MM and Company has been representing Filipe, Luisa and the team at TA DMC Portugal since 2007 I have been to Portugal and Lisbon several times but not recently so Filipe invited me over for the weekend to see the new hotels, restaurants and venues that have opened since I was there last.
I stayed at the Five star EPIC Sana Hotel an excellent Portuguese owned chain of hotels. It has everything our C&I clients need and want from a hotel without the international brand price tag. Sana hotels also have some excellent four
star compliant hotels for the Pharma clients too. In three days Filipe and I saw well over 24 venues, hotels and restaurants so if you need something in Lisbon I am well up to date on what is new and funky. We had some amazing Portuguese wine and terrific local food I am on diet well fasting for the next week.
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I have a great job, oh that’s twice I said that in this e mail, must be true. I get to go to some amazing places all over the world, recently I was on a trip to Mauritius with the team at Connections DMC Mauritius who MM and Company has been representing since 2005. It’s summer now in Mauritius and the weather was just to die for.
Have you seen all the supermarkets selling Coconut water at £3.50 a litre, outblooming rageous price. I was on a drive in a convertible Mini Cooper, I stopped on the roadside and guess what there was a man selling coconuts, I stopped the car and bought one, he took a machete, hacked it around and stuck a straw in it and OMG the best coconut water you could imagine and guess what it was nowhere near £3.50. Had dinner on the beach, lunch in an amazing Mauritian style restaurant, I witnessed a very colorful Tamil festival, stayed at the amazing St Regis Hotel, I also stayed at Long Beach which is just stunning and guess what it has a long beach. I went to the Rum distillery La Chamarel, naturally I had to have a rum cocktail or two. There is a brand new refurbished watch tower called Martella Tower constructed by the British in the eighteenth century, has a huge canon on the top of the tower as well as a cool museum. This was something new that I had not seen before and I have been to Mauritius quite a few times.
I had my obligatory trip to the capital Port Louis it’s a great place Port Louis, I love the hustle and bustle, the colorful market. The next day the Connections team Anusha, Alessandra, Lucille, Tatiana and I with a few chosen guests spent the day on a catamaran, did a bit of swimming, did a bit of snorkelling, lunch on the beach, such a tough life. To end the trip I was treated to a few glasses of red wine and some delicious canapes at my favourite venue, Café des Arts. Karl Braunecker the MD of Connections DMC was at Café des Arts I had an opportunity to suggestion to him that I need another visit to Mauritius around March April time. At EIBTM I had a discussion with Davina along the same lines.
You can’t beat a trip to 35 degrees of heat, sunshine, dry streets and clear blue skies just as the opposite is happening in the UK. I flew Etihad Airways to Abu Dhabi on the A380, if you haven’t been on that plane you have got to go, what a fabulous piece of equipment, big and very quiet, totally the opposite to me. As we landed at 7.30am the captain announced that the weather on the ground in Abu Dhabi was 28 degrees (yum). Jean Yan of SNTTA Emir Incentives & Conferences picked us up at the airport and we were off and running. I checked into the fabulous five star deluxe (just the type of hotel I like) Park Hyatt in Abu Dhabi brand new and sparkling) dropped off my suitcase, went straight off to Nurai island by boat, a great venue for events, gala dinners, water sports, etc.
One other thing that I did not tell you is that I flew into Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways courtesy of our awesome friends at ALL ABOUT FLIGHTS we do a lot of work with All About Flights, Kathy, Leanne, Lisa, Wendy and the team at All About Flights only do flights so complement our DMC offering perfectly. Whenever one of our more boutique MM and Company clients need help with flights we only ever suggest contacting Kathy and the team. If you want to know more about how Kathy and the team work please let me know I will put you in touch. Getting to and from Dubai from Abu Dhabi is very straight forward and sometimes depending on the hotel you are working with in Dubai it is even quicker to fly into Abu Dhabi with Etihad and get and SNTTA Emir Conference and Incentives transfer to Dubai it only takes just over an hour it also can be very cost effective.
OMG what an amazing few days I had in Istanbul with Muge, Pinar, Dilek Yucel and the DEKON DMC team. I was well and truly spoilt in three days with the team. We have had a great year so far in Istanbul as far as business is concerned. I arrived last Thursday left Sunday morning just as a group DEKON DMC had operated were leaving as well as a site inspection for a huge group that is looking at Istanbul for next year, so lots going on.
More about Istanbul and the TERRIFIC 5 Star Marmara Taksim Hotel where I stayed, the hotel has just been totally refurbished and it looking very good indeed. The hotel is sooooooo well located, totally down town, it has amazing views of the eclectic city of Istanbul and The Bosphorus. The food and beverage quality is world class and offers great value, for example you ask? A full lunch buffet with everything you could think of and more for TL95 Turkish Lira that equates to just over £20. Buffet breakfast in most London five star hotels is about £30.00. The General Manager, Uygar Kocas was so kind with his hospitality, he could not do enough.
The city was beautiful as ever, I re-visited the Blue Mosque, the Underground Cistern, Saint Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace, the Grand Bazaar, sunset cocktail cruising along the Bosphorus, I re-visited Esma Sultan Palace my favourite venue for events. Naturally I had to go to Reina, it would be rude not to, it’s a great nightclub. Had lunch at the brand new Soho House, stunning place. All in all I had an amazing visit to one of my favourite destinations in the world, ISTANBUL.
While you and the UK have been sweltering in the summer heat, I have been in mid-winter Mauritius, where the temperature was a very pleasant 24 degrees every day, the sun shone for two of the days I was there and two of the days there was a little bit of rain, Mauritius would not be the most beautiful green island without rain, it didn’t last long, the rain stopped and the sun shone. I stayed at the beautiful Starwood Westin Hotel and the brand new, well two years old St Regis hotel in Mauritius. My stay at the St Regis brought back awesome memories of a terrific Business Development Event I hosted there in June 2013, in fact it was one of the very best FAM trips ever and I have hosted quite a few in my time representing DMCs and working in the hotel industry. Know something it was really nice to be back at the St Regis Mauritius, it bought back some lovely memories of time spent.
We were very well looked after by Dimple, Kenny, Suraj and the whole team at the Westin and St Regis. Anusha, Teelasha, Suzet and the team at Connections DMC Mauritius were on hand morning, noon and night, they are such a great bunch of guys, well girls really but hey. I missed seeing Karl and Davina, Karl was on holiday and Davina was on her way over to London for the Meeting Show which as you must know by now starts tomorrow. If you want more information please let me know, if you would like to replicate the three night two day trip I did please let me know it can be arranged with the team at Connections
My weekend was spent in snowy Iceland with Anna, Linda, Fjola and Perla of Nordic Visitor on a site inspection. Each time I go back to Iceland, I get more and more impressed with the destination as both an incentive and a conference destination. Now I know you have probably heard this from me before but it’s true which I may be paid to say that but that still doesn’t detract from the fact that Iceland is such a different and cool destination and I am not referring to the temperature.
On Thursday evening I left the fab new Terminal 2 at LHR at 9PM and got to Iceland at 11.40PM arrived at the hotel just after 1AM
Two and a half hours flight from the UK, its location works as an ex UK destination or as a half way destination when a lot of USA or Canadian citizens are involved direct flight and delivers as a conference and incentive destination.
I checked into a lovely brand new 45 bedroom boutique hotel in the centre of Reykjavik.
Friday morning I spent doing the hard work seeing new Hotels, refreshing my memory of hotels I had seen on previous trips. There are at least two new hotels under construction, one will open later on this year.
Iceland is popular and busy, busy, busy. Well we have seen a growth in business since we started representing Nordic Visitor.
I saw some new gala dinner venues and conference venues. There is an amazing space for a gala dinner it is brand new and very unique it is an Iceland Whale exhibition with life size monsters of the deep scattered all around. After lunch saw a few more venues then it was off for a dip in the Blue Lagoon, well when you visit Iceland it is the law, you have to go there. Anna and Fjola joined me in the Blue Lagoon then on the way back to the hotel we turned off the main road, drove down a very snowing road into a clearing in the hinterland where Linda and Perla from Nordic Visitor were waiting for us with canapés and a glass of champagne not a shabby way to end an awesome day. Dinner was a progressive affair with three courses in three different restaurants.
The next day was spent seeing the unmissable sights of Iceland. Forty minutes’ drive from the centre of Reykjavík is the location on the National Park of Iceland where a geological phenomena can be seen where the tectonic plates of the earth’s crust meet. Actually they don’t quite meet there is a meter or so crack this is where the European tectonic plate ends and the North American tectonic plate begins. Every so often the plates move and an earthquake or two happens. I got some amazing photos which I will put on the MM and Company face-book page and website, I am sooo tech savvy. Following that I took a ten minute drive down another snowy road and there it was a Helicopter to take me flying over the famous Icelandic glacier. We ended the 40 minute flight by landing just by where I was to pick up a Snow Mobile for an hours excursion driving in deep, deep snow on the glacier (great fun). Lunch was followed by a trip to see the erupting Geysers of Iceland. An amazing day out for sure. Dinner was in a countryside restaurant the food was epic, so was the wine. The food was local, the wine imported from South Africa an excellent country that produces amazing wines well you know that of course you do.
I left Iceland early Sunday morning, I was at home by 1PM it would have been midday had the clocks not gone forward.
If you want more information please let me know, if you would like to replicate the three night two day trip I did please let me know it can be arranged with the team at NORDIC VISITOR