On Location: 5 Unforgettable Experiences for Incentive Groups in Andalusia, Spain

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SpainThese immersive group experiences showcase the culture and gastronomy of the Andalusia region of Spain.

Spain leads the world in the production, sale and export of olive oil, so an olive oil tasting is a must, along with gifts of olive oil as room amenities. A tasting at D’Oliva Marbella, located in Marbella’s Old Town, features 6 different premium virgin olive oils from different parts of Spain, soaked up with freshly baked bread and accompanied, of course, by a nice red wine. The session, ideal for small groups, is as educational as it is fun, and attendees leave with a deeper knowledge of this liquid gold.

SpainOr how about a private equestrian show at Hacienda Atalaya Alta in Carmona, which has a rich history dating back to the early 17th century? Guests can watch the show, complete with flamenco dancers, as they sip champagne on the terrace, followed by a gourmet lunch in one of the Hacienda’s dedicated meeting halls, which can accommodate 550 people (up to 1,500 diners tented).

The family-run Caviar de Riofrio, located in a small village in the mountains midway between Granada and Malaga, supplies caviar to many MICHELIN-starred restaurants and is well known by the celebrity chef set. Its claim to fame is that it is the first certified organic caviar in the world; the area’s natural conditions  Spain with year-round water at a stable temperature from a natural spring located nearby are ideal for raising the sturgeon from which the caviar eggs are laid. Small groups can enjoy a caviar tasting, and there is even an immersive tour where they can take a dive in a sturgeon pool with the biologists, followed by a caviar tasting.

Jamon Iberico, the local ham, is a popular first course in this region, but there’s much moreSpain to this delicacy than meets the eye. At Los Patios De Bestas in Malaga’s City Center, small groups can partake in an information-packed jamon and wine pairing led by the owner and well-known sommelier Julián Sanjuán in a charming room lined with racks of wine. The restaurant, which is part wine shop, part wine bar and part gourmet restaurant, can accommodate groups as large as 40 in its private rooms upstairs.

A visit to the region would not be complete without a tour of the Alhambra in Granada, one of the most famous monuments of Islamic architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Follow this with a Nasrid-themed dinner and, if the timing is right, a classical musicSpain performance by the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada inside the Alhambra in the Palace of Charles V, as we were able to experience during the International Music and Dance Granada Festival.

The accommodations at the Gran Meliá properties in the region—the elegant Hotel Don Pepe in Marbella, the classic Hotel Colon in Seville (which is about to undergo a stunning renovation of its guest rooms) and the beachfront Palacio de Sancti Petri—are of incentive quality, and the brand’s charming hospitality is sure to make for an unforgettable experience for your qualifiers.

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.