My idea of luxury camping. Loimugi House at Serara Camp, Kenya.

My idea of luxury camping. Loimugi House at Serara Camp, Kenya.

In this issue: Hot Deals Will Warm Up Your Winter Chill

Team Building Activities in Montréal Can Run Hot & Cold

HOT DEALS

When you want to save up to £2,000 per day * and are willing to travel to the UK to do it, who are you going to call? Brocket Hall, a 5-star standard Regency stately home that can be your group’s exclusively if you book any time before the end of January 2015 and fulfill the commitment anytime between January and April. The savings include an array of amenities that may make this an offer too good to refuse. Check this out. Traditional English Butler service, complimentary WiFi, meeting capacity for 150 (theater style). The luxurious property boasts 46 en-suite rooms and there are two championship standard golf courses and Palmerston Golf Academy set amongst 543 acres of private land, located just 22 miles from central London. There’s clay pigeon shooting and the transportation is easy: railway, helicopter landing facilities and nearby Luton International Airport.

Julie (01707 368728) or Simon (01707 368791; events@brocket-hall.co.uk

Governor of the Picuris Pueblo blesses meal at Hotel Santa Fe The Hacienda & Spa

Governor of the Picuris Pueblo blesses meal at Hotel Santa Fe The Hacienda & Spa

If your group would prefer the intimacy and spiritual peace encountered in the scenic desert of Santa Fe, NM, then consider one of the two offers being given by Hotel Santa Fe The Hacienda & Spa. Book at least 10 rooms for a stay between January 15 and April 30, 2015 and then select which package suits your group. Tradition I reduces the Junior Suite Group Rate to $109 and provides a 15% discount on your choice of spa treatment. Meeting space is complimentary and there’s no resort fee. Additionally, each person receives a Native Kachina Doll keepsake. Want to impress an executive board? Tradition II offers up group rates in The Hacienda, an sophisticated, exclusive building of suites and amenities. This package includes Butler Service, an evening reception in the Hacienda Lounge, and the amenities previously mentioned in Tradition I.

(855) 421-4309

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii’s springtime “the longer you stay, the more you save” offer is going to make you drool for winter to be over already. Book one of these packages early and you’ll also receive $50 per night in Resort credits that can be using for eating, drinking and shopping. The offer works like this: stay three consecutive nights and save 10%. Four nights get you 20% off and stay five or more consecutive nights and you could save a whopping 30% off your bill. RSVP by Jan. 8, 2015 and plan on staying through March 23.

Hawaii blesses the Aulani pool at night with tropical warmth

Hawaii blesses the Aulani pool at night with tropical warmth

(866) 443-4763

If staying in a nine-room beach hotel set against the Caribbean Sea and created by world-renowned designer Piet Boon is your idea of a luxury vacation or incentive stay, then you might want to check out Piet Boon Bonaire on the island of Kralendijk. Book the beachfront villa for seven night, and your $1128 per night chrge will include airport transfers and WiFi, a complimentary stocked fridge and a laid back dinner at Kity City, a seafood restaurant. Here are some of the additional amenities included in this package.

  • A guided tour by a local expert to the Bonaire Conservations to get an up close look at sea turtles or to Aletta’s goat farm in a remote area on the island. Optionally, a visit to the studio of one of Boon’s favorite driftwood artists, Germaine Nijdam is also available
  • A private snorkeling tour or stand up paddle (SUP) board rental
  • A relaxing yoga session by the pool during sunrise or sunset
  • An island photo-shoot by an experienced photographer to take home frame-worthy mementos
  • A relaxed farewell dinner cooked in the villa by the resort’s favorite chef
  • Signed coffee table books by designer Piet Boon and creative director Karin Meyn

www.designhotels.com

HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES

As a foodie, I can’t imagine what could be more delightful than being surrounded by culinary-themed décor, including the signature wine bottle tree, that you’ll get at the Epicurean Hotel in Tampa, FL. The room rates, starting at $159, is just one of the reasons to book. You might want to experience the “Holiday Cupcake Cocktail Hour” or sample the winter brews and cocktails at EDGE, the rooftop bar.

Those in need of an extra room for visiting relatives, the Epicurean is offering rates as low as $159 throughout the holiday season. The Epicurean’s spa, Evangeline, spices up the holiday charm by incorporating seasonal fun flavors into the treatments.  Try the MarshMELLOW Out or Gingerbread manicure, the candy cane champagne pedicure and the peppermint mojito mistle toes foot and leg massage. Each seasonal treatment is accompanied by gourmet marshmallows from Chocolate Pi, a glass of champagne or tea, and a stocking stuffer from Farm House Fresh spa products. Will someone please tell my husband this would be an ideal gift for his always-busy and totally-deserving wife?

(855) U-AWAKEN (829-2536); www.EpicureanHotel.com

TEAM BUILDING ACTIVITIES TO AWAKEN YOUR SENSES (AND LOSE CALORIES IN THE PROCESS)

OK, I may have gotten carried away on the losing calories part to grab your attention, but truth be told, I hear meeting and events planners bemoan the challenge of discovering new team building activities. Saw these five new “elemental” team building activities being offered by Parc Jean-Drapeau, the manmade island in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River and just a five-minute car ride from downtown Montréal and thought I’d share. The elements include ice, water, fire, air, and earth. Each year the Parc’s Snow Festival takes advantage of those many feet of fallen white stuff by offering tube sliding, dog sledding, skating, and perhaps spending the night in an ice hotel. During the day, corporate groups can rent out the spaces and activities. Here are some examples:

Ice – Divide the group into small teams. Give them a “to do checklist” that includes such things as making a snow angel, snowshoeing through the woods, or building a snowman/woman. Take a picture of each complete task. After everyone’s finished, have them discuss which activity was the most challenging and how they overcame said challenge.

Fire – I’ve been to Montréal in the summer and I’ve oohed and aahed appropriately during the annual fireworks competition. (This is no small potatoes. Countries send their best teams and stunning light shows.) Parc Jean-Drapeau suggests having the teams climb the 157 steps of the Tour de Lévis, where they will be at eye-level for the Montréal International Fireworks Festival. Have some extremists in your group? How about hiring a local climbing outfitter to arrange a rappelling challenge. The team members can earn extra points if they rappel down the side of Tour de Lévis while the ‘ red glare bursts in the air.

Air – The Parc and the city of Montréal are stunning when seen from the windows of a helicopter, so why not begin with a helicopter ride and conclude with a BBQ dinner catered at Terrace du Lac, whose expansive patio overlooks the lake on Île Notre-Dame.

Earth – La Toundra Hall in the midst of the flower-laden Floralies Garden is a popular event space. Create small teams and set them off on a scavenger hunt.

Water – Parc Jean-Drapeau was the site of many water sports competitions during the 1967 Summer Olympics. The area still incites competition and daring. Tourisme Montréal encourages planners to let their group partake in a dragon boat lesson with H2playground. After the lesson, divide the group into teams. How about a sunset helicopter tour for the winners?

www.parcjeandrapeau.com; www.tourisme-montreal.org

TWO RESORTS COMPLETE FACELIFTS

Central Florida’s only AAA Four-Diamond oceanfront resort, The Shores Resort & Spa, has finished its six-month, property-wide transformation, which includes more than 20,000 sf of indoor and outdoor function space. The 11th floor meeting rooms have been made serene in a palette of cool ocean blues and sandy beach neutral tones. The ground floor 6,895-sf Grand Ballroom’s makeover includes new carpeting, paint and décor. Technology upgrades include increased 100 mpbs wireless bandwidth throughout the property and a new 80-inch flat screen monitor with a built-in AV package in the Surf Boardroom.  Treat your executives or small group of 20 to an evening in the new second floor private dining room. Turtle watchers will love this one: the Outdoor Terrace now has turtle season-friendly lighting as well as an upgraded sound system and new banquet equipment. All 221 guest rooms in the Daytona Beach, FL property received new carpeting, furniture. There’s lots more, so check it out for yourself.

(866) 934-SHORES; http://www.shoresresort.com.

Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay has finalized it multi-million dollar renovation of the hotel’s 20,000 sf of flexible event space. This includes 23 meeting rooms, a 9,860 sf Grand Ballroom and a 2,500 sf Bayview Ballroom. The redesign is to encourage “collaborative work environments,” says David Cesario, General Manager. New lighting, wall coverings, flooring and state of the art AV are included. The hotel gives planners options when it comes to room setups with beanbag chairs or pods as options. The new furniture should present a more relaxed atmosphere. Foyers have been repurposed to offer seating for impromptu breakouts. Eco-friendly aspects include LED lighting throughout the meeting space as well as “Smart Sensor” technology on the escalators. The 600-room Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay is the only marina-front downtown hotel. (305) 374-3900; www.MarriottBiscayneBay.com

Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries.  She is a Contributing Editor-Writer for Prevue Magazine and is an active member of ISES and MPI. She writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, Karen has owned magazines, written for newspapers, trade publications, radio and TV. As her alter-ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, she is a featured entertainer for corporate and social events. karenkuzsel@earthlink.net; www.ThePsychicLady.com; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady

 

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