by Nicola Lessing
Nikki and Nicola at the Great Wall of China
In July Nikki and I went to China for 10 days to review and check out the hotels, tour guides, locations and other resources we use and provide to our guests. We had the most wonderful time, absolutely loved it and can’t wait to visit again.
As it turns out it was not a holiday (as we were working) and not from hell – but it could have been!
During our visit quite a lot things went what you could call wrong, but for us none of them ended up being an issue and many worked out in our favour. That got us pondering on how much what we experience can be related to our attitude – so here are a few examples of our heavenly hell and how we experienced it.
Luggage didn’t arrive
We arrived in Beijing at about 1:00am on Thursday morning but our luggage didn’t make it. Our flight was late and our luggage even later. When we got to the luggage carousel there was a sign with our names on it, so we went and enquired and it turned out our luggage had missed the flight – but at least they knew about it and told us it would arrive at midday the next day and they would deliver it immediately to our hotel. In the end the airline didn’t deliver it to our hotel until late the next night so we didn’t get it until Friday morning.
Once we accepted the situation it wasn’t a big deal. We each had a spare pair of knickers and other essentials in our hand luggage (good idea to always travel with a spare pair) and the hotel had toothbrushes and all other amenities.
In a way it was nice that it saved us from having to unpack as we had a big day of sightseeing planned for the next day and it also showed us that we didn’t need as much “stuff” as we thought we did!
Nikki with the Concierge checking on our luggage
We got one bed instead of two!
When we arrived at the hotel we found they had given us one king bed instead of twin beds. Well Nikki and I are good friends, but the only person I sleep with is my husband and it was never the plan for us to share a bed. The hotel was full and couldn’t find us another room that night. However, again it turned out it was not an issue because the bed was so big and we were so tired we just fell in and slept soundly and you wouldn’t even know there was anyone else there.
Also, because we didn’t have any luggage we had nothing to unpack and repack which made it so much easier when we were given a gorgeous new room the next morning. Everyone at the hotel (Paragon Hotel Beijing) was really nice (and apologetic over the room) and we were very impressed because we offer this hotel to our customers as a 3 Star option but it is a lovely 4 Star hotel.
We couldn’t visit Guilin which was a big part of our itinerary
Guilin floods - July 2017
We had been looking forward to visiting Guilin and taking a cruise down the scenic Li River. We planned to fly from Xian to Guilin on Sunday evening after spending a day with the Terracotta Warriors. On Sunday morning our colleague in Guilin phoned us at the hotel just before our big day out to let us know there had been major flooding in Guilin and we couldn’t go on the planned cruise and everything including roads were shut down. They suggested we go to Shanghai earlier than planned and visit the water village there instead. We asked if they were all ok (we know how devastating floods can be) and agreed to the changed plans.
Of course everything turned out PERFECTLY for us. We absolutely loved Shanghai and our team in China made the most fantastic arrangements at short notice. They managed to get us an evening flight that fitted perfectly with the day’s events and they also managed to arrange first class train tickets to visit Suzhou and the water village at Tongli the next day, both of which were spectacular.
Nicola with Gabriel, our gorgeous tour guide in Shanghai
We were completely blown away by their professionalism, care and logistics. Everywhere the most wonderful caring tour guides and drivers were waiting for us and all bookings were smoothly made and arranged at very short notice. All this happened on a Sunday when our colleagues were having to deal with major floods to their homes and offices and reorganising schedules for many other tourists.
In addition it turned out that the 4 Star hotel we were staying at in Shanghai was not really a 4 Star hotel but much closer to a 5 Star hotel. It was absolutely gorgeous in every way. We wanted to move in and were glad to have extra time there. It gave us an opportunity to catch up with the hundreds of emails we get every day and communicate with our office.
When things go “wrong” on your holiday
Whatever happens on your holiday we would love to hear about it whether you found it great or not so great. If it was not so great it is particularly important you tell us so we can do everything we can to ensure it does not happen again.
However, we have found that most “not so great” things that people experience on our holidays are outside of the control or management of us or our colleagues overseas. These usually turn out to be weather events known as Acts of God such as the flooding in Guilin and Acts of Airlines and Airports such as delays again often due to weather.
We had two very late flights but they turned out fine for us (that is another story) and we were able to stay on top of and enjoy everything.
Nicola and Nikki staying on top of things
We found there was always something to appreciate in every unexpected event and thoroughly enjoyed it all as part of our experience and adventures. It was wonderful to have that extra time in Shanghai and we now have a great excuse to visit China again as we missed Guilin and there are many other off the beaten track places we have heard about and want to visit.
Meanwhile we have tons of photos, videos and blogs we will be posting over the next year from our July 2017 China visit.