New incentive destinations : Ticino

Ticino has the best of both worlds; Swiss standards of outstanding service and quality with Italian style and flavour. Situated in southern Switzerland, this Italian speaking region is only 45 minutes from Milan Malpensa airport. Easily accessible for groups and perfect for clients seeking new incentive destinations : Ticino has it all.

Here are Effective Event Solutions‘ favourite Ticino hotels/venues for groups and events:

Villa Principe Leopoldo, 5 star all-suite hotel in Lugano, offers the ultimate gourmet experience in a luxury setting.

The hotel has six elegant meeting rooms, coupled with panoramic terraces and blooming gardens which create an ideal framework for exclusive business meetings, weddings or special events.

With a wonderful view of Lake Lugano and the mountains it’s the only hotel in Ticino to be selected by the American Luxury Travel Network Virtuoso.
Located in an elegant residential neighbourhood of Collina d’Oro in a period villa that conjures up images of aristocratic splendour of the time when it belonged to the Hohenzollerns. The hotel’s grand, elegant salons, the panoramic terraces and flower-filled grounds host wedding banquets, private parties, celebratory events and exclusive business meetings. In addition to its fascinating history, the true catalyst is Dario Ranza, a multi-award-winning chef (17 Gault Millau points) “… whose ingredient-centric cuisine with a Mediterranean character conveys the ingredients’ authenticity and highlights the individual flavours…” (Clara Mennella, deputy editor, Italia a Tavola).

Villa Sassa Hotel, Residence & Spa, 4 star superior, is an oasis of well-being in panoramic position, just a few steps from Lugano’s centre.

Seven modern conference rooms are the perfect place for tailor-made meetings and events. Plus over 3,000 sqm of park and the Wellness & Spa are the ideal setting for team building activities.

Kurhaus Cademario Hotel & Spa, (pictured) 4 star superior, has breathtaking views at an altitude of 850 m, just 12 km from Lugano. The events area has direct access to a unique panoramic terrace.

The 2’200 sqm DOT.Spa is the perfect place to relax after a meeting or can be used for very special incentive activities.

The hotel’s ethos is firmly rooted in historic tradition (built in 1914), it reopened in 2013 after a comprehensive renovation. The hotel is the ideal solution for a stay focused on leisure and wellbeing, not forgetting its fresh, flavourful and typically Italian cuisine. The seven and a half acres of grounds and a stunning view over Lake Lugano welcome guests for an experience they will never forget.

Esplanade Hotel Resort & Spa 4 stars superior, is an early-20th-century building set in lush grounds dotted with palm trees, located on the sunny, Swiss shore of Lake Maggiore, where politicians and famous artists of the period came to stay.

The perfect place for active holidays in green surroundings or for a stay centred on wellbeing and excellent Ticino and Mediterranean cuisine. Close to Locarno, Ascona and Lugano, the hotel is an ideal base for relaxing and enjoying shopping and town life.

Set in lush exotic grounds only a few steps from Lago Maggiore in a sun-drenched residential district of Locarno, the Esplanade Hotel Resort & Spa provides the perfect setting for meetings and events in a refined ambiance. The 40’000 sqm park is a real paradise and another great location ideal for team-buildings and outdoor activities.

Click here for more incentive destination ideas or contact us on to discuss your travel needs.

Beijing at Chinese New Year

China is a fascinating destination; a huge country with a vast choice of captivating cities for international events & incentive travel. You may have experienced the annual celebrations here but trust us, London has nothing on Beijing at Chinese New Year!

Where to stay: Ritz Carlton Beijing

Situated amongst high-end shopping outlets and the financial hub of Beijing, the Ritz Carlton is a peaceful haven at New Year. With luxurious surroundings, attentive service and world-class restaurants and bars, this hotel is an utter delight!

Featuring 305 luxury rooms & suites, the hotel is well positioned to serve incentive groups of all sizes, alongside over 1,000 square metres of stylish meeting space for a variety of events.

What to see: Beijing Chinese New Year

You’ll hear the fireworks before you see them, celebrations start early with the noise thought to ward off evil spirits. The celebrations continue well into the night so Ritz Carlton Beijing’s location, just out of the city centre, offers the perfect vantage to enjoy a view of the fireworks without disturbing your sleep too much!

Beijing’s many parks & temples put on Spring Festivals, these fairs offer authentic Chinese crafts and local entertainment on stage (including traditional dragon dances of course!). A great way to experience the celebrations and see the beautiful Chinese New Year decorations.

No event in Beijing would be complete without a trip to see the Great Wall of China and Chinese New Year is a brilliant time to go. New Year is a deeply family based event, many of the city’s population head home and as such it is comparably quiet to the usual hub-bub of action.

If you’d like to find out more about holding events in China, drop us an email

Krakow for Corporate Groups & Incentives

We recently jetted off to Poland’s former royal capital to check out Krakow for Corporate Groups and Incentives, and here’s why it would be perfect for your next event:

Legend has it that the city was founded upon the defeat of a Dragon, a myth still evident today with a large metal Dragon sculpture framed by the impressive Wawel Castle (pictured) – a fire breathing sculpture at that, yes really! There certainly is something mythical about the beauty of this city.

Much of the architecture survived undamaged from WWII, so take a walk through Europe’s largest market square and marvel at the variety of brilliant restaurants and bars surrounding it’s central arcade.

Krakow’s charm lends itself perfectly to a variety of events. Corporate Groups can take on team building challenges around the city by four means of transport (horse & carriage, tram, golf buggy and walking in case you wondered), and host grand Gala Dinners arranged in the cavernous, chandelier lit spaces of Krakow’s Salt Mine (direct lifts underground for those not wanting to walk too far!)

Groups have a choice of brilliant hotels including the 5* Sheraton Krakow which offers outstanding views of the castle from it’s roof terrace, or past meets present at the quirky Stary Hotel.

For adventurous types we can offer a private ‘Miners Experience’ at Krakow’s famous Salt Mine, complete with overalls & headlamps to explore the hidden underground routes and undertake a few fun challenges too!

Foodies can have a go at making their own Pierogi (Polish Dumplings) with professional chef tuition, followed by a sumptuous lunch to follow at the traditionally styled Kogel-Mogel restaurant.

And of course you couldn’t come to Poland without sampling some of their famous vodka! We can arrange private vodka tastings, cocktail masterclasses and Krakow even has a party bus. Seating up to 31 the Party Bus is the most stylish way to cruise around town, complete with plasma screen and sound system that can be customised to play your favourite tunes!

If you like the sound of Krakow for Corporate Groups and Incentives then check out more of our photos on our Facebook page, or email us for more information on

What’s the best Las Vegas hotel for groups and events?

Las Vegas is the perfect place for a bit of escapism; as the Lonely Planet says, where else can you “spend the night partying in ancient Rome, wake up in Paris, watch an erupting volcano at sunset and get married in a pink Cadillac at midnight.”

But with a plethora of astounding hotels to chose from, where do you start? The Effective Travel Solutions team have been running incentive programmes and group travel trips to the so called ‘Sin City’ for years and know all of the best places to stay: from the opulent Bellagio to the enormous suites at the Venetian.

We were delighted to hear about the recent opening of the new SLS Las Vegas (which stands for Seriously Luxurious Style!) in late 2014. Boasting three distinctive Towers; ‘World’, ‘Story’ and the all-suite ‘Lux’ Tower, the property provides a range of options for groups and events.

For Large Events

The World Tower offers over 1,000 contemporary rooms for large groups, designed with business travellers in mind. Of the SLS hotel’s three towers this is the most ‘functional’ for corporate groups.

For Boutique Style

The Story Tower combines chic minimalist design with the intimate feel of a boutique hotel. 108 rooms plus 14 suites make this perfect for medium and small groups that want to feel like the hotel is all theirs during their stay.

For High-End Luxury Groups

The Lux Tower is an all-suite haven of luxury, designed with classic French features the 289 suites are pure indulgence for VIP groups and Chic Events.

Seven different restaurants, serving everything from Japanese to wood-oven pizzas, makes it nice and easy to offer variety to event delegates, without having to provide transport out to a different location every evening.

The three club options along with casino access will keep guests entertained after a long, productive conference or meeting!

30,000 sq ft of dedicated meeting space offers a stylish and sophisticated alternative to the nearby Las Vegas Convention Centre. The Congo ballroom can seat up to 740 for a theatre style conference or 520 as a seated banquet, additional breakout rooms are suitable for smaller meetings from 10 boardroom up to 180 theatre style.

If you’d like additional ideas and information about holding your next event in Las Vegas, contact our Event & Travel Managers via the contact form or email.

New York | Event Space Times Square

Early next year The Knickerbocker Hotel will re-launch itself. With an iconic location at 6 Times Square this luxury property is going to be brilliant for group incentives and events.

The 7,500 square foot rooftop lounge and bar can hold up to 250 guests within it’s indoor and outdoor space. With panoramic views of Manhattan’s famous skyline this is the perfect place to hold your next NYC event – or better still watch the New Year’s eve ball drop!

At the crossroads of uptown and downtown the Knickerbocker is also ideal for incentive groups. First opened in 1906, the hotel’s most recent make-over means it is just a vibrant and dynamic as the city itself.

Featuring 330 stylish bedrooms (including a selection of suites), state of the art fitness facilities and a restaurant / bar by Charlie Palmer the soon to be re-born Knickerbocker is the place to see and be seen.

The meeting space boasts integrated technology, natural daylight and Time Square views. Events for up to 250 can easily be accommodated in style, event space Times Square doesn’t get much better than this!

Nothing says ‘New York’ better than holding an event near the iconic Times Square, if you’re interested in more event ideas for this amazing city, contact our team on

Top 10 Group Activities in Dubai

Dubai is a fascinating city with much to offer both corporate events and incentive groups. From high-end hotels and penthouse bars to desert landscapes and golf courses, the range of group activities in Dubai mean you’ll never get bored.

Effective Travel Solutions work with the best local suppliers in the U.A.E. to ensure our group and incentive programmes offer your guests an unforgettable experience.
Here are our Top 10 group activities in Dubai:

1. Dune-bashing (pictured)

Combine stunning scenery with adrenaline fueled action as you head out on across the sand dunes in a 4×4. If you’re brave enough (and have your driving licence) you can take to the wheel yourself!

2. Get an Aerial view

See the famous Palm in all it’s glory from your own private Helicopters or Seaplanes, take a short trip over the city or make a day of it and use air transfers to take you to/from Abu Dhabi!

3. Shopping

Dubai Mall is a wonder in itself; take a trip round the aquarium, gaze at the indoor waterfalls and pick up a few designer treats! At the other end of the shopping spectrum are the markets, head over to Souk Madinat for more traditional Emirati gifts (and a huge variety of restaurants) or down to the spice markets to experience ‘Old Dubai’.

4. Sunset dinner in the desert

Exclusive dune areas can be transformed into stunning banquet spaces whatever your group size. Traditional rugs and cushions can be brought in for drinks at sunset too.

5. Sky Diving

For adrenaline-seekers this is another great way to get a good view of The Palm – sky dive over it!

6. Spa relaxation

Famed for it’s high-end hotels and resorts, Dubai has also become one of the world’s top spa destinations. A great way to unwind post event!

7. Be a ‘HOG’ for the day

The Harley Owners Group of Dubai will pick your group up with their ‘fleet’ of incredible Harley Davidson motorbikes, cruise down the highway as a transfer between venues or take a longer trip out sightseeing!

8. Boat-Life

Take a short trip across Dubai Creek in an authentic Abra (the best way to get to the Spice and Gold markets) or hire a traditional Dhow boat for an evening dinner cruise.

9. Formula 1 Thrills

Ok so not technically in Dubai, but just an hour away by road (or quicker by air!) is Abu Dhabi’s famous Yas Marina F1 circuit. Tours and track days can be arranged as well as helicopter and seaplane aerial trips over Yas Island.

10. Cocktails with a view

As you may have guessed from it’s skyline, Dubai is spoilt for choice when it comes to dining with a view. Many buildings and hotels have devoted their top floors to sumptuous bars and sophisticated restaurants.

Whilst these are some of our favourites there are also many more group activities in Dubai; Camel Polo, Golf and Watersports to name just a few.

If you’re interested in taking an incentive group out or holding an event in Dubai, then get in touch for a FREE proposal via 

Team building activities Stockholm – from speed boats to whisky tasting!

Scandinavia has a huge range of options for corporate events. From Lapland snow experiences in the north to chic design hotels in the south (here’s one of our favourites in the Danish capital Copenhagen).

Last week the Effective Event Solutions team were out in Stockholm, Sweden with a group of senior executives from offices around the globe. Following a successful few days of meetings and private dinners, we took them out to experience the city in a totally different way … from the water!

Stockholm city is composed of 14 islands surrounded by the archipelago waters and a further 2,000 islands (many uninhabited) deeper out towards to the Baltic sea. Almost 30% of Sweden’s capital city is made up of waterways so getting the opportunity to go out on the water is must!

We took 24 guests (in full wind & rain proof outfits!) out on RIB speedboats to race around the archipelago. Each team was given a nautical map and a booklet of challenges / questions from which they designed (and navigated!) their own route with the aim of winning the most points.

After an adrenaline filled hour and a half on the archipelago, the jubilant teams were welcomed to Fjäderholmen island for a VIP whisky tasting at Mackmyra.

The Mackmyra distillery is the first in Sweden and produces a variety of single malts. Our group were able to taste 7 varieties with the expert guidance of an in-house whisky master. Once we had warmed everyone up with a few whisky drams we took a leisurely tour boat cruise through central Stockholm city with a local guide telling tales and stories as we sailed.

To end the day in true Scandinavian style we took the group for a sumptuous dinner at Restaurant J Nacka with fine wines and beautiful night time views of the archipelago.

Have a look at more photos from this event here.

If your interested in holding an event in Scandinavia – whether it’s team building, a large scale conference or even a product launch – speak to our knowledgeable team via for a FREE proposal.

Copenhagen conference hotels: The chic Bella Sky Comwell

Copenhagen is the capital of chic; from trendy design stores (check out the home-ware section at the city’s premium department store Illium) to out of this world culinary experiences (NOMA has been voted the world’s best restaurant yet again) there seemingly isn’t anything the Danish don’t do with style.

So it should come as no surprise that their convention / conference venues are not  soulless, dull event spaces as you often see elsewhere when looking for large scale event venues.

And Copenhagen conference hotels don’t come much cooler than the Bella Sky Comwell – a relatively new hotel with 812 designer bedrooms across 23 floors in it’s two architecturally fascinating towers.

Belly Sky Comwell is an integrated part of the Bella Centre (one of Europe’s leading congress and trade fair venues) so you can take your pick in terms of event space. The venue can hold up to 15,000 delegates at once, but smaller groups certainly wouldn’t get lost.

When arriving from the hotel, smaller groups have direct access to a range of boardrooms, auditoriums and smaller exhibition spaces. Here it is easy to forget the scale of the venue as your delegates won’t see or hear anything that is happening in the larger trade show spaces.

Your delegates can also indulge in stylish cuisine at the on-site restaurants or unwind with incredible views on the 23rd floor at Sky bar (pictured) a whopping 76.5 metres up!

Scandinavia’s largest hotel is very well connected; with a metro stop just a few minutes walk away and free shuttle bus from Copenhagen airport.

If you plan events in Europe then get in touch with the Effective Event Solutions team via and we can find your perfect venue – FREE no obligation quotes!

Incentive Travel & Luxury Event Hotel Opening Soon in BALI

Incentive travel is a great way to motivate employees, whether they need an extra push to hit sales targets, a ‘well done’ for outstanding work or just a little bonding time with new team members, there is literally a whole world of choice out there.

This week we’re looking at Bali; an island and province of Indonesia. Best known for it’s chill-out atmosphere, stunning beaches and colourful seasonal ceremonies, there is soon to be a new ‘must-see’ resort as Ritz Carlton opens a beautiful oceanfront property.

Built on a sprawling site of over 12 hectares with white sandy beaches and elevated clifftop settings, the resort will boast 313 oceanfront suites and villas amongst it’s lush gardens plus 6 restaurants, 2 bars and a whole host of event spaces when it opens in December 2014.

Things to do (with groups)

  • Visit Uluwatu Temple, one of the six great temples that guard the island, watch a traditional Kecak dance show with a spectacular sunset backdrop.
  • Create your own perfume at the fragrance lab on site at the Ritz Carlton Bali hotel.
  • Cruise the Indian Ocean – for group trips where partners are invited, a romantic champagne cruise can be offered too.
  • Visit a sustainable cocoa farm and end the day with a chocolate making workshop
  • Traditional Balinese activities such as a private healing or ‘Melukad’ (a blessing with water) can also be arranged for private groups.
  • Join the Ritz Carlton chefs for a morning market tour in the village of Kedonganan, sample seafood fresh from the ocean and try your hand at cooking traditional Indonesian dishes.
  • A day in the Ritz Carlton spa is also a must!

When to go. Bali experiences two yearly seasons of monsoon winds: the southeast monsoon, brings dry days from May to October and the northwest monsoon brings rain roughly from November to April (peaking around Jan/Feb)

Festivals. Galungan (meaning ‘when the Dharma is winning’) occurs every 210 days, the Balinese celebrate this as they believe the deified anecestors of the family descend to their former homes. Nyepi (or Silence Day) falls on Bali’s lunar new year (usually late March or early April) and is celebrated in complete silence.

Meetings at Ritz Carlton Bali
The hotel also has a range of meeting rooms, whether your trip includes a short breakfast meeting, a lavish gala dinner or a full conference programme you will be easily accommodated here. The ballroom seats up to 450 theatre style or 210 for a banquet plus 5 meeting rooms ranging from 50-72 theatre style or 40-60 banquet.

If you like the sound of this for your next event or incentive travel trip, then drop us a line via email and we can personalise an itinerary for your company and your objectives.

Corporate Events – Costa del Sol

The former ‘capital’ of 80s family beach holidays is opening up to the corporate event market. Long gone are the rows of concrete balconies towering over the beach front, many now replaced by fresh, modern properties boasting purpose built event spaces.

While the high summer season still provides a haven for sun-seeking families, the shoulder months often provide fantastic corporate rates.

Melia International’s portfolio of hotels in the area offer real variety in both style and size in order to accommodate all types of corporate events:

Gran Melia Don Pepe

With an eviable location on Marbella’s ‘Golden Mile’ of beaches, this luxury hotel boasts magnificent sea views, sophisticated bars and opulent swimming pools. If you have a VIP to impress (or want to host an intimate drinks reception or dinner) then the Moet Presidential Suite here is perfect – on the top floor of the hotel with incredible views from it’s large terrace with private bar, bali bed and jacuzzi.

Downtown Marbella is a short walk away making it an ideal location for both conferences and incentive travel.

The hotel has 1,710 sq m of adaptable meeting, exhibition and conference space – whether it’s just a small boardroom you need or a conference for 300 with multiple breakouts, you will be easily accommodated here.

Melia Marbella Banus

Just a 5 minute walk from the exclusive Puerto Banus harbour, this hotel is a little piece of paradise, whether you’re planning to party-hard in Banus or relax on a day bed by the pool.

The presidential suite here is also great for small receptions or private dinners but it’s the poolside meeting space that really wowed us – a bright open space for up to 150 delegates, it’s soundproofing and blackout facilities are perfect for confidential meetings with breaks or lunches held on the stunning terrace.

Melia Costa del Sol

Ok, I know Torremolinos doesn’t exactly scream sensible, stylish, corporate destination – but what’s on offer at this hotel might just persuade you otherwise.

The fresh, modern reception area is a world away from the tacky beachside properties you might imagine here. With 540 peaceful rooms currently also undergoing modernisation, the property is well situated (right on the beach, just 10 minutes from Malaga International Airport) for a range of group sizes.

The purpose built congress and convention centre is the part that will swing it for corporate events though – with 850m² of flexible space seating from 25 to 450 delegates plus state of the art audio visual technology built in and excellent rates even in peak season, this could be the perfect place!

Melia La Quinta

Tucked into the beautiful scenery of Marbella’s renowned Golf Valley but still only 45 mins from Malaga airport this little gem has something for everyone.

It is an obvious choice for a golfing incentive; the private golf club onsite has outstanding facilities and service. With an extensive Spa for those not so keen on hitting the green.

Traditional Andalucian style decor with terracotta tiles, makes you feel a world away from the hustle and bustle of Marbella itself. Captivating views of the coastline and lush green landscape will win you over.

Bright open meeting spaces for up to 250 delegates and the opportunity to host a variety of events on the stunning outdoor terraces make it ideal for meetings too.

The resort traditionally closes over the winter period, but can be specially opened (and run privately) for groups of 60 and above – and it won’t cost as much as you think!

And if you do have time for an activity (or two!) there is something for everyone:


Almost 450 meters above sea level, this charming ‘blanca’ (white) village is nestled in the hillside with spectacular views of the Costa Del Sol. Incredibly popular with tourists, yet it manages to retain much of the traditional andalucian way of life, with the locals relaxed ‘mañana’ attitude a welcome change from the hectic towns below.

Private activities like flamenco shows, tapas & wine tastings or even donkey / horse and cart rides can be arranged here.

Happy Drive

Fun little electric cars fitted with GPS tablets that provide guided tours of the area – a great way to see the city!

With a small fleet of cars these can easily be hired for groups, with personalised GPS tour options they can also form part of a team building day too.

Puerto Banus

At the end of the ‘Golden Mile’ you can find the world-renowned marina of Puerto Banus. With eccentric and spectacular yachts moored in the marina and swanky Ferraris parked along the designer shop filled streets, Banus has something of a millionaire playboy reputation.

For those without millionaire sized wallets this is still a great place to visit: come in the afternoon to marvel at the boats and enjoy a sophisticated lunch at El Gran Gatsby on the far side of the marina. Venture over here after 9pm to sample the famous nightlife – from Sinatras chic portside bar to the hen-do favourite; Linekers (owned by Gary’s brother) there is something for everyone here.

Background on Melia Hotels:

Meliá Hotels International was founded in 1956 in Palma de Majorca (Spain) and is one of the world’s largest resort hotel chains, as well as Spain’s leading hotel chain in both the business and leisure markets. It currently provides more than 350 hotels in 35 countries on 4 continents under the brands: Meliá, Gran Meliá, Paradisus, ME by Meliá, Innside by Meliá, TRYP by Wyndham, Sol and Club Meliá.