Travel Blog

Read all about our journeys, experiences and observations from the team at Gilpin Travel.

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21 Dec

Sydney Rocks

Tales from the desk of Tanya Dustin - Sales Manager

There are lots of ways to get to Sydney including, kayaking, submarine, swimming, and yachting but for those of you who like to feel a little bit special and be pampered then try flying Emirates Swift, friendly and efficient check-in staff with an express card given for being a valued customer, enabling no queue’s through immigration, customs and quarantine...much to the disgust of on-lookers in the general queues! The Emirates lounge radiates opulence and supersedes expectations with a full range of hot and cold food, canapés, Moet (which I’m slightly partial to) the list just goes on and on. On this occasion I had the opportunity to fly in the new A380 business class and what an experience. Lie flat super spacious seats that could massage all parts of your body, endless selection of movies, music, your own personal little bar, choice of 3 course menu and did I mention the bar at the rear of the upper deck? I happily chatted with crew and other passengers while sipping on a glass of Moet and maybe a sneaky cosmopolitan or two. By the way I’m not an alcoholic just thoroughly enjoyed myself, it was like a great night out and the best one I’ve had in ages! Name recognition, well groomed smiling staff, where nothing was too much of an issue ... I am unable to fault the staff. What a difference it makes to the sometimes tedious task of travelling. This is the way I remember travel to be 20 years ago, an exciting experience! Hat’s off to Emirates you’ve got my seat in the future!

Did you know that you can book a transfer and charge it to your corporate cabs account here in New Zealand? Corporate Cabs now have a partner in Australia that offers airport transfers at Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Toowoomba and Sunshine Coast and the process is so simple! You can book and & charge the service directly to your Corporate Cabs account or to your credit card. A set fare from Sydney airport to you Sydney City destination can mean savings in peak hour traffic – the cost is approximately $100AUD. Vehicles used are Toyota Taragos seating 1-6 passengers and are currently 8 months old. Along with the ride you’ll not only find experienced drivers with great sense of humours, but a willingness to go the extra mile. I thoroughly enjoyed this fast and efficient service and the great belly laughs along the way.

4.5 star Rydges World Square could just be the one for you I was pleasantly surprised with this property whilst not smack bang in the middle of Pitt Street Shopping mall (a girl has just got to have her vices you know); the hotel was within a 10 minute flat walk. There are 450 large guest rooms with opening windows, and beds and pillows to die for. You can even purchase the dream beds online! The monorail has a stop right outside the hotel which adds to the convenience factor. There is a $50.00 surcharge up to a club room which is recommended as it offers access to the executive lounge between 6am – 9pm. Hot breakfast available in the mornings and drinks and canapés in the early evening. Whilst, there is no pool the hotel does have a well equipped gym and offers complimentary internet in the rooms and conference facilities. Overall: Excellent and efficient concierge staff, with a good check-in area and large clean accommodation rooms with great beds & super pillows. Breakfast good and restaurant super busy. Check out the nashi pears – largest nashi’s I’ve ever seen!

Sydney Swissotel 4.5 star The hotel offers the most central location bang next door to the iconic Pitt Street Mall, the new Westfield Shopping Mall, and The Queen Victoria Building is accessible via an adjacent underground walkway. From the street the hotel appears non-existent with an entrance way, a couple of concierge gents and a lift. Taking the lift to the 8 floor soon tells a different story and you are greeted with a large foyer, check-in, cross roads bar, JpB restaurant and conference facilities. 359 guests rooms and super large bathrooms with BIG baths, perfect for relaxing after a hard days shopping! I felt safe and secure in this hotel. There is a $60.00 access fee to the executive club or for two people it’s $90.00. The club lounge is open 6.30am to 7.30 pm and offers breakfast and evening drinks and canapés. A well appointed fitness studio, outdoor heated pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room available. Overall: Fast, efficient and friendly check-in staff. Good size accommodation rooms and hotel offers family rooms which bedcovers are able to be changed to children’s cartoon characters. The Staff make you feel at home and this is the biggest asset aside from location. Definitely recommend to corporate and leisure travellers.

Sheraton on the Park 5 Star Busy and bustling but ever so efficient; slickness and opulence are what I experienced with this little gem. 557 guest rooms either overlooking the city or Hyde Park offering a choice of four different types of pillows. The business centre is open 24 hours and offers complimentary internet and wireless access. Onsite is a gym and pool, along with Botanica Brasserie, The Gallery Tea Lounge and The Conservatory Bar. There is a $90.00 access fee to the executive club or guests staying in the executive suites and above gain complimentary access. The club lounge is open 7am – 10.30pm and offers a light continental breakfast, evening drinks and canapés. For guests (subject to availability) there is a boardroom for 8 people available and is complimentary for 1 hour. Executive Club guests can check-in and out of the club room. Overall: Busy check-in and a little congested but overall staff are excellent and accommodation rooms are of high standard allowing you to relax in style. Botanica Brasserie offers and extensive buffet lunch from fresh seafood, asian flavours to European and plenty more. Suggest not eating for a couple of days before as the temptations are out of this world! Large choice of conference facilities with some well appointed rooms.

Sparkling views of Sydney Harbour at the 5 star Shangri-La Location, location, location.... at the Rocks and within walking distance to Circular Quay. The hotel boasts stunning views of Sydney Harbour and offers 563 spacious guest rooms and suites. Various restaurants and bars including Altitude Restaurant and Blue Horizon Bar. Complimentary internet in rooms and conference facilities, onsite gym and pool. There is a $100.00 surcharge up to club room which enables access to the club lounge which is open from 6am – 9pm and offers buffet breakfast; free suite pressing and shoe shine service. A boardroom taking 10 people is also offered complimentary for 2 hours. You can also check-in at the club room. Overall: Busy check-in and arrivals area but staff extremely efficient and trained to deal with the fast pace. Sales and management staff approachable and willing to go the extra mile. Views are worth the stay! Large choice of conference facilities with some well appointed rooms. Blue Horizon Bar and Altitude Restaurant looked amazing.

Something fun to do:

Sydney Showboats – Dinner:At first I thought this may be on the slightly tacky side but wow it was fantastic! Great 3 course dinner and beverages on tap (although the head told me next day that I may have over indulged). 2.5 hour cruise around the Sydney Harbour, spectacular views and cabaret also thrown in. Great for groups and lots of laughs to be had!

The Rocks Markets by Moonlight:Stroll the meandering coble walkways perusing stalls, enjoy a feast including massive chocolate dipped strawberries or listen to various live music. A lovely way to spend a night ... best of all it’s free!

16 Nov

Road Warriors and their handy hints!

Tales by the desk of Keith Sumner

Notes taken on the run in the Middle East from our own talent pool of travellers!

First Traveller (Unnamed for fear of being compared to George Clooney in "Up in the Air") Serious traveller, away for 2/3rds of the year! Has Global customers - Interviewed in flight and notes jotted down on airline sick bag! Covered all sides of it and he still had more to offer! Airports •Carry only overhead locker bag. Never check on bags. Lived for 3 months once out of this bag. Sometimes in US one hour wait for luggage. •Must carry APEC card for fast lane access esp. Hong Kong where queues are bad. APEC card means you have given permission to Immigration to look at your police record so you are less likely to be stopped/searched! •Apec card for China means no visa reqd..Saves money. (Same for Chile?) •Board flights first in the US – overhead lockers fill up (not well regulated) •Gold status speeds checking •Shower access vital •Queues appalling in Manila. If no APEC lane try aircrews lane and present APEC card! •Ignores LAGs regs and never caught. Carries all toiletries in clear bag anyway with clear 100 ml containers for min weight and space. Muji (Japanese shop) specialises in sale of these type of products. Shops in NY, Asia and Europe Clothing •Wash smalls in bottom of shower by standing on and hang to dry over webbing for suitcase storage. •Shirts usually require min one night stay if sent to laundry early. Specify to fold for suitcase avoids coat hangers and having to refold. •Excellent service in Asia..poor in US Packing and Luggage •Overhead luggage safer – no theft. Can keep valuables in them! •Luggage must have quality wheels •Waterproof essential •Tumi brand excellent •Max size 110 linear cms fits every airline!(overhead locker..weight varies between 7 – 12kgs..British Airways unlimited) Passports •Carry multiple. Also carry duplicates – for NZ Passport cost approx $300 and say you need to travel to Israel! Arab countries always check back page first and if Israeli stamp deny entry! Use this as a reason to justify need for second passport! Advice •Website •Written – Financial Times (online too?). "The Fast Lane" by Tyler Brule. He also edits Monocle Magazine which ranks international cities for travellers – also "Wallpaper" magazine. Wallpaper comments not on Luxury but on modernity. •Trust work colleagues advice over any other. For this reason won’t use Aerolineas Argentinas or Iberia (bad referrals) â–  Accommodation â– Joined all major schemes â– Location and price key drivers. Close to meeting locations. Airlines â– Prefer to travel in the daytime – don’t need to worry about sleep. â– When sleep required change into PJs – better than sleeping in clothes â– Wear noise cancelling headphones – try them and notice the difference in engine roar –assists with fatigue â– Best airlines Air New Zealand followed by Singapore Airlines based on legroom and service. Flat bed products best – Air NZ mattress addition welcomed. â– Use Star Alliance where possible except for Latin America – One World/LAN (Lan Chile) preferred â– Avoid last flight of the night! If delayed no options and loss of a day as well as additional expense/hassle. Builds in redundancy esp. thru US â– Avoid going through NE States in winter – hub thru Southern. â– Avoid Frankfurt with Lufthansa – tight connection times problematic – hub thru Munich/Zurich instead. Pricing â– Purchase Round the World airfares. Savings considerable!16 sectors $4k - $5k economy. Changes only USD $125 per change. Good flexibility â– Use points for upgrades. Air NZ scheme best. Phones â– NZ has some of the highest roaming charges in the world â– Prefers to roam out of the UK 35 pounds (euro?) per month. Unlimited roaming per country â– Carries four phones for backup â– Nokia Blackberry a rip-off Credit cards/Cash â– Carry multiple cards. ATM machines unreliable. General â– Always arrive the night before a big meeting. Appear refreshed and allows for contingencies. â– E Book great for mass storage but small weight. Easy to read in flight too in poor light. .

25 Oct

The Sebel Trinity Wharf Tauranga

1311543291_the-sebel-trinity-wharf_1.jpgI’ve experienced the hospitality on offer at the Sebel Trinity Wharf Tauranga and I was blown away!

Stepping inside this building I found myself gazing at the view of the sparkling Tauranga harbour, an ambiance of quite sophistication and a bar that was just waiting for me to quench my thirst whilst enjoying the breathtaking views.

The check in facility was warm and welcoming, staff that were clearly proud and who know the importance of service with a smile. A first hand personalised tour of the hotel facilities by the effervescent General Manager - Gary Dickman, soon confirmed my first impressions were correct – the hotel is a winner!

The hotel oozes cleanliness, sleek sophistication and crisp decor, with 120 guest rooms, 5 contemporary event facilities catering up to 350 delegates and halo lounge & dining providing stunning views over the harbour. My personal favourite are the harbour view spa rooms, each with their own expansive views, balconies & spa baths – perfect!

I have no hesitation in recommending this property for your next stay or event and with Gary Dickman at the helm I’m sure you too will enjoy this hotel as much as I have.



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