Few seasoned luxury travellers would dispute that a villa in a stunning part of Southern Europe is the ideal setting for the perfect holiday. However, there are certain properties which also provide an innovative and inspiring environment for a business retreat. A private space which sponsors clarity of thought, corporate bonding, and the opportunity to get the best out of colleagues in a relaxed yet productive setting.
Villa La Tosca in the lovely French settlement of Lanton, Aquitaine is a landmark and historic beach front property which offers every conceivable amenity for a business retreat. Its huge dining area and salon combine beauty with highly flexible functionality, and can be bespoke into a range of different working facilities including a seminar space, large conference area with marquee, break-out zone and corporate dining, all entwined with breath-taking views of the sea and gardens. A formal haute cuisine kitchen readily caters up to the property’s generous capacity, and there is also a full office space with desk, printer and scanner and a cinema/conference room with space for 40 people.
Villa La Tosca
The clue is in the name at the Menorca Prestige, a jewel of the Balearics and a 250 acre estate which offers the quality and range of facilities for business guests that might more readily be anticipated from a five star boutique hotel. Sleeping up to 22 guests, the emphasis lies squarely on excellent service, with a full in-house concierge team available to ensure a memorable blend of vocational activities and well-earned subsequent relaxation. It benefits from being an accessible property and from a setting that is the perfect springboard for an away day yacht charter or tour.
The grand Altaserra Wine Resort in Montebenichi, Tuscany subtly and seamlessly combines many of the best ingredients for a corporate retreat. Comfortably accommodating sixteen adults in total, there is both a main building and an annex, allowing for a dispersed way of working and living. At the heart of the residence is the wonderful function room. Accommodating up to 220 people, it is set inside a vaulted, converted wine cellar. The excellent wine tastings that the property boasts also provide a fascinating and very Tuscan element or conclusion to a day of business.
Villa Altaserra Wine Resort
Set in the verdant splendour of Montaione, Villa Ciggiano is another Tuscan manor house well-established for professional breaks. Offering a more intimate six bedroom setting, it is perfect for smaller but high powered executive gatherings in which, perhaps around the striking twelve-seater dining table or the private fishing lake, ideas can be crystallised and deals can be brokered. As with Altaserra, all the treasures of Tuscany are on the doorstep for business days out, as well as easy access to the region’s excellent European and global transport networks.
The same can also be said of Country Relais and Spa Le Capanne. Set in the shimmering Tuscan hills of Volterra, between 18 and 22 businesspeople can savour the delights of this immaculately renovated rural idyll. There are dedicated conference facilities as well as a more relaxed common room for informal meetings. Cooking classes, wine tastings and olive harvesting can all be laid on as lively team building experiences.
These five magical properties are a productivity aid and a bonus scheme all in one, a place for ideas to play out, creativity to flow, and collective memories and loyalties to be forged, in some of Europe’s most superb locations.
By Phileas French, Travel Writer