Saturday 7 December 2019

I tried the first class Emirates experience - in Sligo

Amy Mulvaney in Sligo.
Amy Mulvaney in Sligo.
VOYA products, which are now available on Emirates flights, are sourced in Sligo.

Amy Mulvaney

Flying first class is something that many people can only dream of, but I tried the experience without even leaving Irish shores.

While the first class experience has always been otherwise reserved to flying at 40,000 feet, I tried it out in the west of Ireland thanks to an Irish brand that is now stocked on Emirates flights.

Earlier this month, it was announced that organic beauty brand VOYA would be available on the high-class airline's flights for first and business class customers. VOYA is known for its range of seaweed-based products, and I headed straight to the source in Sligo to try them out for myself.

After seeing seaweed being hand-harvested for products in Easkey, we visited The Ice House Hotel, Ballina, for some VOYA treatments. Forget feeling groggy after a flight, an exclusive range of VOYA products means you'll get off the plane feeling fresher than when you got on. With shampoo, conditioner, cleanser and body wash among products supplied to first class passengers, you can enjoy a steaming-hot shower mid flight. Seriously.

VOYA products, which are now available on Emirates flights, are sourced in Sligo.
VOYA products, which are now available on Emirates flights, are sourced in Sligo.

Taking full advantage of being in a spa, I also enjoyed a hot oil neck, shoulder and back massage, and a facial. While my acne-prone skin has left me fearing facials, I needn't have worried. Because VOYA products are organic, they're of the highest quality and, as a result, you're feeding your skin pure and natural ingredients.

For dinner, we visited Tra Ban in Strandhill, where we enjoyed fresh seafood and a varied menu (including black pudding lasagne) before spending the night at Strandhill Lodge and Suites.

It's no secret that comfort is key when flying (and in general), so we were supplied with luxury pyjamas that passengers enjoy as they jet across the globe. If you're flying first class, expect to see a pair of moisturising pyjamas waiting for you on your seat, as well as slippers, an eye mask, a soft blanket and a leather pouch of products. Not to mention, you spend the flight in a private suite with gourmet food and cocktails available at the touch of a button.

Before we caught the train back to Dublin, a visit to the VOYA seaweed baths was essential. While I usually squirm upon touching seaweed in the ocean, I'd no problem submerging myself in an entire bath of it after learning of its benefits. Seaweed contains natural anti-ageing and anti-cellulite properties and has a moisturising and soothing effect on the skin. It's also rich in vitamins A, C, D, E and K. Although having a seaweed bath on a flight isn't a possibility (yet), using the products is the next best thing.

With Emirates flights connecting passengers from Ireland to more than 150 destinations, including Dubai, Sydney and Hong Kong, it's quite impressive to know that a little piece of Ireland is on every journey across the globe.

Not to mention, whether you're flying to Dubai or going on a road trip to Sligo, it's worth it alone for the VOYA experience.

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