Unusual locations for meetings and company events are in vogue. All the more exciting when they are also steeped in history and offer the right supporting program, as these examples show.
- 1. Bad Ems – hold conferences and relax in the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Great Spas of Europe”
- 2. Lisbon – experience Portuguese history live in the Palacio dos Arcos
- 3. Tallinn - capital with medieval flair & histotainment offer
- 4. Trondheim - Vikings and open air museum
- 5. Brittany - places of power with rows of stones
- 6. Dresden - plus points for the historic Florence on the Elbe
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1. Bad Ems – hold conferences and relax in the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Great Spas of Europe”
In the course of history, health resorts have often played an important, even geopolitical, role. This also applies to Bad Ems, which as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is the perfect historical backdrop for conferences and relaxation offers Company offers.
Big politics in the spa town
The Rhineland-Palatinate spa town, idyllically situated on the Lahn not far from Koblenz, was already known in the Middle Ages for its beneficial thermal springs, but was enriched in the Baroque period by a princess from the house of Nassau-Oranien with a magnificent bathing castle and was considered in the 19th century as one of the "top spas in Europe".
No wonder, since numerous illustrious guests such as the Russian Tsar Alexander II, the German Emperor Wilhelm I, the composers Jacques Offenbach and Richard Wagner as well as the Russian poet and gambler Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky repeatedly visited the city. It is not just the famous Ems dispatch that triggered the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71 that shows that big world politics was often at home in such small places.
UNESCO World Heritage Site “Great Spas of Europe”
The award as a UNESCO World Heritage Site “Great Spas of Europe” now ties in with this tradition. For this purpose, eleven cities in Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, France, Belgium and Great Britain have joined forces to form a network. They can all look back on a long tradition as a spa, which still characterizes the townscape in the form of historical buildings and infrastructure - starting with baths, casinos and hotels, right through to gardens and foyers. Two countries have three participants: the Czech Republic and Germany with .
At the three German locations Baden-Baden, Bad Ems and Bad Kissingen the thermal baths of the Kannewischer Collection ensure that the heritage remains alive. Two others -- Italy's Montecatini and Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic -- have Dr. Stefan Kannewischer in the past as a long-standing specialist in poolIndustry advise.In November 2021, Kannewischer opened his second spa hotel in Bad Ems.
Flexible, clever architecture & good cuisine
The four-storey building offers those looking for relaxation as well as companies 21 rooms on four floors, all with a unique view of the weir with waterfall from the bed and bathroom, as well as a direct passage to the thermal baths, which opened in 2012. The challenge for Ernst Ulrich Tillmanns from 4a Architekten in Stuttgart was to create a continuous place of well-being out of the long, narrow building.
For example, a shop and a bar with an open fireplace and a reading area ensure an open and inviting atmosphere in the foyer. The elongated restaurant, which offers healthy bistro cuisine at a high level, is glazed towards the Lahn and has a narrow outdoor terrace in front. Especially exciting for small groups: The separate "dining room" offers a secluded space in the middle of the restaurant with wooden slats and glass walls that can be covered with curtains if desired.
The is similarly smart, but at the same time cozy and modern conference area designed, which is accessible via the entrance hall. It scores with sliding walls that can elegantly disappear into wall cupboards, but which, when closed, create an almost homely atmosphere with their large-format photos. The stylish and flexibly placeable conference furniture can be supplemented with lounge furniture. wood as a material.
Wood and glass as the predominant design elements
The dominant design element of the interior is wood, combined with warm colors and lots of glass. The hotel also works with wall insulation, heat recovery and solar panels, triple glazing of the windows ensures tranquility. A parallel to the thermal baths is the shape of rounded river pebbles as a design element, which can be found in various places such as in the dining room, the spacious sky lounge on the fifth floor or as backpacks on the facade.
This is dominated by large glass surfaces and horizontal white bands between the floors. The design of the thermal hotel forms a counterpoint to the historic complex of the spa district, but the new building is carefully integrated into the historical context.
The historical imprint
Because history has shaped the cityscape along the Lahn to this day. Right next to the hotel begins the historic spa district with the lecture hall building, fountain hall, casino and baroque bathing palace. This is followed by former hotels and lodging houses as well as residential areas and the Russian Church. The city is embedded in a picturesque landscape, which was developed early on by promenades that are still preserved today, footpaths to vantage points and the Mahlbergbahn.
Only a few kilometers away from Bad Ems is the Middle Rhine Valley, another UNESCO-awarded cultural landscape, which with its castles is an exciting destination. Particularly worth seeing is the Marksburg, a 12th-century hilltop castle above Braubach, which is the only militarily undestroyed castle on the Middle Rhine.
2. Lisbon – experience Portuguese history live in the 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
Located to the east of the municipality of Paco de Arcos (also called Paco d'Arcos), right in the historic center of the city, the Palacio dos Arcos (literally: Palace of Arches) is the landmark of this municipality, which belongs to the Municipality of Oeiras, Lisbon District heard. The location not far from the airport, centrally on the coast road and with a great view over the Tagus estuary towards Lisbon is very convenient for business travelers, especially since the railway line and train station are only 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.
Hotel with its own chapel: the tradition of the Portuguese nobility
In the eighteenth century the palace was rebuilt. In 1698, Teresa Euphrasia de Meneses founded the Majorat Paco de Arcos, which included the Palacio dos Arcos. Many years later, the Palacio dos Arcos was taken over by the Family Lencastre, whose coat of arms can still be seen on the balcony of the building.
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 the Satsanga Spa with various massages, a Turkish bath, a whirlpool and a sauna.
3. 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 counts 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.
For those who don't mind the neon-colored interiors and the numerous spa guests, the Tallink Spa & Conference Hotel am Hafen could be a reasonably priced option Alternatives .
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
But Tallinn is also exciting because of its range of histotainment, which brings the Soviet era back to life: at the historical events, groups have to have special Tasks solve the dem Teambuilding serve.
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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
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-Hotel, which has also integrated listed facades into its architecture. 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 a stylish, modern, bright design. The MICE area, with space for up to 230 people, consists of four modular meeting rooms with foyers, which can be partly combined. In one, the library with rather cozy ambience to my visit just the DEHOGA association.
High-speed WLAN and all conceivable technical equipment (beamer, screen, audioTechnology) is of course available. In addition, there will soon be an e-screen in one of the rooms, on which you can write and connect your laptop directly. A funny and very functional one Idea is that each guest gets their own router at the reception.
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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