Online Resource To Find Something Really Cool And Different For Their Next High-Level Retreat. Chateauform

Here’s a cool online resource when your high-living Executive type says he/she wants something really cool and different for their next high-level retreat.

Chateauform’ has been operating venues dedicated to corporate meetings and events in Europe since 1996. Today these 45 “houses” are located in France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, and … China (which as far as I remember is not in Europe…yet). They are situated in countryside settings close to major European cities with easy access to and from international airports and with breathing space for working, reflection and relaxation.

All-inclusive, unique and generous residential packages (which include all meeting and break-out rooms with high-tech A.V. equipment, WiFi, all meals and breaks, refreshments, wine with lunch and dinner, open self-serve bar, guestrooms, plus many leisure and sport activities). No hidden costs since the total price is provided upfront. And huge bottom line savings because no European VAT is charged on U.S master billing (except in Germany – read the fine print and the verb comes at the end). The Chateau’s also provide scrumptious homemade food cooked by The Chef (presumably) and inspired by local recipes, using fresh local produce in seasonal dishes. http://www.chateauform.com/en/

Network Of World-Class Accommodations Where Sustainability Is The Touchstone: National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World

National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World www.nationalgeographiclodges.com

They describe their collection as “a network of world-class accommodations where sustainability is the touchstone…. These are not simply hotels, they are the concepts of dreamers come to fruition: unique lodges that defy the imagination in their design and detail, founded on a deep desire to protect the cultures and precious ecosystems that surround them.” A marketing mouthful. I am tempted to de-construct the “concepts of dreamers come to fruition” or the “defy the imagination” lines, but the places are all so cool that I will give them a pass.

You can search or browse their 43 properties by destination or activity. Warning… once you start browsing you will not get any work done.

530 Member Properties Around The World: Relais & Chateaux

Relais & Chateaux www.relaischateaux.com/us/

I am sure everyone has heard of R&C. For 60 years they set the standard for the best of the best small, boutique luxury hotels and gourmet restaurants. If you have not heard of them, or at least never considered them out for one of your executive or Board retreats, check them out. The site is easily searchable too.

Their marketing is filled with an amazing array (or is it cavalcade) of big words that speak of a tradition of service and hospitality… and although I have a hard time with big words, whatever they say about any of their 530 member properties around the world is true (or at least very close to being true). From snow-covered high mountain chalets, country houses surrounded by vineyards, villas overlooking the sea, to sophisticated hotels and/or gourmet restaurants in the heart of major cities, they have it all.Important Note… I repeat… not every one of these properties will take a group, or if they do, you follow their rules, not yours. But that’s OK. These are not just places, they are experiences. Go with it (but check your stock value first before committing).

282 Independently Owned Boutique Hotels in 50 Countries: Design Hotels of the World

Design Hotels of the World www.designhotels.com

I am going to cut through their marketing stuff because… marketing stuff kind of drives me crazy. Cut to the heart of it… 282 independently owned boutique hotels in 50 countries. The common thread? Thought-provoking design and architecture, plus a bit of “cultural authenticity” (whatever that is)… plus gourmet cuisine and a high level of service.

When I think of DH, I think of clients that want something hip (whatever that means) and different (whatever that means).  Want a local example? Hotel Healdsburg in the Sonoma Wine Country. If you are familiar with it (and you should be), you will get a feel for Design Hotels in general. Just understand that every property is completely and absolutely different. I know that makes no sense, but it makes sense to me.

Same warning about some that takes groups and some that don’t. They are all different and so some are more conducive to meetings than others. Regardless… use them as a resource.

Supplier Relationship Management: Micebook

Micebook.com. Yes, that is its name, and for those of you snickering about it, MICE stands for Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Events. At least that is what I think it stands for since everyone seems to have a different answer for the C and E… but close enough for jazz.

The site is positioned as a “Supplier Relationship Management” tool (SRM). Now when someone says SRM you can nod like you know what they are talking about in the same way I nod when someone says CRM and I have no idea what they are talking about. The good news is this is a tool to manage the supply base, except Micebook keeps the contact details up to date for everyone. And the site is FREE to Meeting Planners.

Event planners can use MICEBOOK to search for CVBs, hotels, venues, DMCs, airlines, representation companies and an ever-growing database of other Meeting, Incentive, Conference and Exposition suppliers.  At the moment there are about 4000 global suppliers. It keeps growing.

23 Really Cool Properties Worldwide: Dominique DeBay Hotels & Resorts

Dominique DeBay Hotels & Resorts www.ddhrm.com

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DDHRM is what we call a “Rep Firm”, although everyone who does that shudders at the phrase. Think of it this way… all of these amazingly cool boutique hotels have to get their message out to a huge world-wide market. But most of them are smaller, maybe even family-owned operations. Their solution, ban together with someone like New York based Dominique to get the message out to the travel and meeting community. Right now she speaks for 23 really cool properties and although her web site is slightly confusing to me (probably my fault), it is an excellent resource to find stuff you may not have found. One good thing about them being a small operation… you can call their office and someone answers the phone.