Dream destinations

Fancy a trip aboard Kenya Airways’ new B-787 Dreamliner? We asked Paris Guidebook expert Mike Gerrard to plan some dream itineraries… 

The-PeechThe Dreamliner plane is designed to put the fun back into flying; to take us back to the time when it really was exciting to make a flight. So to go with it, why not do a little dreaming and plan your ideal trip? We’ve connected three great cities that you can fly between on Kenya Airways’ Dreamliner, and picked out the ultimate recommendations for each one – the very best places to stay, best restaurants to eat in, and the things to see. We’ve added the basic facts you need to know, and thrown in a luxury suggestion for an escape from the city. So start dreaming. Start planning.

Dreamliner Experience
Before you can dream you must yawn, and that is probably most people’s reaction when they hear of the launch of a new type of aeroplane. Even seasoned travellers – the people who benefit most from aircraft improvements – have heard it all before. The new this, the new that – they’re all going to improve our flying experience. But somehow flying still manages to become more of a chore every year.

For once, though, you need to sit up and pay attention, because the Dreamliner isn’t just publicity hype. In ways both major and minor the new plane will make flying significantly better. Often it’s those minor things that irritate passengers the most – the feeling of dehydration no matter how much water you drink, the seatback in front of you that comes down in your face, and being unable to stand up properly to have a stretch if you’re not in an aisle seat because of the luggage storage bins over your head.

The numerous revolutionary changes in design and operation will do away with these hassles as well as adding new comfort features. Take that dehydration, for one. You’re dehydrated because although the cabin is pressurised, it’s the pressure you would get if you were at an altitude of about 8000ft (about 2400m). As the Dreamliner is made of composite materials and not just plain metal, the cabin pressure can be increased so you feel you’re at about 6000ft (1800m) instead. That means a more comfortable ride with higher humidity levels and less dehydration.

The annoying passenger pushing their seat back? Doesn’t happen to First Class and Business Class passengers, right? Well on the Dreamliner all seats are designed in that way, with the sliding seat bottom that means the lower half goes forward rather than the upper half sliding back. And the luggage storage? Well, in addition to being deeper and bigger (so your carry-on bag will go all the way in), they’re easier to open and they swivel up and back, out of the way when not in use.

And those are just the minor improvements. That new composite material is lighter, which is more fuel-efficient, so you can take longer flights without needing time-wasting (and costly) refuelling stops. Combined with a new wing design, the Dreamliner can also travel at faster speeds making for shorter journey times. The new engines are quieter too.

Lots of the workings in the plane that were previously hydraulic are now electrical, which also reduces the weight of the plane. The saving on space has been used to add to the comfort of both passengers and crew, while it also makes the planes more environmentally-friendly. Other improvements include larger windows, so even if you don’t have a window seat you’ll get better views. The windows also have no blinds, but instead are electrically controlled to whatever level of light you want, and the cabin crew also has a master control that can lighten or darken all windows at once, to either wake you up or give you chance to sleep.

Want to plan a dream trip?
Our dream itinerary takes you between the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere, and lands you almost on the equator in the heart of Kenya. Paris is one of the world’s greatest cities, one that everyone should see at least once in their life – although once is never enough. Johannesburg is a truly vibrant city in South Africa, a country that is one of the most exciting destinations in the world today. And finally to Nairobi in Kenya, another pulsating African city and the gateway to some of the finest wildlife experiences on earth. Kenya Airways’ Dreamliner can take you to all three cities, and, for the ultimate trip, why not visit all of them – we recommend starting in Johannesburg in the autumn, which is a great time for seeing wildlife there too. Fly to Paris and you’ll be arriving there in the spring, when the city is at its most beautifully romantic. Finally head to Nairobi, good at any time of the year.

Paris

Time zone
Paris is on Central European Time, UTC/GMT +1.

When to go
Paris is stunning at any time of year. The spring months of April, May and June are beautiful, when the chills of winter have gone and the city’s many trees are beginning to blossom. Summer is warm and ideal for al fresco dining, and you can expect stunning colours during the autumn months.

Getting there
Fly Kenya Airways’ new Dreamliner from Nairobi to Paris four times a week.

Where to stay
Hôtel Le Bristol
Le Bristol was opened in 1924 and retains its old-world charm and ultimate standards of service. Its rooms are lavish, with antique furniture and oil paintings echoing the building’s 18th-century facade. Located on one of the city’s most fashionable shopping streets, it is close to the Presidential Palace.
• 112 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris; Tel: +33 (0) 1 53 43 43 00; lebristolparis.com

Four Seasons Hotel George V
From the flower-bedecked reception area to the rooftop suites with views of the Eiffel Tower, the George V maintains its reputation as one of the best hotels in the world. With its Michelin-starred restaurant, spa and lively bars, it achieves the perfect balance between luxuriousness and friendliness.
• 31 Avenue George V, 75008 Paris; Tel: +33 (0) 1 49 52 70 00; fourseasons.com/paris

Le Meurice
Le Meurice, with its perfect location overlooking the Tuileries, was built as a palace in 1835 and combines 19th-century grandeur with modern chic styling by Philippe Starck. Alain Ducasse oversees its restaurants, and it has an unrivalled spa.
• 28 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris; Tel: +33 (0) 1 44 58 10 10; dorchestercollection.com

Pavillon de la Reine
Right on the elegant Place des Vosges in the Marais, one of the most beautiful yet neighbourly squares in Paris, the Pavillon de la Reine was built as a mansion in 1612 and has seen many of Paris’ illustrious literary figures pass through its doors. Today it is ideal for guests who prefer discreet luxury.
• 28 Place des Vosges, 75003 Paris; Tel: +33 (0) 1 40 29 19 19; pavillon-de-la-reine.com

Le Royal Monceau
When it opened in 2010 this 5-star Raffles hotel instantly became one of the places to stay in Paris. No expense was spared, with Philippe Starck called in to design the stunning, eye-catching interior. It has its own art gallery and art bookstore (it even has an Art Concierge) and is definitely the choice for those who prefer contemporary to classical.
• 37 Avenue Hoche, 75008 Paris; Tel: +33 (0) 1 42 99 88 00; leroyalmonceau.com

Where to eat
Guy Savoy
There are many famous Parisian chefs but Guy Savoy has remained one of the very best, and his signature restaurant continues to have three Michelin stars. His cooking is traditional rather than experimental, and he maintains a reputation for providing some of the best service in Paris.
• 18 Rue Troyon, 75017 Paris; Tel: +33 (0) 1 43 80 40 61; guysavoy.com

Pierre Gagnaire
Pierre Gagnaire is another of Paris’s finest chefs, with three Michelin stars to his name and a reputation for culinary risk-taking. The dining room may lack the grandeur of some of his rivals, but the complexity of some of his dishes, combining numerous ingredients and contrasting tastes, is unequalled.
• 6 Rue Balzac, 75008 Paris; Tel: +33 (0) 1 58 36 12 50; pierre-gagnaire.com

Restaurant Le Meurice
Alain Ducasse now oversees the dining at the hotel Le Meurice, where chef Yannick Alléno has maintained three Michelin stars since 2007. It’s hard to know how Ducasse can improve on perfection, but a meal here should now be the highlight of any gourmand’s visit to Paris, enhanced by the views over the Tuileries Gardens.
• 228 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris; Tel: +33 (0) 1 44 58 10 10; dorchestercollection.com/en/paris/le-meurice

Epicure
The Epicure restaurant is reason alone to stay at Le Bristol. It’s one of the few places where you can dine in three-Michelin-star luxury while bathed in the natural light that floods the dining room from the hotel’s splendid garden. Chef Eric Frechon has had his three stars since 2009, and been voted France’s Chef of the Year.
• 112 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris; Tel: +33 (0) 1 53 43 43 00; lebristolparis.com

Le Cinq
Based in the Four Seasons Hotel George V, Le Cinq has two Michelin stars and a service that combines formality with friendliness. Its cooking style also combines tradition with a lighter contemporary touch. The room is elegantly decorated in gold and grey, with the hotel’s signature colourful floral displays, and overlooks the inner courtyard.
• 31 Avenue George V, 75008 Paris; Tel: +33 (0) 1 49 52 70 00; restaurant-lecinq.com

What to buy
Paris is the world fashion capital, so treat yourself to something from the signature stores of some of the biggest names in the business: Hermès, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Valentino, Gucci, Kenzo, Yves Saint Laurent and many more.

Further Afield
The Côte Saint Jacques is a luxury hotel with one of France’s best restaurants. Boasting three Michelin Stars, the restaurant is only 90 minutes southeast of Paris in Joigny, the gateway to Burgundy, and stands on the banks of the Yonne River. Chef Jean-Michel Lorain has won France’s Chef of the Year on several occasions.
http://cotesaintjacques.com

PARIS Two-day plan
Day One No matter what happens you will want to see the Eiffel Tower, so head there first, having bought your ticket online to enable you to skip the queues. Take the lift to the top and enjoy the ultimate views of Paris.

From the tower it’s a pleasant 30-minute walk along the banks of the Seine to the Musée d’Orsay, or you can take the RER train. You should allow at least a few hours in the museum, even if you only see the highlights. It’s also a good place to enjoy a lunch break.

If you carry on walking along by the river, you’ll come to the Île de la Cité, where you can spend a few hours seeing attractions including Sainte-Chapelle, the Conciergerie and of course Notre-Dame Cathedral. If you haven’t booked that special restaurant, head back to the west bank of the Seine to spend the evening in the Latin Quarter, with plenty of eating places and perhaps a jazz club or one of the famous cafes like the Deux Magots to round off the evening.

Day Two You could spend an entire day visiting the Louvre, one of the world’s greatest art museums, but you can expect to spend most of the morning there. Have lunch at the Louvre’s acclaimed Café Marly. Then walk through the Tuileries and up the Champs-Élysées to see the Arc de Triomphe. Go up onto the top of the arch for some impressive views. For another unmissable view of the city, take the Métro to the basilica of Sacre-Coeur (there’s a direct Métro line to the Anvers stop, from where you can walk or take the funicular up to the Basilica.) You can then spend the evening in Montmartre, the old artists’ quarter of Paris. Today it’s more touristy but still a great place to have a final dinner, unless you’ve booked into one of our special restaurant recommendations.

Johannesburg

Time zone
Johannesburg is in the S. Africa time zone, UTC/GMT +2.

When to go
If you want sunshine and least rain, April, September and October are usually the best months, but it also depends on what you want to do in South Africa. If you also want to go on a safari, then August-October is good.

Getting there
Fly the Kenya Airways Dreamliner to Johannesburg from Nairobi daily.

Where to stay
The Residence
The Residence is a 5-star boutique hotel in the historic northern suburb of Houghton. Its spacious suites all have balconies with views over the gardens, pool, or tennis courts, while its top-floor bar also has great views. All the suites have the opulent feel provided by chandeliers and Persian rugs, and other facilities include a spa and restaurant.
• 17 4th Ave, Johannesburg; Tel: +27 21 762 1543; http://theresidence.co.za

The Saxon
This 5-star hotel is set in landscaped gardens to the north of the city, and if you’re here for the wildlife then it’s good to know it supports conservation projects including anti-rhino poaching. It has a stylish, modern look, decorated with sculptures and other artworks, and it has won numerous awards including Africa’s Best Hotel, no less.
• 36 Saxon Road, Sandhurst, Johannesburg; Tel: +27 11 292 6000; saxon.co.za

54 on Bath
Only half an hour from the airport, in the attractive Rosebank area of the city, 54 on Bath has an outdoor pool, its own highly-rated restaurant Level Four, and a bar that overlooks an attractive terrace area alongside the pool.
• 54 Bath Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg; Tel: +27 11 344 8500; tsogosunhotels.com

Clico
The 5-star Clico Boutique Hotel is just 20 minutes from the airport in Rosebank and has only nine luxurious rooms. They all either open onto the garden or overlook the swimming pool. Despite its intimate size, the Clico has its own in-house chef and guests highly praise his food.
• 27 Sturdee Ave, Johannesburg; Tel: +27 11 252 3300; http://clico-boutique-hotel.co.za

The Peech
With its own champagne bar and boutique chic, The Peech is indeed a peach of a hotel and centrally located in Melrose. It has very eco-friendly policies, supports many local community projects, has a lovely outdoor garden and pool area, and its own bistro serves seasonal menus.
• 61 North St, Johannesburg; Tel: +27 11 537 9797; thepeech.co.zA

Where to eat
The Butcher Shop and Grill
This unique place is indeed a butcher’s shop working within a restaurant and is a carnivore’s dream, offering unusual meats such as springbok and ostrich, though you can also get chicken, pork, lamb, oysters and delicious fish dishes too.
• Shop 30, Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton; Tel: +27 11 784 8676; thebutchershop.co.za

Le Canard
For the finest French food coupled with an excellent list of South African wines, head for this romantic spot in Sandton. Duck breast is naturally their signature dish, with a tangy orange and Grand Marnier sauce to go with it.
• 163 Rivonia Road, Morningside, Sandton; Tel: +27 11 884 4597; lecanard.co.za

Wandie’s Place
To sample some genuine African food head for Wandie’s in the Township, as many people do – Richard Branson and Quincy Jones among them. The decor is definitely down-home but the service is spot on and the buffet-style allows you to try lots of things.
• 618 Makhalemele Street, Dube Village, Soweto; Tel: +27 11 982 2796; wandiesplace.co.za

What to drink
Johannesburg is blessed with some of Africa’s top restaurants, and South Africa makes some of the world’s finest wines.

Further afield
West of Johannesburg is an area important both for archaeological discoveries and for wildlife. Stay at the 5-star luxury Forum Homini Hotel (forumhomini.com) from where you can arrange to visit the important sites, nature reserves, or enjoy other activities such as hot-air ballooning and wine-tasting.

JOHANNESBURG Two-day plan
Day One You should launch yourself into Jo’burg, as everyone calls it, by getting to grips with the country’s recent history at the Apartheid Museum. It’s an essential stop to understand the city you’re visiting, is lively and stimulating, and will take you the entire morning. After spending time indoors, at what can be an occasionally harrowing if ultimately uplifting experience, make time for some outdoor relaxation at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens, where you can enjoy thousands of plants, over 30,000 trees, and an impressive rose garden.

Continue the fun with visits to two ‘very Jo’burg’ attractions: the SAB World of beer and the KwaZulu Muti. The latter is a working herbalist’s shop where you can buy all kinds of plants and potions, and see them being produced. The World of Beer is one of the largest working breweries in the world, and the enjoyable tour takes in its museum, brewing process, and of course some sample brews. That should be a fun prelude to dinner at one of the city’s top restaurants.

Day Two Start the day with a breathtaking view over the city from the top of the Carlton Tower. At 223m (732ft) this is the tallest office building in Africa and from the 50th floor observation deck you can see the full impressive sprawl of the city… and beyond. Down on the ground, the Johannesburg Zoo has over 2000 animals from all over the world, some of which you definitely won’t see on a safari. It’s involved in many conservation projects and among its most impressive exhibits are Siberian tigers, hippos, endangered white rhinos, cheetahs, gorillas and orang-utans.

In the afternoon, visit some of the city’s impressive art museums and galleries, to discover the vibrant artistic side of Jo’burg. There’s an enjoyable Art Gallery Walk in the suburb of Roseland, where some of the best are located, while near Gandhi Square the Standard Bank Art Gallery is unusually situated inside a working bank.

Nairobi

Time zone
Nairobi is in the East Africa Time Zone, which is three hours ahead of UTC/GMT.

When to go
Located near the equator, Nairobi has a year-round temperate climate. There is no bad time to visit, although the rainfall is at its lowest in January-February and June-August.

Getting there
Fly Kenya Airways’ new Dreamliner to Nairobi from Paris four times a week and daily from Johannesburg.

Where to stay
Tribe Hotel
This luxury boutique hotel is in the leafy diplomatic quarter of Nairobi, in a beautifully peaceful and traffic-free setting adjoining the Village Market, the largest shopping complex in East Africa.
• Limuru Road, The Village Market, Gigiri, Nairobi; Tel: +254 20 720 0000; tribe-hotel.com

Sankara
The Sankara is a 5-star luxury hotel where you can indulge yourself in the Champagne Bar, pamper yourself in the award-winning Angsana Spa, and dine in one of its stylish restaurants or poolside at the Supper Club.
• Woodvale Grove, Nairobi; Tel: +254 20 420 8000; sankara.com

Villa Rosa Kempinski
This brand new luxury hotel only opened in September 2013 but by the end of the year had been voted Africa’s Leading New Hotel in the World Travel Awards. For the ultimate in luxury, book the Presidential Suite with its own plunge pool and barbecue area.
• Chiromo Road, Nairobi; Tel: +254 70 304 9000; kempinski.com

Giraffe Manor
You will never stay anywhere like Giraffe Manor, a luxury hotel on the edge of the city where the resident herd of Rothschild giraffes will join you for breakfast. It’s set in 12 acres of private land, surrounded by a further 140 acres of forest. Unique and unforgettable.
• Karen Hardy, Nairobi; Tel: +254 20 251 3166; giraffemanor.com

Fairview
If you like a luxury hotel with beautiful gardens to relax in then the Fairview is the place. It’s a totally relaxing place to stay, that quickly becomes a home from home, helped by the friendliness of the staff. There’s a pool, a choice of restaurants, a gym and a business centre… though here you will want to leave business behind and totally chill.
• Bishop Road, Nairobi; Tel: +254 72 060 4427; fairviewkenya.com

Where to eat
Tamarind Nairobi
The Tamarind is one of the city’s best restaurants, known especially for its seafood which is flown in fresh from Kenya’s coastal region every day. Other choices include lamb, beef, chicken and Kenyan quails, though it’s the seafood that draws people here.
• National Bank Building, Off Harambee Ave, Nairobi; Tel: +254 20 225 1811; tamarind.co.ke

Thai Chi
Based in the Stanley Hotel (another good accommodation option), the Thai Chi has been voted the best Thai restaurant in East Africa. Why eat Thai food in Nairobi? Just try it and you’ll know why, as the atmosphere, service and food are all first-class.
• Kenyatta Avenue and Kimathi Street, Nairobi; Tel: +254 20 275 7000; sarovahotels.com/stanley/dining_thai_chi_restaurant.aspx

Pango Brasserie
The Pango Brasserie in the Fairview Hotel has become one of the top-ranked restaurants in Nairobi. It manages to cater to everyone, from families and businessmen to gourmet diners, and the management get the food, the service and the atmosphere just right.
• Bishop Road, Nairobi; Tel: +254 72 060 4427; fairviewkenya.com

Further afield
A visit to the Masai Mara during the annual wildebeest migration is an experience that everyone should have at least once in their lifetime. With around a six-hour drive from Nairobi, or an hour’s flight, plan to spend at least three nights in the reserve (or within one of its many conservancies) to maximise your chances of spotting a range of Kenya’s enigmatic wildlife.

NAIROBI Two-day plan
Day One Simply by staying in Nairobi you can get up close and personal with some of the local wildlife, and even get a kiss from a giraffe at one of the city’s must-see attractions. The AFEW (African Fund for Endangered Wildlife) Giraffe Centre is a place to have a good time while supporting a worthy project. The Rothschild giraffes that you can see and feed at the Centre are an endangered species and the centre’s breeding programme sees the giraffes re-introduced to the wild.

After an hour or so with the giraffes, it’s time to visit the other big city wildlife attraction, the David Sheldrake Wildlife Trust (open daily 11am-noon). Better known as the Elephant Orphanage, here you can see and touch baby elephants and rhinos, which are also part of a conservation programme. If you’re tempted to adopt one of them, financially speaking, you will be helping to conserve the species.

Continue your wildlife theme by visiting the Karen Blixen Museum. This is where much of what happened in Out of Africa took place, so do your homework first and read the book or see the movie. Stay here till sundown then head for one of our top restaurant recommendations.

Day Two The National Museum is the city’s main cultural attraction and can easily take up half a day as you learn about Kenya’s culture, wildlife and history, including the many important palaeontological discoveries made here. To counter museum fatigue and the time spent indoors, enjoy some of the city’s many parks and gardens such as the Central and Uhuru Parks, the Jeevanjee Gardens, the City Park and The Arboretum. By then it will be time to get ready for another of Nairobi’s top dining experiences.