Eurostar Business Premier
THE TRAIN: The 10.25 service from London St Pancras International to Paris Gard du Nord, travelling in Business Premier.
THE CHECK-IN: Just inside the main entrance to the station are ten staffed desks. Two Eurostar hostesses were on hand to dispense advice on the e-ticket machines. We keyed in our reference number and the tickets came smartly out. Security and passport control were cleared within minutes – no lengthy check-in queues or laborious luggage procedures. Business class travellers can check-in up to 30 minutes before departing.
THE LOUNGE: A smiling receptionist welcomed us and pointed out the lounge’s facilities. The attractive, very spacious lounge offers plenty of personal space. Key features include workstations, power sockets and comfy, soft-leather swivel chairs. There was a wide range of newspapers and magazines, from Grazia to Wallpaper. At a well-stocked food and beverage station were fresh juices, wines, beers and a coffee machine. A buffet had pastries, croissants, quality jams and fruits. Even the toilets, with their hygiene-focused automatic taps and flushing system, have space for luggage. Several TVs showed live news updates. The wireless network covers the whole of St Pancras International, including the Eurostar departure lounge and the Business Premier lounge – and it's free.
THE SEAT: Coach 7, seat 11. I had a single window seat with a pull-down table. Seat width is a generous 665mm and the legroom measures 945mm. Highly comfortable with a leather headrest and use of a power socket.
THE JOURNEY: We left St Pancras bang on time and within five minutes were offered a breakfast menu and a choice of juices, chilled bubbly and teas and coffee. The options were organic and Fair Trade-sourced and the menus were printed on FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) approved paper and are re-used over and over – which sits well with the idea of a low-carbon environmentally-friendly journey. I chose the organic Irish smoked salmon, on a rye and caraway seed muffin. Dinner options in Business Premier include sautéed lamb with spices and Prégilbert trout soufflé with crayfish sauce. Travelling at speeds of up to 186mph, the journey took two hours and 10 minutes.
THE DETAILS: Eurostar operates up to 20 trains a day between London and Paris (plus ten services a day from London to Brussels and eight from London to Lille). Business Premier tickets are fully flexible for up to two months. Look out for changes to the Business Premier service later this year. Standard fares start from £69; Standard Premier fares are from £189; and fully-flexible Business Premier fares are £450.
With a comfortable seat and a window view to the countryside (when you’re not in the tunnel), and the attentive service of helpful yet unobtrusive waiting staff, corporate travellers could be forgiven for forgetting they are travelling for business. This slick and stress-free service is the perfect low-emissions way to travel city centre to city centre.
Editor, Selling Short Breaks & Holidays