Teambuilding On Alcatraz (And Some Other Things You Might Want To Know About).


I normally write some very humorous, entertaining and self-deprecating introduction to my blogs. This blog is already long, so consider this that.


During it’s nearly thirty-year history as America’s premier maximum security prison, thousands of the nation’s most incorrigible prisoners spent day and night trying to figure out how to escape the 22 acres of living hell. Irony being what it is, you can now pay to go there and have fun while learning valuable team building skills.

Picture this… and I am not making this up… back in the day, prisoners sent to “The Hole” tried to keep their sanity by ripping a button from their uniform, tossing it into the darkness, and then crawling around on hands and knees to find it… and repeat….and repeat.


Now you can cruise over on a luxury Hornblower yacht and upon arrival, you and seven of your colleagues are handcuffed together (I said, I am not making this up) and thrown in “the hole” along with a jar of 300 buttons. The door is closed plunging you all into complete darkness. The buttons are scattered around the small, cold cell and the team is given a certain amount of time to gather as many buttons as they can while handcuffed together. Now that’s what I call fun!

John, our Hornblower host, told me several other games he has helped organize for corporate clients, but I am afraid I don’t remember the details since I kept thinking about being handcuffed in a freezing, completely blackened 5 x 9 concrete cell to seven other people I don’t really know (not that that last part matters) trying to pick up buttons and put them in a jar.

Apparently the team that collects the most buttons gets a sort of pardon by the “warden” and they are allowed to start the next equally intense prison-related challenge with one of their team-members hand-cuff free. So you see, there IS light at the end of the tunnel.


The really good news is that after the games, and assuming everyone is still sane, your group can enjoy a gourmet meal in the prisoner’s cafeteria (or even in the prisoner’s shower room). If the pricing for that last part is a little over budget, no worries, you can follow up the team building with a Bay Cruise, dinner, drinks, and recovery time.

And one hint for those who do not wish to participate in the games… I am told that if you sew enough raincoats together you can make an inflatable raft, sail to Marin, steal a car, and head for Mexico. And now that I think about it, that could also be an excellent team-building exercise.

I am, of course, poking fun. Alcatraz is a very cool place to host an event. For more info… click here…

Announcing Two New Luxury Hotels in Napa Valley

Las Alcobas Napa Valley


Part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection, the recently opened 68-room Las Alcobas is located on Main Street in St. Helena, adjoining the Beringer Estate and Winery. It features a 2200 square foot “Event Barn” (with an exhibition kitchen thrown in), outdoor event spaces, and then, well…Beringer is right there and they have “stuff’ too. Plus all of that other Napa Valley stuff. Did someone say “fam trip”?

The Archer Napa


It’s been taking a while, but a new luxury, boutique hotel is coming to the heart of downtown Napa in 2017.  F&B at the 183-room, five-story property will be managed by The Charlie Palmer Group (if you are a foodie you know who that is).

Archer Napa will feature over 15,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting and event space, the largest single space with 2,540 square feet. For slightly smaller events there is a secondary event room (over 1,700 square feet) as well as two breakout rooms that are both nearly 600 square feet. 

The expansive rooftop will offer nearly 9,000 square feet prime for entertaining. With a rooftop bar, fire pits, a chef’s show kitchen along with a ledge pool, cabanas, indoor/outdoor fitness room, and spa treatment rooms, there is no other space like it in Napa.