ELAXING IN A TRANQUIL SETTING ISN'T AN OPTION JUST FOR LEISURE CLIENTS. Several properties offer worthwhile picks to get your business travelers out of the stuffy boardroom and into wide-open spaces. As an added bonus, after the meeting adjourns, your clients can partake in these properties' additional perks.
The Homestead (www.thehomestead.com), open since 1766, rests in Hot Springs, VA. The property boasts 72,000 square feet of indoor meeting space and an additional 24,000 square feet of outdoor space. Unique venues include an equestrian show ring and an outdoor pavilion at the property's Shooting Club. For an interesting backdrop, clients might opt for the two-level Commonwealth Room, which is outlined with murals; or the outdoor pool area, with more than 8,000 square feet of patio space.
The Homestead provides groups with audiovisual equipment and most meeting rooms have Wi-Fi and T1. If bonding with coworkers is on the agenda, make sure to clue clients in to the Homestead's new Teambuilding program. With this program, business clients can learn about their colleagues through a series of games and challenges based on movies and TV shows. Guests can choose from such options as "Corporate Survivor" and "Trump...Are You Hired?"
When the laptops are safely stowed and the projectors are put to the side, guests of The Homestead may enjoy the European-style Homestead Spa, playing a round of golf on any of the three championship courses or just lounging in their room or suite. Travel agents sending clients may contact Mike Aylmer, director of sales and marketing ([email protected], 540-839-7454).
A little further south in sunny Orlando, with more than 150,000 square feet of meeting space to choose from, Caribe Royale Orlando All-Suites Hotel & Convention Center (www.cariberoyale.com) is another nice pick for business travelers. The property recently introduced a new meetings offer, "We Give You the Credit," for 2008 and 2009 groups and conventions. With this offer, groups can earn cash credits back to their master account and can choose two freebies from a list that includes roundtrip airport transfers, rounds of golf at a local course, a board or pre-planning meeting or a welcome amenity. A contract, signed by September 30, is required to qualify and credits are based upon nights spent in the suite.
Travel agents sending individual clients should contact Director of Leisure Sales Susan Trembley (407-238-8483, [email protected]) or Yoli Jaramillo (407-239-8561). For groups, initial inquiries can be sent to [email protected], and a group sales manager will respond.
In New York City, Jumeirah Essex House (www.jumeirahessexhouse.com) is a key location for your out-of-towner clients who are conducting business in the Big Apple.
This luxury property's conference facilities are equipped to handle groups of 10 to 180. For an intimate setting, clients can also opt for the Specialty Suites. As an added bonus, none of the meeting rooms have columns, which adds to the seating arrangement options. Travel agents sending clients may speak to any one of the dedicated reservationists in the Jumeirah Essex House sales department (212-484-5143, [email protected]).