I have known for well over twenty years that I have the best job in the world, MM and Company represents amazingly efficient and lovely DMCs and I sell to amazing and lovely agency clients, how good is that? Even better, I get to go to some amazing destinations in the world, one of those amazing places is Mauritius and I was lucky yet again to go to Mauritius. I worked out that it’s probably my fifteenth time to the wonderful Indian ocean island that is Mauritius.
We fly for eleven hours and then this wonderful island appears, we landed in paradise mid February, the temperature was 31 degrees, the sun was shining, a gentle breeze, warm Indian ocean water, soft sandy beaches, palm trees, fabulous hotels, amazing food and cocktails, does it get any better than that? I don’t think so!
I was lucky to be accompanied by ten amazing clients, we all thoroughly enjoyed our Mauritius experience, we had lunch on an island, we explored Mauritius in open top Mini Moke cars, we went to a factory that makes wooden galleons for display purposes, amazing artistry. We enjoyed lunch in a local modern restaurant owned by Mario, a good friend of mine and our farewell drinks was at Café des Arts. Oh I haven’t included a fabulous gala dinner at Chateau de Labourdonnais.
Stephane, Delpine and the team at Connections DMC were as ever amazingly outstanding, lovely lovely people.
According to popular Hollywood tradition ‘the Grinch stole Christmas’, I have got news for Hollywood, Austria perfected Christmas. I recently hosted a Business Development Event to Vienna with Martin and Evelyn of e+o meeting, event & travel management GmbH, the trip coincided with the first weekend of the traditional Austria Christmas markets. They had very traditional Austrian Christmas food, decorated trees, ginger Christmas cookies, warm and hot spicy Gluhwein wine, wine and a huge selection of Christmas gifts, a perfect solution to a chilly Austrian winter.
All that in addition to Vienna being the most classical, gentle city you could possibly hope to visit. The city centre of Vienna is very walkable with pedestrian areas, classical venues for gala dinners and venues, a full category of deluxe five star hotels and excellent high quality four star hotels complimenting the beautiful hotel Sacher, said to be the hotel that created the original Sachertorte Chocolate cake.
Without wanting to make this reading like war and peace, I haven’t mentioned the Vienna Boys Choir, the Spanish Riding school, the amazing Schon Braun Palace, classical horse and carriage rides though the streets of Vienna hot chocolate, Apple Strudel. I could then talk about the famous ski resorts, the best people to speak with for everything Austria are Martin and Evelyn at e+o meeting, event & travel management GmbH.
It was only two years since I was last in Malta, two years can be a long time having not been to a destination, but not in Malta’s case it was as familiar as ever and it was good to be back.
I was hosting a wonderful group of conference and incentive professionals, one of them had been to Malta before and even the two Malta veterans were delighted with what they saw. In a short space of time we were driven in a vintage Bedford bus, vintage car transfers, Tuk Tuks and a speed boat, local fishing boats as well as regular coaches and limousines. We checked out the Mdina at the island city at night, we saw historic venues as well as boutique hotels, the nights of Malta were present to light us through the historic city.
The Radisson Blu, an excellent choice of hotel recently refurbished and looking good. One sight not be missed which we didn’t, was the stunning historic Malta Cathedral, only one word to describe it, magnificent. No visit to Malta is complete without a visit.
Malta has a great night life, a whole area devoted to bars, clubs and restaurants in St Julian’s must not be missed. The Mi Malta team of Helga, Erika and Douglas were amazing hosts, nothing was too much trouble and one thing I can tell you for sure is none of our guests went back to the UK hungry or thirsty.
I have a great job, I travel to some amazing places, I can honestly say one of the most historic places I have travelled to is Berlin. This city’s turbulent history much of it in the modern times is fascinating. It’s an old cliché, but this city has risen from the dead, from the ashes of 1956, the division of the city until it’s re-unification in 1989 is remarkable, historic and meteoric. It has gone from rubble to re-construction in eighty years.
The city fathers of Berlin have done an amazing job at recalling history, commemorated it and built a world class city with fine monuments, outstanding hotels, funky post industrial event space and simply being an outstanding destination for conferences and incentives.
Berlin night life is legendary, it was legendary in the 1930’s, if you don’t believe me watch the movie Cabarets, it’s a very good reconstruction of 1930’s Berlin.
MM and Company represent Camonsite Conference and More (part of germanyinsight). I’m happy to say nobody knows Berlin like the team at Camonsite.
The great thing about the first flight out to Vienna Airport, the gateway to Bratislava is the traffic to the airport is light, the plane is on the ground, we are not waiting for it to land. My Bratislava experience started at midday, I landed at Vienna airport, Enjoy Slovakia DMC met me at the airport and by 12.30 local time I was having lunch in a beautiful restaurant overlooking the Danube river. The sun was shining, a gentle warm breeze, a perfect al fresco start to my visit.
Bratislava City Centre has miles of Danube river bank to sit by, to drink by and to dine by. There is a running track, bicycle lanes all along the banks of the Danube making it the perfect location to blend business and exercise. What better way to burn off a business lunch or a company dinner than exercising on the banks of the Danube.
I stayed at the Grand River Park Hotel, a beautiful hotel part of the Starwood organisation, my room overlooked the Danube. The historic city centre of Bratislava is traffic free, very walkable, lots of things to see and do, there is also a modern city centre with a huge shopping mall as good as anywhere in Europe. The Slovakian people are very proud of their wine heritage, the wines are excellent so good that they keep it for themselves and do not export their wine. As well as cycling there is the world famous Cunovo water sports centre, a centre of excellence that has produced many Olympic champions. You can enjoy a white-water rafting experience in total safety under the guidance of a rafting champion. Did you know Slovakia has a thriving car industry? Amongst other brands the Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q2, Porsche Cayenne, Citroen Peugeot and Kia all produce various models in Bratislava. There are opportunities to enjoy a factory visit as well as a driving experience in Bratislava. There are numerous churches, fountains and landmarks to visit, two of the most famous is the UFO Observation Deck and Restaurant as well as the Chatam Sofer Memorial.
All in all Bratislava is an undiscovered European gem, a perfect location for a conference or an incentive.
I was met at the new Cancun International Airport by Manuel, Susanne and Liliana of the EPIC Group. In the transfer on the way to UNICO 20º 87º Hotel we had Tequila, Nacho chips, refried beans and guacamole, a great way to welcome to Mexico. The EPIC Group team were with me for the whole four days, this is our 21st year representing the EPIC Group. MM and Company stated in 1996 and the EPIC Group together with C Florida Hospitality and Dekon DMC Turkey joined MM and Company in 1997 and have been with MM and Company since.
It’s been five years since I landed in Cancun airport, five years is a long time in a destination, so much has changed it’s hard to know where to start.
I stayed in Riviera May which is about an hour and fifteen minutes from the brand new Cancun airport. If you come out of the airport and turn left, you go to downtown Cancun city centre. If you come out of the new airport and turn right, you go towards Playa del Carmen, Tullum and the Riviera Maya.
I had the extreme pleasure of staying at the all inclusive UNICO 20º 87º Hotel Riviera Maya, it’s been open a year and it’s everything and more you want a five star hotel should be. I have never stayed in an all inclusive before and it was an interesting experience, one that I would definitely repeat. Even the well stocked mini bar as included, I didn’t use the mini bar at all, didn’t have to the hotel bar was far more exciting.
On this trip I didn’t go to downtown Cancun, I did go to Playa del Carmen and Tullum. Both destinations have grown and developed into destinations in their own right.
Playa del Carmen even has a Coco Bongo cabaret show and club, it’s exactly the same as the one in downtown Cancun except it was a twenty minute drive from the hotel and not two hours twenty minutes away from the hotel. Apart from doing all the good things on the water and beach, I got to experience an underground cave system called Rio Secreto. An amazing experience and this secret cave also has fabulous event space. The other exciting thing I did was to climb an ancient Mayan temple in the ruin city of Coba. Climbing up the temple was strenuous but doable, coming down was much harder work but clearly succeeded in both. At the entrance to Coba city you get to pick up a push bike and I cycled not a long way but far enough to get to the ancient ruins.
Whilst I enjoyed Playa del Carmen, Tullum and the Riviera Maya, my preference is for the original part which is downtown Cancun.