For a lot of employees, corporate retreats are dreaded events. And for good reason: At a bad corporate retreat, you might end up singing Kumbaya in the woods with your boss or falling backwards into the arms of a coworker to “build trust.” But it doesn’t have to be that way. At Oyster.com, we’ve covered some resorts that provide truly awesome settings for company getaways. The daily schedule may still be in your boss’s hands, but at least the resorts will make the probability of being able to squeeze in some fun much higher.
Best Corporate Retreats for…
An AIG-Style Luxury Bash
The Hotel: St. Regis Monarch Beach, Orange County
If you’re in the mood to party like it’s 2008, look no further than the St. Regis Monarch Beach. This is the high-end hotel where AIG reportedly spent over $400,000 on an executive retreat — less than a week after the government’s $85 billion bailout of the company. (The bill included over $23,000 in spa treatments; we guess the executives had a lot of de-stressing to do after their company nearly went down the toilet.) But hey, the times are a changin’ and 2012 has seen the return of luxury corporate retreats. So go on, celebrate the fact that your company is no longer facing imminent disaster (we hope). With a gorgeous 18-hole, ocean-view golf course, eight tennis courts, a renowned spa, an excellent business center with videoconferencing technology, and a high-tech boardroom, it’s the ideal setting for a decadent company getaway.
Team Building (On a Ropes Course, of Course)
The Hotel: Hope Lake Lodge, Finger Lakes
You may not be able to avoid team building exercises altogether, but if you’re going to do them, you might as well do them right. Hope Lake Lodge in the Finger Lakes region of New York is located across the road from Greek Peak adventure center, which features a team challenge ropes course specifically geared towards team building. We don’t know about you, but we think zip-lining and bungee jumping sound like more fun than falling backwards into someone’s arms. Plus, Hope Lake Lodge has two on-site meeting rooms and operates the nearby Acropolis Conference Center, which can fit nearly 1,000 people — so holding meetings will be extremely convenient after the outdoor fun is done.
Health and Wellness
The Hotel: Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa Miami Beach
Does your office have weight loss competitions and a kitchen full of Kashi? Or perhaps your company is actually in the health industry (which means your office probably has a kitchen full of Kashi, too). Well if that’s the case, the Canyon Ranch in Miami Beach is a natural [Ed. note: Get it? We couldn't help ourselves.] choice for your corporate event. (Though we think just about any stressed-out employee can appreciate the resort’s world-renowned spa.) Corporate retreat packages include the choice of a team building and fitness session or a private wellness workshop, as well as a healthy gourmet breakfast, lunch, and refreshments for the group. This posh, serene spot is best suited for small company events of 30 or fewer.
Hiking in the Desert
The Hotel: L’Auberge de Sedona
Sedona’s gorgeous red rocks and forest-meets-desert scenery have made it a hub for spiritualists and artists, but it’s also a restful place where employees can get their creative juices flowing. L’Auberge de Sedona makes the most of this setting, with the picturesque Oak Creek running underneath shady trees and Sedona’s soaring red rocks suspended in the background. The 87 guest rooms and woodsy cottages are spread across 11 acres, allowing guests plenty of privacy, and most come with fireplaces and private decks. The resort has 3,500 square feet of meeting space and can host groups of up to 175 people; it can also organize team building trips such as hikes through the red rocks, fly fishing, trips to the Grand Canyon, and more.
Camping in the Jungle
The Hotel: Macal River Camp at Chaa Creek, Belize
If your company thinks the best way to facilitate bonding is to get in touch with nature, then try suggesting something a little different than the typical camping trip. The budget-friendly Macal River Camp at Chaa Creek takes camping to a whole new level — specifically, the “glamping” (translation: glamorous camping) level. Guests stay in tents lit only by the flickering glow of a gas lamp at night, and can fall asleep to a chorus of howler monkeys and cicadas. There is a nightly campfire with marshmallow roasting — and while we can’t stop your boss from singing Kumbaya, we figure if you’re going to sing around a campfire, you might as well do it in Belize. The camp is located on the grounds of the luxurious Lodge at Chaa Creek, which has a conference center that can fit up to 100 people. Camp guests also have access to features such as the pool.