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The 6 Best Event Locations in Historic Places: Days of Teambuilding & Histotainment {Review}

Unusual locations for meetings are trendy. All the more exciting when these are steeped in history, as these examples show.

1. Experience Portuguese history near Lisbon: Vila Gale Palacio dos Arcos

The Palacio dos Arcos (literally: Palace of the Arches) just a 15-minute drive from central Lisbon was built at the end of the fifteenth century. Today there is a 5-star hotel called Vila Gale Collection Palacio dos Arcos here.

The checkered history of the Portuguese kings

The Palacio dos Arcos (lit. heard. The location not far from the airport, centrally on the coastal road and with a great view over the Tejo estuary to Lisbon is very practical for business travelers, especially since the railway line and train station are just a few minutes away from the hotel.

The building itself looks back on a long and eventful history: It originally belonged to Arita ° Martins Homem, the second captain of Vila da Praia. Tradition has it that King Manuel I saw the Portuguese carriages and caravels on their way to India from the balconies of the Palacio dos Arcos. Later, other Portuguese kings (Ferdinand I, Ludwig I and Queen Maria Pia) stayed in this palace frequently to take part in the famous Paco de Arcos regattas.

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Hotel with its own chapel: the tradition of the Portuguese nobility

In the eighteenth century the palace was rebuilt. In 1698, Teresa Eufrasia de Meneses founded the Majorate Paco de Arcos, to which the Palacio dos Arcos belonged. Many years later, the Palacio dos Arcos was acquired by the Lencastre family, whose coat of arms can still be seen on the building's balcony today.

The two turrets on the palace are still preserved, which are connected by a large porch supported by three arches. In the Palacio dos Arcos there is also a chapel with a baroque altar, which was dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary from the beginning and which is still used today for weddings of the noble family. 

The owner of the palace, Count of Arrochella and Castelo Paiva, died in 1997. Since then, the Palacio dos Arcos has been owned by the municipality of Oeiras. In 2013 the palace was completely renovated, expanded and converted into a hotel.

Rooms and conference rooms in a historical ambience

Of the total of 76 bedrooms, 3 rooms, 2 suites and 2 premium rooms are located in the historic building. 71 rooms, including 3 suites and 9 premium rooms, are located in the modern extension. They are decorated in earth tones and feature a decor inspired by Portuguese poetry.

On the wall above the beds, as everywhere in the house, there are quotes and poems by authors such as Fernando Pessoa or Eugénio de Andrade. But Friedrich Schiller is also represented. All rooms in the new wing have balconies and overlook the river and the park-like garden, which is decorated with many works of art and statues, and which also includes the pool. The local beach is only 350 meters from the hotel.

The three conference rooms, of which the largest, the old wine cellar, is 214 square meters, also exude a historical ambience. All conference rooms are equipped with modern equipment, WiFi ensures the optimal connection to the outside world. Business travelers and conference guests can relax in Satsanga Spa with various massages, a Turkish bath, a whirlpool and a sauna.

2. Tallinn - capital with medieval flair & histotainment offer

Let's stay by the sea, but this time at the other end of Europe to Estonia: Its capital Talinn, or rather its old town, is a well-preserved example of an almost completely preserved medieval Hanseatic city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Between luxury and business

The entire city has a total of 65 meeting locations, many of which are within walking distance. These include many museums and historical sites such as Kadriorg, the summer residence of Peter the Great.

The only conference hotel within the city walls is the Hotel Telegraaf, which played an important role in Estonian independence. Luxurious, but with only 86 rooms and only one conference room a little too small for larger events and unfortunately anything but cheap.

The Swiss Hotel is more convincing and a little cheaper with Estonia's largest board room with space for up to 500 people and 238 rooms. The great view of the old town is nice, the somewhat cluttered interior is less great.

Cheap alternative

If you are not bothered by the neon-colored interior and the numerous spa guests, the Tallink Spa & Conference Hotel at the harbor could be an inexpensive alternative.

You can travel to Talinn with Lufthansa from Frankfurt or SAS via Stockholm or more leisurely on the water with the Tallink ferries from Stockholm or Helsinki, which also have meeting rooms.

Histotainment in prison

Talinn is also excited because of its histotainment offering, which brings the Soviet era back to life: at the historically shaped events, groups have to solve special tasks that serve to promote team building.

To this end, they are arrested in KBG-style actors disguised as Russian soldiers and locked in a historic prison. Target practice with real weapons is also part of the offer, which is not well received by everyone, as the Estonian organizer tells me.

3. Trondheim - Vikings and open air museum

Also in Northern Europe is Trondheim, the coronation city of the Norwegian kings until 1906 and the location of the medieval Nidaros Cathedral.

Royal crown jewels and water sports

The crown jewels can be admired in the archbishop's palace. What makes Trondheim so attractive for meetings is the wide range of activities:

In a nearby wooded area, the Bymarka, you can go hiking and skiing, and on the fjord you can practice all kinds of water sports such as sailing or kayaking.

Meetings not only in the open-air museum

A special place for events of all kinds is the Sverresborg Trøndelag Folk Open-Air Museum with historic houses from the last centuries. The Hotel Britannia, which opened in 1897, is also historic, but more of a classic meeting location.

The Rica Nidelven Hotel on the river and the Clarion Hotel & Congress, which is one of the largest conference hotels in Norway with 400 rooms and 18 meeting rooms, are very modern. There are several direct flights from Germany to Trondheim or with SAS via Stockholm. The Hurtigrute between Bergen and Kirkenes, which also offers meeting locations, also stops here.

4. Brittany - places of power with rows of stones

Brittany also has a lot to offer historically. The quickest way to get there is via Rennes, which is well worth a visit.

From Rennes to the south

In Rennes you can visit the historic old town with medieval half-timbered houses as well as the "Parlement" from the 17th century, today the highest court in the region.

We continue by train south to Carnac, which is famous for its 3000 stone age menhirs and the largest tumulus on mainland Europe.

Carnac: World famous rows of stones

The rows of stones date approximately to between 4500 and 3300 BC. Right next to it, the Hotel du Tumulus of the same name is ideal for meetings and seminars - practically at the excavation site.

It was built by the archaeologist and prehistorian Zacharie Le Rouzic, who excavated the St. Michel tumulus.

Cozy meeting hotels

The beautifully furnished hotel is still owned by the family today. From up here you have a beautiful view over the coast, which is a good 3 km away.

Overall, the house is quite traditional, indeed it seems a bit old-fashioned: WLAN in the rooms, for example, can only be used for a surcharge, and the equipment in the rather small meeting room is a bit spartan.

5. Days in the monastery in the footsteps of Ötzi and Reinhold Messner: Schnalstal, South Tyrol

The South Tyrolean Schnalstal, which became known as the place where the glacier mummy Ötzi was found, is also quiet and secluded, almost barren; a circumstance that made the town of Karthaus a seminar and meetingConcept ABC School Joke Oud has made: As part of the Silence project, silence and relaxation seminars are held here. The silence can also be hiked on the Via monachorum. Quiet seminars in the monastery, sounds good, unfortunately only the clubhouse is available for the seminar itself.

The place and the monastery were almost completely destroyed in a fire in 1924, and only the cloister and walls remain of the original monastery. Convincing, however, especially in a small town, is the infrastructure with a bank, guest house and the four-star Hotel zur Goldenen Rose. Nearby there are other original and inexpensive accommodation options such as the Oberreaindelhof, the Oberniederhof and the Josephus.

Many team building activities are also possible in Schnalstal: rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, climbing, ziplining or skiing in winter. A special kind of activity, even if not completely harmless, is the sheep drive: in June and September every year thousands of sheep are driven over 44 km and an altitude difference of 3.200 meters. How to get there: There is a direct bus connection from Munich Airport to Merano. Alternatively, by plane to Verona or Milan and continue by train.



6. Dresden - plus points for the historic Florence on the Elbe

Dresden is the baroque pearl in eastern Germany: the city scores with professional meeting locations as well as its picturesque surroundings with original locations for exciting activities. Because the Florence on the Elbe Dresden also impresses with its surrounding area.


Between Frauenkirche and Elbe: The Inside Hotel in Dresden

The INNSIDE Hotel Dresden is still relatively new and one of the more interesting business hotels, which has integrated into its architecture also listed facades. It is located in the city center, directly on the Elbe and Frauenkirche.

From the Skybar TWIST in 6. Floor you can admire the dome every evening with a cocktail - also many Dresdner meet here. Just a few minutes walk to other interesting conference locations such as the Zwinger or the international congress center.


Room and meeting area

The 180 rooms of the 4-star superior hotel impress with their stylish, modern, bright Design. The MICE area with space for up to 230 people consists of four modular meeting rooms with a foyer, some of which can be connected to one another. In one, the library, with a rather cozy atmosphere, the DEHOGA association was meeting for my visit.

High-speed WLAN and all conceivable technical equipment (beamer, screen, audio technology) is of course available. In addition, an eScreen will be available soon in one of the rooms, where you can write and connect the laptop directly. A funny and very functional idea is that every guest at the reception gets his own router.


Group activities

The hotel also organizes special events for groups - such as river cruises, historic city tours, sea-tour tours or tickets for the Semper Opera House or the green vault, which is very difficult to come by.

As for the food, I could only test the breakfast, since the restaurant unfortunately closed in the evening - but that left nothing to be desired. Unfortunately one searches in the otherwise very beautiful hotel a swimming pool in vain. An overnight stay is, depending on the season, possible from 85 Euro.


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