Baden Baden the iconic Brenners Park Hotel & Spa and more


Baden Baden the iconic Brenners Park Hotel & Spa and more  
|  Baden Baden, Germany  | So my travel during the month of February, took me to Frankfurt, Germany on a work trip, where I managed to escape for a one night relaxing experience in Baden Baden, with as lovely stay at the Grande Dame of this spa and wellness destination, the iconic Brenners Park Hotel & Spa by Oetker Collection. Below you will be able to see and read my overall experience, of my slightly over 48 hours in Germany. The main reason of my trip, was as part of the team of Fashion Designer RUBINSINGER, to do the first ever Fashion Show 30K feet up on the air, onboard Lufthansa’s Boeing 747 Double Deck, as we crossed the Atlantic from Europe on to New York Fashion Week.  So before all this took place, I made sure to unwind in stye at Brenners Park Hotel & Spa, and enjoy a brief visit to the charming spa town of Baden Baden.   For more tips and recommendations, check and follow me on Instagram, to see all my minute-to-minute past/current/future post and experiences on Baden Baden. Continue reading Baden Baden the iconic Brenners Park Hotel & Spa and more

GermanWings my own tragic experience

20131012-165649.jpg GermanWings my own tragic experience | Airline |  So this is what happens when you decide to go cheap trying to save some money when traveling within Europe. I had to fly from Venice, Italy to Edinburgh, Scotland, my next destination. Those of you who have been to Venice, and Marco Polo Airport, know very well that it is not the most friendly nor efficient airport in the world. To top that, the airport is too small for the 23 million tourist this lovely city receives every year. For that you must always keep in mind two three things: (1) arrive to the airport way in advance, knowing that the boat ride from Venice to the Airport or the boat + shuttle, will take at least 40 minutes. Once you get there the lines for check in are endless and same with the security check points. (2) If your flight is delayed, know that most airlines use local handlers. This handlers represent at least 10 airlines each, so trying to talk to one of the agents will be a daunting, and almost impossible experience. (3) If your flight gets cancelled, ACT FAST or you will be stranded for days, or paying ridiculous prices for your flights, and if you get stranded, most airlines will make your life impossible to compensate your hotel stay, and trust me last minute hotel bookings at busy Venice, can get extremely expensive.

 

Being all these said, for my flight from Venice to Edinburgh, I researched into the many available low cost airlines, and found that the best option price-route-connection wise was GermanWings, well so I thought.

 

Always when I travel within Europe I have two huge concerns, first Baggage Weight, and second Flight Cancellations, specially when flying low cost airlines. But since I read some reviews online, and the fact that GermanWings belongs to the Lufthansa Group, one of my favorite airlines, I felt very comfortable to choose them over EasyJet, Vueling and many others in the market.

 

I must say I was quite excited to try a new airline, so this morning I got ready for a great experience… well silly me. The flight was scheduled for 8.40AM. So at 5.30AM I was picked up by a private riva at my hotel in central Venice. All was perfect, checked in and proceeded to the gate.

 

The nightmare began, and I will make it very short, not to bore you and to get the exact message straight. First announcement was that the flight was delayed. Therefore being that I had a connection, I was not making my second flight. Then I found out that Cologne to Edinburgh only flies once a day, meaning I would be stranded in Cologne. Asked the agent at the gate and she, in a very polite way told me F..K OFF that she was just a handler and that Germwings had no representatives in Venice, that I would have to wait till arriving to Cologne to have more information. PERFECT Customer Service, way to go AVIAPARTNER. Handing me next a lousy voucher for a crapy breakfast at a filthy cafeteria. But I decided to remain positive, and thought… Well if worst comes worst, I will have to sleep over in Cologne, city I do like and been there before, hoping they would take care of my transfers and accommodation. So sat close to the agents to check on them.

 

Almost two hours passed and they could not careless about the complaints and needs of my fellow passengers, specially those like me missing their connections, being stranded in Cologne, since the network of connections by GermanWings is very limited. I overheard, the flight is CANCELLED. Public announcement they did almost 30 minutes later, playing with the time, lives and opportunities of their clients.

 

I stopped for a minute, took a deep breath and said.!!! I need to get out of here now. GermanWings will not help me or any other grounded passengers, and I will be on waiting-list for the following day with only one already sold out flight and connection and many angry passengers trying to fly out. Ran to the first Internet machine at the airport. Logged into my Travel Agent booking engine, and searched for the first flight out of Venice to Edinburgh, either with optimal connections or even heading to London, Manchester or Glasgow. I would rather take a train next, than having to trust any other low cost European Airline.

 

I found a flight to Lufthansa Venice / Frankfurt / Edinburgh. It seems my fate today was tied to Lufthansa Group, the one I have always love and trusted blinded, but no so much anymore. Ran to the ticketing counter, hoping there would be seats available yet, and that my poor other fellow victims of GermanWings, wouldn’t have done the same.

 

INSIDER Travel Agent TIP: when this happens, if you can, get hold of your travel agent, he/she will know exactly what to do. If that is not an option, buy a round trip ticket. Round trips are usually cheaper than One Ways when booking last minute. This was the case with mine, saving over USD 200.

 

Thank God and the travel agent angels, there were still a few seats available. So I explained to the Lufthansa agent the situation, trying to see, being both airlines part of the same group, if they will extend any courtesy, special fare…. anything. Her answer was …” GermanWings is Lufthansa Group but it is not Lufthansa…” Hmmmmm still trying to understand what she meant with that? If you do, please let me know.

 

To end the story, EUR 275 and over 7 hours delayed from my original flight schedule, I made it to Edinburgh. The great news is, by Lufthansa being part of Star Alliance, I got miles with UNITED Airlines…. Fabulous worst US carrier. Really can it get any worst? Now I have more miles to fly United.

 

The whole point of this post is to make you aware that not usually LOW Cost ends up being HIGH Cost, read my other experience a year ago when flying AirBaltic from Paris to Stockholm. Most times cheaper is not the best option.

 

I am not complaining nor furious about the fact that the flight was first delayed and them cancelled, that happens everyday, even to the best airlines in the world. The important part is how the airline, their employees and handlers deal with it, and help travelers with their disrupted itineraries, hopes and needs. What I AM complaining about is the lack of professionalism, empathy, communication, and customer service by GermanWings. It was despicable, rude and inoperative. I am beyond surprised and disappointed, to learn that a group like Lufthansa Group is behind this negligent airline and partner.

 

That’s why I always choose, when in Europe to travel by speed trains.

 

Of course my flight with Lufthansa was perfect as usual, departing sharply on time and arriving way before schedule.

 

Stay away from GermanWings, Advise by experience, or better said lack of it. Today travel is all about experiences and GermanWings is not fitted to be part of any. GermanWings Flight 0815 – Venice / Cologne / Edinburgh. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends

 

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NAPCabs

NAPCabs  |  Munich, Germany  |  Fabulous idea at Munich International Airport. You can read my post here NAPCabs. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends

 

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Lufthansa Airlines

Lufthansa Airlines  |  Germany  |  Lufthansa Airlines replies to my posts on my own travel experience with them from Moscow to Paris. Thank you Lufthansa for sponsoring my trip and for sharing my experience with your extensive social network. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends

 

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Lufthansa always makes me happy

Lufthansa always makes me happy  |  Germany  |  After having flown with them several times, I have realized that every time I step foot into one of their planes, I feel happy and I smile. From the moment you check in, mind your point of departure in the world, during your transit at any of their state-of-the-art terminals in Germany, till you get your luggage at your final destination, it is such a pleasant, enjoyable and effortless experience. Everyone smiles, and that is a lot to say being a German airline right.
I am usually very critical of airlines, but you have to admit that some of them just most of the times they get it right, and if not, they have the right attitude to help you or solve any glitches on your experience. This time I flew from the busy Domodedovo Airport in Moscow, Russia all the way to Charles de Gaulle in Paris, France with a short and pleasant connection at the Lufthansa Terminal in Munich.
The Lufthansa Business Lounge in Moscow was very nice and big, offering a bar with several types of hot/cold drinks and snacks, business center, showers and a huge living room. Only comment is that the internet was almost non operative, which for a Business Lounge is not what you would expect. The terminal in Munich was perfect as usual, offering all passengers, regardless their class, complimentary hot beverages. Also always innovative and cutting-edge, offering the new NapCabs sleeping solutions, check them out.
Onboard, the seat pitch is comfortable. Flight attendants are always smiling, willing to assist you, doing several rounds during the flight offering beverages. Meals are of a decent size, well balanced and healthy. Alcoholic drinks free of charge. No entertainment system or WiFi, but each flight were very short with the connection in Munich.
Once again Regional European flights with Lufthansa are an experience that always make me happy, especially when I get to my final destination on time, in this case Charles de Gaulle in Paris, and my suitcase arrives in time and tagged properly with the Priority Transit Tag. Thank you Lufthansa for making our flights safe and enjoyable. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends

 

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NapCabs at Munich International Airport

NapCabs at Munich International Airport  |  Munich, Germany |  One of the best travel ideas I have seen in years, which I hope will extend globally. How about your own room/cabin right next to your flight boarding gate. Comfort and privacy for passengers inside airport terminals Making the stay at the airport more pleasant an comfortable is the idea behind NapCabs. Rent by the hour (EUR 10) and pay as you go, for a minimum of 3 hours and a maximum of 12.

NapCabs offer the perfect solution for passengers and airports, to enter the next level of comfort inside airport terminals. Self service, pay as you go, and for as many hours you want solution. Unfortunately I did not have time to try them myself, since I was just connecting flights with Lufthansa from Moscow to Paris, but next time I will, since I hope this brilliant idea will replicate around the world.
I mean most airports charge and average of EUR 5 per hour for the WiFi connection, therefore, you might as well pay the extra EUR 5 and have a pleasant time at the airport while in transit. Enjoy Ethernet Internet connection, use your own desk, and take a nice flat rest while you wait for your connection. For more information www.napcabs.net. So civilized of course had to be in Germany and at the Lufthansa Terminal. !!! CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends

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Mauer Park Flea Market in Berlin


Mauer Park Flea Market  | Berlin, Germany  |  Mauerpark is a public park in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg district in the former West Berlin. The name translates to “Wall Park,” referring to its status as a former part of the Berlin Wall and its Death Strip. Panoramic views, street art, live performers, flea market and lots of food and beer. It takes place every Sunday and it is FREE. Continue reading Mauer Park Flea Market in Berlin

Check Point Charlie

Check Point Charlie  | Berlin, Germany |   The name given by the Western Allies to the point between the East and the West of the Berlin Wall during the Cold War. The Berlin Wall “Berlin Mauer” itself, should not be missed, and also the visit to the museum. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, also know as the Holocaust Memorial designed on a site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs, arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field.  Continue reading Check Point Charlie

Istanbul bridge between Europe and Asia at dot429.com

Istanbul bridge between Europe and Asia at dot429.com  |  429MAGAZINE  |  Everyone, my weekly column on Gay Luxury Travel for 429MAGAZINE at dot429.com is out and online. Check it OUT. !!! This week based on my recent experience in Istanbul, Turkey. Inside tips on where to stay, dine, wine and must dos and sees. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends

Special thanks for this trip to Aristo Tours – local Tour Operator of Turkey and to Lufthansa for flying me there in full class and style on their brand new Business Class configuration and Boeings 747-8.

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Hotel de Rome my choice in Berlin

Hotel de Rome by www.carlosmeliablog.comHotel de Rome my choice in Berlin  | Berlin, Germany|  Where did I stay while in Berlin, at the stunning, strategically located and chic Hotel de Rome by Rocco Forte Hotels. If there is a hotel to choose and be in while visiting Berlin, this is your ultimate option. Continue reading Hotel de Rome my choice in Berlin