Who doesn’t love Italy? Be it the food, the weather, the history, the people or the style; it’s hard not love a country with so much to offer.
Which is why I was delighted to be invited on the Melia Italy 5-star familiarisation trip from the 7th to the 11th of October.
Over a packed 4 days, we were given the opportunity to experience some of the finest hotels Italy has to offer. Melia is a luxury chain with properties across Italy, as well as the rest of the world. On this trip we visited establishments in Genoa, Milan and Rome.
Day 1 saw us landing at Genoa airport; the first hotel we visited was the Melia Genoa. Genoa, long overlooked as a destination in favour of its more famous rivals, is having something of a renaissance in business and leisure travel and it’s easy to see why. A flight time of 1 hour 45 minutes from Gatwick and then a short 20-minute transfer from the airport to the hotel, which is located in one of the most elegant areas of the city, makes it a very convenient destination. The hotel itself is located only 15-minutes from the city’s large convention centre, further adding to its appeal as a business destination.
After a beautiful lunch of classic Italian Cuisine (risotto, fish and tiramisu in abundance) we were treated to a tour of the city with a fabulous guide. Like so much of Italy, anyone with an interest in history, architecture, fashion or gastronomy is sure to find plenty to keep them entertained. The hotel has a total of 100 bedrooms and small but very well equipped, elegant meeting spaces.
Next up was Milan, with the first night spent at the Melia Milan, followed by a night at the ME Milan Il Duca, the chains lifestyle brand. Both unique in their own right and offering very different experiences. The Melia Milan is an excellent MICE option with a large business centre with 15 meeting rooms, including a large main space with the capacity for up to 520 delegates and 288 bedrooms.
ME Milan Il Duca offers something altogether different to the first two properties we saw. Chic contemporary design, state of the art technology, a more central location and a stunning roof top cocktail bar and a fantastic in-house restaurant, both of which are popular with the locals (always a good sign in Italy), gives this property a modern and luxurious feel. Although more of a lifestyle brand, its proximity to the central business districts makes this a great option for anyone visiting with their work hat on.
Last, but by no means least, was the Eternal City. For anyone who hasn’t visited Rome, it can be hard to put into words just how inspiring and breath-taking this city really is. Fortunately, so was our accommodation, The Gran Melia Hotel Rome. Wherever one goes in Rome, you cannot escape the history that surrounds you, the hotel was no different. A converted monastery built on the site of Emperor Nero’s Mother’s villa. The property was truly stunning and is ideally located between the city centre and The Vatican. The hotel has a single main meeting room with a private foyer and outdoor space, plenty of natural light and great views. The fact that there is only one main meeting room means that you will always be the only business group in the hotel and the staff are very flexible and accommodating, they are able to convert some of the hotels suites and larger bedrooms into private breakout spaces.
We were treated to a Vespa tour of the city, which the whole group thoroughly agreed was one of the best experiences any of us had ever had. Throughout the 4-day trip, I really couldn’t fault the properties, each offering something unique, with staff who were always there to help. I always got the impression they would do their best to find a solution.
Our new found knowledge of these destinations, together with an excellent destination management company who we were introduced to is sure to mean that your next Italian enquiry with us will be a roaring success.