Monday, October 31, 2011

The Perfect Local for Art Lovers in Shanghai


If art is your passion, then the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, China is just the place for you. This historical hotel offers guests the architecture of the early 1900’s, mixed with the most cutting edge and stylish designs of today. Visitors to The Swatch Art Peace Hotel may attend a variety of exhibitions on the premises. The top floor of the building hosts the Shook! restaurant and a multimedia space that can be used for concerts, press conferences, movies and various other public and private events. From the roof terrace, guests can admire a panoramic view of The Bund and the spectacular sights of Pudong across the Huangpu River.

In addition to guest rooms, this hotel offers gifted artists from around the world, including China, a chance to live and work in studios in the Hotel for a four month period. Artists are chosen by the Selection Committee, includes Nicolas G. Hayek and Georges N. Hayek, Chairman and CEO of the Swatch Group; Esther Grether, Board Member of the Swatch Group; George Clooney, actor; Fran├žois-Henri Pinault, CEO of PPR; Mikhail Kusnirovich, Chairman of the Strategic Development Committee of GUM; and Sir Francis Yeoh, Chairman, YTL Group.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Amazing Experiences in China: Dinner at the Summer Palace

This evening we had a truly amazing experience, dinner in Summer Palace in the Garden of Harmonious Pleasures. Our evening was hosted by Aman Resorts and their hotel is adjacent to the Summer Palace and truly spectacular in and of itself. This was an evening that will be with me for the rest of my life and one that I will look forward to planning for my own clients and groups.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Discovering the New China


Today we had the opening session of the Virtuoso’s Chairman’s Event in Beijing, China and it was a completely eye opening experience to me.  Our speakers included a government official from the Department of Tourism, Lijia Zhang, author of a book entitled Socialism is Great and David Ben Kay, who was a liaison for Microsoft located in China, who now has a company in the 798 Art District helping people outside China start businesses within China. They also had two college students speak about their lives growing up in China and how different they were from their parent’s lives.  Each person’s perspective was unique and it was truly enlightening for me both as a travel specialist and as an American.

To be completely honest, and I’m almost embarrassed to say this, prior to this meeting and prior to my trip to China, my perception of China had been somewhat warped by television and a lifetime of education on communism. Even though China was a destination full of culture and history, it was a country with a government with an agenda.   A country of people who ate anything that walked, crawled or flew and a destination with people who had little to say about their lives and their future.  A country with an agenda to take over the world, by continually loaning money, like a loan shark, who will eventually use that power to control everyone else’s destiny.  Although some of that may have been true in the past, I am quickly discovering that is not the case in China today nor with the citizens of China.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Sights of Xian, China

Most visitors arrive in Xian looking forward to seeing the Army of the Terracotta Warriors but soon discover that Xian has so much more to offer. As the former capital of China, the history is some of the finest and most interesting. From biking on the wall that surrounds Old Town, which is a about seven miles, to visiting The Great Mosque and market, Xian offers plenty to do and see. The key, I have found, is to work with a specialist who has connections, like Eastern Journeys. From moving past lines, to meeting the archeologists who are excavating the emporors tumb, every moment was truly special because of their expertise and connections.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Largay Travel's Journey To China via Air Canada



Today we journeyed from New York to Xian, China and although we traveled well over 20 hours, we feel relatively well thanks to Air Canada’s business class service. At a discounted rate of around $3,800, you can’t beat this bargain, especially when normal fares generally run $6,000 to $10,000. Our flight to Toronto was only one hour and our connection in the Toronto airport was efficient and comfortable. Air Canada’s Meet & Greet service gives guests a concierge escort thru the terminal and the Maple Leaf Lounge gives travelers with a longer connection a great place to rest. While on our flight to Beijing, we enjoyed gourmet food and comfortable lie flat beds. With a menu of movies, music and tv shows at our disposal, the flight passed quickly. We then arrived into Beijing, which is one of the world’s most spectacular airports. It’s stunning design, open air feel and convenient signage, make this a seamless part of out journey. Upon arrival in Xian there is a completely different feel, almost as if you have truly stepped into old world China. The city is much larger than I had anticipated and English is not as widely spoken. Our home away from home, the Shangri La Hotel is spectacular. With a traditional and elegant lobby and many dining choices, this hotel is a wonderful option for visitors to Xian. The gardens are definitely a highlight and surprise at this city hotel. Today we are off to see the Terra Cotta Warriors and the city of Xian. More to follow.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Best Kept Secret in Shanghai

As a travel specialist, I am always in search of the most fun and unique experiences I can find. In Shanghai, China, I was able to find just that and it is called, Shanghai Sideways. With this tour, guests enjoy a two hour, four hour or full day tour of the city in a WWII motorcycle with sidecar. Of course the bike is driven by an experienced guide, however, each bike can take two passengers, one on the back and one in the sidecar. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Link Your United and Continental Mileage Accounts Today and Save Time Tomorrow


As a travel specialist, I just love to save people time and keep them informed on things in the industry.  Therefore, I am sending this quick note to remind you that you need to link your Continental OnePass number to you United Mileage Plus number, since these airlines have combined.  The new mileage program for the combined airlines will be called United MileagePlus, therefore the former Contintnal OnePass program will go away as of December 31st, 2011.  It will help to avoid issues, if you link the two accounts together now, while they are both valid.

Below you will find the instructions to link the two mileage accounts together into one account, which will be the New United MileagePlus program.  If you need assistance, you Largay Travel Specialist would be glad to assist and once again, save you time and create a seamless travel experience.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Tranquil California Escape on the Newport Coast

The Resort at Pelican hill in Newport Coast is about a 45 minute drive from Los Angeles International airport where I was earlier this month prior to my cruise on board the Crystal Symphony to the Mexican Riviera.