Top 10 Tropical Hotels for Incentive Programs & Large Groups

Top 10 Tropical Hotels for Incentive Programs & Large Groups


DE 357 | Tropical Hotels


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:


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. Baha Mar

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.


  1. Fairmont Mayakoba

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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


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Exploring The Great American City of Washington DC with Laura Schofield

Exploring The Great American City of Washington DC with Laura Schofield

DE 305 | Washington, D.C.


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:

  • Estuary

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.

  • Sakura Club

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.

  • Ford’s Theatre

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

DE 305 | Washington, D.C.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.

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Favorite Costa Rican Hotels (Spotlight Episode)

Favorite Costa Rican Hotels (Spotlight Episode)

DE 354 | Costa Rica Hotels


Andy McNeill & Todd Bludworth are fresh off from their trip to Costa Rica and are here to share their favorite Costa Rican hotels! From inland to beachside to the city’s heart, Andy and Todd have got you covered. The ideal location for your next destination travel might be somewhere in this special spotlight episode. Don’t miss out!

Watch the episode here.


Favorite Costa Rican Hotels (Spotlight Episode)

Andy McNeill & Todd Bludworth are back from their trip to Costa Rica, and this spotlight episode highlights some of their favorite hotels in the country.


Spring Resorts & Spa

The hotel is deep in the rainforest and up in the volcanoes allowing every room to have the most amazing picturesque window view. Aside from amazing architecture and a view of the Urbanova volcano, the hotel also houses five restaurants on the property. Their Club Rio Adventure Center offers an array of activities that include kayaking, tubing, horseback riding, ATV, water-repelling, and more. Plus, you can relax in one of 30-32 springs on the property, heated and coming straight from the volcano, and a 14000 sq. ft. spa with the finest treatment.


Peace Lodge Hotel

This incredible hotel resides next to a national park and CostaRica’ss largest privately held ecotourism activity—a hotel and animal sanctuary in one. You can interact and engage face-to-face with different animals. Another sight in the area is called the Waterfall Gardens, where you can find these huge waterfalls and walkways to experience them in their natural state.


Casa Chameleon Hotel

A beachside resort located in Las Catalinas on the Pacific Ocean. It’s located in a small town where you can enjoy the local feel of Costa Rica. A gorgeous resort that houses what CNN calls one of the most romantic restaurants called Sentido Norte. The town is also a thrill-seekers paradise where you can enjoy whitewater rafting, sport fishing, surfing, horseback riding, canopy tours, and more.


Gran Hotel Costa Rica, Curio Collection by Hilton

If you happen to be in the capital city of San Jose, this hotel is located in the heart of the city. It’s a historic 1930s building with a colonial feel overlooking the national theatre and just mere steps away from the area’s cafes, shops, and museums.


Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo

Located in Guanacaste, this traditional upscale Four Seasons offers world-class food and beverage, spa services, a fully-stocked in-home bar, and a beautiful golf course. It’s environmentally conscious, with 80% of the products sourced from local farmers and a hundred percent of the hotel’s cooking oil recycled in biodiesel. Firewood for burning grills is only from fallen trees.


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Philadelphia: For The Culinary And Art Enthusiasts

Philadelphia: For The Culinary And Art Enthusiasts

DE 303 | Philadelphia

Thinking of traveling to Philadelphia but don’t know where to start? Andy McNeill has brought in experts to help you straighten out your Philly travel plans! Chef Jose Garces is an Iron Chef, father, husband, James Beard Award-winner, entrepreneur, and food innovator. As a child of immigrants and a leader in the diverse and inclusive hospitality industry, the well-being of his community in Philadelphia has always been dear to Chef Garces’ heart. He shares his favorite spots in the area and where you can visit him for top-tier Spanish and Latin-American food. JoAnn Wrenn is the General Manager of The Logan Hotel and oversees all day-to-day operations of the 391-room address on Logan Square in downtown Philadelphia. Tune in as she shares her favorite vacation spots and fun activities you can try out even within their hotel premises. Find out why Philadelphia might be the ideal place for your next event destination.

Watch the episode here


Philadelphia: For The Culinary And Art Enthusiasts With Chef Jose Garces And The Logan Hotel’s JoAnn Wrenn

For the first part of this Philadelphia episode, Andy McNeill chats with Iron Chef, James Beard Award-winner, entrepreneur, and food innovator Chef Jose Garces about his work in the area, not only in the culinary space but for the community as well. Chef Jose discusses his culinary journey, having Ecuadorian ancestry, growing up in Chicago, working in New York, and ultimately becoming a chef in Philadelphia and earning the title of Iron Chef.

Chef Jose Garces Restaurants To Add To Your Bucket List

With famed success in his field, Chef Jose has numerous restaurants to choose from and enjoy a quality culinary experience. Here are some of them:

  • Amada – Spanish cuisine
  • Distrito – Mexican cantina and taqueria
  • The Olde Bar – seafood-centric restaurant
  • Volvér – Basque restaurant
  • Hook & Master – Pizza and seafood concept
  • Livy’s Plant-Based Food (virtual; ghost kitchen) – Plant-based burger joint
  • Rustika Pollo A la Brasa (virtual; ghost kitchen) – Peruvian rotisserie chicken concept

Up-and-Coming Areas And Favorite Spots

Philly has a lot to offer for culinary travelers. East Passyunk is a cool pocket of up-and-coming chefs and restaurateurs who’ve created a niche neighborhood with fun bars and restaurants. On the other hand, there’s a huge Ethiopian population welcomed in the West end as well.

Another famous spot is the Reading Terminal Market which offers around 30 vendors and farmers and their goods that range from jams, jellies, donuts, fishmongers, fresh produce markets, coffee shops, etc. One of Chef Jose’s favorites is a crepe sandwich shop called La Creperie.

On the Southside, Ardmore Farmers Market is another burgeoning food scene. Chef Jose also recommends checking out college town, Manayunk, and a great park with walking trails in Wissahickon Valley Park. The main streets of Manayunk also offer tons of restaurants like The Landing Kitchen and Winnie’s, and great coffee shops such as Volo Coffeehouse.

Chef Jose Garces also briefly shares his Iron Man journey, and his nonprofit work with Garces Foundation, which focuses on helping out the immigrant community in Philadelphia and the non-documented restaurant workers looking for healthcare benefits.

JoAnn Wrenn On The Logan Hotel

For the second part of this Philadelphia Special, Andy and Todd sit down with JoAnn Wrenn. JoAnn is the General Manager of The Logan Hotel, where she oversees all day-to-day operations of the 391-room address on Logan Square in downtown Philadelphia. She is also a recipient of the Sage Hospitality Eagles Award, the highest honor you can receive at Sage Hospitality.

Philadelphia’s Art Scene

The Logan Hotel is home to 1800 pieces of art located throughout the hotel’s lobby level, meeting spaces, and guest rooms. At every turn, you can enjoy amazing paintings, statues, art installations, and more. JoAnn’s personal favorite is the Elite Silhouettes chandelier you can see as you look up from the lobby.

Unique Events At The Logan

The Logan offers an array of fun and creative activities for guests to enjoy, including Live Logan, an event programming initiative aimed at the local community with the goal of treating locals and guests to fun experiences. The Live Logan program covers a lot of things:

  • Mimosas and Massages for Mother’s Day
  • Underground Spa
  • Bring Your Own Makeup
  • Holiday Wreath Making
  • International Women’s Day Flower Making and Postcard Sending
  • Yoga With Puppies

The Logan Hotel also has an unbelievable outdoor courtyard for special events. During the pandemic, it became a “micro” wedding haven for couples who wish to get married but have had all their plans squashed by unexpected circumstances.

Art In Residence Program

The hotel also offers a special program for artists where they donate wall space to artists and organizations to showcase their work. This is an important program for them to build community connections and really highlight Philadelphia’s art scene.

About Chef Jose Garces

DE 303 | PhiladelphiaIron Chef, father, husband, James Beard Award-winner, entrepreneur, and food innovator, Chef Jose Garces is known as a leading culinary authority on Spanish and Latin-American food. From the Spanish tapas at Amada, his first restaurant, to the exciting flavors of Mexico City at Distrito, Chef Garces continually pushes the boundaries of culinary excellence While he maintains his successful career owning and operating full-service restaurants, Chef Garces is also looking toward the future, with an increased focus on bringing restaurant-quality experiences to the homes and businesses of culinary enthusiasts in new and interesting ways. From enhanced home delivery options and virtual online cooking demos, to live online cooking classes, Chef Garces is excited to connect with both fans of his work on television, as well as the home cook who’d like to experience “chef life” in their own kitchen.

As a child of immigrants and a leader in the diverse and inclusive hospitality industry, the well-being of his community in Philadelphia has always been dear to Chef Garces’ heart. To help provide ongoing and actionable assistance to the immigrant community, Chef Garces co-founded The Garces Foundation in 2011. The Garces Foundation provides services, including community health days, English language skills classes that target the restaurant industry, and most recently, an increased focus on procuring and providing food supplies to the food insecure.

About JoAnn Wrenn

DE 303 | PhiladelphiaJoAnn Wrenn is the General Manager of The Logan Hotel, where she oversees all day-to-day operations of the 391-room address on Logan Square in downtown Philadelphia, including departmental management, sales and marketing, recruitment, and ensuring an authentic hospitality experience for guests inspired by the heart and soul of the city.

Wrenn arrived at The Logan from JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek, whereas General Manager for four years she cultivated a collaborative team and created a climate of creative thinking, innovation, and superior service. The hotel was the second in Denver to tap Wrenn’s talents: She also spent four years first as Area Director of Sales & Marketing, then as General Manager of The Curtis Denver – A Doubletree by Hilton Hotel.

Previously, Wrenn rose in management on the sales side at luxury and upscale hotel and resort properties, including as Director of Sales at The Paramount Hotel, an Ian Schrager property in New York City; Director of Sales & Marketing at Wyndham Bristol Hotel in Washington, DC; and Director of Sales at Wyndham Dublin Hotel in Ohio. Wrenn got her start in the industry as a Front Desk Associate at Wyndham San Antonio Hotel in San Antonio, Texas.

A native of Philadelphia, Wrenn has received several recognitions for her professional prowess over the years. During her turn as GM of JW Marriott Cherry Creek in 2016, Condé Nast Traveler ranked property #9 among Top Hotels in the American West. In 2020 Wrenn was awarded Sage Hospitality’s highest honor- the Eagle Award. Presented to the team member who exhibits outstanding overall leadership not just within their location, but across the entire portfolio. Her perseverance, resourcefulness, and grit are in no doubt contributing factors to The Logan’s continued inclusion on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hotels in Philadelphia list as well as the property’s current nomination for Travel & Leisure’s 2021 World’s Best Awards.

Top 5 Beach Destinations With Alex Malebranche (Spotlight Episode)

Top 5 Beach Destinations With Alex Malebranche (Spotlight Episode)

DE 304 Alex | Beach Destinations

Looking for corporate incentive travel tips? In this episode, Todd Bludworth sits down with Alex Malebranche to discuss their favorite travel and beach destinations! Alex is the founder of PlaneAhead and has traveled in about 30 countries—and counting! His love for travel was also what inspired his company, PlaneAhead, where he helps his customers get the best airline prices for their trips. Tune in as he discusses how you can save on your next flight!

Watch the episode here

Top 5 Beach Destinations With Alex Malebranche (Spotlight Episode)

In this episode, host Todd Bludworth sits down with PlaneAhead Founder Alex Malebranche to discuss their favorite travel and beach destinations. Alex has travelled in over 30 countries and has been a frequent flyer since he was young. According to him, “The world is such a cool place, I need to go see different parts of the world.”

Favorite Travel Spots:

In the 30 countries that Alex has been to, he lists some of his favorite locations. The Maldives is the most amazing from a water perspective. The Maldives is hundreds of islands and you need to travel via seaplane. From an architectural perspective, Dubai is probably the most incredible thing you’ll see where you’ll think of buildings that aren’t supposed to look like that.

The Idea Behind PlaneAhead

The serendipitous occasion that sparked the idea for PlaneAhead was simple. Alex’s sister was getting married but because of COVID, it got pushed back. He persistently checked in with his local airline and when he found a sale, Alex received $700 back in credit. And he used that credit to bring his family, and then a newborn baby, for a vacation at the Hilton. Fast forward to him messaging more of the entourage for his sister’s wedding and them saving a total of $2,500 of credit. There was no reason why this kind of system shouldn’t exist so Alex made it so through PlaneAhead.

Benefits of PlaneAhead

Aside from the huge cost savings from using the platform, there are many more features and benefits to using PlaneAhead. Here are some of them:

  • Serves both corporate and individual customers
  • Runs on a membership model
  • Triggers your personal email for changes
  • There’s no one else like them

Top 5 Beach Destinations

Saving on one trip means you have more to spare for the next one! Here are Alex’s top five beach destinations for your next event destination travel!

  • Maldives
  • Australia
  • Barcelona
  • Anguilla
  • San Diego

About Alex Malebranche

DE 304 Alex | Beach DestinationsAlex Malebranche is the founder of PlaneAhead. He is a passionate traveler and has traveled to about 30 countries! He is a husband and father of 2 beautiful girls!
Alex grew up in Chicago, IL, and was raised by his Haitian immigrant single mother. As a first-generation immigrant, he was inspired by his mother and determined to make a difference. Alex is a graduate of Miami University, where he studied Accounting all while serving in the US Army. After his time studying, Alex worked for innovative companies and worked in a fast-paced work environment such as Amazon. He was the first employee on the delivery team at a WiFi-driven tech unicorn, Plume.

His passion for travel started when I studied abroad in Australia. As he visited other countries, he started to learn about different cultures and developed a sense of awareness, empathy, respect, and curiosity for people around the world.
Alex founded PlaneAhead in March 2021 during the pandemic. Driven to make a change in the travel industry, Alex is devoted to innovating the way we travel and creating opportunities to make traveling the world more accessible.

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