Published on December 13th, 2012 | by Mark Chesnut
VIP Getaways: Mixing Business with Pleasure at Top Hotels
BY MARK CHESNUT
Reprinted with permission from Latin Business Traveler
Top-level business meetings don’t always have to take place in stuffy boardrooms. A growing array of resort-style hotels combine business-friendly amenities – including business centers, meeting space and upscale dining venues – with great views, indulgent spa treatments and a decidedly luxurious ambiance that can make even the dullest meeting feel a bit more like a vacation. Here are a few places that will wow business partners, fill up conference attendance or ensure your team doesn’t miss an off-site retreat.
Brazil Hotels: Rio de Janeiro is at once a fast-paced metropolis and a naturally beautiful beach destination, with multiple hotels that allow business travelers to surround themselves with a bit of carioca style. The 572-room Rio Othon Palace is a favorite in the legendary Copacabana neighborhood, with 150 recently renovated rooms, each with an inspiring city and beach view, and enough meeting space for up to 700 theater style. If you’re looking for a decidedly stylish vibe, head to Ipanema, where the Fasano Rio de Janeiro attracts a well-dressed clientele and the rooftop pool is considered one of the city’s best — it’s also available for private events, as is the business center and bar.
Costa Rica Hotels: In the fast-growing Guanacaste region in the northwestern part of the country, the Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa is set scenically on a hill overlooking a Pacific coast beach. It has more than 8,000 square feet of meeting and event space, as well as a business center and catered menus for groups of up to 350.
Mexico: AM Resorts recently debuted two new adults-only, all-inclusive hotels that also cater to business-minded travelers: Secrets The Vine opened in Cancun this year, with 24-hour room service, a spa and 17,000 square feet of meeting space. Secrets Huatulco Resort & Spa, in the Pacific coast area known as Huatulco, offers gorgeous views from all 399 rooms, and the large, indoor-outdoor spa has its own private pool, an ideal place for rejuvenating after making use of the well-equipped business center, the Preferred Club lounge or the 7,000-square-foot Grand Salón event space.
Panama: This booming destination is never short on hotel options, and the newest resort-style hotel near Panama City is the 611-room Westin Playa Bonita, an elegant beachfront property with more than 66,000 square feet of meeting and event space, eight bars and restaurants and a sizeable spa. Next door is the InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort & Spa, which has 20,000 square feet of meeting space and a Sensory Spa by Clarins with 12 treatment rooms. Both properties offer easy access to Panama City, which sits across the canal, less than 20 minutes away.
Uruguay: Punta del Este may be Uruguay’s most famous beach destination, but for a stylish, intimate VIP meeting, head further north, to the tiny but scenic stretch of beach in the village of Faro José Ignacio. Here, Playa Vik Jose Ignacio’s stunning contemporary architecture and impressive views are the perfect setting for corporate events and meetings – which are one of the hotel’s specialties. Groups can reserve the entire property or just a couple rooms. Six design-conscious houses surround the Sculpture, an eye-catching building made of double curved titanium and glass. Inside the Sculpture are public living and dining spaces, as well as a library, four master suites and an Italian-designed bar/kitchen by Strato Cucine.