Andy McNeill has traveled all over the world skiing, and in today’s episode, he’ll be sharing his top recommended European ski destinations that are great for corporate group travel. These locations are ideal for incentives, congratulatory events, sales meetings, and any event where you want to host many guests and provide an amazing experience. Find out which ski spots in Europe captured his heart by tuning in!
Top 4 Favorite European Ski Destinations For Groups
Andy McNeill has skied worldwide, and today he shares his favorite European skiing destinations that will fit your group travel needs. From incentive travel, celebrations, and sales meetings, these destinations have been tried and tested by Andy and the many groups he’s taken. Here are the top four European ski locations to host your next group destination travel:
Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy – Located in the Italian-speaking Province of Belluno with majestic mountain views. It is one of Andy’s favorite places he’s ever been. This little Northern Italian, Alpine town is known for its gourmet dining, and the center of the town has been made pedestrian just for strolling, which offers those romantic vibes. With its stunning views, the location can be seen in movies such as The Cliffhanger, Pink Panther, and For Your Eyes Only. The nearest airport is Marco Polo in Venice.
Chamonix Mont-Blanc in France – This is one of the oldest ski resorts in Europe and hosted the 1924 Winter Olympics. Here, you can go on the world’s highest cable ride, 12,000 feet up in the air, providing some of the best views in Europe. As one of the tallest mountains, there’s also an incredible ice cave part of the glacier you can visit. When you’re not in the town or enjoying the slopes, you can visit Casino Le Royal and get your gambling and other great experiences. The nearest airport is in Geneva.
Soldeu in Andorra – This little ski town is located in the microstate of Andorra, landlocked between the French and Spanish border. You may not hear about it much, but this is one of the best affordable skiing in Europe, and they have over 600 instructors, so there’s always plenty to do. You can get your lessons in with courses for all levels. You can also check out the Caldea Spa, one of the biggest attractions in Andorra. It’s a giant futuristic spa famous for its water attractions and countless amenities. In the evenings, they have futuristic music and light show that you can enjoy while in the spa. Plus, you can try booking a night a the Iglu Hotel, which houses all the amenities and offers an excellent experience for your attendees.
Zermatt in Switzerland – This is probably one of the most famous ski resorts in the world and sits at the foot of the Matterhorn. It’s also considered one of the most beautiful ski resorts on the planet. This destination is unique as it is a car-free town which can make for an enjoyable experience as you park 5 kilometers out and take a train into town. It is also dubbed as the gourmet capital of the Alps, with many great places to take your attendees. The small town also houses thirty 5-star hotels, including one of the top hotels in the country, The Omnia.
Are you looking to take your team on a beach trip? In this special spotlight episode, Andy McNeill & Todd Bludworth list down their top ten tropical hotels fit for incentive trips and large group destinations. They share all the details you need to find the right venue for your team and make planning your program easier.
Watch the episode here.
Top 10 Tropical Hotels for Incentive Programs & Large Groups
Here is a list of top ten tropical hotels for incentive trips and large groups from Andy McNeill & Todd Bludworth:
Atlantis in Paradise Island and The Cove
Atlantis offers different tiers for different functions: there’s the original property, then there’s The Cove, which is a more high-end destination within the property. It has 3,800 rooms and 600 luxury suites with floor-to-ceiling ocean views. They have two private beaches, a separate pool for adults, and a waterpark. Fish by Jose Andres is one of their great restaurants where you can get some of the best seafood on the island.
Hamilton Princess Beach Club in Bermuda
With this smaller property, you can do a complete buyout that has 400 rooms. It’s over a hundred years old but offers wonderful state-of-the-art suites that are beautiful with a Bermuda feel. The hotel also has a curated art gallery. Located in the heart of the capital city of Hamilton, it’s only a five-minute walk from the hotel to shopping and luxury.
Fairmont El San Juan Hotel
You don’t need a passport to enjoy the island experience. They have 388 rooms, including 84 suites and poolside and ocean-front villas, two miles from the pristine Isla Verde Beach. They also have the 15,000 sq ft Foxwoods El San Juan Casino, named the best casino by USA Today.
The Boca Raton
The Boca is a classic hotel built in 1926. It has over 900 sleeping rooms on 200 private tropical acres. If you have golfers, this is a fantastic property with a beautiful championship-level golf course on the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary used exclusively for the guests and its members. They also have the 50,000 sq ft award-winning Spa Palmera, inspired by Spain’s Alhambra Palace.
The Baha Mar has three hotels: Grand Hyatt, SLS, and Rosewood. Between those properties, they offer over 2,200 sleeping rooms and 284 private residences, a 100,000 sq ft casino, and a 30,000 sq ft spa. The resort is 1000 acres on the island of New Providence in The Bahamas, an ideal spot for massive programs.
The hotel has 401 sleeping rooms on 240 acres. They have the El Camaleón golf course designed by Greg Norman, unlike any other in the world. Nearby, you can explore the ancient Mayan civilization with fantastic ruins, and the resort offers many tours and classes so you can keep your group onsite. They also have a great program for restoring a nearby endangered coral reef.
Fontainebleau Miami Beach
One of the largest in South Florida, with over 1500 rooms and 12 restaurants and lounges. It’s got tremendous history and has been featured in countless films and TV, including Goldfinger, Scarface, The Bellboy, and The Bodyguard. You don’t have to leave the hotel to find the hottest clubs in Miami with LIV, an 18,000 sq ft exclusive club experience. If you’re looking for a top Chinese restaurant in Florida, the hotel houses an award-winning modern Cantonese restaurant, Hakkasan.
Atelier Playa Mujeres
If you’re looking for a great high-end incentive location, this one’s for you. The 431-suite property has a downloadable app that takes you through the entire experience. It has eight restaurants on site and has very strong pet-friendly services.
Hotel Xcaret México
This hotel merges sophisticated amenities with the Mayan jungle and brings you very close to nature. It includes transportation to Xcaret natural parks, so it is an immersive experience in the natural habitats. The Teatro del Río offers a five-course pairing menu and live traditional music and entertainment. There are 900 suites throughout these five buildings.
Grand Velas Los Cabos
An all-inclusive property everyone is talking about. It is on the West Coast, on the Sea of Cortez. It has 304 ocean-view suites, where every suite is an ocean view. The location offers excellent amenities, including many adventure tours: ATV off-road adventures, outback adventures, and camel safaris.
It’s time to explore the nation’s capital, the great American city of Washington, DC! Joining Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth for today’s episode is Laura Schofield. Laura is the General Manager of Conrad Washington, DC. She is a second-generation hotelier who grew up around the industry and naturally progressed into becoming a part of it. For today’s show, she talks about the wonderful amenities of the Conrad and why it’s the place to be for corporate groups in the area. Laura also shares her favorite things about Washington and her go-to spots for leisure and corporate travel. Andy and Todd also share their destination favorites, so stay tuned.
Watch the episode here.
Exploring The Great American City of Washington DC with Laura Schofield
Every day is different when you work in hospitality. Explore the great American city of Washington, DC, with today’s guest Laura Schofield. Laura is a second-generation hotelier and the current General Manager of Conrad Washington, DC. Growing up in the industry and seeing the wonderful environment and people allowed her to naturally progress into a career in the hotel space.
The Conrad Washington, DC
Today, Laura joins Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth to share the many attractive amenities available at the Conrad to accommodate travelers from all over.
To start, the hotel offers a beautiful meeting space that is above ground with glass walls. This feature allows for plenty of natural light and a majestic view around the city or into a beautiful park. Located right at the CityCenterDC, the area has easy access to the mixed-use development space with high-end retail stores and wonderful restaurants.
Enjoy quality dining with these options:
Originally founded by James Beard Award and Top Chef finalists Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, it is the signature restaurant of the Conrad. Having been closed due to the pandemic, they are reopening with a new menu at the end of September.
Summit, The Rooftop
The rooftop bar and lounge offer the most amazing views of the Capitol building, and you can see the Washington monument on clear days. You can relax in the lovely pods of relaxing sofas and bask in the best sunset views in all of Washington, DC. The dining incorporates sustainability efforts with meals often cooked via solar oven. This is just one of the initiatives built into the hotel with others, including collecting rainwater to water the landscaping for the green roof, making it an urban oasis. Their green spaces stretch to two gorgeous terraces on the third floor with trees and rose bushes, perfect for small weddings.
The floor of guestrooms and signature suites all have access to the Sakura Club, which offers a full breakfast and dinner. Inspired by the cherry blossoms gifted to Washington, DC, the space can be considered a gift of hospitality to our guests, an intimate private space for them to feel at home. A favorite feature here is the “magic refrigerator,” which they keep stocked so the guests can help themselves with snacks and beverages 24/7.
Laura’s Favorite Spots in Washington
One of Laura’s favorite things about Washington is that it’s a walkable city. All the buildings are created so that nothing will be taller than the Capitol building, which created such an open city with a lot of green space left. She also enjoys going to museums and accessing all these resources at her fingertips for free.
Todd and Andy’s Destination Favorites:
The Federal Museums from the Smithsonian Institution
There is something for everyone at the Smithsonian, from American historical exhibits, space displays, and the national zoo.
Infamously known as the place where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, it is both a historical monument and a still working theatre producing classical shows and plays.
United States Botanic Garden
The conservatory has incredible areas with over 65,000 plants. You can meander and bask in the experience alone or enjoy it with the whole family with exhibitions for kids and adults.
International Spy Museum
This is a must-visit for anyone interested in spy stories and espionage. It traces the history of espionage and offers activities such as Operation Spy, where visitors can take on the role of a covert agent and participate in a one-hour spy simulation.
Brunch at the Tabbard Inn
An award-winning boutique hotel and the oldest running hotel in DC, this employee-owned venue offers an incredible brunch you can enjoy.
Smoke and Mirrors Rooftop Bar
The space offers the most amazing views of the US Capitol with an extensive list of original cocktails and a creative menu of dishes. This is also the spot to check out if you want to rub shoulders with some politicians and power players in DC.
Also, check out the two new museums in Washington to get in-depth and immersive knowledge about history. Visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
About Laura Schofield
Born in London, England, Laura Schofield began her path to the hospitality industry by living in more than 15 countries spread across Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and North America as part of a hospitality family. A second-generation hotelier passionate about travel, Laura pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree in Foreign Affairs and East Asian Studies at the University of Virginia while spending summers working in the hotel industry in New York City.
With both an interest in international relations and hospitality, Laura inevitably moved to Washington DC. Over the course of over two decades, Laura has held senior management roles with Ritz Carlton, the famed Watergate Hotel, and multiple Starwood properties in Washington DC. Most prominently, Laura spent eleven of her sixteen years with Starwood Hotels as General Manager of the St. Regis Hotel in Washington DC.
Over the course of her tenure at the St Regis, Laura oversaw the transition from Starwood ownership to private corporate ownership, closure of the property for a 16-month renovation, and coordination of the pre-and reopening sales and marketing and public relation activities. Laura was able to drive strong growth throughout her 11 years at the property while maintaining best-in-class associate engagement scores and garnering recognition from Trip Advisor’s Choice Hotel awards, Travel, and Leisure’s World Best Hotel List, Conde Nast’s Gold List, and consistently receiving the Forbes Four Star and AAA Four Diamond Awards.
Laura also served as the General Manager for the Westin Washington DC City Centre. She joined this 410-room property in 2015 upon completion of a major renovation. Charged with re-positioning the hotel in the market, Laura successfully led the team to record business growth and received recognition from Starwood and HEI Hotels and Resorts. In her most recent role, Laura was with Langham Hotels leading the opening team charged with opening Langham’s first lifestyle hotel.
When doing concierge travel, you must find the right places everyone can enjoy. You will be handling huge groups and organizations, so finding a place that offers a unique experience is key. From the Haciendas of Cuernavaca to the City of New Orleans, many different places around North America can provide something unique.
Join Todd Bludworth as he talks to Kim Gustavsson about travel concierge. Kim has traveled to 86 countries, studied seven languages and worked as a consultant for Leadership Development and Organizational Transformation. He also owns one of the world’s largest LGBTQ cruise and vacation agencies. Learn more about concierge travel and where you can bring people on their next retreat.
Watch the episode here.
Kim Gustavsson On Concierge Travel And The Best Places To Take 20+ People.
In today’s episode, Kim Gustavsson of Concierge Travel, Inc. shares some great locations for your company retreat. Kim worked as an international concierge with organizations as big as American Heart Association. From Cuernavaca to Puerto Vallarta, there’s always a destination that offers a unique experience. Learn how to research and investigate your location before you leave. You don’t want to go to a place with nothing interesting to offer. In today’s episode, you’ll also get more info about which cruise you should book for your whole team. You need a lot of space at just the right price for your work-related retreats. So maybe Odyssey of the Seas can work out for you? Discover more about travel concierges in this episode of Destination Everywhere.
American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a large organization, so finding great retreat locations will always be difficult. While Kim Gustavsson was working with them as an outside contractor, not only would he find these great locations. He would also assist these doctors abroad. The location also determines how many would go. Doctors would instead bring their families to cities like New Orleans rather than Dallas or Chicago. So a great American location is always key.
What To Look For In A Location?
It just takes simple research and investigation to find the place you’re looking for. Back when there was no internet, Kim Gustavsson had to put in the time. One key thing is to find the top restaurants in that location. Look for things that make the place stand out. You want to give unique experiences to everyone, not just families.
Travel Ships And Cruises
When looking for a travel ship or cruise for your large group, you want large meeting spaces onboard. For most cruises, you can get a better rate than a full ship charge as a group.
Top Destinations For Groups Under 20 People
North America, especially around Mexico City, has some of the best and biggest places you can bring a group of 20+ people to.
Haciendas outside Mexico City (like Cuernavaca)
About Kim Gustavsson
Born and raised in Sweden, Kim lived in California, Mexico, and Texas. Traveled to 86 countries, studied seven languages and worked as a Leadership Development and Organizational Transformation consultant.
Owned the agency since 1997. We are one of the world’s largest LGBTQ Cruise and vacation agencies. Traveling and exploring different cultures is a passion of mine. I live in Houston with my Husband and our Chocolate Lab. We have homes in Fort Lauderdale, Houston and Puerto Vallarta.
MHS President Catherine Allgor Shares Their Beloved Historical Collection And The Langham Managing Director Michele Grosso On The Beauty Of A Federal Bank-Turned-Luxury Hotel
Because of its pivotal role in the American Revolution, Boston became rich in both cultural and scientific aspects. This global city is home to delicious seafood, mesmerizing culture, and colorful traditions. Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth delve into the heart of Boston with Catherine Allgor, President of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and Michele Gross, Managing Director of The Langham Hotel. Andy and Todd also share their favorite things to visit and do when visiting Boston, from trying out various dishes to seeing historical artifacts that provide a glimpse of the past.
Watch the episode here.
Boston is one of the oldest municipalities in the country, founded by Puritan settlers in 1630. Its pivotal role during the American Revolution made it an intersection of rich cultural and scientific developments. Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworthgo into the heart of this thriving global city, checking out its most interesting stories to tell and the most delicious cuisine to try.
Catherine Allgor, President of Massachusetts Historical Society
The nation’s first historical society, the Massachusetts Historical Society, promotes understanding of the history of Massachusetts and the United States. Founded by Jeremy Belknap in 1791, the organization collects historical materials and resources to preserve them for the next generations.
Catherine’s Favorite MHS Items
The sword was carried by the Massachusett’s 54th Volunteer Infantry Regimen, the first military unit of Black soldiers to be raised in the north during the Civil War.
All papers of the family of John Quincy Adam
A copy of the U.S. Constitution
A copy of the Declaration of Independence
Thomas Jefferson’s papers, more than the entire State of Virginia
The pen used by Abraham Lincoln to sign the Emancipation Proclamation
What To Look Forward To
Hold various events at the MHS’s historic building full of rare carvings
Join curated tours for 5-70 people and immerse yourself in an unparalleled setting that feels authentic and magical, guided by MHS’s talented and knowledgeable staff
Andy and Todd’s Boston Favorites
Visit the Quincy Market, full of traditional market stalls featuring local and international specialties.
See the USS Constitution Old Ironsides, the oldest commission ship in the U.S. fleet, launched in 1797.
Eat lobster rolls in Neptune Oyster, known for some of the best seafood in the world.
Go to Chinatown, the third-largest in the country, located on the southern edge of Boston.
Appreciate the personal collection of Isabella at the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum, composed of priceless European, Asian, and American art.
Michele Grosso, Managing Director of The Langham Hotel
Michele became The Langham’s new Managing Director in 2019, ahead of its historic $200-million renovation. A four-star and four-diamond property located in Boston’s financial district, it is only a 10-12 minute drive from the airport. The hotel’s main structure was the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
After the renovation, most of the building’s outside façade was left intact, but the rooms inside were rebuilt and redone. It perfectly blends classic and modern architecture, giving a strong Boston vibe to every guest or traveler.
Used to be the office of the bank president
Other than a new carpet and fresh drapes, the room is restored like it was in 1922
Features two huge murals painted by N.C. Wyeth.
A modern Italian restaurant
Named after the Italian word for grain and the slang word for cash
Used to be the Grand Hall of the bank
Features the original floor from 1922 with the seal of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston at the center
It has outdoor seating and a terrace perfect for summer
Very approachable and open to all locals
Has beers on tap outsourced from a local brewery
Provides an amazing cocktail program and New England fair
Places of Interest Near The Langham
Faneuil Hall Marketplace for shopping (8-9 minute walk)
North End, Boston, to grab a coffee, buy some cannoli, or have dinner (1-minute walk)
Seaport District to explore new restaurants (10-minute walk across the bridge)
Boston Common and T.D. Garden to catch a game of the Celtics or Bruins (12-minute walk)
Michele’s Boston Bucket List
Do the harbor and see the entire city from the water
Join the Freedom Trail
About Michele Grosso
Michele Grosso joined The Langham, Boston, in 2019 in advance of its historic renovation as the new Managing Director. Before joining The Langham, Boston, Grosso spent most of his career with Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts. Over the last 28 years, he has worked at some of the most high-profile hotels and resorts within the Four Seasons brand, including Toronto, Milan, Prague, Singapore, Punta Mita in Mexico, and, most recently, Chicago.
A native of Italy, Michele spent part of his childhood living in a hotel in South Africa where his father was the general manager. After spending a summer working at the iconic Hotel George V in Paris when he was 17, he knew he wanted to join the family business and become a luxury hotelier.
About Catherine Allgor
Catherine Allgor is the president of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Previously, she had been the Nadine and Robert Skotheim Director of Education at the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA, and a former Professor of History and U.C. Presidential Chair at the University of California, Riverside. Allgor attended Mount Holyoke College as a Frances Perkins Scholar and received her Ph.D. with distinction from Yale University, where she also won the Yale Teaching Award. Her dissertation received a prize as the best dissertation in American History at Yale and The Lerner-Scott Prize for the Best Dissertation in U.S. Women’s History. She began her teaching career at Simmons College and has been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and a Visiting Professor of History at Harvard University.
Her first book, “Parlor Politics: In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and a Government” (University Press of Virginia, 2000), won the James H. Broussard First Book Prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic and the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association Annual Book Award. Her political biography, “A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation” (Henry Holt, 2006), was a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize. In 2012, she published “Dolley Madison: The Problem of National Unity” (Westview Press) and “The Queen of America: Mary Cutts’s Life of Dolley Madison” (University of Virginia Press). President Obama has appointed Allgor to a presidential commission, The James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation.
Catherine Allgor also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Women’s History Museum and the Executive Board of the Organization of American Historians. She is a member of the Gilder Lehrman Scholarly Advisory Board.
Hotels are the places to be when you need accommodation and want to immerse in the area’s rich history and culture. In this special look-back episode on one of their past spotlight discussions, Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth list down their top five unique hotel traditions and events. From the Peninsula on the West Coast all the way to Dromoland Castle in Ireland, the duo discusses how each hotel showcases the extravagant things their respective regions have to offer.
Watch the episode here
Looking Back With Andy And Todd: Top 5 Unique Hotel Traditions And Events
In this special episode, Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth look back on one of their spotlight discussions. This one features unique traditions and events they have encountered in some of the most famous hotels around the world.
Located in Beverly Hills, this is the only five-star hotel in Southern California.
Best Traditions And Events
The hotel implements “Peninsula Time,” a policy where guests can check in and out at any time.
Guest initials are monogrammed on their pillowcases, which they can take home.
The Le Petit Belvedere restaurant pours champagne at every table and toasts to all guests every 8:00 in the evening without fail.
Grove Park Inn
Located in Asheville, North Carolina, this historic hotel that opened in 1931 offers mesmerizing mountain views. Writer F. Scott Fitzgerald stayed in Rooms 441 and 443 around his birthday in September. One of the rooms was used for writing while the other one for sleeping. Fitzgerald came to Grove Park Inn to cure himself of his gin addiction by drinking around 56 pony beers a day. His wife Zelda was also being treated at a nearby mental hospital at that time.
Best Traditions And Events
The hotel offers a room tour with a professor to backtrack Fitzgerald’s historic yet turbulent stay at Grove Park Inn.
During the weekends, a Fitzgerald Gin and Jazz social is held. Guests dress up in 1920’s attire and live out a Great Gatsby theme for a night.
Windsor Court Hotel
Located in New Orleans, this luxury 23-floor establishment opened in 1984 and showcases Windsor England-inspired facilities.
Best Traditions And Events
The hotel offers a traditional Afternoon Tea with a twist. They have special themed tea events throughout the year, such as Mardi Gras Tea, Princess Team, LGB-Tea, and Halloween Tea.
Guests can request assistance from the hotel to make arrangements to participate in different events in New Orleans, especially if they want to be part of a float parade. Some of these world-famous gatherings include Mardi Gras (from Epiphany to a day before Lent, features themed costumes, parades, and balls), French Quarter Fest (every April, features local artists and local food vendors), Jazz and Heritage Fest (every late April to early May, features the best jazz music in the world), and New Orleans Food and Wine Experience (every June, perfect for food and wine lovers who want to go on tasting, seminars, and tours).
May Fair Hotel
Located in the “toniest” part of London that the wealthiest and most fashionable people call home – Mayfair London. This hotel opened in 1927 and initially catered to London’s high society. Nowadays, it has a five-star rating and continues to attract the same elite people.
Best Traditions And Events
May Fair Hotel is the official venue of London Fashion Week every June, the city’s most glamorous time of the year. Guests who visit around this time have a chance to catch the biggest names in the fashion world, especially in their legendary restaurant and bar, May Fair Kitchen and May Fair Bar.
Located in Ireland, this 450-acre property houses a 16th-century castle that has been converted into a luxury hotel since 1962.
Best Traditions And Events
To keep castle traditions alive, the hotel keeps falconry, a lake stocked with trout for fishing, and a clay pigeon shooting area.
Whiskey tasting in the hotel bar is a must-try.
Discover your Irish roots and ancestry by meeting Dromoland Castle’s very own genealogy expert. She will discuss her findings over tea, coffee, and scones, detailing where your family may have originated. This gives you a list of towns, castles, and graveyards to visit that may have a connection to your ancestors.