Athens

December Newsletter

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We hope you had a relaxing and enjoyable time over the last week or so and we look forward to a fabulous 2018 full of exciting conferences and events in venues that are old favourites as well as some new or improved hotels.

Sylvain will be out and about over the next couple of months so if you would like him to call in to discuss your plans for the year ahead or the possibility of our help to negotiate rates please do let me know.

There is plenty to look forward to this year including lots of new hotels and venues opening up.  Here are just a few of them.

New to London is the Vintry and Mercer offering 92 bespoke bedrooms, a Mediterranean restaurant, cocktail bar, roof terrace, 3 meeting and event spaces and a gym.  All due to open early this year.

Principal London, due to open soon, is an imposing grade II listed building in Bloomsbury offering 334 bedrooms, a Ballroom for up to 450 delegates with 8 additional meeting rooms as well as the Palm Court, Fitz Bar and Neptune Restaurant.  It will be wonderful to have this restored landmark back on the list of top hotels in London.

In the late summer the South Bank will see the opening of Bankside a sleek, 6 storey new glass building packed full of unique design pieces offering a trendy, 161 bedroom, design hotel in this vibrant part of London.

Hawkstone Hall in Shropshire is a sprawling 18th century country mansion set in 88 acres of grounds.  It is due to fully open in the late autumn when the 40 suites and bedrooms will be added to the impressive meeting spaces, gilded ceiling public areas and private chapel.

The Langley, Buckingham is planned to open this summer and is set to be a luxurious 41 bedroom boutique hotel.  Surrounded by 500 acres of grounds it has accommodation across the main house, the 18th century stables and brew house.  There will be a fitness centre and fine dining in the signature restaurant.

Both Hyatt and Four Seasons have added to their family of hotels with brand new ski properties which opened in December.

Hyatt Centric La Rosiere has panoramic views of Mont Blanc and the Tarentaise Valley offering 69 bedrooms, spa, bar, restaurant and 6 meeting spaces.

Whilst the Four Seasons Megève also with views of Mont Blanc, has direct access to Mont d’arbois slops.  This hotel has 55 bedrooms as well as 2 restaurants (one Japanese), bar and a spa.

Once the $15m renovation is complete in late 2018 the Athens Marriott will open to be the only Marriott currently in the city.  The hotel was formerly the Metropolitan Athens and will have 366 guest bedrooms as well as large meeting spaces, restaurants and bar.

Dixon London isn’t due to open until February 2019 but is definitely worth a mention.  The hotel will consist of the converted Grade II listed, 1906 magistrate’s court and police station along with a new build to the rear.  It will provide 193 much needed bedrooms as well as conference facilities and a restaurant.

CP Felbridge

December Newsletter

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There are some great options for meetings and conferences to the South of London that can work out more cost effective than holding your event in the city centre.  A couple of hotels that have come to our attention recently are the Crowne Plaza Felbridge which has just been re-branded following a £3 million refurbishment.  The hotel offers 116 bedrooms and meeting space for up to 500 delegates in theatre style with 8 additional meeting rooms.  There is also a restaurant, bar health club and spa.
The East Sussex National Resort is located near Brighton and offers 104 bedrooms and meeting space for up to 600 delegates.  There are 2 championship golf courses, spa, health club, restaurants and bars and the outside space makes it an ideal venue for team building activities including motorised vehicles.
A collection of three hotels all on the stunning the 400 acre private Farncombe Estate just outside Broadway in the Cotswolds.  There is ample space for external team building activities.  Each venue is individual styled each a little different.  The Fish Hotel has 67 comfortable, contemporary bedrooms across 3 buildings (the Farmhouse, Outhouse and Stables) a restaurant with terrace, and conference and meeting facilities for up to 120 delegates.  Foxhill Manor offers total luxury and is perfect for exclusive use with its 8 stunning bedrooms, a screening room, drawing room, dining room, bar, gardens and a pantry full of goodies. The property comes with a private chef and a dedicated host butler to take care of all your needs.  The Dormy House has 98 individually designed bedrooms, 3 cosy lounges, a choice of places to dine, semi-private dining rooms, gardens, golf and now a fabulous Spa.  House Spa, with its 16m infinity pool, gym, thermal suite and treatment rooms, is available for use by guests at Foxhill Manor or Dormy House properties.  The perfect place to relax.

But if you are looking for a venue in London…

The Mermaid, London has re-launched their River Room after a comprehensive refurbishment that has seen the ceiling height raised, pillars removed and the bar relocated.  This is a great venue for meetings, gala dinners and of course Christmas parties.

The new Residence Inn London Bridge is now open with apartment style accommodation comprising a separate bedroom, living area with workspace and fully equipped kitchen complete with fridge, microwave, hob, oven dishwasher and cookware.  A complimentary hot breakfast is served every morning and there is also a fitness centre, laundry facilities, “Grab and Go” Market in the lobby and complimentary wifi throughout. Perfect for those wanting extra space or for longer stays.

Bath

Bath

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The Royal Crescent Hotel in Bath is a beautifully appointed town house hotel with 45 luxury bedrooms and meeting space for up to 50 delegates in cabaret.  The hotel has a lovely garden, Spa and Bath house in which to relax and unwind. The Dower House Restaurant offers award winning cuisine from head chef David Campbell. Due to its size, the hotel is an excellent option if you are looking for exclusive use for a group of 45.

I know we have already mentioned the arrival of Apex Hotels in Bath, but we wanted to celebrate the fact that they are now fully open!  The High-tech event space can hold up to 400 people and they are offering unique street food boxes from their deli for delegates’ lunches.  Definitely one to consider for your Christmas party in the South West!

There is so much to see and do in Bath that a local tour company has put together some great corporate off-site activities such as – a visit to a gin distillery or local craft beer brewery, a visit to a local blacksmith with a demonstration, a ‘bake-off’ competition or ‘curry-off’, a tour of local film sites in Bath and the Cotswolds or simply an off-site dinner.  Added to that, the world famous Bath Pump Rooms and Cathedral and the option to visit Longleat for some team building and the possibilities are endless.

Alveston Manor

September Newsletter

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We had a fabulous stay at Stoke Park Hotel recently.  The team there is very welcoming and friendly.  We stayed in the Pavilion, which is a separate building also housing the pool, gym and spa.  We were dining in the main house and they provided transport between the buildings as it was raining, which was much appreciated.

The dinner was delicious and breakfast was superb!  The hotel has extensive sports facilities including indoor, grass and clay tennis courts, a 2 story gym, hot yoga room, classes and a golf course.  There are a selection of meeting rooms most with direct access to the grounds, so perfect for summer events.

Ashorne Hill Hotel is an interesting mix of the historic manor with its original features and the purpose built conference centre.  There are 38 meeting rooms and 110 bedrooms and with 35 acres of land there is lots of space for team building.

Macdonald Alveston Manor in Stratford-upon-Avon is a lovely hotel.  A real mix of historic elegance and modern comfort.  After a very relaxing stay I wouldn’t hesitate to put it forward for meetings of up to 150 or as a base to explore the town.  The bedroom was very comfortable and quiet, the food delicious and the staff were all very friendly and welcoming.

Dartington Hall Hotel, Totnes, is set around a medieval Courtyard in a 1200 acre estate with 25 acres of grade II listed gardens so is perfect for team building activities.  The whole venue is packed full of original features.  There are 50 bedrooms and 10 meeting rooms, and the dining rooms serve delicious, locally sourced food too.

If you are looking for a modern venue offering something a bit different, we could look at the Jaguar Experience for you.  It is located just outside Birmingham and has contemporary conference facilities, ranging from a boardroom for 22 to a room for 300 in theatre style to the Reception hall pictured below.  As well as holding your meeting here they also provide Manufacturing Tours and driving experiences to make your day truly memorable.

New Hall Hotel

Great Feedback

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We have had some lovely feedback from clients that we have booked venues for last month and wanted to share it with you.

A summer party that we booked at 30 Euston Square went very well. “Thank you SO VERY MUCH for everything you and your team did to create a truly wonderful event on Saturday.  I can honestly say I have never worked with such a professional, well run and accommodating venue.  I have had really positive feedback from everyone, especially regarding the food.  Please pass on our thanks to everyone that helped make it such a fantastic night.” CW

“Huge thank you to all the staff that looked after us so wonderfully this week at the Crowne Plaza Amsterdam South.  Everything was absolutely first class from the accommodation to the AV, catering, meeting rooms and bar service. The staff are amazing and so friendly and helpful.  The feedback we received from all the attendees was very positive.” RE

We also had very good feedback from an event that we booked at New Hall Hotel in Sutton Coldfield.  The hotel has a fascinating history and is packed with original features.  There are 60 bedrooms and a range of meeting rooms from the Great Chamber which was used by King Henry VIII, to the light and bright Garden Pavilion which has a maximum capacity of 200. The outside space provides room for team building activities in the summer.

Tanya had a very enjoyable stay at the Cotswold Water Park last month.  The hotel is in a stunning location – as the name suggests it is located on the bank of one of the 152 lakes. The hotel itself has 21 meeting rooms, a fabulous spa (it’s worth visiting just for this!), Bar and Grill, Brasserie and the Boathouse restaurant.  Tanya had dinner in the Boathouse and was really impressed with the quality and value for money.  There are 328 bedrooms all with views of the lake, many with a balcony and there are even apartments for families or longer stays.

portaventura

August Newsletter

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We have had some great presentation recently from venues and hotels around the country as well as some fantastic destinations.  We have also been in contact with Destination Management Companies who offer hugely helpful services for international bookings including transport from airports to hotels, and from hotels to of site venues for dinners and activities.  They have a wealth of local knowledge and it is great to have teams around the world to assist us with our international bookings.

If you are planning a team meeting or an incentive trip in a sunny climate and don’t want to travel too far, this might well be the place for you.  PortAventura is a resort covering 5 hotels each with their own meeting rooms and restaurants, a convention centre with enormous rooms for up to 1200 delegates, a theme park for all ages featuring the wild west, Mexico, China, Polynesia and the Mediterranean, Ferrari Land, 3 Golf Courses and a beach.  And all of this just 1 hour from Barcelona!

Even closer to home is Molineux Stadium home of Wolves Football Club.  They have a vast selection of meeting spaces including 8 really large spaces that can cater for seated dinners for up to 550 people as well as smaller meeting rooms and executive boxes.  And with the training ground available for hire it is a great venue for team building activities.  Day Delegate Rates start from £25.00 per person—so great value too.

The Abbey Hotel, Redditch is another good option for meetings with some team building.  There are 7 main meeting rooms for up to 180 delegates with an additional 4 syndicate rooms.  There is a choice of restaurants, an 18 hole golf course, parkland, health club with classes, a spa and pool.

You can’t accuse the team at Montague on the Gardens of having a lack of imagination!  For the summer they have turned their outdoor space into a cool Beach Bar complete with sand, palm trees, coconut cocktails and a jet ski.  There aren’t many dates still available so if you are looking for somewhere for a staff event give me a call.  If a winter event works better for you, there is a good chance that the Alpine Ski Lodge will be back in time for Christmas!

On a trip to Manchester recently we stopped off in Cloud 23 of the Hilton Deansgate, which is a lovely cocktail bar on the 23rd floor with stunning views over Manchester.  A light and airy venue which can be hired exclusively for a large enough event.

We stayed at the Innside Manchester Hotel which is within walking distance of the city centre.  There are 208 bedrooms each with an open plan bathroom.  The meeting spaces are all on the same floor, the largest with a maximum capacity of 220 in theatre style.  They also have the contemporary Creative meeting room pictured here, perfect for small, informal meetings.

Sailing

July Newsletter

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After a month with the highest temperatures for a June in London and the most rain in June in Scotland I thought we would feature hotels with waterfront locations!

The Good Hotel London is a brand new floating hotel in Royal Victoria Dock with views over the Thames, the magic lights of the Docklands and the skyline of Canary Wharf.  They have meeting facilities for up to 50 in classroom and a lounge or the fabulous roof terrace suitable for drinks receptions for up to 100 guests.  The hotel is very reasonably priced and has a strong ethical approach and a firm focus on supporting the local community sourcing as much as they can from local small businesses.

Harbour Hotels is a group of beautiful hotels in the UK.  They vary is size and style, many have excellent meeting facilities and luxury spa and leisure facilities.  They are predominantly on the coast with some town centre locations too.  The Southampton Harbour Hotel is a newly built yacht inspired hotel with 85 bedrooms, a seafood restaurant, roof terrace, champagne bar and luxury spa.

The Lake is a stunning new hotel is due to open in August in Ullswater in Cumbria.  It is based around an 18th Century building in 18 Acres of land.  There are 40 beautifully appointed bedrooms, family rooms and cottages and, whilst there aren’t any meeting rooms, the hotel can be booked exclusively.

Hotel Cascais Miragem is perfect for incentives located as it is just 20 minutes from Lisbon and 30 minutes from the airport.  There are 18 meeting rooms and a selection of restaurants and bars with private dining options for up to 160 guest.  They always offer an excellent level of service and can also assist with booking outings, activities and team building options for your group.

Forte Village

Summer Newsletter

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If you are looking for a destination for a group, for an international incentive or conference from 10 delegates up to 800 then Forte Village, Sardinia is the place to go!

I was invited for a visit recently and was amazed by the level of service, attention to detail, the enthusiasm of the team and spaces available.

As the name suggests, it is indeed a Village, with 21 restaurants to choose from, 4 and 5 star hotels, individual cottages (with a stunning bedroom and bathroom) and villas made up of 4 or more separate en suite rooms each with their own lounge area.  All rooms have a private terrace or balcony, the entry level rooms are spacious and luxurious by anyone’s standards.  The whole village has been refurbished to an excellent standard.

There is a large private beach and numerous swimming pools, bowling alley, go kart track, wine tasting in the wine bar, a wine cellar and the only Hell’s Kitchen outside the US.  There is live music in the square, and a comprehensive spa that is second to none!  I experienced the circuit of 6 luxurious outdoor pools, each with a different level of salts, minerals and oils as well as a mud bath and can whole heartedly recommend it!

Whilst the complex can cater for very high numbers it is well laid out so that you don’t feel over-crowded and it has a friendly feel.  Depending on your group size and requirements most areas can be privatized for you.

Lympston Manor

February Newsletter

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With Christmas well and truly behind us we are looking forward to a great year of conferences, events and dinners.  Here are a few venues that might be of interest to you.  Whatever it is that you are looking for please just get in touch as we are more than happy to look for fantastic venues for you, both in the UK and internationally.

Dinner with a difference?

 If you are lucky enough to be organising a nice private lunch or dinner there are so many options to choose from and, more than ever, we are being asked to find something a bit different.

There are lots of restaurants that have smaller rooms available for private dining, chef’s tables for an immersive experience or, if you have a very big group, exclusive use of the restaurant can be arranged with enough advance notice.

One such restaurant that we visited recently was Sexy Fish in Berkley Square.  The restaurant has a private dining room housing 2 of the largest live coral reef tanks in the world.  It can cater for a private party of up to 48 for a seated dinner or 60 for a standing reception.

We had excellent feedback from a group who spent the evening in a cookery school in London.  From just £120.00 per person they made their own pasta, sauces and more under the tuition of a top chef and were then served a delicious meal with organic wine.  A great time was had by all and we wouldn’t hesitate to put it forward again.

Before Christmas I was lucky enough to be invited onto the Belmond British Pullman, sister to the Orient Express for a really special 5 course Christmas lunch.  Between the delicious food, free flowing wine, singers, magicians and attentive staff we often forgot to look out of the window of this iconic train at the passing countryside.  Running regularly from Victoria station it is a great option if you are out to impress!

Independent museums such as the London Film Museum are a great alternative to your regular restaurant if you are looking for a truly memorable dining experience.  More suited to high end events they can offer an exclusive tour of the exhibits with a drinks reception before a seated dinner.  Exclusive hire of the venue does increase the cost but for the right numbers it can be well worth it!

New Openings

Lympston Manor in East Devon is due to open in April and is definitely a hotel to look out for.  It’s a luxury Georgian mansion with a vineyard and 21 stunning bedrooms.

From the 1st May, The Ned, London is taking bookings for its Edwardian styled bedrooms.  There are a mix of categories from cosy up to generous bedrooms with king size four poster beds.  There are also a number of rooms available for private hire for meetings or dining as well as a selection of restaurants and bars.

The Tamburlaine Hotel in Cambridge is due to open in the spring.  The hotel will have an open plan ground floor with bar, restaurant and lounge as well as 5 meeting rooms and 155 spacious bedrooms.

New Space

The team at Jury’s Inn Hinckley Island are settling into their new space after a multi-million pound refurbishment that has seen the main suites refurbished including the Lakeside suite which is a multi-level meeting room with its own bar overlooking the lake.  There is also a brand new, contemporary self-contained training suite on the top floor.  This new space includes a boardroom. 3 syndicate rooms and a lounge which can cater for up to 60 delegates for a reception.

runnymede

December Newsletter

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It’s nearly the end of the year and time to reflect on our last 12 months.  All the places we have booked, visited, stayed and had presentations.  There have been so many!

We try to visit as many hotels and venues as we can so that we have first had knowledge of them and also have sales teams come to visit us in our office as well at catching up with them at trade shows.

Here are a few facts and figures.

We have visited 9 different destinations including Dublin, Hungary, Brussels and Alicante.

We have visited or stayed in over 60 hotels/venues

And we have had over 120 people visit us in our office to tell us about their properties.

Here are just some of the properties that stood out for us.

We would love to hear about hotels and venues that you really like and the reasons why.

And if there are any destinations that you have used for your meetings, conferences or incentive trips that you would like to tell us about, again, we would love to hear from you.

Lagonissi, Greece is another beautiful destination and one of Sylvain’s favourites this year. The Grand Resort Lagonissi has excellent conference facilities with a selection of accommodation including luxury villas with their own pool such as the one below.  Prices are surprisingly reasonable off peak and although it’s a 3 hour 20 minutes flight away it is well worth it!

“I visited Lainston House this year and it is beautiful, the grounds are lovely with so much to offer for team building including falconry.  The cookery school is of a very high standard so perfect for a high end team activity.” says Louise.

The Aviator by Tag has always been one of our favourite hotels.  The accommodation is great and gives you fantastic views of Farnborough airport and runway.  “The food (both dinner and breakfast) and the cocktails are amazing!” says Karen “The hotel really quirky too”

“I really like Eynsham Hall, Oxford” says Sue. “It’s traditional, trendy and cosy all at once with loads of outdoor space for team building but what stood out most was the friendly, helpful staff.”

“If you’re looking for something different with a bit of space, I would suggest Centre Parcs Longleat.  The tree houses are great but there are plenty of other accommodation options too. There is a self-contained area for conferences for large numbers so you can theme it with your company logo etc. to make your delegates feel really welcome.  The conference team are very helpful and we had great feedback so wouldn’t hesitate to put them forward again.” Says Karen.

We all love the Runnymede-on-Thames and when Louise had a client re-book for 2017 straight after their 2016 event we know it’s not just us! The hotel has a selection of adaptable meeting rooms, a choice of restaurants and the bedrooms are really comfortable.  The staff are always so helpful too.

We booked an event at The Kitchin Restaurant in Edinburgh this year.  The team there are so good and we had great feedback which is what it is all about.

Drayton Manor Hotel and Theme Park are a favourite for Karen, partly because of Rory the mascot, but also because the conference team are so proactive when it comes to tailoring proposals to the client’s needs.

“I liked working with thestudio this year” says Louise.  “I booked a couple of meetings in their venues in Birmingham & Manchester and found them to have really flexible meeting space and I received excellent feedback about the catering and service.  They also have venues in Leeds and Glasgow

Kirsty really enjoyed her stay at the Crowne Plaza Marlow and their 80’s School Disco night! “So much better than my school discos! Everyone really got into the spirit of the party which was largely down to the staff, they were friendly and welcoming and the food was Fab!”

Kirsty, Karen and Tanya all stayed at the Vineyard this year and really enjoyed the 5 course taster menu with matching wines introduced by the resident sommelier.  “It was such a great experience as we tried things we wouldn’t normally.  The sommelier was informative and entertaining and the food was delicious.  We also stayed in spacious bedrooms with very comfortable beds.”  Said Tanya.

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