Tag Archives: Melia

Shanghai – China

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Shanghai China; big, bold and growing faster by the day. In fact, in terms of size, the whole population of Australia sits within this city alone.

Cruising the River Huangpu alongside The Bund, Shanghai’s cosmopolitan cultural district, an evening tour of the waterfront is a must see. Dazzling lights allow you to see the city’s most significant landmarks cloaked by the atmospheric cover of darkness.


The Bund area is  one of the most visited shopping centres within Asia and commands consumers to spend up – even if you don’t want to you’ll be hard pressed …


Stretching for almost five kilometres from the Bund through to Jing’an Temple, Nanjing Road features massive modern multi-level shopping malls, historic stores and specialty stores. It dates back to the Qing Dynasty and many of the same shops are still trading today which is a major drawcard.


I’d read an article which stated strollers should be left at home if visiting the shopping areas. It seems this mother and child never made it out …


Peking Duck features throughout the city’s crazed food markets and outlets. The Chinese have appreciated the finer qualities of roast duck for a millennia and in that time, they’ve refined their cooking techniques into a virtual art form. Over the centuries, the specialty evolved to become China’s national dish. And, from my observation, each restaurant claims to have the best and it seems to me once a diner has found their favourite eatery, that’s where the family and friends will congregate for their national treasure when it comes to food.


According to the pricing system of the rail traffic network, approved by the Commodity Price Authority of Shanghai Municipality, the ticket price is calculated on a multi-level which is based on mileage. For passengers travelling between 0-6 kilometres, the ticket price will be RMB3. Should you be travelling more than 6 kilometres, then add RMB1 for every 10 kilometres. A ‘Shortest Path Method’ is adopted to calculate ticket prices. For instance, when there’s more than one transfer path between two metro stations, the ticket price is calculated based on the path with the shortest mileage.

As for ‘getting around’ Line 2 will take you all the way from Pudong International Airport to Hongqiao Airport Terminal 2 and Hongqiao Railway Station at the opposite end. The train on this green line also stops along the way with the major sights such as Jing’an Temple and The Bund if need. This is the fastest and easiest way of going from one place to another within Shanghai as the traffic is horrendous with cars only allowed on certain days on various main roads; depending on whether the registration plate ends in an odd or even number!


For sightseeing I’d recommend take a Hop On, Hop Off Big Bus to view as many sights as possible in a short time. Shanghai is one of the Chinese cities whereby the 72 hour transit visa is applicable for Australians should their forward journey be outside of China. For example continuing onto Europe or the USA. With this particular visa an Australian passenger cannot enter through/via Hong Kong on both their inward and outbound itineraries to China. However, if your itinerary departs from Australia to Shanghai  (or other allowable Chinese cities) and then onto Hong Kong once before returning home; this is permitted.

Check with the Chinese Visa Application Centre or Consulate as the information here was correct at the time of posting this blog.


Emerging Hongqiao is an area where the very stylish Meliá Shanghai Hongqiao have recently opened its doors in late March this year of 2017.

If you’ve ever hopped into a new plush car on the showroom floor, that’s what this Melia Hotel feels like when you enter its expansive reception area. Polished and ready for its guests to be treated with precision and guaranteed service.


Upgrade to the sophisticated Grand Suites which boasts a generous and very spacious 75 m²  lounge featuring neo-Chinese décors and includes a massive TV of which delivers a multitude of stations from around the globe.

The delightful bathroom with a separate bath and rain shower will keep ladies from leaving it in a hurry. But once you remember the room rate includes entry into the lofty Club Lounge, it might be the incentive one needs to ‘move on’ from the mirror for some cocktails and canapés to enjoy in the early evening.


Love this note pad as a gift given to guests at this level.  I’ve not seen anything similar given by other hotel groups of which I thought was quite clever and thoughtful.The slogan on the cover states: Clearing your mind is relaxing, but filling it with colour is even better.


Oh and did I mention the Spa Treatments which complement the sauna and steam room within the hotel’s premises? In record time the award-winning Spa had me rested like a soothed babe encased in a May Gibb’s Gumnut – one of which I didn’t want to leave!


But at the end of the day, this hotel offers peace and quiet in an area which is fast becoming the cultural hub for meetings and events. Meliá Shanghai Hongqiao is one of the premier convention and meeting hotels being only five minutes from Shanghai’s National Exhibition and Convention Centre. However, the hotel provides 700m² of conference space of its own with multi-function meeting rooms to cater for different needs of conference and incentive planners – in addition to guests wanting a more intimate space to conduct their business.
Check the Melia’s website for more details https://www.melia.com/

Montevideo to Madrid, Spain


Flying from Montevideo to Santiago, Chile over the Andes Mountains which stretch along South America’s western side, is among the world’s longest mountain ranges. Its varied terrain encompasses glaciers, volcanoes, grassland, desert, lakes and forestation. The mountains shelter pre-Columbian archaeological sites and wildlife including chinchillas and condors. From Venezuela in the north, the range passes through Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. So much more to see of South America and one destination on my ‘return list’. LANTAM have an extensive network right across South America and destinations such as Spain is well serviced.


Australian passport holders do not require a visa to enter Chile. You will receive entry for up to 90 days with multiple entries.

Australian tourists entering Chile through Santiago International Airport are required to pay a ‘reciprocity fee’ and at the time of writing this blog – USD117.00 per adult. The fee can only be paid by cash or credit card upon arrival before clearing immigration. Transit passengers (like myself here) are not required to pay.

Contact the  http://Embassy or Consulate of Chile in Australia for updated information.


The LANTAM Lounge in Santiago offers a place to relax with fast wifi and facilities for a shower before heading off onto a long-haul flight with LANTAM being part of the Oneworld Alliance. Flying on a Boeing 789 from Santiago, Chile to Madrid is approximately 13 hours and being able to unwind beforehand is worth being a member of the group. On a commercial ticket just think of all those points you’ll accumulate!

Delicious canapés and drinks are available for passengers who qualify for entry.


Arrival at Madrid Airport is quite efficient despite its size, with a Visitor’s Desk nearby to the baggage carousel, they are happy to advise your options of ground transport and city attractions.


The Metro in Madrid is one of the best and fastest ways to make your way around a city whereby its population exceeds 3.3 million. For less than 20 Euro you can purchase a three-day Metro Pass or around 26 Euro a five-day Pass.

As a travel agent, I’m off to check out some of the best hotels Spain has to offer – Melia Hotels are superior and quite unique in their own right, not just in its own country, but they’ve been expanding further afield for sometime now. Let’s take a sample of what’s here in Madrid.


For starters, hotel of choice is Melia Princesa which is 50 metres from the Ventura Rodriguez subway – phew no taxis required!   It’s truly an affordable luxury hotel with a polished entrance (which I might say from the street is a little deceiving). The smart interior design shows off some striking ornaments in the foyer with staff gushing to take all your stresses away after a very long flight from South America.


The Level rooms are exclusive – located on the 12th Floor and allow entry to the Member’s Lounge on the ground floor. One interesting aspect of the hotel was the delightful staff member Sandra who asked me to choose a scent for my room. She chose the right person to ask as exquisite fragrances are one of my passions – lovely bouquets and the aroma filled the room after I’d returned from a relaxing time in the Lounge area.


Magnificent panoramic views over the city; felt very comfortable here with a nice desk to catch up on some work.


Breakfast was more than sufficient with an interesting drink cart to choose a wake-up brew and the coffee was one of the best. Trust me, us Aussies are fussy about their caffeine. Alternatively, the Lounge was also available for qualifying guests.


Moving onto Plaza Santa Ana there’s a vibe worthy of a visit and shopping in Madrid has some of the best brands, eateries and bargains. So kick your heels up and make your way over there! Not a place to be missed and loved by locals.

The ME Madrid Reina Victoria Hotel right at the Plaza offers a welcome drink of sparkling wine or water which certainly adds to the feeling of satisfaction you’ve chosen a great hotel. Staff were extremely pleasant and enjoy a bit of a chat too. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to speak English again …


This Hotel radiates chic and an urban culture and, oh so stylish at the same time. Very modern with my ‘Mode’ room which looked straight out over the Plaza along with its ceiling to floor length windows and the abundant natural light into the room made it feel like home. Just how we like it in Australia!


At night a visit to the hotel’s ‘The Roof’ Bar looks right out over the very busy Plaza, allowing you to relax without feeling you need to be a part of the buzz at street level. Just kick back, admire the view of the lights and sip those yummy cocktails. The sound/video equipment is cutting-edge technology and a drawcard for anyone who considers they’re a ‘cool cat’ at night.


The ME is also located perfectly at the pulse of Madrid’s major theatres, nightclubs and museums. It’s a destination of its own – no need to go too far away for anything else really.


If you feel you’re wanting a luxury five-star retreat in the heart of Madrid, the Gran Melia Palacio de los Duques is the one – look no further than this magnificent palatial building which is virtually at the epicentre of the Royal Palace’s location and surrounds.

And indeed,  the hotel was a 19th century palace itself and still maintains an air of royalty with the staff doing their utmost to make you feel warm and welcomed. And staff member Hector deserve a special mention for his willingness in giving me an insight of the hotel’s historic beginnings and in particular the art work which is embedded as part of the interior design, in particular Velázquez’s Meninas.


The roof top view can’t go unnoticed.


A contemporary swimming pool is a relief (with an infinity outlook over the Royal Palace) after a big day out visiting the sights such as the Teatro Real, the Almudena Cathedral and the Sabatini Gardens. Serious shopping is a short walk up the hill, not only top brands, but interesting labels which Madrid is well known for having new and emerging designers. By the way, there’s also a Jacuzzi on the top floor for those aching muscles from all your day’s walking; no need for a vehicle as it’s all here.


What I’ve enjoyed so far with the Melia Hotel group is that they are all unique and not the normal ‘copy cat’ style of say other leading hotel chains. This hotel The Gran Melia, is not just at the top of the echelon, but it exudes a rare style and elegance which is synonymous with its own décor and surrounds.


My room had a spa bath and Clarins amenities (love ’em) to make it even more enriching. The bed was two metres long and fitted me perfectly as I’m 183 cm tall (6′) and the pillows were so, so soft. Fast wifi is a must for me and no problems there. Good size safe and easy to use.


So, if you’re looking for an experience where you know everything will be taken care of, then this hotel is not to be missed. And, I do have to mention, it has one of the finest breakfasts I’ve enjoyed – reading a paper (in English) whilst the staff make you feel like royalty …

For bookings see https://www.melia.com/


And yes, a quick two-minute walk down the road and you’re at the Royal Palace and Sabatini Gardens!

Grounds of the Royal Palace nearby.


Well it’s bye to Madrid for this year – a city which never disappoints – architecturally, its culinary delish and culture cannot be missed.

I know where to direct my clientele in future should they wish to experience intimate details of an amazing city with its centrally located hotels.