At the end of every Connections, I always leave feeling inspired and fulfilled. Our sixth annual Connections Luxury edition this year has been exceptional, and I can’t thank our sponsors, partners and leaders enough for making it such a success.

Gran Hotel Miramar, Malaga’s iconic 5* luxury hotel, has been a sensational place to host Connections Luxury. Set back from the Bay of Malaga and surrounded by enormous Canarian palm trees, there is much to admire about this glistening Palacio Miramar. From the sunlight-flooded Royal Lobby with its Corinthian-inspired columns to the Moorish, Mudejar and Nasrid-style rooms and luxuriously soft linens, the hotel is truly emblematic of the region’s continual rise as a luxury destination.

For our leaders arriving into Málaga, we were delighted to welcome them into this city oasis as a VIP, thanks to the special transfers arranged by Teresa Broccoli, Irene Cebrian and Presstour Travel Design Luxury. Once whisked from the airport to Gran Hotel Miramar in seamless fashion, the excellent service continued. Within the hotel’s crown, on the seventh floor, we opened Connections Luxury with a sundowner cocktail reception. It was spectacular!

As you know, Connections is always underpinned by local, authentic experiences, and this year we had the privilege of offering a wide array. While some chose to bond over flamenco (sevillanas) dancing and sangria tasting, others replanted trees and made gazpacho. For me, I couldn’t resist giving the graffiti painting a try! Thank you to Mariola, Andres and Gran Hotel Miramar, and Paco, Carmen at Málaga Convention Bureau for an outstanding first day.

The VIP treatment kept on when we visited Villa Padierna Palace Hotel for our second day activities. A hidden gem of Marbella located in the golf valley, this “Hotel Museum” and tuscan palace is mesmerising. Every turn is a visionary surprise. Purpose-built for weddings, with a beautiful Roman amphitheatre and an exclusive palm grove beach club, it’s clear that every aspect has been so carefully planned.

We continued the Connections Way of doing business with golf taster lessons, beach walks, villa tours, spa treatments and more. Thank you to Sarauya for the relaxing head massage; it was one of the best I’ve ever experienced! Marta, we are truly grateful to you in granting us access to the stunning Villa Padierna Palace Hotel and Club de Mar. Many of our buyers have already expressed their desire for a return visit!

Of course, it wouldn’t be Connections without our ConnecTalks. We were treated to a funny, passionate and insightful presentation into social media by Phil Gonzalez, and blown away by our session on “Digital Disruptors within Luxury Travel” thanks to Fflur Roberts from Euromonitor International. Finishing with a figurative battle between the brilliant Marc Mekki (Ode to Joy) and Mary Steadman (LURA Lifestyle) on the future landscape of luxury hospitality, it really was an incredibly engaging programme.

Finally, our closing dinner took us to Museo Automovilístico de Málaga. We dined on a delicious Japanese-inspired menu amidst the extra-ordinary classic car and haute couture collection. Thank you, Mr Masashi Imai, Mr Yuya Monden from TCVB and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government for such an amazing way to end Connections Luxury 2019, and for providing us the perfect opportunity to announce Connections Tokyo 2020. We can’t wait!

I wanted to leave my last words for Manuel, from the Andalucía Tourist Board, and Rénee, from Visit Costa del Sol. A heartfelt thank you to you both for being our destination partners; without you, Connections Luxury would not have been possible.

Until next time,