Once business is over and briefcases put away, Corinthia Hotels has come up with some novel suggestions for “bleisure” travelers to escape the boardroom and enjoy the destination before they fly home.
One in four travelers tack on a side trip to their business trip and seven Corinthia Hotels across Europe share their ideal line-up of half-day and shorter diversions to fill in those in-between and post-business meeting gaps. Many are within an easy walk of the hotels.
• Climb the 364 steps to reach the observation deck of St Stephen’s Basilica and marvel at the view of the city. Take the lift if there are time constraints.
• Head to Castle Hill and explore the historic sights of Buda Castle, Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion.
• See the city from the Danube river on a sightseeing boat trip.
• Soothe your muscles and calm your mind with a soak in a thermal bath. The outdoor thermal pools remain open until 10pm so there’s no excuse.
• The Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, close to the hotel, is home to over 6,000 pieces, notably Ruben’s portrait of Helena Fourment, Lalique’s Dragonfly brooch and Jean-Antoine Houdon’s marble statue of Diana.
• Take some exercise and stroll around the steep cobblestoned streets of Alfama, the city’s historic neighborhood, and people watch over a bica (coffee).
• Make time to visit the UNESCO World heritage site of the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, the 15th century monastery with high altars, towering columns, cloisters and gargoyles.
• Ride Lisbon’s famous Elevador da Gloria, the vertical funicular that scales the steep hill to Bairro Alto and offers the best views of the city.
• Stroll along The Mall from the hotel and watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace at 11.30am. Feast your eyes on the red uniforms and bearskin hats of the Queen’s Guard performing their daily routine to the sound of a marching band.
• Corinthia Hotel London is a stone’s throw from the Thames so hop on a water taxi or sightseeing boat to take in all the waterside sights, all the way down to the Royal Observatory at Greenwich.
• Arguably the best views of the city are from the viewing platforms on levels 68, 69 and 72 of London’s latest and tallest landmark, The Shard. Best at sunrise or sunset.
• London groans under the weight of first-class museums and art galleries. Within walking distance are the National Portrait Gallery and National Gallery on Trafalgar Square; in South Kensington are the Victoria & Albert Museum and Natural History Museum; and let’s not forget the ancient artifacts inside the British Museum and the Tate Modern’s permanent exhibitions by the likes of Matisse, Picasso and Pollock.
Palace and St George’s Bay, Malta:
• Take a short cruise around the Grand Harbour for 60-90 minutes to take in all the sights if you don’t have time to explore on foot.
• Take the hotel shuttle from either hotel into Valletta, Malta’s capital city and make a B-line for St John’s Cathedral, a gilded Baroque masterpiece originally built in the 16th century. It also houses Caravaggio’s The Beheading of St John the Baptist.
• Unwind and marvel at the audio-visual spectacle which is The Malta Experience – a 45-minute show which traces the dramatic story of the Maltese islands’ 7,000-year history. It is part of Corinthia Palace Hotel’s Valletta 2018 package.
• Guests at St George’s Bay Hotel can stroll along the coastal Sliema Promenade and grab an ice cream from one of the many cafes, or people watch and generally watch the world go by.
• Malta’s stunning UNESCO World Heritage Sites are worth exploring. The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum in Paola is an enormous underground structure which, when excavated, brought to the surface a wealth of significant archaeological artifacts. Visitors with an interest in history and an afternoon to spare can also explore the ancient Mnajdra and Ħagar Qim temples on the south side of the island.
• Don’t leave the City of One Hundred Spires without sampling Czech beers, something the city is famous for. The Prague Beer Museum serves up sample boards of five Czech beers of your choice, while U Fleků – one of Prague’s best beer halls – serves hearty food and brews in eight atmospheric halls and a garden.
• Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world and is a must-see sight. Take the short tour option which includes St Vitus Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, Basilica of St George, Golden Lane and Daliborka.
• Stroll over Charles Bridge, the city’s most photographed attraction, that crosses the Vltava River. It is especially inspiring at sunset, to close a working day.
• Dine on hearty Czech cuisine. For Michelin star standards, book a seat at La Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise and try and tasting menus of six and 11 courses with wine and juice pairing. For less opulent meals try one of the five branches of Lokál, a popular gastro pub.
• Peruse the stunning treasures at the Fabergé Museum, a showcase of the dazzling work of Russian jeweler Carl Fabergé. The museum has nine of his illustrious Imperial Easter Eggs.
• Browse the artifacts at the Hermitage State Museum if you have half a day to spare.
• If you have a few minutes to spare then wander along Nevsky Prospect to Palace Square, home to many striking sights, among them the lavish Baroque-style Winter Palace (home to the Hermitage Museum) and the towering Alexander Column dedicated to late Emperor Alexander 1. En route you will pass the beautiful Kazan Cathedral and the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood as well as several cafes for a quick caffeine pick-me-up.
• St Petersburg is known as Venice of the North and cruising along its canals is the perfect way to take in all of the city’s key sights, in the warmer months of the year. A number of tour companies offer educational and picturesque boat trips between May and October.