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Hidden Gems

Designing an event for clients who want something more exquisite, less traditional and highly personal is one of the most challenging areas of event design. This is mainly due to the incredibly wide choice of options that open up to you, especially when budgets are not the primary consideration for the event. 

The excitement and challenge of getting the solution perfect, more often than not demands you head off the beaten track, but not so far off that the demands placed on the designer and the travelling group outweigh the benefits exclusive incentive travel events deliver.

So, here are the first of many select few incentive destinations to share, ones we have explored and researched to fit the bill of exquisite, unique and highly rewarding incentive travel destinations.

Brush Creek, Wyoming. 

This is where you get a full on cowboy experience and one definitely not on the main trail typically used for incentive travel groups seeking an authentic experience. Brush Creek is a stunning working (yes really!) cowboy ranch in the heart of Wyoming.  The American Midwest is the home of the stereotypical ‘American safari’ and Wyoming is right at the heart of it. Wyoming certainly lives up to its picture postcard vistas of sweeping mountain ranges, huge skies and homesteads beloved of Western movie directors.  Wyoming is also a more temperate climate that avoids many of the extremes found in States further south. This luxury resort features:

  • superbly appointed log cabins
  • an indoor rodeo hall
  • gourmet dining
  • full service spa
  • and of course cowboys! 

“Welcome to the true spirit of the West” is Brush Creek’s greeting and it is spot on. It is a unique setting, ideal for groups of up to 60 guests – this American style safari retreat is just the ticket for those looking for a different, but highly authentic, take on the usual USA incentive destinations.

Maspi Lodge, Ecuador.

One for the more adventurous perhaps is Mashpi Lodge, a charming Amazonian lodge located in Ecuador’s bio-diverse Andean cloud forest and one that respects its immediate environment and wider environmental concerns.  And while it might literally be ‘in the clouds’  and a world away from reality, it is just three hours west of Quito, lies within a private reserve that protects a small piece of one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots and is only accessible by guests. Is that a first I wonder? Situated on a high plateau, Mashpi Lodge features:

  • views of the forested mountains on one side and the forest right up close on the other
  • floor-to-ceiling glass windows with the forest just a few metres away
  • minimalist contemporary décor
  • a towering, two storey dining room
  • a total adherence to minimal-impact environmental principles

Ideal for contemplation and relaxation, it is unique – I know of no other destination that lets you “observe life beyond from the comfort of your bed”, and one where the bed bugs definitely can’t bite.  This intimate lodge accommodates a maximum of 44 guests in 22 understated yet luxurious rooms and is an option for adventurous groups, possibly as part of a wider South American incentive travel event.

Alila Purnama

Alila Purnama, or The Full Moon can be found somewhere around West Papua! The remote Raja Ampat archipelago is a tropical idyll of pristine coral reefs and rich marine biodiversity roughly located between Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.  This unexplored ‘Coral Triangle’ has everything all the hallmarks of an exotic escape, with rarely visited reefs packed with fish, uninhabited islands and sleepy villages void of visitors.  Here can now be found the Alila Purnama, a luxurious, five cabin, 46 metre, three deck, hand built wooden phinisi - a ship with two masts .  Alila Purnama will sail from Sarong in west Papua on six-day expeditions around the islands of Gam, Miskon and Yangello, stopping off at pearl farms, wild beaches and reefs, where you can dive day and night in calm blue coral waters filled with wobbegong sharks, manta and eagle rays and shoals of barracuda fish.  The boat has been built from teak in the traditional Indonesian style as used by the Bugis seafarers from South Sulawesi, and has all the mod cons of an ultra-modern hotel for up to 10 guests. It is perfect for an incentive top performers event, maybe an extension for elite performers, and especially ones that love the sea.

Amanwana, Indonesia.

Meaning 'peaceful forest', romantic Amanwana is the only resort on the just-remote-enough island of Moyo, a pristine nature and marine reserve off the coast of Sumbawa, east of Bali. The resort is very intimate, in size and with its surroundings and the experience will encompass:

  • Tented accommodation – but one that is top spec in luxury and immediate surroundings
  • Striking views of the turquoise Flores Sea, a prime spot for beach-basking, diving and snorkelling
  • An open air spa set just back from the beach
  • Dining in a bamboo pillared, open aired pavilion
  • A library, boutique, and a music pavilion

For rest, relaxation and recharging then an island ‘peaceful forest’ in a beautiful coastal setting is perhaps the ultimate location and one ideal for forty very lucky incentive winners staying in the twenty exotic tents.

Four for consideration then. See our Hidden Gems Pinterest board to get a better idea of what these superb destinations can offer those incentive travel groups requiring a reward befitting of stellar performers. If you would like to have a chat about these, or any other ‘hidden gems’ we know, then please get in touch.

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