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| Written by Mary Enke, CIS

In the Buyer’s Eye — On and Off the Beaten Path

As incentive destination experts, our role is to find the perfect location for each and every client—it feels like serendipity when we find a property that checks all the boxes and that we know the client will absolutely love. As humans, we tend to gravitate to what is familiar and comfortable. Although, we also desire things that are new and novel.

In the course of our destination search, we sometimes stumble upon a place or destination that really captures something special or unique, but it might not be the right fit, right now for the client. However, we keep it at the forefront of our mind, awaiting the day we can say, “I know just the place for you…”

In Case You Missed It: In the Buyer’s Eye – Top Incentive Destinations

Destinations from East to West

The following are some of our favorite such places, ideal for everything from incentive travel to board meetings and even company-wide retreats. We’re taking you across America with these properties. Some are highly sought-after destinations, while others are off the beaten path. But all are guaranteed to impress—if you don’t go, we will!

St. Michaels, Maryland

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Inn at Perry Cabin

Located on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, this Nantucket-esque boutique property is in St. Michaels, Maryland, 60 miles from Baltimore/Washington International Airport. Built in 1816, the resort perfectly combines the historic and the modern. There are a total of 78 rooms, 36 in the main building and 42 in cottage-style buildings, and the expansive lawn is dotted with Adirondack chairs, fire pits, and a gazebo, creating the perfect environment for relaxation.

The new Pete Dye-designed golf course, gorgeous spa, and fleet of luxury sailboats—sailing regattas are a top group activity!—along with a variety of outdoor event space possibilities make this an ideal option for small incentive groups or board meetings. No two days or evenings will feel alike at the Inn at Perry Cabin, a quintessential East Coast waterfront resort.

Meadows of Dan, Virginia

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Primland Resort, An Auberge Resorts Collection

Recently added to the Auberge Resorts Collection, Primland Resort is a majestic estate tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains in southern Virginia. This 12,000-acre mountain paradise offers a total of 62 accommodations, from the Lodge and lofty suites to treehouses and cottages. What group wouldn’t want to experience this one-of-a-kind retreat?

With farm-to-table mountain cuisine, a spectacular wine cellar, onsite spa and wellness options, and a host of venues for groups ranging from 16 to 150, this resort is undeniably a destination worth exploring. Of course, there’s plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors as well. Activities offered include fly fishing, horseback riding, hiking, biking, archery, ATV, sporting clays, watersports, and an 18-hole Audubon-certified golf course.

The 90-minute transfer from Roanoke Regional Airport is easily accessible and more than worth it to experience this truly luxurious back-to-nature escape.

New Orleans, Louisiana

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Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans

Who hasn’t looked at New Orleans for a meeting or an incentive? New to The Big Easy is the Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans. The property opened in August 2021 (yes, just before hurricane Ida—fortunately, it sustained no damage other than a power outage). Long in the works, this landmark tower and icon of the city is set on the Mississippi River, just a short walk to the French Quarter. Its ideal location makes it easy and convenient to offer off-site excursions that don’t even require a transfer.

There are a total of 341 rooms and suites, making this a larger Four Seasons property, but it’s certainly more than appropriate for a city like New Orleans. There is always a reason to celebrate here, and this new addition gives another option for upscale meetings or incentives.

Scottsdale, Arizona

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The Ritz-Carlton, Paradise Valley

Arizona is always on the list for US destinations (other than June–August, that is—no need to explain), and there are so many choices when it comes to resorts: historic, luxury, indigenous, wellness, nature-inspired, contemporary, sports-inspired, ranching, the list goes on! It’s been some time since there’s been a new resort to get excited about, but that’s about to change… The Ritz-Carlton, Paradise Valley is set to open in the Fall of 2022 and promises to be an exclusive sanctuary on Camelback Mountain.

Offering a total of 215 guest rooms and suites, every room includes air purification, and select rooms feature outdoor showers and fireplaces. Set on 20-acres of verdant landscape, this new resort is sure to be an in-demand addition to a hot (literally and figuratively) destination.

Park City, Utah

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Pendry Park City

Opening in winter 2021 within the Canyons Village of Park City is Pendry Park City. Part of Montage Hotels and Resorts, Pendry Park City joins a collection of distinctive, luxury hotels and resorts.

This ski-in/ski-out mountainside resort offers a total of 152 rooms and suites along with a Spa Pendry, fine dining, and a rooftop bar and pool. With mountain resorts now popular year-round, there’s outdoor adventure available in every season, although off-site local businesses may be closed during the off-season.

Los Olivos, California

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The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern, An Auberge Resorts Collection

35 miles north of Santa Barbara in the Santa Ynez Valley, Los Olivos is a Rockwellian town that trades the beach and water for the hills and wine country. Re-opening this fall in Los Olivos is The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern. The historic site was a social center of the Santa Ynez Valley from the 1890s through the 1930s and has now been reimagined by Auberge.

A total of 67 luxury guest rooms and cottage-style accommodations showcase a seamless blend of the pastoral and the refined, culminating in a modern farmhouse style with a contemporary twist. The inn should be a top West Coast consideration for high-end, smaller incentive groups or board meetings.

Napa, California

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Stanly Ranch, An Auberge Resorts Collection

Designed with the comfort of home in mind, Stanly Ranch offers a total of 135 cottages, some stand-alone and others a cluster of three in one building. All cottages feature a private outdoor patio and firepit, and even when within the same building, all have their own private entry that doesn’t even face another door. This new gateway to Napa and Sonoma opens in November 2021 and is only 45 minutes from San Francisco International Airport.

Famed for breathtaking scenery, exquisite cuisine, outdoor adventures, food pairings, and, of course, wine, Napa and Sonoma have long been a favorite for incentives and meetings alike. Stanly Ranch offers the best new way to experience everything wine country has to offer.

What’s Next?

Want to learn more about trending incentive destinations and properties? Need assistance researching, sourcing, and contracting a venue? Looking to elevate your next incentive trip experience? CONTACT US and we’ll put you in touch with one of our M&IW Incentive Travel Experts.

Additional articles and resources:

Like a fine wine, building luxurious 5-star hotels in Napa Valley takes considerable time. As one of the most desirable destinations in the world, Napa Valley has spent considerable time revitalizing its tourism offerings to extend into large group travel for global businesses. Luxury Incentive Travel Comes to Wine Country

Travel Expert journey mapping and the newest incentive industry trends as well as take away some trip ideas to implement into your next program? Incentive Travel Trends and Attendee Journey Mapping