We have been lucky enough to host two groups at Pennyhill Park for FAM trips in the past 12 months and every single member, every trip has fallen in love with it just as we have.
Pennyhill Park is situated in Bagshot, just a short 35 minute train journey from London. Synonymous for its amazing Spa and the England Training group being on its doorstep we corporate events managers in the know, know just how amazing a venue it is for corporate events as well.
Our FAM trip started with a 3.00 pm check-in and a short walk over to the spa for our very own spa workshop with a senior beautician. Headbands on and makeup stripped bear, we learnt the correct way to cleanse, tone and moisturise and had a great laugh whilst we did it. Up next was what everyone had been waiting for, an afternoon of total bliss in the award winning spa. Those that know me, know that I have pestered my husband repeatedly for membership to the spa at Pennyhill Park and I haven’t given up hope (hint hint hubs). It is just amazing, there are so many different treatment rooms and pools you don’t know where to start. I am fairly certain we tried all of them, and the prosecco and a light snack (just to make sure all bases where covered) before we headed off to our amazing rooms to get ready for our show round and dinner.
Pennyhill park has 124 individually designed rooms and suites and no two are the same. I must have stayed in Pennyhill Park now at least seven times over the years and I have never been in the same room twice. They are seriously stunning with so much character and I know from experience that your meeting attendees will love them. They are gorgeous and all hi-tech with high speed Wi-Fi (comp) throughout and in-room IPads so anything you need to do/or order is just a click away.
In regards the meeting and event spaces you are also spoilt for choice. The main meeting rooms are the Balmoral and Sandringham and used in combination can take up to 200 theatre using the Sandringham for up to 50 or, as your breakout for teas and coffees.
There are a further 18 other rooms for meetings up to 80 guests all with natural daylight and all just perfect. You can see the capacity charts here. Alongside the fab meeting rooms are the latest av equipment and very tasty healthy snack boxes to give your meeting attendees tea breaks with a different. All included in their DDR.
After our site visit we headed off for dinner to the Brasserie which whilst is a casual dining experience holds 2 AA Rosettes and is also the main restaurant for breakfast each morning. Alongside the Brasserie, is Matt Workswick at The Latymer, Pennyhill Park’s Michelin Starred restaurant. You are really are spoilt for choice. Imagine hosting your board dinner in The Latymer?!
After dinner it was off to the bar for a few civilised drinks (ha ha) before heading off to bed, ready for a full day of the spa the following day. The bar at Pennyhill is fabulous, a mix of residents and dinner guests and such a lovely atmosphere with the live music. You could sit there for hours.
We would love to thank Pennyhill for their continued support of Eventprofslive and allowing us to bring our lovely members to see the venue that Kate and I have fallen in love with. It really does make for a stunning venue with exemplary service and wonderful staff. Thanks to Dom for hosting us as well, we can’t wait to come back.
For more information on Pennyhill Park for your meeting and events, please reach out to Ratnesh here.
Who doesn't want to stay in "the loveliest castle in the world", I mean seriously, if you received an invitation to attend an event there could you say no? We certainly couldn't and last Friday our March FAM was held at Leeds Castle which really is, the loveliest castle in the world.
Leeds Castle is not in Leeds (as most of us originally thought) , it is in Maidstone Kent and just 50 minutes from London Victoria. Our FAM started with a fabulous afternoon tea in the Maidens Tower Long Gallery where we caught up with the Leeds Castle team, Meet Beyond London and Conference Maidstone. After a brief intro it was off outside for a bit of falconry and to meet the stars of Leeds Castle, the birds! There are five different experiences that you can incorporate into your event, we loved it (especially the Owls) and you can read more about it here.
After meeting the birds it was time to check-in and have a bit of leisure time to enjoy our stunning rooms. Each of The Castle State Rooms have their own stories. As you can imagine the Castle is steeped in history and it was so fascinating to read about what our room had been in the past two hundred years and more importantly... who had slept there. Apart from being stunning in decoration, the beds where out of this world comfortable. I don't know if I am getting old but I literally sat on mine, sunk into it and nodded off. They are the most comfortable beds ever.
Our group then met in the Library for a welcome drink before a full tour of the castle to learn all about its history. The castle's most famous owner was of course King Henry VIII and you can read more about all the fascinating history here.
After the tour it was off for a fabulous dinner in the Dining Room where we got to know our hosts and dined on asparagus tart, duck and cake for pudding. It really was a lovely evening! A few of us had a nightcap and then it was off to those comfy beds. Up early for breakfast and a morning to explore the grounds before heading back to London!
When holding your corporate event at Leeds Castle, there are three types of accommodation available. The Castle State Rooms (eight in total) which consists of eight charming rooms, many of which offering breath-taking views over the moat. The castle bedrooms (seven in total) are styled around members of the housekeeping staff during the 1920s and a further 17 bedrooms are available in Stable Courtyard, just a few minutes walk away from the Castle Island. The Maiden's Tower, on the Castle Island, has five en-suite bedrooms offering complete luxury for the hosts and their guests. Currently the 24 hour rate is only £245 plus vat which is amazing when you consider the experience you are giving your delegates.
In terms of activity options, you are spoilt for choice. Just a short drive away you have Go Ape which is one of the best team building activities around. You have golf, falconry and Segways as well and can bring anything in (within reason).
We loved our FAM to Leeds Castle and feel so privleged to be able to showcase all these amaging hotels, venues and spaces that would work so well for corporates both in and around London.
If you would like any more information on Leeds Castle or to host one of our corporate FAM tips or events, drop us a line.
The motto of The Vineyard is "We love wine. We eat, sleep and drink it" coincidently we do too so the Vineyard was the perfect fit for our February FAM trip.
The Vineyard is a 5 star luxury hotel in Berkshire - the journey from London Paddington takes less than 1 hour, and for our FAM, we were met at the station by our own personal driver, John, who was super friendly and provided us with lots of information on the hotel and the local area in the short 10 minute journey. Within 1 hour 20 minutes of leaving our desks we were standing in the stunning reception with a glass of wine in our hand which is ideal for Off sites and Away Days.
The hotel has 49 bedrooms, 32 of which are gorgeous suites. The group were all lucky enough to stay in the Atrium Suites which provide ample space for your delegates to comfortably work in the living room area of their suite without feeling like they are in their bedroom. The suites all have a lovely balcony providing views of the surrounding countryside and just feel so luxurious!
If your group were going to extend their stay or wanted to explore outside of the property, the local area provides an array of opportunities to add on elements to your event including golf, an experience at Bombay Sapphire Distillery, shopping experience at Bicester Village, horse racing at Newbury and for those Downton Abbey fans or international delegates looking for the typical English experience Highclere Castle is close by.
The hotel has five event spaces with the largest event suite having a capacity for up to 160 delegates. The event spaces all have that important natural daylight and what was very obvious from all our interactions with all members of staff, your delegates would receive impeccable service. The hotel is perfect for exclusive use providing your delegates with that "special" feel.
As you can see from our intro, the hotel is all about wine and for us, one of the highlights of the evening was having a private tour of one of the wine cellars. The hotel has over 30,000 bottles in their cellars with 3,000 bins which makes it quite the collection and so fascinating. The wine cellar would be a great addition to add onto your event with each tour accommodating up to 15 people.
After soaking up the atmosphere (and the smell of wine) in the wine cellar, we were more than ready to taste some! We were extremely lucky to join the wine experience that was taking place - a five course tasting menu with paired wines in one of the lovely event spaces The food was incredible, the service was impeccable and the wine was divine - we learnt a lot about wine and felt quite privileged to be able to taste a few that we would usually not be privy to. It really is a special experience.
With that lovely full feeling of an amazing evening of food and wine, we actually retired to our suites much earlier than usual and surprisingly woke up feeling very fresh faced the next day! So much so we enjoyed the day relaxing in the spa within the hotel before we begrudgingly got back on the train to London.
If your delegates love good food, good wine and impeccable service then the Vineyard is for you. For more information, reach out to Sarah Birch at the Vineyard who will be very happy to provide you with further information.
We are slowly making our way through all of the fabulous Exclusive Hotels and Venues and last Friday we were off to Fanhams Hall, a Grade II Jacobean mansion house located in Ware for our first FAM of 2018. From Liverpool Street, the venue is just a 45 minute train ride away and only 60 minutes from Heathrow which is very handy.
Our group arrived at 3.00 pm for an amazing light lunch and a chat with Jonathan, MD of Fanham’s Hall before heading off on a site visit of all the meeting and event spaces and there are a lot. Fanhams Hall has 24 meeting and syndicate rooms. Of these 20, 12 are principal meeting rooms and a further 12 are breakout rooms, all flexible in their layouts and all of them having loads of lovely natural daylight. The biggest space, The Hertford and Ware is perfect for larger meetings and is very modern and sleek in design with the most amazing views and fits up to 70 cabaret. Amongst all the meeting and event spaces you will find the long gallery which is my favourite. The long gallery was originally a stunning picture gallery with ornate chandeliers and dual aspect views of the gorgeous gardens, there is also two small syndicate rooms that work with it to make it a wonderful, different option for that board level away day. You can find more on the capacities of all the meeting rooms here.
In the midst of our site visit of the event spaces, we headed outside to see all of the venues grounds and the Japanese Tea Gardens which are truly spectacular. They would make a stunning backdrop for your onsite activities. I really fell in love with them they were just so unexpected...
After our site visit it was back to our rooms to freshen up ready for our welcome drinks and private dinner which was superb. Our chef certainly served up an amazing menu and words (but I hope pictures can) cannot describe the desert. It was AMAZING and provided a good lining for the next part of our site visit… the Karaoke Klub. I can’t quite put into words how fun our night was but I will try.
The Karaoke Club is the venue’s Klub which is a completely self-contained stand alone venue where your guests can sing their hearts out. It also has its own bar and I think adding this on to any offsite/away day would be amazing. It is so good for team building. We certainly had the best time.
The next morning, with some very sore heads we all met up for breakfast and had a giggle about the nights signing stars. This was such a wonderful FAM trip, thank you so much to Fanhams for having us!
We really think Fanhams would work beautifully for a away day or meeting. They have some very competitive 24 hour rates and combined with its proximity to London’s Liverpool Street and those magical gardens it’s definitely worth looking at!
Our November London event was held at the amazing The Ned. We fell in love with this venue and saw the full potential when we carried out our hard hat site visit in August 2016 - falling in love with a building site, a first for everything right!?!
For anyone that has not heard of The Ned, the hotel officially opened in April this year and is one of the newest 5 star properties in the heart of the City. As well as being a hotel and members' club, there are 9 restaurants, indoor & rooftop pools, a gym, spa and the all important 6 event spaces! The hotel is part of the Soho House family so you know you are in a safe pair of hands!
On a chilly November evening, we hosted 15 corporate event managers in the Princes Dome which is located in the members' club space. The Princes Dome is a perfect spot for an intimate drinks reception or dinner with amazing views of the City just outside the space. After all catching up over champagne it was off for a tour of the event spaces.
The hotel has 252 bedrooms which are all decorated to an amazing standard, you feel like you are stepping back in time to the glamorous 1920s era. We viewed a 2 bedroom suite which would work really well for press interviews, small boardroom meetings as well as a drinks reception. As well as the glamorous decor, the amenities are fantastic within the bedrooms - you would leave feeling just as glam as the venue after testing out all the Cowshed products that are in the bedrooms!
The event spaces are all located on the 6th floor providing lots of varied and unique options for events for up to 210. The Tapestry Room is the largest space and is truly breathtaking with a tapestry dating back to 1920 wrapped around the upper walls of the space. It is ever so versatile - we've been lucky enough to witness it set up in the past for so many events but we have to say the set up we saw on this evening was amazing - a winter wonderland Christmas theme!! Other spaces on this floor include the Saloon which can accommodate up to 110 people with natural daylight. We all know that in London it is really hard to find outdoor space - so look no further the Ned has two terraces within the event suite with fantastic views of the City including St Paul's. We could go on and on about the spaces… further information on the capacities/options etc can be found here.
On the ground floor, street level of the property lays the former Banking Hall which is also the hotel’s check-in and concierge desk which also houses 9 restaurants and bars - you could eat here every day and not have to eat in the same restaurant twice! There is always a great atmosphere within this space with live music in the evenings. We both really love Cecconi's a great spot for breakfast meetings or to unwind at the end of a long day with a yummy bowl of pasta and a glass of red (or two).
Other things on offer include beauty and grooming areas - they are currently making some exciting changes to these areas, we can't wait for them to be finalised. Ned Friends (those lucky people who have a membership) also get access to Ned's Club which includes an amazing terrace - you feel like you are in Spain! - with a heated rooftop pool, an exclusive restaurant on the terrace, access to the amazing original Vaults that now houses a fabulous bar along with access to the gym, spa and exclusive invites to events.
We finished off the evening back in the Princes Dome where we chatted further with delicious canapes, bowl food and desserts washed down with champagne and fantastic service from the catering and hosting teams - not bad at all for a Monday evening!
To explore holding an event at the Ned, reach out to Justin Loriquer.
If you would like to join in the fun and attend our events, please drop us an email with your full details.
We have run a lot of FAM trips these past few years and have seen some amazing hotels and venues. We have also had the privilege of taking part in some very unique team building activities. Some of things we’ve done and the elation I’ve felt experiencing them defy an explanation. A few Fridays ago was one of those experiences, it was so unique our group absolutely loved it.
Our FAM trip for November was spread out over two properties, Heathfield House and Chewton Glen, both in the New Forest and around an hour and a half (via train) from London’s Waterloo.
First up was Heathfield house, a 300-year-old property that has been renovated so lavishly with the most stunning period furniture. The estate can fit 4 – 36 guests and consists of Heathfied House, The Coach House and The Magnolia Cottage. Each of the three properties can be taken on their own or, the whole estate exclusively. We were lucky enough to stay in Heathfield House which has 12 bedrooms and is just a minute walk away from the other two properties. Our FAM started with champagne on arrival into the stunning sun filled dining room which could seat up to 20 for board or any meetings before being turned around to host a private breakfast, lunch or dinner. We had a scrumptious afternoon tea, produced by the house’s own private chef and then breakfast the following day – the food was amazing.
After our tea, it was off for a tour of the house and the 12 stunning, individually appointed bedrooms (each with their own bathroom) along with the basement games area, the cinema room and the communal living areas any one of which would provide a fabulous place to meet informally.
We would definitely recommend Heathfield House for a small board or group away day. Being able to have a group of 12 take the house exclusively with private meeting spaces, private chef and fabulous grounds for outdoor pursuits and activities would make it the perfect location for those confidential, high level board meetings. As well as corporate uses, the house is the most perfect location for private group gatherings for special occasions. A special birthday or family gathering where you would have everyone in the same house would be amazing. If you did have a larger group you could take both The Coach House (four bedrooms) and The Magnolia Cottage (two bedrooms). For further information on any of the houses for either private or personal use you can contact Rachel Spackman (Estates Manager) here and please tell her we sent you!
After our tea it was up to our rooms for some free time (where I am pretty sure everyone had a bubble bath to test out the stunning bathrooms) and then, it was dressed up and ready to head to Chewton Glen for a private dinner and tour of the hotel. A few of our group had never been to Chewton Glen before and they were pretty blown away. It is just stunning, every bedroom is different with its own individual design and all equally as beautiful. Even the lowest category room is big and the furnishings are gorgeous. Chetwon Glen is synonymous for style, glamour and sophistication and I know the group weren’t disappointed. In terms of meeting and event space, Chewton Glen has four main spaces; The Lake Suite, The Wardroom and The Library, The Club Room and Mission Meeting Rooms. With capacities from 8 to 200 you can read all about them here.
For our dinner, we had our own private dining room with the most amazing menu that was very hard to choose from. Paired with our sommeliers suggested wine, it really was a remarkable meal. The dining room would be perfect for a small group or for a private occasion. The service ever so attentive and the door means you still feel part of the main restaurant whilst being in your own private room.
After dinner we headed back to Heathfield House where a few of our members stayed up for one last drink but I was pretty keen to snuggle up in the amazing bed! We had an early breakfast call before heading back to Chewton Glen for a special surprise.
After our specially prepared breakfast back in the morning room, it was off to Chewton Glen and to The Kitchen for a half day cooking class which hand on heart, was outstanding. As a group we have experienced a few amazing cooking classes and I hand on heart have enjoyed every single one. The cooking classes in The Kitchen though are pretty amazing. We were lucky enough to do a half day Italian class which was wonderful. I learnt so much that even today I am still cooking using the skills I learnt and as a team building activity it works so well. The class runs for around 2 hours, all with your own work station but facing a team members so you get to practice each and every single dish but can still work as a team by comparing and chatting the whole way through.
This FAM was so good. To be able to see two properties was such a treat, both of which we would have no hesitation in using both professionally and personally. A big thank you to Heathfield House and to the fabulous Lisa at Chewton Glen for hosting us.
Our August FAM was held at Stoke Park with 12 of our members. Everyone knows Stoke Park for their golf course and that famous scene in Bridget Jones’ Diary where Daniel Clever recites poetry to Bridget in the lake before he falls in! What many people aren’t aware of though is that there are 49 exquisite bedrooms and some of the most stunning grounds to which Stoke Park calls its home.
Stoke Park was founded in 1908 and is steeped in rich heritage. The Sunday Express said “it is a perfect exercise in Country House Splendour” and it really is. The properties 49 luxury bedrooms and suites are a mix of modern and traditional and our group stayed in rooms split between both the mansion house (traditional) and the pavilion (more modern) parts of the hotel which are just a short walk between.
We started our FAM with buggy tours around the glorious golf course learning about the 27 hole course, the grounds and how corporate golf days would run which was great for those members of our group who look after the corporate hospitality for their firms. After the tour of the golf facilities, it was on to the meeting and event spaces. Stoke Park offers 9 meeting rooms ranging from The Ballroom which can accommodate up to 72 for dinner down to the chapel which you could use for a small, intimate round table. You can find all the meeting room capacities here.
After our tour, we had time to change before dinner and a few glasses of champagne where we chatted and got to know one of our new members. Next up was dinner in Humphry’s which is Stoke Parks’ 3 AA Rosette restaurants which is fabulous. The food was stunning and we were all delighted when Head Chef Chris Wheeler popped out to say hello.
We had such a lovely time at Stoke Park the following day using the spa facilities and having a long luxurious breakfast in the mansion house.
Stoke Park is a fabulous choice for an away day or retreat for a small group. The activity options are endless for your team building on the stunning grounds, the food is wonderful and the meeting spaces all work very well.
For further information, you can contact Stoke Park here.
Thanks so much to Stoke Park for hosting Eventprofslive; we can't wait to come back!
Our June FAM trip was held at the stunning South Lodge Hotel last Friday. South Lodge marks the third property from Exclusive that have hosted Eventprofslive for FAM trips and South Lodge sure did impress us.
We arrived on Friday for a 3.00 pm check-in with time to relax in our rooms before we had afternoon tea on their stunning grounds. Afternoon tea is a bit of tradition here and they certainly do it well. There were some pretty impressive teas on their list with everything from chocolate tea to white raspberry and peach. The cakes, scones and sandwiches weren’t bad either. My favourite were the scones! After a bit of events related chat we had a cake tasting competition with two of our members going head to head for the win. We had to have a sudden death round with a tie on the question “which restaurant has three Michelin stars” being the question that gave us the winner. The answer was The Fat Duck and our winner received a lovely gift from South Lodge.
After our afternoon tea we had a bit of time in our rooms before heading off to “The Pass” for an interactive canape session. The Pass is a three AA Rosette restaurant where Chef Ian Swainson serves up some pretty amazing culinary creations. This would be an amazing idea to have as part of your event for small groups and I think groups of up to 15 I think would work best. Chef talks you through, step by step, each of his dishes and lets you pass them around at the end. They really were stunning both visually and taste wise. I loved this part of our FAM trip and felt quite privileged to be part of it.
After our interactive canape session, we headed off to the wine cellar which was also very impressive. Whilst in the cellar you can be guided by their sommeliers or you can go it alone, sampling the different wines available. The cellar works by buying a card from reception with a monetary sum on it where you use it to try the different wines which cost different prices depending on the type and size of the glass. The 16 wines on offer are held in their state-of-the-art machine that ensures the wines are always maintained to their peak and served at the perfect temperature. I also spied some wonderful looking cheese boards as well and can’t wait to go back with the husband to give those a try. The cellar would work well for a small group for tastings or, to use it for tastings and dinner as there is a wonderful dining table that would accommodate up to 20.
Up next was the site visit of the stunning property which has 75 perfectly appointed suites and rooms with most having those spectacular views over the South Downs. The meeting spaces at South Lodge are unique in that they are all contained in the same area which makes it ever so easy for us Event Managers. The largest room will fit up to 170 with the smallest 16. All the meeting rooms have natural daylight which is wonderful. As a bonus and an exclusive energy stations to keep guests going throughout their day are wonderful.
After the wine tasting it was time for dinner where we had our own private room and had a lovely meal and a lot of chat. Drinks at the bar (for some until 3.00 am) to wrap up the day and then off to bed in our lovely rooms. Waking up to that amazing view over the grounds was truly special. South Lodge really is a stunning property and I would definitely recommend it for away days and retreats. Only 10 minutes from Horsham rail station and only 50 minutes from London Victoria, it is perfect.
We had such a wonderful time on our FAM trip and I can't wait to go back! if you need any further information on South Lodge or Eventprofslive, please contact us.
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.
Michelle Rees is a Events Advisor for a London Law Firm
Kate is a Events Manager for a London Law Firm