On the Agenda
Corporate retreats offer a unique opportunity to pamper or reinvigorate teams. The following four corporate retreats for 2016 do just that—from wellness in the woods to lavish historic haunts. Here are our top four US corporate retreats for 2016.
L’Auberge de Sedona Resort & Spa, Arizona
“A bit of France in the desert.” This is how this creekside luxury resort has been described by past guests. Nestled among Arizona’s striking Red Rock Country, the L’Auberge de Sedona is a haven for rejuvenation. Whether morning yoga amid vibrant natural backdrops, guided imagery sessions led by a hypnotherapy expert or dining on locally sourced seasonal cuisine in an acclaimed creekside restaurant, there’s no shortage of mind, body and spirit pampering for corporate groups.
Spread over 11 acres, the resort offers 87 guest rooms and cottages (all 30 creekside and garden cottages have been recently refreshed) bedecked with relaxing details: imagine a juniper-scented wood-burning fireplace, stunning outdoor cedar showers and Italian linens.
L’Auberge Restaurant on Oak Creek, rated one of the top 10 restaurants in the Southwest by Conde Nast Traveler, offers groups alfresco dining under a canopy of cottonwood and sycamore trees. Along this same creek, fly fishing excursions, morning duck feedings, horseback riding, skygazing with an on-site astrologer and any number of nature-inspired spa treatments take place, such as “Feet in the Creek,” a seasonal, creekside treatment that combines the cool, soothing waters with signature scents and reflexology. The resort’s intimate size—with 3,500 sf of meeting space and four outdoor venues—means your group will likely be the only one on property, creating a revolving door for any number of team building and social gaming experiences.
A $25 million property-wide renewal recently transformed the five-bedroom Creekhouse into an inviting guest arrival experience. An interior refresh, weekly Farmers Market Feast, picnic-style in-room dining, and the introduction of the resort’s own wine label top off the revitalization.
The Greenbrier, West Virginia
As a National Historic Landmark spread over 10,000 acres, The Greenbrier has been greeting guests from around the world since the late 19th century. The property’s abounding mineral springs were and continue to be a draw for groups, including 26 US presidents and their entourages. Groups can capitalize on this history with a tour through an on-site bunker, a once upon a time Cold War fallout shelter and top secret relocation facility for US Congress. The bunker now holds five meeting rooms, often utilized by planners for James Bond, “M*A*S*H” or murder mystery-themed events.
Surrounded by the Allegheny Mountains, the 710-room resort is an elegant retreat with modern creature comforts. With over 230 years of history, guided history tours and a plethora of outdoor activities from bygone eras—from carriage and sleigh rides to horseshoes, falconry and croquet—are like doorways to the past. Fly fishing, hiking along the Meditation Trail or taking a stroll through the on-site Art Colony, archery and championship golf are some of the more easy going activities; adrenaline-seeking groups will also enjoy canopy tours, off-roading and climbing a 55-foot tower with over 20 different routes.
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Indoors, a 40,000-sf spa offers a diverse menu focused on holistic healing—from chakra healing to afternoon tea and massage combos. Movie screenings take place nightly at the indoor theatre, or night owls can book a late night laser tag session or trot on over to the new 103,000-sf gaming and entertainment facility for bowling and casino games. The Greenbrier offers nearly 156,000 sf of meeting space, including a sports performance complex and conference center.
Hawks Cay Resort, Florida
Halfway down the Florida Keys, Hawks Cay Resort rests on secluded Duck Key Island where renowned fishing and diving among the only living coral reef in the continental US happens. NBC Sports’ “Saltwater Experience” is filmed here and the waters surrounding the resort are inhabited by over 1,200 marine species, so whether your group intends to meander through underwater shipwrecks or give “snuba” a shot (which is virtually the same as scuba diving but without the tanks—divers are connected by hose to floating rafts that hold their air supply)—there is no shortage of ways to be wowed by the dazzling reef. On-site Sundance Watersports offers other exciting options for exploring the area via Jet Ski tours, parasailing, kayaking, paddleboarding and snorkeling. On-site dolphin interaction programs are also available.
Hawks Cay stretches over 60 acres, accommodating groups in 420 villas and hotel rooms. The sprawling resort also offers the largest waterfront meeting space of any resort in the Keys at 20,000-sf—recently renovated—accommodating up to 600. A property-wide renovation from 2014 to 2016 added numerous amenities including tech upgrades, luxury cabanas in a new adults-only area of the Tranquility Pool in The Oasis, penthouses equipped for stargazing and a refresh of the marina, soon include a restaurant with event space and outdoor seating, fire pits and panoramic views
of the ocean.
Mohonk Mountain House, New York
Five generations of Smileys have kept watch over this beloved luxury resort—which has come a long way from its bygone days as a 10-room inn and tavern. Positioned on Lake Mohonk near New York State’s Catskill Mountains, the 259-room Victorian castle resort, also a National Historic Landmark, hosted the first international arbitration conference for peaceful conflict resolution, giving momentum to the Hague Conferences, and eventually, the United Nations. It all began with Albert Smiley, a Quaker with passion for conservation and environmental awareness—Smiley’s vision can be traced across the resort’s 1,200 acres.
Earth-friendly design features permeate the resort—from the 30,000-sf spa’s recycled Shawangunk Mountain Ridge rock and geothermal heating and cooling, to the green roof terrace that not only helps insulate the building, but provides haven to butterflies, birds and yoga enthusiasts alike. Activities incorporate nature in creative ways whether rock climbing on Shawangunk, what the Nature Conservancy calls one of the “Last Great Places on Earth,” skating in an outdoor pavilion, ice carving, gnome hunting or geocaching, or strolling through stunning, award-winning gardens and greenhouses with a horticulturist. Teambuilding veer toward the quirky side: consider human ice bowling, broomball tournaments, PVC road rally challenges or gladiator games.
This fall, Mohonk will introduce Grove Lodge, a six-bedroom lodge for corporate retreats and incentive getaways, which adds to the resort’s 14 meeting and event venues. “Mindfulness in Meetings” workshops are also kicking off, offering stress reducing and productivity enhancement techniques.