Corporate group travel is making a comeback as many luxury resorts across the country incorporate company retreats into their program. From the wide-open Sonoran Desert to the adventure-packed mountains of Montana, these spots go beyond your standard ropes course in the nearby state park and elevate the itineraries to include activities ranging from culinary contests to high-performance driving. Whether you’re looking to reward your employees for a great year or simply trying to sprinkle in a little team bonding, our Forbes Travel Guide editors found five properties that make corporate retreats both fun and luxurious.
The Phoenician, Scottsdale, Ariz.
With the help of in-house destination services partner, Hello! Arizona, Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Phoenician has your corporate retreat covered from airport pickups to team-building activities. Adventures in the Valley of the Sun range from off-road excursions through the Sonoran Desert to flatwater river floats on the Verde or Salt rivers. Meanwhile, if you think your employees need a little team building, Hello! Arizona and The Phoenician can make that a reality with experiences such as a Southwestern salsa and margarita challenge, photo scavenger hunt in Old Town Scottsdale, and team orienteering (read: you’ll be dropped in the middle of the desert and have to work as a unit to find your way back to civilization). The Scottsdale resort also offers three restaurants, 27 holes of championship golf and an 11-court tennis facility, so no matter what your company’s interests are, there’s something for everyone.
Salamander Resort & Spa, Middleburg, Va.
This 340-acre resort in the heart of Virginia’s wine country was practically made for groups. With endless activities, your company will love holing up here for a few days. You can unwind with a treatment in the 23,000-square-foot spa (try the 50- or 80-minute bamboo massage) and relax by the outdoor pool before diving into group experiences. Outdoor adventures include options such as Survival 101, during which you and your team are in the woods with just a compass and you have 90 minutes to make it back to camp. New this summer is the Salamander Tree Top Zip Tour, which debuts in early July and features five zip lines and two suspension sky bridges. Inside, you and your company can compete in a culinary cook-off in the cooking studio and in a blind wine-tasting challenge. Good-natured fun can be had on the Grand Lawn with games such as cornhole and horseshoes before gathering in the culinary garden for a group dinner. Finish off the evening with a nightcap under the stars as you warm up by the one of the fire pits.
The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, Colo.
The Five-Star resort has long been a favorite for group outings—perhaps because its 3,000 acres offer more than enough entertainment. Attendees can participate in everything from art classes to fly-fishing. You can organize a company golf tournament on one of the three championship courses, challenge someone to a tennis match or overcome your fears with a rock climbing session. If you prefer to head off-property, guests of The Broadmoor have exclusive access to one of the oldest cattle ranches in Colorado, Eagles Nest Ranch. As the premier location for hunting upland birds, waterfowl and migratory game, your retreat consists of a three-day package for up to 12 guests, inclusive of hunting, meals and accommodations. Keep in mind this is only available October 1 through March 1. Back on-property, you’ll have access to 19 eateries (including Five-Star Penrose Room), a movie theater and the Five-Star Spa at The Broadmoor, among many other amenities.
Gateway Canyons Resort, Gateway, Colo.
Created by Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks, Gateway Canyons Resort is the ideal retreat for curious adventurers. Surrounded by the red rocks of western Colorado, your team will be one with nature here. To add a bit of thrill to the standard team-bonding activities, visit the Adventure Center, the hub for all things adrenaline-pumping. You and your coworkers can go whitewater rafting on the Dolores River, rock climbing in Unaweep Canyon or rappelling off the Cutler Formation. If you need some downtime, or have some avid car collectors in your group, you can wander through the Gateway Colorado Automobile Museum and admire the collection of antique American cars. Gateway Canyons boasts three restaurants (plus the poolside Cantina), each with plenty of room to host you and your attendees. And for a little post-dinner action, head to the upstairs gaming loft at Paradox Grille that’s stocked with a pool table, shuffleboard and air hockey and foosball tables.
The Ranch at Rock Creek, Philipsburg, Mont.
It’s hard to find something you can’t do on this 6,600-acre ranch—especially something that will bring the company closer. You’re surrounded by the best Mother Nature has to offer (think meadows blanketed in wildflowers in the spring and summer, vibrant foliage in the fall and a snowy wonderland come winter), which makes it great for retreats. Set everyone up in luxurious glamping-style canvas cabins or book one of the multi-bedroom private log homes for your stay. Five-Star The Ranch at Rock Creek is all-inclusive, so you and your colleagues can bond over as many activities as you’d like, including fly-fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking along the ridge tops of the Sapphire Mountains. If you plan your retreat for winter, you can expect experiences such as snowcat adventures, sleigh rides and snowshoeing, all of which can be done as a team.
Photos Courtesy of Noble House Hotels and Resorts and The Broadmoor