Penelope Alice at the Meetings Show: Sandals/Jamaica Tourist Board and Merlin Events

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Phew, trade shows are hectic occasions! Not only did I run myself ragged going round the stands at the Meetings Show at Olympia, but I had my hands full in the evenings too.

First off, it was time for some Caribbean flavour as I headed to the Jamaican High Commission in Kensington Gore to sample spicy jerk chicken (cooked the authentic way in a steel drum) served up with something called festival – a yummy, traditional fried flour dumpling.

Add to this some delicious mini-patties of chicken, saltfish and beef, a steel band and fruit punch generously laced with Appleton’s rum, and it’s little wonder that some of the guests really got into the party spirit, decking themselves out with colourful flower garlands.

Holiday resort company Sandals was sponsoring the event and they, together with host Torrance Lewis of the Jamaica Tourist Board, highlighted that the destination isn’t just for sun-drenched vacations, but that it can also effortlessly cater to the corporate world with its first-class MICE facilities.

Next it was up, up and away into the night sky followed by plunging into the depths of the ocean. Let me explain: the lovely people at Merlin Events kindly invited me to a dual event; first we soared up high on the London Eye, fuelled by some lovely fizz and nibbles, and then we descended into the depths of the Sealife Aquarium, where caterer Dish provided a tempting array of sweet canapés – yours truly found the mini tarts with cream and fresh raspberries particularly delectable.

At the aquarium you can mingle with all sorts of marine life – from penguins and piranhas to jellyfish and even sharks. Talking of which, I had an interesting chat with Jennifer Connery, who looks after the corporate side of the business at Thorpe Park, where the Shark Hotel has just opened (pictured above).

Jennifer has invited me to try out the rides and stay over at the hotel, which apparently is constructed in the shape of a sculpture made from vintage and recycled park relics.

The “bite-sized” (see what the clever PR people did there?) rooms are a bit like pods – bijoux in size shall we say, but they all have a shower room, free wifi, changeable mood lighting and flat screen TV entertainment packages, including an on-demand movie service, which certainly makes for an interesting proposition.

Given that the park is ideal for holding thrill-filled, off-site events, I feel duty-bound to check in and check it out – watch this space as they say, your intrepid correspondent will report back in due course.


This blog originally appeared on the PA Life Club site. To read more of Penelope Alice’s blog entries and get access to a range of fantastic benefits, including discounts and special deals at dozens of selected retailers and venues, as well as exclusive monthly competitions, networking events and 50% off PA Life’s new training courses, click here:

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    Molly Dyson

    Former Editor – PA Life

    All stories by: Molly Dyson