Choice of First Resort

Resort boardrooms offer some of the best venues for hosting serious meetings anywhere.

Boosting the Boardroom Energy
By Alex Palmer

While hotels offer some excellent accommodations for boardroom meetings, planners can also consider looking outside the hotel walls for their next board event. Patrick Sullivan, president and owner of PRA Destination Management New York, has sought out some truly unusual spaces around the Big Apple, such as the meeting space attached to caterers Valbella Ristorante in the Meatpacking District.

Surrounded by bottles of wine, the warm but professional atmosphere makes for a memorable location to brainstorm ideas. The venue also boasts a private kitchen, creating the opportunity for a top-notch dinner.

"You could do a board meeting in one of the private rooms, and then you could go in the evening to the chef's kitchen, where the chef can prepare your food for you, or get you to do your own dessert," says Sullivan. "Executives aren't going to really want to make their own dinner, but they might want to have a little fun."

Sullivan has also moved board meetings onboard, holding an event on a yacht traveling the Hudson River. Another time, the meeting was held in a historic church's boardroom.

While adding something unusual or memorable to a boardroom meeting can boost the energy of the proceedings, it should never overshadow the reason everyone is there: taking care of business. "Ninety percent of all board meetings are using the same things," says Sullivan. "Businesses want to be sure to keep the momentum and the ideas flowing."

Corporate board meetings present something of a challenge to the planner. As corporate meetings go, they are small in size, but need to be flawless. All of the company's top eyes are on the planner.

The setting must be elegant but businesslike and there must be access to all the latest A/V equipment.

Here's a look at a few boardrooms at resorts both domestic and international that epitomize the serious meeting experience to be found at resorts today.

1. Hyatt Regency Scottsdale

The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale at Gainey Ranch's boardroom seats 20 with eight direct phone lines, 50-inch plasma screen, and Bose audio.

2. Caribe Hilton

San Juan Hilton's Puerto Rican resort has three board rooms seating eight to 18 that combine the classic cherry table and leather chairs with floor-to-ceiling views of the resort's pools as well as the Atlantic Ocean.

3. Gleneagles

The classic Scottish resort on the edge of the highlands has a Top Floor Boardroom that can seat 20; or take a group of up to 50 board members to "The Palace in the Glens" Glendevon Room, which was the site of the 2005 G8 summit meeting of world leaders.

Originally published June 1, 2010