Posts Tagged Beijing
By Elaine Srnka
Editorial Director, Virtuoso Life
Some climbed a few steps, others took in the view from their seats, and an ambitious few even laced up their sneakers for the ultimate run. Regardless of their vantage, all attendees at Virtuoso’s annual Chairman’s Event, held in China last week, will agree: Lunch on the Great Wall ranks as one of the top travel experiences of a lifetime.
Actually, the entire week, which began in Beijing and ended in Shanghai, was punctuated with many “wow” moments, with stunning hotels, decadent meals, entertaining cultural performances, and incredible venues.
The event was Virtuoso’s seventh annual recognition trip, honoring its top travel agency owners and managers from 65 agencies and their guests.
Virtuoso on-sites Imperial Tours and Abercrombie & Kent Asia collaborated with numerous Virtuoso preferred hotels to create an itinerary that showcased luxury tourism in China. Attendees stayed at the historic Raffles Hotel Beijing and the glittering Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong. Other host hotels that sponsored events included Aman at Summer Palace, Grand Hyatt Shanghai, The Opposite House, the Park Hyatt hotels in Beijing and Shanghai, The Peninsula Shanghai, Shangri-La’s China World Summit Wing, and St. Regis Beijing.
After a brief business meeting, at which attendees heard from a tourism official, an author, and university students in China, the whirlwind trip began. In Beijing, highlights included exclusive, expert-led tours of the Forbidden City, hutong visits, bargain-shopping at the Pearl and Silk markets, tai-chi in the Temple of Heaven, and exploring the contemporary art scene in 798 District. Dinner and dancing at the National Aquatic Center (the “Water Cube” where Michael Phelps won eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympics) capped off the Beijing stay. In cosmopolitan Shanghai, which dazzled with its eye-popping skyline and high-end shopping, the agenda included museum tours, Bund river cruises, and an excursion to an ancient water village.
Tourism is a top priority for China (it welcomed 184 million tourists in 2010), and these advisors enjoyed first-hand, exclusive access to this fascinating, rapidly changing country. Their insight and tips on traveling to China will be showcased in the January/February issue of Virtuoso Life, Virtuoso’s flagship luxury travel publication.