In the past, the main objectives of corporate retreats were to improve management style, motivate employees, brainstorm new initiatives, increase productivity and, as is the case with incentives, reward star performers. Nowadays, spa resorts are catering to an ever-present need for attendees to live in the moment—to feel engaged, inspired, locally connected, active and ultimately “well” during retreats and long after.
Some impressive spa resorts slated to open in 2018 and 2019 have designed experiences and amenities greater than the sum of quarterly returns. Following is just a sampling of the properties planners can look forward to booking for groups seeking a full-immersion retreat of the “present”—and the future—kinds. So who’s up for some forest bathing?
Una ventana al alma … A window into the soul. There are few places in the world as cool and enchanting as Big Sur along California’s coast. In 1969, the iconic film Easy Rider motored its way into American pop culture and provided the financing for the original Ventana Inn that opened in 1975 and appealed to the beatniks, hippies and stars like Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw.
Recently, the property underwent a multimillion-dollar reimagining and rebranded as Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort, and reopened in October 2017. Despite the redux, Ventana still retains its ’70s charm, cedar wood and moonbeam history. The highlight of the renovation isn’t only the rustic luxury, it’s also the innovative, Asian design-inspired Spa Alila.
“Being part of Alila Hotels & Resorts, Ventana Big Sur is home to the only Spa Alila in North America, featuring signature treatments such as the Alila Massage and private activities like movement yoga, tai chi, qigong or meditation class, or the astrology readings,” said Kristina Jetton, general manager of the property.
Outside the spa, you will find 59 newly refreshed rooms, suites and villas, along with Redwood Canyon glampsites, as well as two pools and 12,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor function space, including the 7,000-square-foot Ocean Meadow Lawn.
For those meeting professionals old enough to remember Easy Rider, they can impress Millennials and Gen X-ers by taking them to The Social House. There, you will find a game room, bar and the library and music room, where you can casually spin some analog Steppenwolf vinyl-style, whisper “Born to Be Wild” and just walk away for a guaranteed coolness factor.
“Our Social House, which is situated at the heart of the resort, is designed to foster connection and socializing from the moment of arrival—perfect for groups,” Jetton said.
Meanwhile, Ventana Big Sur has everything else today’s delegate craves at a retro mod wilderness retreat.
Consider the breathtaking vistas along with bonding diversions like candlemaking, drum circles, falconry or glassmaking. The resort even has an Organic Garden with produce utilized by Executive Chef Paul Corsentino in his signature “coastal cuisine” at The Sur House restaurant.
You can’t get more local than that.
The wellness movement is one of the most talked about trends in the meetings world, and it’s clear that the Miraval Group, which remains its own entity after being acquired by Hyatt Hotels Corp. in early 2017, continues to be one of the industry leaders in the space.
Miraval, which launched its renowned flagship resort in Tucson more than 20 years ago, recently purchased two standout resorts, Travaasa Austin and Cranwell Resort in the Berkshires, and is transforming them into distinctive destination spa resorts geared toward wellness-centered clientele, including groups. Miraval Austin is slated to be unveiled in Fall 2018, and Miraval in the Berkshires will debut in 2019.
“These two new properties will combine the unique traditions, existing wellness offerings and rich natural resources of Austin and the Berkshires with Miraval’s signature meetings programming to create two truly unique meetings experiences,” said Marc Ellin, global head of Miraval Group.
Each property will offer exclusive wellness programs, spa treatments and teambuilding activities that speak to its local culture, heritage and location.
The new Miraval Austin will overlook Lake Travis and be redefined with not only impressive meeting spaces and spa offerings, but local, heritage-inspired activities led by health and well-being specialists.
The resort will offer everything from healthy cooking classes to hiking to Miraval’s famous Equine Experience, which was pioneered by Wyatt Webb at Miraval in Tucson more than 20 years ago and has since grown in popularity as an alternative therapy for groups and teams looking to increase communication and strengthen bonds. The program involves interacting with horses to learn about and adjust thoughts and behaviors, and ultimately improve personal and professional relationships.
“Miraval Austin and Miraval in the Berkshires will go beyond the typical hotel wellness program to offer corporate travelers immersive wellness experiences that transcend the boardroom and impact their everyday life,” Ellin said. “In addition to these exclusive activities, both properties will offer ample meeting spaces that are carefully designed in harmony with the local surroundings to promote a healthy meeting environment.”
Guests will be met with a structural overhaul at Miraval Austin, including four distinct accommodation types: Solace, Reflection, Unity and Gratitude. The Sonoran Desert-inspired units, measuring 600 to 3,120 square feet, were created by SFA Design.
Meanwhile, renowned designer Clodagh is crafting 30 spa treatment rooms that will carry on the legacy of “Life Enhancing Minimalism” in the spirit of the Miraval Life in Balance Spa at the flagship Tucson location. The reenvisioned spa will measure 21,000 square feet and have enough treatments and activities to keep delegates centered. With an on-site farm, local culinary delights will focus on fresh fare in the Southwest tradition.
Meanwhile, the resort will have 16,000 square feet of total meeting space with 9,000 square feet located outside—because fresh air is always trending in the wellness world.
Miraval in the Berkshires will be a complete renovation of the existing Cranwell Resort & Spa. The 380-acre property will carry all of the signature Miraval amenities, including its Life in Balance Spa, designed by Clodagh in the same vibe as its flagship location in Tucson.
More details about the property will be available closer to the opening date.
Often referred to as the “California Riviera,” Santa Barbara, Calif., is further cementing that moniker with the opening of Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito later this year.
Nothing tops sunshine on the list of amenities, and there will be plenty of vitamin D-rich rays for attendees to enjoy, as the Santa Barbara region boasts one of the best climates in the world.
“Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito will be a coveted destination for leisure and business travelers alike. The resort is primed to meet the needs of every type of group,” said Caroline MacDonald, vice president of sales and marketing for Rosewood Hotel Group.
The property will feature 122 guest rooms and an array of cottages and bungalows, as well as 27,700 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.
Meeting venues at the resort will include the 6,500-square-foot Chandelier Ballroom. Combine this with a private beach club and a variety of intriguing diversions, and you have the makings of California dreamin’ for attendees.
“Offering direct access to one of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in Montecito, Rosewood Miramar Beach will offer extensive guest programming for groups,” MacDonald said.
The resort will have its share of wellness offerings for group attendees, including the high-end Sense®, A Rosewood Spa, as well as a roster of other progressive diversions that immerse attendees in its idyllic setting.
“More and more, we are finding that individuals are looking to connect and socialize through wellness,” MacDonald said. “Corporate and business groups looking to facilitate unique bonding moments between their employees will find Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito to be an unmatched destination for groups.”
Rosewood’s philosophy of “A Sense of Place” is primed for action after four years of planning. Plan to feel the sand between your toes while being awash in California rays—and the good life.