Last Friday we held our May FAM trip at Brooklands Hotel and Mercedes-Benz World and we had the best time. I will be honest, I have lived just a 5-minute drive from both for years and have never been and I am now wondering why. The Brooklands site is home to one of Britain’s most famous racing heritage circuits and was one of the world’s first race tracks that opened in 1907. It is pretty impressive when you see it.
Our group all checked-in to their fabulous rooms by 3.00 pm before meeting up for a few glasses of champagne and our site visit. Some of the group were smart enough to arrive a little earlier and try out the spa. The spa has some amazing offers on for both leisure and groups so well worth checking that out. Our site visit around all the spaces was a welcome surprise as I have to say, I did not expect to see the amount of meeting spaces Brooklands has and I am pretty sure the group didn't either… There are five suites in total with Brooklands being the largest. All of the meeting spaces have inbuilt av with complimentary Wi-Fi, LC projector and screen, plasmas, lapel and handheld microphones and the all-important thing that delegates simply can’t live without… NATURAL DAYLIGHT! Ha ha Every single meeting room had natural daylight which is amazing.
After our site visit, we sat down for dinner in the 1907 restaurant where we dined a la carte. The restaurant has been awarded two AA Rosettes and you can see why. I have been going on about the purple potato gnocchi I had for my starter all week. It was amazing and I want the recipe although there is no way I would be able to recreate it I am going to give it a good try.
After dinner, we moved off to the bar where the 1920’s decor meant we felt pretty glamorous sipping our cocktails. After a few drinks, a lot of non-related events chat we all went off to bed, ready for our early start and driving morning. We left the bar patrons to it - 1907 bar is fab and very buzzy. It was such a good atmosphere… It would be great for delegates after their own private dinner for those that want to carry on having a few drinks.
The next day it was up bright and early for breakfast (which was lovely, especially the sausages), before making the short 2-minute walk to Mercedes-Benz World. MBW is their purpose-built Under 17s driving facilities with handling circuits, wet skid circle, wet straight and 10-acre 0ff-road course. Hand on heart I had no idea what any of these were but now I do and oh my goodness was it fun. Our group started with a 15-minute briefing on safety procedures before we all had our own 20-minute driving experience I literally smiled the whole time. It was so much fun and I actually learnt a lot. This would be an amazing idea for a team building activity for your away days and retreats!
The staff are amazing and so well organised and I would definitely send a group back. I really loved it.
After the driving, it was off for a tour of the meeting and event spaces at MBW and there are a lot there as well. There are 12 separate event spaces and you can see their capacities here.
We all had such a good time and I was so pleased to have found another fab hotel for away days and conferences.
Our second ever EventProfsLive event was held at the Andaz Hotel nearly 2 years ago and a lot has changed....we've gone from 10 to over 150 members and as the Andaz has gone through their own changes since then, we decided it was about time we returned and return we did, and in style... We had a pamper evening in our own private suite!
If you have been living on Mars and aren't aware, The Andaz Hotel is a 5-star hotel located in the heart of the City of London with 14 unique spaces for events.
On Friday, we said goodbye to the week and hello to the weekend with some champagne in the gorgeous lounge...the first thing you notice at this hotel is how helpful and friendly the staff are, within 2 minutes of arrival our bags and coats had been whisked away and replaced with a glass of bubbles! The hotel has moved away from the traditional "front desk" for check-in and replaced this with an interactive desk with helpful staff and iPads - so much more welcoming and modern and we love it!
After catching up with the fabulous Federica and Abigail from the Andaz and our lovely members, we moved onto a tour of the event spaces.
The hotel has 14 spaces to suit a range of events from small boardroom meetings, private dining spaces, large conferences for up to 250 people or standing drinks reception for up to 500 people. Federica and Abigail are amazing and full of unique ideas of how the spaces can be used. Of all the spaces, the highlights for us on the tour were the Temple, the Studio and 1901....
The Temple has to be one of the best event secrets ever (sssh keep it a secret!) it is a grade 1 listed Masonic temple that was built in 1912 and was hidden before World War II and not discovered until recently. The Temple really does have a wow factor and is perfect for dinners, drinks receptions, fashion shows, creative events and about a million other types of events...
The Studio is a complete modern contrast to the Temple, this space has a New York loft feel. It has a floor to ceiling walls of wine; (we would like to work our way through that!) A working kitchen adds an interactive element to your meeting, and the hotel can bring Chefs in from their various restaurants to add this interactive element from a sushi making lesson, cocktail making, bread making, interactive canapes etc. A lovely touch to the studio is a wall of photos of people that have inspired the hotel including their own Chef from Miyako the uber famous Japanese restaurant.
A recent change to the hotel is that 1901 is now an event space and it is gorgeous! Perfect for drinks receptions or a seated dinner. This space can hold up to 180 people and is worth checking out!
As well as the event spaces, the hotel has two restaurants, a wine lounge, champagne bar and a pub! All of these can be taken exclusively.
We love a bedroom so we also checked out one of the newly refurbished bedrooms. The hotel is currently working their way through refurbishing the bedrooms. The room we saw looked amazing with the most fabulous bathroom - we are suckers for a good bathroom! Technology was also a big factor in the room refurbishment, the TVs all have access to Netflix which we love.
After the tour, we moved onto our pamper evening - very much needed after everyone's busy week! Our pamper evening took place in a gorgeous suite, we were welcomed by a glass of champagne and was served delicious food throughout the evening. The food was amazing and such a variety of healthy and less healthy options - the perfect combo! The service from the staff was outstanding.
During the evening we were spoilt by a neck and shoulder massages and also all got our hair done. It really was such a special evening. We were pampered by Pamper Me (www.pamperme.co.uk), they are beauty therapists that deliver expert treatments at events, companies and at home. We highly recommend them! They can do all treatments from massages, manicures, pedicures, facials and hair styling. I have held a few ladies only corporate events and know that Pamper Me would be perfect - so lovely and so professional!
Michelle Rees is a Events Advisor for a London Law Firm
Kate is a Events Manager for a London Law Firm