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Viva the venue with Latino flavor

GRAN Melia Shanghai, the first Latino hotel in Shanghai located in the heart of the Lujiazui Financial and Trade Zone with sweeping views of the Huangpu River, is emerging as the city's new luxury destination for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) groups.

"Shanghai is in continuous development in transportation, such as the construction of the railway, express highways, and it also emphasizes the building of modern airports and a deepwater port. The city is becoming an international center of transportation and communication," says Alfonso Romero, the hotel's general manager.

"We consider China will be the top most-visited country in the world by 2015 and will impact Shanghai directly. The MICE market has plenty of room for growth and this is what we are actually experiencing. I think the city is a top destination for the MICE market with top rates," he says.

Shanghai, with numerous hotels ranging from the high-end luxury establishments to economic inns, has been a hot battlefield for MICE. To stand out and get a bite of the market share is no easy job.

Gran Melia Shanghai with its Latino-style architecture and the magnificent views of the Huangpu River is located in Lujiazui, one of the best locations in Shanghai, neighboring the city's famous destinations.

It's a five-minute walk to many of Pudong's most prestigious landmarks such as the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, Super Brand Mall and Jin Mao Tower, among others. The Shanghai New International Expo Center can be reached in 15 minutes by car.

In addition, the nearby Metro station and vehicular access to the new tunnel linking Pudong with Xinjian Road in Puxi make transport more convenient.

A variety of dining and drinking venues can suit different palates - everything from traditional Cantonese cuisine to authentic Spanish food and Italian delicacies.

The Albero offers authentic Spanish cuisine, while Havana Night featuring Cuban cabaret is a cozy place to appreciate Cuban cigars and light Cuban music. The Red Passion Club, a bar on the 30th floor and overlooking the Huangpu River, offers a panoramic view of the thriving yet historic metropolis.

Italian restaurant Acqua and Chinese restaurant Suntime Century cater for the different tastes of guests.

"We are the only Latino hotel in Shanghai, which means that we are offering a difference in service, ambience and staff compared with the rest of the business hotels in the city," says the general manager.

The luxury business hotel has 22 meeting rooms with almost 1,850 square meters of flexible space for meetings, conferences and special social events.

Within the hotel's 1,850 square meters of event space is a pillar-less, high-ceiling grand ballroom of 705 square meters, divisibleby four, which can hold about 450to 800 people, depending onthe event.

Each space is equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment including interactive TV, high-speed Internet, WiFi broadband access, fax machine, photocopier, document printer and translation service in three languages.

The 160-square-meter Huangpu Auditorium, facing the Huangpu River and illuminated by natural light, can hold 120 people and is more than likely the first one on such a scale among Shanghai's luxury business hotels.

To enlarge its share in Shanghai's MICE market, the hotel is working hard to seize post-Shanghai Expo opportunities and new promotions are launched.

This winter it will offer full-day meeting packages with added perks such us freshly brewed coffee and tea stations through the day, buffet lunch at the River Caf?? with soft drinks and mineral water included, free wireless and its meeting specialist present at the entire service throughout the event.

"Shanghai will remain the main market in Chinese mainland for the MICE market. The gained rate will maintain and for sure the occupancy will decrease during 2011 due to the post-Expo impact, but in 2012 the performance will positively change," says Romero. "Shanghai has an abundance of resources in the meetings and incentive market and there is a lot of potential in developing the market."


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