Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Fumbling in the dark!

We took a group of runners and their friends to Luxembourg a week or so ago. The three day, two night weekend centered on the ING Night Run in Luxembourg - a fantastic event which attracts a high quality field of athletes as well as thousands of social and club runners looking to take part in a fairly unique event. Runners have a choice of three races - the marathon, the half marathon or a 4.4K mini marathon and the atmosphere in the city and, in particular, in the Stadium is simply electric!

Take a look here and sample something of the atmosphere at the finish.http://www.finisherclip.com/en/previews/index/10/F13183/DSL/links

The event is scheduled to become one of the best of its kind in Europe - the organisation is good and the city really embraces the runners and their friends to create a vibrant and friendly atmosphere. And because the city also hosts a Samba Festival over the weekend of the Marathon, the course is littered with bands, singers and dancers.

It is without a doubt one of our favourite trips of the year - and we never fail to have 100% satisfaction from our guests and clients. One of the reasons for this is our selected hotel partner in Luxembourg. We stay at the 4 star Mondorf Parc Hotel in Mondorf-les-Bains, close to the German and French borders. This hotel is simply stunning! Set in acres of woodland, close to the wine growing area of Remich (home of the fabulous Cremant wines) on the banks of the Moselle, the Mondorf offers a range of health, beauty, wellness and sporting facilities that is difficult to match. Swimming pools, saunas of every conceivable kind, gymnasiums, massage facilities, tennis - in fact, you name it - it's probably at the Mondorf!

It's because of hotels such as the Mondorf Parc, combined with the low prices in the country, that Luxembourg is such great value for conferences, meetings and events. Meeting facilities are great at this hotel - and there are numerous opportunities for teambuilding and other group activities.

The problem is, I suppose, that Luxembourg always seens to be further away than it should be but the journey is well worth it. Not only is the country beautiful, with fabulous restaurants, good shopping and pretty sights to see, but their renowned and friendly fiscal regime in the allows for some great deals - thanks to those low taxes. Hotels offer superb value for money and eating and drinking out is comfortably within most budgets - "More to the point" as one of our guests, with his priorities firmly in place, pointed out "you'll find the cheapest mini bars in the world in Luxembourg"! Not sure about that claim - but the last time I saw a beer in a 4 star hotel mini bar priced at £1 was before I could even drink the stuff!!

So what else has Luxembourg to offer?

Well, first of all you do have to get there - and, to be fair, it isn't the easiest place to fly in to - flight choices are limited in comparison with other near-European capitals. But it isn't a bad journey by road, with a good Executive coach taking a shade over 4 hours from Calais. With a stop for a break en route, it makes the country quite accessible - no airport queues, check-ins or security! For the return journey, a stop in Bruges for lunch and some shopping is usually popular.

Once you get there you'll be struck by the size of the country - after all, it is possible to have breakfast in Germany, lunch in France, dinner in Belgium, and still be home in time for a nightcap in the bar (incidentally, we do have a lovely restaurant that we use in Germany!). The capital is a 1000-year-old fortress city with some impressive old ramparts - colloquially known as "Europe's most beautiful balcony".

The main centre is compact and best seen on foot - cobbled streets, historical buildings, museums and art galleries blend with contemporary boutiques and outdoor cafés, to give the place a unique charm. Luxembourg's parks and gardens spill out from the Old Town and make this an ideal walking city -especially the stunning Pétrusse Valley -200 feet lower than the main town.

So, why not have a look at Luxembourg - for your next meeting, conference or event? And, if you'd like any help or advice - you know who to talk to! eMail me on info@nice-work.org.uk

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