Beyond the Conference Room: Five Unique Team-Building Activities Offered at Hotels

Tikchik Narrows Lodge
Tikchik Narrows Lodge

When planning corporate gatherings, today’s companies are searching for out-of-the-box ways to engage their teams and help them develop stronger bonds, hone their skills, and kickstart curiosity and innovation. Hotels have responded to this trend by offering more unique group getaways and curated team-building exercises. Below are five hotels that are stepping outside the boardroom for their corporate clients.

1A Floating Break-Out Pavilion and Paddle Board Experience

Break-out rooms are par for the course during corporate gatherings, but the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina in Tampa, Fla., offers a break-out space that is unique to its location. The hotel’s floating break-out pavilion on its private marina serves as a hub for several water-centered activities for corporate groups. These experiences include a crash course on stand up paddle boarding (SUP) with local experts, and a board meeting “survival kit” of sunscreen, sunglasses, and a souvenir SUP t-shirt.

2Team Building With Empanadas and Meditation

The Kimpton Gray Hotel in Chicago has created a variety of wellness and food-focused team building activities for businesses—from empanada making to meditation. The property’s wellness partner, Lizzi Cutler, can lead groups in meditation, which can increase productivity or encourage teams to slow down and reflect to set the mood for the day. On the F&B side, guided classes like Caviar 101, empanada making, and the art of ceviche give groups a chance to learn first-hand about various cuisine from experts and experience it for themselves and together.

3Exploring Nature and Building Skills Through Scavenger Hunts and Puzzles

Glasbern Inn—a 37-room luxury hotel in Fogelsville, Pa., with six private event venues—offers team-building activities that center on its 150 acres of sustainable farm. Groups can explore trails, collaborate on scavenger hunts, and solve puzzles across the property. Using Glasbern or locally sourced ingredients, the Inn’s Chef can lead interactive programs where teams prepare gourmet meals, create ice carvings, or other engaging programs to foster working relationships, enhance bonding, and have fun. The property even offers a program where teams can tap into the Whole Brain Thinking model and HBDI assessment to engage with the transformative methodology and assessment available to measure and leverage valuable thinking.

4Building an Adventure in the U.S. Southwest

The Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado last year rolled out buyout retreat capabilities to elevate its group meeting offerings and programming. The buyout includes the property’s 57 acres of land and 13,000 square feet of event space. With a dedicated on-site Adventure Center, the resort’s own Adventure Architect, Hans Loehr, curates itineraries for groups such as a guide to the land, cultures, history, and heritage of Santa Fe and its surroundings. Other nearby activities include hiking, horseback riding, biking, yoga, meditation, explorations of Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch, various historical and cultural tours around Santa Fe, a day trip to Taos, and cross-country skiing.

5A Cabin-Style Retreat in Alaska

Tikchik Narrows Lodge in Bristol Bay, Alaska, offers a chance for employees to escape to Alaska’s backcountry at the end of a peninsula dividing two lakes. Guests arrive at this remote destination by privately-chartered floatplane and stay in luxury cabins. Corporate groups can rent out the entire lodge as well. Team building is built in to the day-to-day activities, like fly-out fishing excursions in pursuit of five species of salmon and seven species of freshwater fish; boat tours on the lake to Mirror Bay to see snowfields and green peaks; wildlife viewing at Brooks Falls where brown bears gather to fish; flight-seeing tours for expansive views of tundra and water; and kayak excursions spent on Lake Chiuminuk inside the 1.6 million-acre Wood-Tikchik State Park.


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