A Layover in Milan – Carlos Melia

Author: , June 5th, 2016

Carlos Melia - Milan

I was invited by Emirates Airlines to try their new non-stop flight from New York to Milan, Italy on their Business Class, so I decided to pit together a 10 days itinerary exploring Italy, which took me to my first visit to the Amalfi Coast, onwards to yet another lovely visit to Venice and to London, aboard the overnight luxury train Venice Simplon Orient-Express.

Since I have not been in Milan for quite sometime, I’ve decided to take a suite for the day at the gorgeous Mandarin Oriental Milan, and explore a few higlights, after a lovely and relaxed lunch. Here are my comments, photos and videos. Hope you enjoy my post on this experience.

So I flew Emirates Airlines, non-stop from New York JFK to Milano Malpensa. It was on their Airbus 380, and it took approximately 7 hours, which went by very quickly. Meal service consisted by drinks at the onboard lounge bar, followed by a three-course dinner. One hour upon arrival, breakfast was served. Great entertaiment system, screen, movie selection, headseats. Full flat – comfortable – bed, as a matter of fact I passed out for 3 hours on it, and I rarely sleep when flying into Europe from New York.

My only comment would be the crew. Compared to other similar airlines, I felt they weren’t that friendly, engaging nor attentive to service, which in the end makes it for the entire experience, doesn’t it?. Regardless, the best option, today, to fly non-stop from New York to Milan.

Upon arrival to Milan Malpensa, I had my VIP Service and Transfer, by Milano Luxury Services. A Mercedez E-Class and private chauffer that in no time, had me at my hotel in the heart of Milan. Mind I was in Milan, only for six hours, connecting flights to the Amalfi Coast, each minute counted.

When I travel overseas, and have connecting flights, I usually enjoy taking a hotel room at the connecting destination, and exploring for a few hours. In this case, I landed in Milan at noon, and my flight to Naples, was at 8PM. Giving me plenty of time to enjoy my gorgeous suite at the Mandarin Oriental Milan, have a nice lunch at the Mandarin Bar and Bistro by Michelin star awarded and acclaimed Chef Antonio Guida.

At the Mandarin Oriental Milan, I checked in at the fabulous Milano Suite, decorated in true Milanese style, dedicated to the designer Piero Fornasetti – was an Italian painter, sculptor, interior decorator and engraver. The Milano Suite is located on the second floor of the hotel, also known as the ‘noble’ floor because of its high ceilings and abundant natural light. Furnished with original Fornasetti pieces, accommodation consists of a living area, bedroom, master bathroom and a separate guest bathroom.

The living room is divided by a pillar, adorned with wallpaper aptly named ‘Riflesso’ (reflection), with the ‘Ultime Notizie’ table and ‘Capitello’ chairs in the dining area, and the ‘Fly’ coffee table, ‘Guscio’ sofa and ‘Boss’ black leather armchair on the other side. Accessed via a corridor with its ‘Architettura’ console table, the king size bedroom is dressed with ‘Chiavi Segrete’ wallpaper and furnished with a writing desk, a small table from the ‘Farfalle’ collection and two large interfacing mirrors. A vast ensuite bathroom features a walk-in shower, twin vanity unit and a much-admired ‘Spoon XL’ bathtub from Agape.

After a lovely shower and a glas of local chilled white wine, I joined the General Manager and Public Relations team, for a relaxed lunch at the colorfull Mandarin Bar & Bistro. Mandarin Bar offers a seductive mix of contemporary music, delicious dishes and bespoke cocktails. The black and white marble mosaic covered floor and walls combined with a large central bar and eclectic mix of furniture creates the perfect backdrop for drinking and dining.

Catering both to guests and the city’s discerning style crowd, Mandarin Bar enjoys a relaxed atmosphere with three distinctive areas; the bar bistro, an inside lounge and an outside courtyard area featuring lounge sofas, tables, cabanas and soft lights. The bar bistro menu features a mix of Italian dishes, salads and Antonio Guida’s reinterpretation of traditional sandwiches, served with a modern twist. The octopus was delicious, and the Tiramisu, was totally worth of each calorie.

I followed with a quick tour and walk around the entire property, including Entry Level Rooms, Presidential Suite, spa, fitness center and funtion rooms. With an enviable central location, Mandarin Oriental, Milan is a 5-star luxury hotel, just steps from La Scala. And with spacious rooms, elegant suites, innovative dining and a fabulous spa, we are the perfect urban retreat. With interiors by acclaimed Italian designer Antonio Citterio, their 104 rooms and suites exude a wonderful sense of luxury. What I liked the most, is how cozy and private the whole experience felt.

Given the privileged location, I decided to go for a two hours walked around the area, and visit the Duomo, La Scala, Via Montenapoleone, and Via della Spiga, Milan’s most exclusive shopping streets, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Sforza Castle and Santa Maria delle Grazie, which hosts Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”.

By 5.30PM – sharply – I was ready to continue my journey onwards to the Amalfi Coast. Once again my private car and chauffer by Milano Luxury Services, took me – this time to Linate Airport, to board my Alitalia flight to Naples. This was my fantastic six hours layover in Milan.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog

Milan Gay Travel Resources

The Best Airports to Spend a Layover In

Author: , February 26th, 2014

SFOAh, airport layovers. Few of us will ever actually look forward to them, but there are some airports where top-notch facilities make waiting for a connection much easier. Here’s a list…

Helsinki Airport

Finnair is offering some very attractive fares right now, including a $770 round-trip flight between New York and St. Petersburg, Russia. The only catch is that you need to layover in Helsinki for a couple of hours. Thankfully, Helsinki Airport is a very pleasant place to pass some time between flights. As you’d expect in design-savvy Finland, the airport is filled with striking sculptures, an art gallery, book swap area, and stores from designers like Marimekko. WiFi is free throughout the airport, and if you are lucky enough to access the Finnair lounge, you can hang out on retro Eero Aarnio-designed chairs. If you have a long layover, check out our four-hour layover guide to Helsinki that will take you well outside the airport.

Authored By Karen Gardiner Dion – See the Full Story at Sherman’s Travel

Click here for gay travel resources.

What to Do on a Four Hour Layover in Copenhagen

Author: , October 10th, 2013

Little Mermaid, Copenhagen, DenmarkIf you are planning to take advantage of Norwegian Air’s low-cost flights to Europe, chances are you’ll find yourself with a layover in a Scandinavian airport some time soon. If that city happens to be Copenhagen, you’re in luck because the airport is close enough to the city to offer the chance to get out for some sightseeing even on a short layover.

Getting Around:

Getting in to the city couldn’t be easier than with one of Europe’s fastest airport-to-city links. Six trains an hour depart Copenhagen-Kastrup and reach the city center in under 15 minutes. Taking the yellow-colored M2 line and getting off at Kongens Nytorv station will put you within easy access of many of the city’s attractions.

Relax in Kongens Nytorv and Nyhavn

Nytorv, or King’s New Square, is the city’s biggest public square, laid out by 17th-century king, Christian V, whose statue you will find astride a horse in the center. The square is surrounded by grand 17th-century buildings, including the iconic Hotel d’ Angleterre, home to Champagne bar Balthazar, in the back of the hotel, which serves more than 160 different Champagnes and Champagne cocktails, including 11 different Champagnes by the glass.

Authored By Karen Gardiner Dion – See the Full Story at Sherman’s Travel Blog

Click here for gay travel resources in Denmark.

What to Do on a Layover in Los Angeles

Author: , August 26th, 2013

Los Angeles - Apple Maps

From Apple Maps

The good news is that if you have a layover in Los Angeles, you are probably on your way to (or from) some place fantastic like Hawaii, Australia, or Asia. The bad news? Due to its size and the horror show that is LA traffic, Los Angeles International Airport does not lend itself to easy jaunts in and out of the city.

If four hours is all you’ve got, we recommend you don’t stray too far from LAX. Luckily, the airport is close to a few beaches and an entertaining restaurant, so you won’t be totally stuck.

Hit the Beach

Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, and Venice Beach are all less that 10 miles from the airport. Head to the closest, Manhattan, by hopping on the red Ocean Express bus that runs past most of the LAX hotels on Century Boulevard, or by jumping in a cab. Once you’re done sunning yourself on the clean and well-groomed sandy beach, you can take a stroll down the 928-foot pier and visit the Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium at the end. The beach also has a two-mile-long pedestrian only walkway, a bike path, volleyball nets, and several good surfing spots. If you are here in summer, you might even catch the International Surf Festival.

Authored By Karen Gardiner Dion – See the Full Story at Shermans Travel

Click here for gay travel resources in Los Angeles.

What to Do On a Layover in London

Author: , August 22nd, 2013

London - Apple Maps

from Apple Maps

Only spending four hours of your life in London would be a tragedy, so let’s assume that your short layover is just the first of many trips to the British capital.

That being said, a quick stopover offers a great opportunity to get a tiny taste of what to look forward to when you return for a longer visit.

Here are three different ideas for what to do with your four hours.

Transportation Tips

While the Underground offers a handy connection between central London and Heathrow Airport, it takes about an hour, so forget about taking it on a tight schedule. Instead, look for the Heathrow Express train, which runs every 15 minutes and gets you to Paddington Station within 15 minutes. The Gatwick Express runs just as frequently, but takes around 30 minutes to get to Victoria Station.

Authored By Karen Gardiner Dion – See the Full Story at Sherman’s Travel

Click here for gay travel resources in London.

What to Do in Amsterdam During Your Layover

Author: , August 7th, 2013

Netherlands HouseboatAs the fourth busiest airport in Europe, you might find yourself with some time to kill at Amsterdam Schiphol. This is one of the world’s more flier-friendly airports, designed for leisure and relaxation. But don’t totally dismiss the opportunity to spend a few hours strolling along Amsterdam’s picturesque canals. The efficient Dutch train system will put you in the city center in about 20 minutes.

Getting into Amsterdam

There’s a train station located just below the passenger terminal at Schiphol. Trains into the city operate every 10 minutes and cost just [euro]3.60 (about $4.75) each way. If you have change, you can purchase tickets at the machines, or you can pay with a card at the ticket counter. The airport is about 13 miles from the Amsterdam Central station, where the train drops you off.

Authored By Jessica Colley – See the Full Story at Shermans Travel

Click here for gay travel resources in the Netherlands.

What to Do on a Four Hour Honolulu Layover

Author: , July 24th, 2013

HonoluluWith Hawaiian Airlines adding to its list of routes, such as the recent launch of its New York to Auckland service, chances are increasing that you might find yourself in Honolulu with some time to kill. Even if you can’t take advantage of the airline’s free stopover policy, you can still make the most of a short layover with our suggestions.

See Waikiki Beach: It is touristy, for sure, but the image of Waikiki Beach backdropped by Diamond Head is such an iconic one that you can’t help but want to see it for yourself.

Upon arrival at Honolulu International, you can take your pick from the many shuttle services offering to take you straight to Waikiki. We recommend reserving in advance to maximize beach time. Companies like Go 808 Express meet passengers off their flights and transport them in private vehicles to Waikiki within around 30 minutes, depending upon Honolulu’s notoriously choked traffic. After taking a stroll along the beach, a paddle in the water and, maybe, a cocktail at one of the hotel bars, your prearranged shuttle can take you back to your airport in time for your connection. Just try not to bring sand on the plane with you.

Authored By Karen gardner Dion – See the Full Story at Sherman’s Travel

Click here for gay travel resources in Hawaii.

What to Do in Reykjavic on Layover

Author: , July 5th, 2013

Reykjavik, IcelandIceland has long been a typical stopover for passengers making the trip between North America and Europe, and Icelandair has now capitalized on Reykjavik’s perfect mid-North Atlantic location by offering passengers on flights from the U.S.A. or Canada free stopovers of up to seven days. If, however, you are on a tight schedule and find yourself with just a few hours’ layover in Iceland’s capital, you still have time to get out of the airport and soak up some of the country’s highlights.

Iceland’s international airport is not actually in Reykjavik itself, rather it is located just outside the town of Keflavik, 30 miles from the capital. Nevertheless, a four hour layover gives you just enough time to have a stroll around the Tjoernin pond, along the “Sculpture and Shore” walk where you will find the Solfar (Sun Voyager) sculpture that is modeled after a Viking boat, visit the observation platform at the top of Hallgrimskirkja for views of the city and surrounding mountains, and make a quick stop at a cafe for a bite to eat.

The Flybus meets every flight arrival at Keflavik and transports passengers to the BSI bus terminal in Reykjavik, which is around a 10-minute walk from the city center.

Authored By Karen Gardiner Dion – See the Full Story at Sherman’s Travel

Click here for gay travel resources in Iceland.