Probably one of the most sought after Cities’ on the top of many travellers bucket list, New York lives up to all sorts of exciting expectations. From the hub which is a mix of a “Sandton City Mall” crossed with a first world underground train station, a visit to Grand Central makes for a great start to get you into the excited vibrant energy that exudes from the city’s core.
Even ordering a New York Bagel there is seemingly limitless choices always prepared to order extremely quickly, New Yorkers as friendly as they are, are in a hurry. It’s a fast paced city that looks like a scene from the latest Spiderman movie mixed with a designer fashion show. While Yellow cabs zoom past on the steamy streets, keep your eyes open for the latest blockbuster being filmed.
New York has always been home to many celebrities and any true New Yorker will be able to point out where a famous Sex In The City scene or Friends episode was shot, or that multi-million dollar apartment that Madonna once owned. A visit to Central Park is not complete without seeing Strawberry Fields a tribute to John Lennon while a busking entertainer performs some of his acclaimed songs.
A recent trip with an incentive group had us crossing all the highlights and included a brunch cruise on the Atlantica around Ellis and Liberty Islands with the magnificent backdrop being provided by Lady Liberty herself and the famous BMW bridges (Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg). Trips to Chelsea Piers, The Highline, The Intrepid Space Museum Aircraft Carrier, Theatre District and 911 Memorial made us realise that if there is one thing you will take home with you, is that Americans (and especially in New York) are a proud and very patriotic people. Almost every hotel, museum or building of significant history has a tapestry of the stars and stripes. Larger than life flags will leave no doubt of the destination and culture that you have come to experience.
We recently operated a combined conference & leisure programme for a telecommunications company, which took place on the North-West Coast of the beautiful island of Mauritius.
The event was held at the Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa which is positioned in a protected marine park in the historic Balaklava area of the island.
The resort offers ample facilities including 4 meeting rooms, 2 swimming pools, a beach, 5 restaurants, a bar, a spa and a fitness centre as well as an array of water and land based activities, all of which provide the perfect opportunity to incorporate business with leisure.
The programme began with an exclusive welcome dinner at Mystique Beach & Bar located on the resort premises. Delegates where welcomed by traditional Sega dancers on arrival at the venue, and entertained by a 3 piece Mauritian acoustic band during dinner. The menu included seafood favorites along with international dishes.
The conference began the next morning and was followed by a relaxed sunset catamaran cruise off the coast of the well known seaside village, Grand-Baie. Energetic music and local drinks where enjoyed during sunset as the catamaran’s moved gently over the clear waters of the Indian Ocean. This was followed by a delicious Mauritian barbecue dinner onboard the catamarans.
Once the second day of the conference had concluded successfully , we departed on a tour of the West coast which was the highlight of the trip. The tour allowed participants to delve into the culture and history of the island which included a walk through the cobblestone streets of Port Louis with a local food tasting, a visit to Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens and a tour and rum tasting at L’Aventure du Sucre museum, which was a working rum distillery.
That evening an authentic Indian farewell dinner was enjoyed at Kangan restaurant whilst being entertained by the tranquil sounds of a Tabla & Sitar duo, a pleasant and relaxed ending to an all round successful event.
London is an amazing world class city with an incredible vibe and pulse.
Tradition and ceremony abound, with truly fascinating history on just about every block. 2018 London sees classical and modern architecture sit side by side dominating the impressive skyline.
The Tower of London, Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, seeing the the winding Thames River and the numerous bridges from the London Eye, are just a few of the features which stand out as must see experiences for the first time visitor.
Cuisine is at the cutting edge of global trends with a wide range of options tantalising the taste buds across the price spectrum. The Granary at Kings Cross, which as an area has enjoyed a recent rejuvination, was outstanding on this visit.
The West End shows are a personal favourite and there is something which appeals to each and every taste, from the classics like the Mousetrap, to musicals like Phantom of The Opera, then the modern spectaculars like Harry Potter. Not to mention the world famous Comedy Store which is an icon in Leicester Square, showcasing some of the finest stand up comedy you will ever see.
Sport in the captial is incredible and for Cricket, Football and Rugby Union fans you are spoilt for choice. On this recent trip we saw a West London Derby between Fulham and Queens Park Rangers, which had an incredible atmopsphere with hilarious football chants and songs from start to finish. This on the same day England met Ireland on St Patricks day in a Rugby Union encounter at nearby Twickenham.
Someone once said “if you are bored with London, you are bored with life” there really is so much to do and experience the challenge is leaving out what not to do rather than selecting what you want to do.
Seychelles, a tropical paradise located on the east coast of Africa, home to an archipelago of 115 smaller islands and some of the world’s rarest animals! The commercial hub, also their capital is the city of Victoria which is within easy reach of the picturesque Avani Barbarons Seychelles Resort and Spa.
Nested in a cove, this 124 bedroomed resort has so much to offer including 3 versatile conference venues accommodating between 8 to 110 pax, dependent on the seating style and staging requirements.
On the doorstep to the Indian Ocean, Tamarind offers authentic dishes in an exclusive setting whilst Elements Restaurant serves a daily buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner in a more relaxed environment. The poolside terrace which overflows into the lounge / lobby encapsulates a holistic experience with all day informal dining.
For groups, pre-dinner drinks can be enjoyed on your private rooftop terrace whilst the sun sets over the horizon and the crystal clear waters and idyllic beach are mere metres away. Our welcome / gala dinner was an outdoor affair, a breathtaking location on the beach with a live local band / DJ to entertain.
Popular with locals and recently launched, TGA club is the latest hotspot hangout! Offsite activities are limitless and range from catamaran cruises, nature walks and scuba diving to snorkeling, ziplining and island hopping for the more adventurous.
New York is indeed a fascinating fast paced city. An eclectic blend of diverse cultures and a rich history of “rags to riches success stories” have created a buzz and vibe that truly sets it apart.
A recent site inspection to this magnificent city spoiled us with visits to historical landmarks. A city where “if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere” can only be the platform for a spectacular incentive trip and with its vast variety of beautiful venues, leaving us in a difficult position of which venues “not to select” from the spectacular options on offer.
From an old banking hall with a superhero undertone in its name “Gotham Hall”, to restaurants overlooking the bustle of Grand Central Station, to “Top of the Rock” rooftop venues on the Rockefeller Centre, planning has commenced and the programme is shaping up for what we are sure will be a well received and fantastic reward for many of the already well travelled top achievers. “Lady Liberty” we are on our way!
We have just returned from a trip to Mauritius and stayed on the West coast of the island which meant that every day ended with a breathtaking sunset over the ocean. Although Mauritius is undoubtedly a tropical paradise, the island has much more to offer than just beautiful beaches.
The cuisine in Mauritius is heaven for the seafood lover. The dishes where influenced by Indian, French, European and Chinese cuisine but many of the dishes are unique to the island.
The capital of Mauritius, Port Louis which is the country’s political, cultural and economical centre was great for local cuisine and bargain shopping with hundreds of stalls selling Mauritian souvenirs, local delicacies and of course, Mauritian rum!
Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens is one of the main attractions of the island. We were taken on an informative guided tour through the gardens which not only boasts rare and magnificent plant species like the giant water lily, but also showcased several fascinating bird species.
The lavish estate, Château de Labourdonnais sits amongst the magnificent orchards in Mapou and offers intriguing excursions as well as an impressive venue for events. The lush gardens with hundred-year old trees, endemic plants and orchards with tropical fruits is absolutely spectacular. The tour ended with a tasting of the estates own locally crafted rum.
A firm favourite with every one of our small group and the highlight of the trip was swimming with the dolphins. Swimming with pods of wild spinner dolphins was a massively rewarding and therapeutic experience which will never be forgotten. This was followed by a boat trip to the stunning island of L’ile aux Benitiers where we had a barbeque lunch and some leisure time to explore the lagoons and coral reefs around the island.
From beginning to end, the Mauritian people showed sincere warmth and hospitality.
With all that Southern Africa has to offer it’s not always easy to stand out as a top contender. If Zambia Victoria Falls with its natural heritage and spectacular landscapes, including one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, isn’t enough, some extraordinary activities and experiences should leave you with a lifetime of exceptional memories.
The Royal Livingstone Anatnara Hotel has easily got to have one of the best sun-set locations in the world, on the deck overlooking the top of the Victoria Falls. Guests gather as if in a spiritual ritual daily and sit memorized by its tranquil beauty.
If you prefer the sunset from different angle, we invite you to join us on the Royal Livingstone Express train onto the Victoria Falls bridge. The initial brain child of Cecil John Rhodes, the significance of visiting the bridge and the “Cape to Cairo railway scheme” will see you fulfil Rhodes dream of “crossing the Zambezi River on a train, where as they pass, will catch the spray of the Falls”.
Having just returned from an amazing trip to Munich and the surrounding area, the incentive product surpassed our expectations and by a distance too.
The history, cuisine and culture of the Bavarian people, amazing technology on show at BMW, top quality hotels and the magnificent scenery. Not to forget the Olympic Tower at 198 m high as well as the tranquil Tegernsee lake with the Alps as a backdrop all combine to create a full and exceptional programme.
The sunny warm weather was perfect and the late sunsets a treat, especially when enjoyed in one of the many Beer Gardens in the city.
Our DMC Conference and Touring were brilliant, they display the efficiency Germany is renowned for but do it in such a personable and fun way.
It is easy to twin Munich with Austria and the Central European location allows for easy extension trips to a host of major European cities. My own personal favourite (which I am saving for doing on my next group) is one of the good value for money River Cruises Conference and Touring are famous for.
– 85 pax
– Traveled 2016 (3 nights / 4 days)
Some activities included self-drive cabriolet vintage cars from Positano to Sorrento along the world-famous Amalfi Coastline, guided visits to the 2000 year old “buried cities” of Pompeii & Herculaneum, a day ferry trip to Capri Island and using the local 6 seater cabriolet “Capri taxis”, dinner at an interactive pizza and mozzarella cheese making farm/restaurant, walking tours & Limoncello tasting through the narrow romantic streets of Sorrento.
Making Pizza dough in Naples, Italy
A trip to any destination is never quite complete without taking in some of the historical, architectural and cultural highlights of the region. Sorrento and the Amalfi coastline are absolutely saturated with these boasting some of the most scenic (and hair-raising) drives along a jagged-edge coastline known to man. Celebrities like Sophia Loren and dating as far back as the Ancient Roman empire were only some of the eyes that have gazed upon this beauty and influenced the lifestyle and history of the area. Looking over the bay at Mt Vesuvius, it still lies high and dominant, a strong reminder of the power of nature having once buried two cities (Pompeii & Herculaneum) alive in its eruptive volcanic wake.
From the main shores of the coastline a day ferry trip to Capri Island will accentuate the romance and resilient Roman Catholic nature of this elegant European society. Well known for influencing modern day culinary trends, some of Italy’s more well-known dishes come from this region. Fresh produce lives in rich color with the infamous Limoncello being produced from lemons literally the size of small soccer balls, and tomato’s in deep red flavor (the Caprese salad having been born here).
A Trip to Spain in November 2016 highlighted some incredible Incentive Programme Options across three very different cities.
Madrid was first and steeped in history with a blend of modern too, undoubtedly one of the major world cities it has rightfully has earned its place amongst the greats. A visit to the home of Real Madrid was a standout highlight, a proper cathedral of world football; the museum was phenomenal and very interactive. The restaurants are comparable with the best in the world with at the top end modern twists on traditional Spanish cuisine, as well as good wholesome Spanish classics available in a more casual environment.
Seville a smaller but very historic city which has an amazing impressive cathedral dominating the town centre and an impressive tour of the Palace which is the official residence of the Spanish King when in Seville, fortunately for us he was not in residence so we enjoyed a relaxed tour taking in the artwork and incredible gardens. A river cruise with a 12 course tasting menu in a restaurant overlooking the river was absolutely incredible and a culinary occasion to be remembered fondly.
Seville Cathedral from a six floor rooftop terrace
Royal Palace in Seville
Hanging tapestries in the Royal Palace
Barcelona with the awe inspiring La Sagrada Familia church, the bustling port, Las Ramblas street which has incredible shopping, the art galleries and museums and the Gothic Quarter all make this one of my favorites’ a cosmopolitan but passionately Catalan city.
Santiago Bernabeau home of Real Madrid capacity 81000
Las Ramblas Street in Barcelona