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Inspiration for corporate meeting in France or Spain, February

Inspiration for corporate meeting in France or Spain, February

Dec 12th, 2007, 08:23 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2
Inspiration for corporate meeting in France or Spain, February

Dear Fodorites,

I've just changed jobs and have been tasked with planning a 2-day corporate meeting in February for 30-40 people in either Spain or France. The company is international, so I need to be somewhere accessible by international airport. I'd like to do something interesting and unexpected.. not your traditional conference. I know this is a vague request but I'm starting from zero. Anyone have any favourite places in either of these countries that would make for a memorable trip?
cgarbas is offline  
Dec 12th, 2007, 09:31 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 849
There are conference centers at a number of the Paradors within easy driving distance of major cities. For example, the Parador de Aiguablava is about a two hour drive from Barcelona. (Many people have observed that it has the best view in town because one cannot see it from inside.) There is also a parador in Malaga that has a conference center, a golf course and is only a few minutes from the airport. See www.paradors.es.

In France, nearly all the Grande Etapes de France properties have conference facilities. My particular favorite is the Chateau D'Esclimont.
It is a spectacular property in St. Symphorien le Chateau. 20 minutes from Chartres, 40 minutes from Orly and about an hour from CDG.

Please let us know what you decide on and provide a report after the event.
Jeff801 is offline  
Dec 12th, 2007, 10:22 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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IMHO I have attended or worked for companies that did many similar meetings. I have learned several key factors you need to take into account:

Weather at both the destination and points of departure (can be a real issue in Feb). (Having a key speaker stuck in a fog-bound airport isn't easy to fix. So, you want a place with lots of options in and out.)

Nearness to airport with LOTS of flights (no more than 45 minutes from airport)

A destination/site with sufficient resources for your size group (a venue may sound like a good idea - but if it isn't supported by sufficient transport you're dead in the water).

For these reasons we always chose cities large enough that if one supplier failed we had a back-up. We also made sure the hotel was truly designed for business (not just as a sideline).

I know the idea of doing something really different is tempting - but after seeing some failed meetings at "special" places we keep that for the social events portion of the program - not the site or venue.

Only you know the expectations of your group - and how willing the may be to "roll with the punches". But for a first event I would go for absolutely reliable rather than amazing with a risk.
nytraveler is offline  
Dec 12th, 2007, 02:25 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
i think palma, mallorca would be a fine destination.

there are plenty of top class venues.. excellent airport access from almost anywhere.

hotel formentor has hosted world summits.

there are also many remodeled historic estates turned luxury hotels.

lincasanova is offline  
Dec 12th, 2007, 02:48 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,567
In Spain I would suggest the Doolce Sitges, a coporate resort about 20 minutes from the international airport (BCN): http://sitges.dolce.com/
Viajero2 is offline  
Dec 12th, 2007, 05:23 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Barcelona or near!
danon is offline  
Dec 12th, 2007, 06:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,336
If it's open in February, VILLA GALLICI in Aix, is a gorgeous, intimate property only about 30 minutes from Marseilles Airport, and an easy walk into Aix itself.

I also am a big fan of Nice, France, which would offer plenty of diversions and day trips even in February. A hotel that we've particularly enjoyed there in recent years is LE PALAIS DE LA MEDITERRANEE, a renovated art deco mansion just across from the sea. It has excellent business and regular guest services ( small fitness club, casino, very good restaurants), and is a short walk from Old Nice.
Weadles is offline  
Dec 13th, 2007, 12:52 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 768
I read the questions and Aix came to mind. But the major airport is Nice. I don't think Marseille's airport has much business traffic.
Big_Red is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 08:14 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,319

I've been involved with many corporate events.

So, a few ideas :

Weather - no-one wants bad weather. It should be better than that "at home" for the majority of delegates. This means Med coast in February.

Travel - needs to be within 1 hour of a truly international airport. If your delegates are global, you need an airport with direct flights from around the world. I'm not sure Nice, Marseille, Toulouse, etc qualify for this, Barcelona is probably better.

Hotel - must be able to accommodate all the delegates and have conference facilities. If partners are also coming, it should have a health club or similar as daytime entertainment. Staff must be able to speak your language. It must have business services available : fax, internet, printer, etc.
Sheraton is good.

Restaurants - it is always good to get out of the hotel after a days work. A typical local restaurant, able to accommodate the party in a private room, is ideal. Needs to be close to the hotel.

Nightclub - Delegates often like to finish the evening in a nightclub (I've had some very slow mornings because of this !).

Shopping - Delegates, and partners, will want to check out the local shops at some point.

Tourism - if at all possible, allow some free time for delegates. Even better, organise a coach to a local attraction.

Generally - A 2 day conference usually only has, say 4 - 5 hours, per day of actual discussion, presentations, etc.

Good luck


mpprh is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 08:42 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2
Thank you all so much for the advice. I'd like to give my board two options. One will be Barcelona (or area) and for the other, I'm thinking a winter getaway to the Alps. Does anyone have recommendations for best places in the French Alps?
cgarbas is offline  

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