Americans logged 457.4 million business trips in 2016, with 38 percent for meetings and events. As any experienced traveler knows, the business travel industry is constantly changing in response to trending preferences, products, and services. Luxe Lodgings contributor Angela Fairhurst searched the globe to find hotels that make the effort to stand out and keep on top of the trends.
AC Hotels by Marriott owns and operates a chain of hotels in Europe and now in major markets in North America. The hotels are designed for the creative, entrepreneurial, and seasoned traveler, with European minimalism and modernism included in an open-design concept. Each hotel reflects the uniqueness and character of its urban surroundings. Breakfasts are European inspired; room service is replaced with the flexibility of a quick snack or evening tapas plates, and the bartenders share a unique connection to the city and all it has to offer. The AC Hotel in Irvine, California has a well-curated art collection and textural elements with its comfortable furnishings and décor paying homage to the area’s agricultural heritage and fresh landscape. Ambient lighting and cozy seating in the AC Library and Lounge areas invite travelers and locals alike to relax while creating a comfortable space in which to conduct a business meeting or enjoy cocktails with friends.
Hyatt Regency has a portfolio of 160 urban and resort locations, with its purpose to provide informed business decisions. The Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino has the slogan “One Happy Island,” and makes it a priority to live up to the phrase by having its guests unite. Be it a business meeting, corporate retreat, or a group vacation, the resort has nine separate meeting room options with more than 25,000 square feet of interior and exterior space. The recently renovated 5,300-square-foot Regency Ballroom can accommodate 400 people for a banquet, 450 in schoolroom style, 600 in theater style, and 650 for a reception. The 3,900-square-foot redwood deck and tent that accommodates up to 200 people is a creative alternative. Being outdoors in the sun, Caribbean style, and bright colors allow the Aruban energy to stimulate folks and aid in creativity when meetings feel slow.
Dolce Hotels and Resorts is a brand of independently owned hotels owned by Wyndham that targets business travelers. The brand touts easy navigation for meeting planners as well as other business clients. Five of the European hotels now offer a “Trails of Discovery” program designed to help guests draw inspiration by exploring their surroundings. Each hotel is curated by someone with deep local knowledge and offers something beyond the typical business hotel experience. My pick is the Dolce CampoReal Lisboa, located 30 minutes north of Lisbon. The conference rooms hold up to 650 people, but the coup de gras is the natural setting of a hilly landscape, countryside air, a vineyard, equestrian center, and an 18-hole golf course rather than a noisy city and high-rise buildings. Portuguese fitness and lifestyle blogger Vanessa Martin’s Trail of Discovery itinerary makes the most of the great outdoors with an action-packed journey through the Torres Vedras region.
Scandic Hotels is the largest hotel chain in the Nordics, specializing in Meeting Experiences for business travelers designed by meeting advisors offering tailor-made solutions. The new Downtown Camper by Scandic in the heart of Stockholm, Sweden, has an outdoorsy and social environment focusing on spontaneity, relaxation, and fellowship. The meeting spaces are energetic, offering comfort, technology, and inspiration. Nightwood, the hotel’s 25-seat theater, is an ideal environment for film screenings and presentations. Cocoon is an intimate, ten-seat space with a large communal table. The Board Room mixes industrial-style seating for up to 16 at a long tree trunk table; the Camper Lounge is an easygoing environment seating up to 20, with billiards nearby; and the Game Room handles 14-40 guests in numerous configurations. Uniquely configured with adjoining bedrooms and central gathering spots, Camper Co-Living rooms can host up to 12 guests for a social experience.
Kuwait City has a new Four Seasons located inside the two-tower Burj Alshaya development. The hotel is centrally located for business and leisure (as well as bleisure) travelers visiting the city. With 31,349 square feet of event spaces, the hotel can host up to 1,200 guests. The hotel has 284 guest rooms and suites with residential-style decor and furnishings. The design conceals the numerous high-tech conveniences in unique ways that allow guests to effortlessly create their own high-performance workspace. Views in all directions take in the skyline, and to the east is Al Shaheed Park, the largest urban park in the country. Many suites are easily expanded for larger parties or entertaining, including the largest suite in the city, the top-floor Royal Suite.
W Hotels are wired to be virtual offices, with two telephones and high-speed laptop connectivity in all rooms. Most Living Rooms and W Lounges are wireless and its Whatever/Whenever team is on standby to fill any business needs. The W Scottsdale, located in the hub of downtown Scottsdale, marks the debut of W Hotels in Arizona. This Southwest property mixes innovative design with urban sophistication in its 197 guest rooms and 33 suites. The property offers creative breakout sessions which help business guests bond and boost creativity with Mixology 101 cocktail classes, Sushi Making & Sake Tasting at its Sushi Roku Restaurant, and a Bliss Spa Suite with treatments to relieve stress. The hotel’s rooftop WET Pool Deck can be outfitted with plexiglass flooring covering the hotel’s WET Pool is popular for large business meetings where guests enjoy a sunset toast with the iconic Camelback Mountain as a backdrop. With more business travelers adding personal days to business trips, the W offers bleisure with extended activities in the surrounding area.
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By Angela Fairhurst for PeterGreenberg.com