Corporate retreats: people either love them or hate them. The key to these "working vacations" is to balance enjoyment and relaxation with productive brainstorming and worthwhile meetings and work sessions. This can be very difficult to do, especially in the kind of hotel-conference-room setting where these events usually take place.
You've probably heard that one of the main reasons that companies organize corporate retreats is to get a change of scenery for their employees. Yes, the retreat might be taking place in a different city (or even a different country), but the atmosphere of the venue where the retreat is being held is often not much different from the atmosphere that the employees experience day after day at work.
To really shake things up and give retreat-goers something unexpected to help them reach the peak of productivity and creativity, you have to think outside the box of hotel conference rooms and convention centers. We want to share some unique corporate retreat locations with you. These facilities have everything that you need to get the most out of your working vacation, but they are nothing like your usual conference centers.
Cerritos is about 40 miles away from Baja California's most famous tourist destination, Cabo San Lucas. The legendary scenery and attractive climate are right here, but the distractions of Cabo are just far enough away. Cerritos is probably best known for its surfing. Consistent breaks draw some of the world's best surfers, including wave-riding legend Kelly Slater. The rolling waves and beautiful coastline also make this a great vacation destination and an ideal place for an out-of-the-ordinary corporate retreat.
Hacienda Cerritos is the perfect place to host a gathering of employees and executives. This 14-room villa has all the amenities of a luxury hotel. Plus, there are plenty of common areas for work sessions. When work ends, there are whale watching cruises, beach hikes and horseback riding treks for retreat goers to enjoy.
Panama City has long been a commercial center. The buzz of commerce can be felt everywhere, even on the charming streets of the old town, Casco Viejo. Because it is such a business-oriented place, there are lots of conference facilities in Panama City. To avoid the usual convention center experience, you can host your retreat at the American Trade Hotel. This colonial-era boutique hotel has meeting facilities, but they are infused with an historic atmosphere that is nothing like what you find in most conference venues. After a productive day of meeting and brainstorming, retreaters can head to a jazz bar, enjoy a salsa club or try some of the city's famous fusion cuisine.
Saint Barthélemy, usually called Saint Barts, is one of the most luxurious and pleasant of the Caribbean's island destinations. Despite being a francophone island, it is an ideal place for a corporate retreat for all companies, regardless of their employees' language skills. This is because many of the vacation venues on Saint Barts are private villas. Your employees can stay in one place and enjoy a private experience that even the best resort could not provide. Also, retreat planners would not have to seek out meeting spaces because the villa's common areas could be used for meetings. You could have a brainstorming session on a verandah and a casual strategy meeting in the living room.
Villa Roxanne is one of the many villa options on Saint Barts. This six bedroom venue has plenty of common areas. It is only a short distance from the main town of Gustavia, which is filled with restaurants and nightlife options.
What about something completely different? Many people find the rugged beauty of coastal Maine to be inspiring and energizing. The estates that sit in this remote-feeling area are quite large. Some people host destination weddings at the biggest of them - all the guests stay onsite for the entire weekend. French's Point is one example of such a place. The main house has 13 bedrooms, and there are additional cottages for rent nearby. Though this estate usually hosts weddings, it can accommodate all sorts of happenings, including corporate events.
Or you can search elsewhere for the perfect location for a corporate retreat. As long as a place has overnight facilities and common areas - and it is located in a unique destination - you have all the ingredients that you need for a productive retreat that will stick in attendees' memories for a long time.
Do you have any insights about where to host an out-of-the-ordinary corporate retreat? Share them in the comments section below.