Monday, July 29, 2013

Romantic Orlando (by Aimee Claire)

Orlando is the fifth largest city in the US state of Florida, and is nicknamed ‘The City Beautiful’. Originally named Jernigan after its first permanent settler, Orlando experienced its ‘Golden Era’ during the late nineteenth century, thanks to its orange-growing orchards. The city is famous today for its extensive tourist attractions, including Disneyworld, Epcot Center and the Universal Orlando Resort, comprising SeaWorld, Gatorland and Wet n’ Wild Water Park. Romantic attractions There is more to Orlando than just cartoon characters and getting wet. For those going to Orlando with romance in mind, there is the popular horse-drawn carriage ride that takes couples through the streets of downtown Orlando. Something a little more expensive, but also a bit more unusual, is a helicopter ride over the town, with the pilot pointing out the famous sights. Some flights also fly over the lakes of Central Florida, presenting the opportunity to see some of the area’s wildlife. Although generally thought of as a family attraction, the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular at the Magic Kingdom is perfect for lovers. Find the perfect viewing spot, such as at the Polynesian Hotel, the Contemporary Resort, or get a little privacy by taking a boat out on the Seven Seas Lagoon, and then sit back and watch the firework display. For a sophisticated evening out, head to the Vines Grill and Wine Bar. Here, you can dine on gourmet food made with organic and locally sourced ingredients, and choose from an extensive wine list, whilst listening to a live jazz band. Where to stay There are plenty of big hotels in Orlando, yet despite their size, they still offer a taste of romance for those seeking it. The Caribe Royale Orlando on Lake Buena Vista, is perfectly placed for all the major attractions, but also boasts a host of in-house amenities, including a spa and wellness center, golf course, games room, tennis court and hot tubs. For 5-star service, try the Peabody Orlando with its superior rooms and spa-like bathrooms. Another high-class hotel, the Ritz-Carlton Orlando has all the usual facilities, with in room iPod docking station, 37” flat screen TV, and marble bathrooms complete with bathrobe and slippers. Weather in Orlando and when to go The peak season is during the school holidays, June through to August, and the weather is hot, though not uncomfortably so. The slow time is in September, so there are some good deals to be had, but it is also the heart of the hurricane season. January through to March is an ideal time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds, and the weather is still good, in the 70°s and 80°s during the day, dropping to 50°s and 60°s of a night. Getting to and around Orlando The main, and busiest, airport in the area is the Orlando International Airport and many airlines fly to Orlando, with Air Transat flights having some very good deals. Once in Orlando, it is very easy to get around by car, although there are many tolls on the roads and very little free parking. Article by Aimee Claire Visit MondoExplorer Orlando

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

London – Making it Your Business

London – Making it Your Business As a business it is in your interests and that of your company to have the best possible insights, not only into the market players you want to connect and do business with; but also into their corporate identity. Having that understanding, that local knowledge, may make the difference between cementing a deal and losing it. With London being the number one destination for American business travelers within Europe, knowing what to expect, how to create that great first impression and build rapport is essential. With the trend being for smaller and medium sized businesses to be spending proportionately more than the larger ones on business travel, getting value for your dollars and bringing home the bacon has to be a priority. Dressing to reflect the ethos of the customer is helpful. Business dress in the UK still tends to the conservative; functional, classic lines and dark colors, with women accenting formality. Although dressing down to smart casual has become more accepted in the workplace, formal meetings still tend to revert to more traditional style. Understatement is the order of the day, even with less formal wear, with any colors tending to be muted rather than bright. There is a penchant among certain echelons of business for men to accent their business suit with a brighter, contrasting tie, but if you are uncertain then you won’t go wrong with a more restrained design. Communication in business is a careful balance between saying what you want to get across and not being seen as either undiplomatic or pushy. Rather than just give a negative opinion, it is better to find a way of softening the impact by the use of compensatory expressions or focusing attention on positive attributes while couching the negative somewhere in the middle. As with dress code, understatement is often better than hard sell; so getting your sales pitch across needs to be carefully considered, delivered with sincerity and good body language. Networking and relationship building are essential to building your business in the UK and Europe, being key to middle to long term success. There is much respect for seniority and proven experience and knowledge; so demonstrating these attributes and communicating well will be very supportive to your company’s aims. Why not take the opportunity of condensing the opportunities available and raising your corporate profile at the 2014 two day Business Travel Show at Earls Court, London, taking place 4-5 February. Opportunities for Businesses Servicing Business Travel Here you will be able to promote your company and products to a captive audience. The only business travel fair in Europe, the exclusively hosted buyer program facilitates appointments with exhibitors in advance, while a dedicated team will ensure that buyers arrive at your stand ready and waiting to do business with you. The event attracts more than 6,000 industry executives, which include 2,500 corporate travel buyers and small to medium enterprises. This is an unparalleled opportunity to make the most of a business trip to Europe, renewing existing contacts and extending your networking to new customers. In its third year, the Business Travel Show has the most comprehensive supplier offering and sourcing anywhere in Europe. For air, accommodation and travel management, as well as technology providers, it is the primary focal point to extend their customer base to new markets around the globe. Taking a stand at the exhibition will mean your services standing out from the crowd in the market place. This makes you ideally situated to lay out the details of your products and the advantages that a buyer would have by choosing them rather than a competitor’s products. It is also a perfect opportunity to ensure that prospective customers will remember you; both by making that human contact which we know is very often the decider between buying from you rather than someone else; as well as by presenting them with a card and branded reminder of your business, helping prospective clients to remember both you and your products. With such a crowded market place, the promise you give of outstanding customer service allied with competitive products will add the final touches to ensuring that it is your company’s phone that rings when customers need to renew their existing products or purchase new ones. Maximizing Profitability Through Business Expenditure In today’s climate of reduced operating costs and carefully calculated profit margins, ensuring that you have the best possible business support services for your company is paramount. From air travel through hotel or apartment accommodation to security and mobile communications, you can hone and refine your business travel requirements to fit your company’s annual budget. With the chance to come to one central point and procure the most cost effective support, tailored to your company’s needs, you can take advantage of the exclusive networking which takes place over the two days of the show; as well as the free conference program, which is aimed to equip you to manage your travel to your best advantage. By Julie Bowen

Monday, July 1, 2013

Cruise into the City that Never Sleeps

Cruise into the City that Never Sleeps
There are many words to describe New York, The Big Apple; the city that never sleeps: iconic; eclectic; electrifying; magnetic; tall; intoxicating; utterly addictive. Many people who live there or have visited will tell you that there is no other city in the world quite like it. Exhilarating, breathtaking and non-stop, your visit to the city of New York will pick you up, transport you and deposit you on your departure with the distinct feeling that you will never be quite the same again.
As a visitor on a brief stay in the city, you can thrill to the unforgettable experience of the vitality and diversity that is New York. It would be impossible to cover all there is to do and see in the space of a few days, so when you plan your visit you will have to be ruthless in deciding your personal absolutely “must see” places. This is especially true if your time in New York is part of a wider itinerary, touring the States by road or as a luxury cruise destination.  What you feel is the unmissable, quintessential spirit of New York will depend, in part at least, on your personal tastes and interests. With the boundless historical and cultural destinations; the gastronomic adventures and the shopping, you will not have time to become bored. New York by day is one city and by night another and exploring both is a must. While many will undoubtedly include the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, a boat trip to Ellis Island, or Central Park in their sightseeing, there are other delights to discover too.
Cruise Stopovers in New York
When arriving by cruise ship, you will moor either in Manhattan or Brooklyn, depending on your cruise. Disembarking in Manhattan will put you almost in the heart of New York with about a 20 minute walk to Times Square and Broadway. Berthing in Brooklyn will leave you with a bit more of a trek, but either flag a yellow taxi or take one of the many ferries operating between Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan and other stop off points. No matter where you berth, it is a really good idea to make a note of your berth number – just to save yourself any problems on the way back to ship.
Many cruises will have organized day tours available during your stopover in New York. You can take advantage of one of these city tours or go it alone and take in just the places that appeal to you. Why not take a bike tour through Central Park? You can rent a bike and take in the Park by yourselves for a couple of hours, or sign up for the two-hour Central Park Bike Tour. For a really special trip around Central Park you could go by horse and carriage and take in the sights. With sculptures and monuments; bridges, lakes and historic buildings such as the Blockhouse (Central Park’s oldest building), Central Park Zoo and the Conservatory Garden, to name but a few; you could spend the entirety of your visit to New York in this world renowned park.
Collect a Few Shopping Bags
For shopping, you are spoilt for choice and may run out of credit cards before you run out of stores to visit. Whether Saks (at 611 5th Avenue) is more to your liking or you prefer Bergdorf Goodman (at 754 5th Avenue) you will be elbow to elbow with some of the most discerning shoppers in New York. As well as these two flagship stores, you can take in Macy’s over on West 34th Street or Bloomingdales on 59th Street and Lexington Avenue. As an overseas visitor, take your passport with you and register with customer services at Bloomingdales or Macy’s to receive  either complimentary discounts on your purchases or gifts (offers may vary). 5th Avenue, between 49th and 60th Streets is also home to what are perhaps the most exclusive boutiques anywhere in the world. Stroll down here and enjoy taking in the crème de la crème of designer stores, parfumiers and jewelers.
Enjoy the Gardens
Why not walk the High Line, the highest public park in New York, built on a historic freight rail line above the streets of Manhattan? Running from Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street, these public gardens feature lawns and flower borders, interspersed with some outstanding modern art (you can take a walking tour with one of the curators of High Line Art to get a real insight into the pieces on display) – all at rooftop level, giving you the chance to get a birds’ eye view of Manhattan during your stroll. You can stop off and enjoy a coffee or a bite to eat at one of the many eateries. With stargazing, nature walks, dancing and music events taking place, the High Line is totally unique in its location and facilities – making it a real pleasure to spend time there.
The Dining Experience
An opulent and totally luxurious experience awaits you at The Russian Tea Room. Lunch or high tea; breakfast or dinner; you are certain to enjoy the Russian overtones of your meal here. With amazing ambience and superlative service, you will leave here feeling both spoiled and decadent. This iconic New York restaurant has been host to the political and cultural elite of New York for around eighty years since its foundation by members of the Russian Imperial Ballet in 1927. Why not combine a visit to this amazing restaurant with your theater trip to Broadway and soak up the atmosphere.
With so much to choose from, you couldn’t hope to take in everything on one visit, so it is certain that you will want to return again and again to continue exploring this extraordinary metropolis.
Article by Julie Cowley