Saturday, 2 February 2013

A Conference Organizers Weekend - Part 3

Sabrage....

Taking the cork out of a champagne bottle with a great big sword!

Yes we have had a go at that and its easier than it sounds and has a great historical significance between the French and the Russians apparently.

So this morning as part of the Great Escape Weekend from Red Carnation Hotels after a hearty breakfast which was excellent, we headed for the South African themed bbar which is part of the Rubens Hotel. A great dine around option if using the hotel as a conference venue as you can charge anything back to your room number.

Tasting of cocktails and Mrs Balls Chutney is a must in the bbar and the Bobotie spring rolls are to die for. What a great venue with 3 areas for hiring privately and African themed decor makes it an interesting space. Just another option if using the Rubens as a conference venue in London.

Just as we were getting comfortable in the bbar we were told that our transport had arrived to take us to the next destination, The Milestone Hotel. An orginal London bus was waiting and dropped us to the waiting entourage outside the Milestone Hotel.

The flagship of the London Hotels, the Milestone lived up to expectations with its 5 star service and product. Lovely bedrooms, suites and apartments are its draw but also it has great meeting and private dining spaces which we were lucky to experience. The rooms and suites at The Milestone are stunning and at £600.00 a night they have to be special but I think they are value for money from what i have just seen.

After the Sabrage we were treated to canapes and a wine tasting, did we mention that Red Carnation Hotels own vineyards in South Africa?

Having a personal preference for expensive reds, I decided to try the award winning Pinot Noir from the Bouchard Finlayson label and I wasn't disappointed, 3 glasses later and I couldn't face trying the whites that were on offer. Bribery by alcohol is always a good sales technique in my books!

The bus has brought us back to the Rubens Hotel to freshen up for dinner at the Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel tonight. The progamme or entertainment is yet to be announced but if the last 24 hours is to go by then I know the hospitality and quality of service, food and drink will be first class.

Its still very hard work making sure we experience every aspect of conference venues to ensure we recommend the right one for your next meeting or event!

Watch out for Part 4 shortly.

A Conference Organizers Weekend - Part 2

STOP PRESS

A conference venue in London gives free WIFI in all areas!!!

Yes you heard it here first, no catches, no hidden charges, its all totally free. Isn't that what all conference organizers dream of. Red Carnation Hotels have got my vote already.

So back to the weekend, we were told to meet in the Palace Lounge which is great for people watching as it looks over the Royal Mews. We were greeted by an Umpa Lumpa and a chocolate martini, not your average corporate drinks reception. The lounge had been been transformed into Willy Wonkas chocolate factory with the GM dressed as 'Mr Wonka'.

There were sweets and chocolate everywhere, canapes have never tasted so good and all washed down with blueberry cocktails and of course a couple more chocolate martinis. Now i have been on a few familiarization trips over the years but chocolate for canapes is a first for me. We bought our Wonka Bars as the promise was a special trip for those lucky 5 that found the golden ticket!

If your expectation of a London conference venue is stuffy and formal then you will be in for a surprise from the Rubens at the Palace. The staff are brilliant, informative and above all friendly but with a professional service.

Mini fish chips, mini Yorkshire puddings & roast beef and mini sausage and mash followed the chocolate canapes again accompanied by a chocolate martini (there is a theme emerging here!). Then it was time for a bit of hard work and the business side of the evening, the showround.

Rubens is a small and compact hotel that is full of character and charm and with 2 smallish meeting rooms its not going to suit every event. The largest meeting room holds 90 people but is tastefully furnished and great for smaller events i would say. I would have no hesitation in recommending the meeting rooms to our clients as coupled with the first class service you know the event will be a success here.

We were then taken into Hotel 41 which is the 5 star hotel on the 5th floor of the Rubens. More a private club this doesn't feel like a hotel at all but exudes elegance, style and privacy. Again facilities and bedrooms were very impressive here.

Back down to the lounge and guess what, my wife found a golden ticket in her wonka bar!!! As her prize she was whisked up in the glass elevator to the roof of the Rubens where she was treated to caviar, Verve Cliquot and a view down to the Royal Mews and up to the stars. Stunning was her description which I have to take her word for as I was stuck downstairs with my chocolate martini.

11.30pm - Time to retire to our stylish bedroom after a very enjoyable, informal evening. I have learnt a lot about the Rubens, got to know the team that run the conference and events and drank a lot of cold chocolate. All in the quest to find that perfect London conference venue for you.

Still being kept in the dark about tomorrow and what they have planned for us, all we have been told is we will be:

Mastering the Art of Sabrage.....

Until tomorrow.


Friday, 1 February 2013

A Conference Organisers Weekend - Part 1

The struggles we have to go through to ensure we always find conference venues that are suitable for you....

This weekend we were kindly invited to experience the facilities at the 4 central London hotels belonging to Red Carnation Hotels. The programme for the weekend is still very much a secret as I write this however I know its going to be educational and fun whatever we get up to.

Just checked into the Rubens at The Palace our home for the next 2 nights and first impressions are very good. As you would expect from a 4 star central London conference hotel, the welcome was warm and the room was traditional with a modern twist.

The welcome letter from the General Manager contained 2 vouchers for a complimentary cocktail in the hotel bar so we are looking forward to choosing from the extensive list shortly! A cryptic message about Willy Wonka's chocolate factory has got us thinking about what else may be in store this evening. Cocktails and chocolate is just about perfect for me though and not sure I need anything else.

The weekend is all about increasing our knowledge of conference venues in London and we are looking forward to seeing the conference facilities at each of the hotels. Without this first hand knowledge we can't recommend venues to our clients so its an important part of a very hard job!!

OK off to the bar now for my cocktail, so watch this space for Part 2 of the weekend.