a pastry, picking up the daily newspaper to peruse the world’s shenanigans, whilst waiting for our train.
Onboard – we had been allocated twin seats for this journey, facing backwards as we travelled. Vince can become travel sick, so after speaking with the host and there being several spare seats available in the carriage, we moved to the much more suitable ‘Opposite’ seat type. As I didn’t book these tickets, I’ve checked online at Eurostar.com and depending on what class you travel in, availability on the train and number of people you travel with – you can book a preference. Seat sizes were a good: 665 mm/509 with the armrest down. Leg rest room 945 mm. There was plenty of space. The plug sockets both english and european, meant that we could charge our phones during the journey.
It was a touch more claustrophobic in the twin – especially travelling backwards. I did find it unusual during the journey that I had plenty of ear popping – similar to flying and the movement of the train can be quite strong for walking around, if you are unsteady on your feet. Most likely due to the speed the train travels overland – which can run up to 186 MPH. Travel was smoother through the tunnel when the speed was reduced and if you shut your eyes, you wouldn’t even know that you had crossed over to the continent under the English Channel. I thought I would be a little nervous, as my mind once again informed me that we shouldn’t be travelling under the water but it was unbelievably quick from one side to the other. Travel made easy by Eurostar. Checking out the other options of travel on Eurostar, there is one to suit all budgets and I like that the youth fares (under 26) can be cheaper. The cost does vary depending on the class and flexibility.
As I checked out what was on offer on the drinks tray and glanced at the Raymond Blanc Eurostar menu to discover what would be served for lunch. I caught the glint of a bottle of Moët et Chandon Champagne in the ice bucket.
Although the service felt a little hurried on this leg of our journey and I did have to ask three times, each way for a refill of my glass. Which meant I had to keep thinking about them, rather than feeling as a Business Premier Customer, the hosts had me to mind. (The carriage was not halfway full) The food and drink service on the return journey felt more relaxed. Having proper cutlery and napkin rather than plastic knife and fork makes all the difference. As does drinking out of real glass and china cups.
Our menu options for us were better on the return leg of the journey. Due to the menu layout, I ate fish for both starter (mackerel) and main(seabream if my memory serves me well) on the outward journey as I didn’t fancy the look of the cold main which Vince tried. Ham and Cheese salad with a tempting relish and a rectangle cucumber jelly – which was refreshingly tasty!
This divine dessert served up with the perfect strawberry heart, won me over at the end of the meal after a disappointment with the starter of potatoes and mackerel. I wish I’d kept the menu for this to tell you more. All I can say is that it tasted like sweet heaven as it disintegrated in the mouth, into a delicious, delightful palate of flavour. Our travel provider was showing us how to celebrate a 25th wedding anniversary with Eurostar-jokingly telling us, it was made especially in honour of our visit. It was a nice thought.
Our return journey left me (nearly) feeling like a movie star. As the Paris Business Premier route guided us along a private runway to passport control – alas Passport control wasn’t open at this point and we had to then cross over to be with other passengers. If it had been open it would have been an exceptionally quick and smooth run into the Eurostar Business Premier Hospitality area in Gare du Nord station. As the black, shiny chandelier double doors sweepingly opened to the hospitality suite, once again they did their job of making us feel important. Introducing us to the Parisian interior, overlooking platform and rainy streets. With easy access direct to the platform and train from here.
Eurostar made the return journey very easy also. I would definitely travel on eurostar again but would take time booking, to ensure I received what I thought as great value for money, for the desire, purpose and needs of my trip.
Thank you Eurostar – Your complimentary tickets were a wonderful addition to our 25th Wedding Anniversary celebrations…
Tomorrow, as this is,Paris Week. I’ll share a foodie photo montage on the delicious delights served on our journey.