GTActivities – your inside eye on what we’re getting up to!


GTAste – All overseas Meetings, Incentives Conferences and other Events offer opportunities for different experiences and sensations. GTAste is intended to explore some of those experiences through the flavours, festivals, fashion and more of our destinations.

Under GTAste you can explore the flavours  and scents of delightful food from our destinations (recipes you can try at home) and read of  destination wines. Some of our recipes will be from the DMCs home “kitchen”. While Switzerland, Morocco, The Balearics and Malta produce some great wines they are either not available in the UK or are hard to find – shame you will have to visit the destination to try their wine!

If you do try any of our recipes or wines please post feedback on GTA’s Facebook or tweet your experience.

Why not step Innside……..

I did, courtesy of Melia UK on a recent Fam trip.

I already knew Dusseldorf was the Mustard City, a Fashion & Media hot spot and that Mediahafen is “home” to some amazingly quirky architecture and that Dusseldorf boasts the “World’s Longest Bar”.

But….. there is more!

My first impression was Dusseldorf was too peaceful to be a thriving city with 650,000 residents. It felt more like I was in the countryside. The bird song in the park next to Melia Dusseldorf certainly enhanced that impression.

There was scarcely any traffic!! Where were the traffic jams, exhaust fumes and constantly moving air? The answer – Underground. The ultimate city by pass. Making Dusseldorf the 10-minute city.

This is great for event organisers and logistics.

The airport, hotels, Congress Centre, Art Galleries, Museums, night life and Rhine promenade are all within easy reach.

I truly stepped Innside Dusseldorf …. with my first ever experience of Melia’s Innside brand. Loved the hotels and they fit so well with Dusseldorf’s high fashion, art, media and quirky architecture.

My thanks to Melia UK for the invitation and to our DMC albamy Germany for the ground programme.

Day 1

The Fam attendees flew in from Scotland, East Midlands, Manchester and Heathrow, settled into rooms at Melia Dusseldorf and then all met up for a drink and introductions in the bar.

Our schedule for the afternoon & evening was a relaxed walking introduction to Dusseldorf, a craft beer in World’s Longest Bar and dinner in the trendy Sky Bar.

Our walk took us through the delightful park next to Melia Dusseldorf, past the Concert Hall and within sight of several museums then onto Germany’s most exclusive kilometre.

This exclusive kilometre, Konigsallee, is one of Europe’s most chic shopping streets. Unless you are wealthy enough to shop with the visiting Sheiks your credit cards could be quickly exhausted on this street. Safest bet is window shopping or alternative indulgence in Conditerie Heinemann. It is said that Dusseldorf is home to the Pope’s favourite patisserie, it could be Heinemann’s.

And just off Konigsallee something much more affordable, Dusseldorf craft beers. So good you have to come here to taste them. We tested a beer in what appeared to be a pub; it turned out to be a huge traditional pub with its own brewery to the rear. Sadly, no time to check out its competitors.

So from the most exclusive kilometre to the “World’s longest bar”. This street is just over 200 metres and, within it and just off it, over 250 bars, clubs and restaurants.

Our last port of call was the Rhine promenade with views of the Hafen, old port district, and across the river to the arty up market Flingern district followed by an amble back to Melia. A shame we did not get to see Flingern, a hang-out for trendy young designers, artists and well-heeled nor did we see the art gallery under the Rhine.

But we did get to see MediaHafen and the oh so trendy designer hotel the Innside Hafen. If you are “in” in Dusseldorf this is a great district to eat and stay out late in. And, if you want to eat out and stay out late what better location than the Innside’s Sky Bar. How many hotels can claim that they have a multi-story rocket with gantry for a neighbour. Innside Hafen can. However, this is a rocket with a difference, a commercial building! Architects were given free rein on the designs for buildings in Hafen and the rocket building is not even the most unusual!!!

The Sky Bar is trendy and I loved the food and service. Although Sky Bar functions as a bar, trendy “club” and restaurant it can be privatised for events.

Day 2

A lovely breakfast in Melia Dusseldorf was followed by a show round of Melia’s meeting space; all conveniently located on the first floor.

Melia Dusseldorf provides 9 meeting rooms and a maximum capacity of 250 pax. With 201 rooms that are predominantly Guestroom and Premium, Melia is a great option for small to medium conferences/meetings.

And a short coach transfer to our second Innside experience, Innside Derendorf.  The Derendorf district of Dusseldorf is a business district that hosts many designer label’s offices.

Loved the rooms, a blend of simple clean lines with a perfect mix of design and comfort along with panoramic showers (and bath).

Hardly a surprise to learn that it is chosen by many local labels for their fashion shows.

With 160 rooms and meeting space for 140 max Derendorf is ideal for incentives and small meetings.

Lunch followed our show round, the food was a hit and my lunch was accompanied by a glass of a German red wine.

Next our three venue visits and a big surprise in our first venue …… a lift with a wow factor.

Being State owned the museum is closed to the public on Monday, so we took the tradesman’s entrance.

Our first surprise was the huge inner atrium surrounded by white walls. This space can seat up to 600 pax for dinner with great acoustics guaranteed.

Next stop the glass sided lift and top floor. As the top floor came into view there was a collective wow. This is a space with impact – all white, glass domed with a high tech lattice mesh underneath giant white and silver balls.

For those who want to enjoy a higher outlook, the 360 degree panoramic views are great, why not try out a cushioned seat on the suspended mesh – we were told it is perfectly safe!!

And within the roof space, high tech lighting that covers both the ground floor space and the upper event space.

The upper floor can take up to 200 pax.

We crossed the road for our next two venues.

The Design Lounge was also a surprise, a combination of a great roof terrace, meeting rooms, boardroom and designer show kitchen.

With floor to ceiling glass the internal spaces have great views over the Rhine and towards Mediahafen. Of course, the views from the terrace are even better.

Design Lounge can host just under 200 pax and is a great venue for discrete meetings, business dinners, press conferences and more.

Then downstairs is the Design Office. A novel serviced office concept. The Design Office targets design companies and incorporates a meeting space that can be used for small presentations along with two larger meeting spaces. Combining these two spaces permits a max of 130 pax.

Finally, and chancing our credit cards, an hour to walk Konigsallee (Ko). While it is possible to spend both a small and large fortune shopping in Ko, there are some lesser design brands that would not melt my plastic.

And time to say good bye to Dusseldorf. Melia’s other guests were experiencing Germany’s 300 kmph ICE train for the 65 minute transfer to Frankfurt. They were off to IMEX and I was enroute to the UK.


Dusseldorf ought to be on your Incentive & Meeting list. The consensus from those on the Fam was Dusseldorf has a lot to offer and is also well worth a long weekend away with friends.

And on the Innside brand – loved it.

Innside is a German hotel chain acquired by Melia. There are now 15 Innsides in Germany across 9 cities. Aachen is the latest opening with Innside Leipzig opening this September and Innside Frankfurt Ostend opening this October.

Each Innside has its own design spin on the overall Innside design concept.