If you want to slow down in nature or hold a closed meeting, these sustainable and extremely natural locations are ideal.
- 1. Retreats and decelerating with a view of the Dolomites and eco-social commitment: Waldhof² Völlan Südtirol
- 2. Team building and retreat meetings in Franche-Comté: hiking, relaxation and time out from everyday work
- 3. Meetings at an archaeological site: Carnac in Brittany
- 4- Alternative meeting and incentive location: Balenbouche Plantage
- 5. Days on a farm in Iceland: Business meeting between the volcanoes
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1. Retreats and decelerating with a view of the Dolomites and eco-social commitment: Waldhof² Völlan Südtirol
Above the 800-inhabitant village Völlan in South Tyrol lies idylisch the hotel Waldhof² - the ideal place for relaxed strategy examinations or also to slow down the stressful work everyday life.
Location for retreats and deceleration
The name is the program: The four-star hotel Waldhof is part of the cooperation between the connoisseurs' hotel and is surrounded by an 30.000 m² large forest park exclusively for hotel guests: there is a natural pond, a large sunbathing area with outdoor pool, tennis court, fitness -Parcours and views of Merano.
Because Meran is only a good 25 km, yet the location is embedded in mountains and orchards comparatively secluded. It is therefore particularly suitable for chattering and, of course, for deceleration. This is for the benefit that children are not allowed in the hotel.
Pitchful hikes in a great landscape
Directly on the other side of the road, Schloss Mayenburg would invite you to visit if it was open to the public. Nevertheless there are also some other interesting historical monuments to admire, for example, the peasant tradition, an old mill and two Roman bridges, all of which are reached via picturesque, exciting hiking trails.
If you like it a little steep, the 7 km long and comparatively flat chestnut path is available. At all, the landscape above Lana is a dream: secluded, wooded, with many fruit plantations and great mountain panorama.
In general, the topics forest and wood are omnipresent at the Waldhof: Especially when designing the extension with 24 rooms, this raw material was deliberately used to make the rooms simple and natural. On air conditioning was deliberately omitted, the house was built as a climate house. Also in the kitchen as far as possible regional products are used.
ecology and social Commitment play for Family Mahlknecht plays an important role: junior boss Stefan Mahlknecht is committed to green tourism and would also like to offer hiking tours in the future, where guests spend the night in tents under the open sky on the mountain.
Ecological tourism and social commitment
creativity This is not only evident in management, but also in the kitchen or in service - for example when the chambermaids cheer up the guests with nice gestures. The room prices start from a moderate 130 euros per room/night in the low season. However, there is no classic conference room, which is why the hotel is more suitable for smaller, strategic Meetings suitable in a lonely environment.
Hotel manager Dorotha Reiterer contracted breast cancer in 2011 and discovered the mountains as a lifeline during chemotherapy on a trip to the Himalayas. She wrote the book “Über den Berg” about her experience and is now involved in charitable projects in Nepal. The caretaker is a refugee from The Gambia, with whom the family has had very good experiences so far.
In addition, the house offers many activities, such as water aerobics, bike tours or lectures by experts. With the Projects "Balance your Life” the family wants to help their guests relax and slow down.
Guests can relax in the exclusive wellness area, including an indoor pool, beauty oasis, relaxation lounge and the forest refuge with saunas, steam baths and a romantic Holzalm for two. One of the largest privately owned gemstone collections is worth seeing in the corridor between the two houses.
2. Team building and retreat meetings in Franche-Comté: hiking, relaxation and time out from everyday work
Hiking is a trend that is becoming more and more common Business plays a role - just think of the hiking meetings of LinkedInFounder Konstantin Guericke. One product Franche-Comté is here for individuals and groups, for very different reasons.
Relaxed secret tip
Undetected, almost sleepy, the Franche-Comté is located in eastern France between Burgundy and Switzerland, only 3,5 train hours with the direct TGV from Frankfurt am Main and yet a little different, southern - and above all unbelievably relaxed. With an area of 16.202 km², the region has just under 1,2 million inhabitants and also mass tourism is sought in vain here.
This makes the region a relaxed insider's tip to relax for a short weekend break or to be active in sports: The forest share is with 43% the highest of all French regions, the Lac Saint-Point (also called Lake of Malbuisson) on With a length of six kilometers, 1.000 meters of sea level is the third largest natural lake in the region and the largest mountain lake in France. Unfortunately, it is completely surrounded by a well-traveled road. In addition, green hills, rivers, numerous other lakes, the Jura mountains, villages and small towns characterize the landscape of the region - at comparatively low prices.
Cycling and walking trails full
The great highlights are here in vain, but you can go on the water, with bicycles and on foot. The Eurovélo 6 cycling route from the Atlantic to the Black Sea runs along 187 kilometers along the Doubs River through the Franche-Comté. You can rent eBikes, but also take the river with houseboats and kayaks. The relaxed atmosphere is almost palpable.
However, I was particularly interested in the Echappée jurassiene, the longest hiking trail in the Jura at 260 kilometers, which starts on the banks of the Doubs river in Dole and climbs from the plain to the Jura mountains. It offers hikers numerous routes with different levels of difficulty and physical requirements. The ways are well signposted and marked, there are hotels and hostels, so-called gites, at regular intervals, which also make hikes lasting several days possible without any problems.
The birthplace of Louis Pasteur
However, you should reserve some of them. You always have to carry your luggage with you, a luggage transport service is rather poorly developed in the region. There are also guides for the tours, but they don't always speak English or German. The only guidebook for the hiking route is also only available in French.
In Dole, the birthplace of the famous microbiologist Louis Pasteur (1822 - 1895), the 3 star La Cloche offers an overnight stay: from the outside a little unimpressive, it surprises with elegant, almost luxurious rooms and a non-typical France rich breakfast. Originally the restaurant Le Local in Dole with good food, but not necessarily the best service.
The health resort of the French Emperor
The old salt-mining town of Salins-les-Bains is one of the larger towns on the way. The town once grew big thanks to its saltworks, in the 19. In the 19th century it was discovered as a brine spa resort - among others also appreciated by the French emperor - until 1962 closed the saltworks. To remember the glorious time still remember the casino and thermal bath.
The French hotel chain Logis has two hotels in the city: The Hotel Résidence Sander, whose spacious rooms, furnished with beautiful old furniture, also have kitchens. I found it funny that in the otherwise rather old-fashioned building a modern charging station for iPod, iPad and iPhone was to be found. And the Grand Hôtel Bains with a typical good restaurant.
The best chocolate in France
Good 13 KM it is from Salins-les-Bains to Arbois. The town with its population of 3500 is located in the midst of 800 hectares of vineyards, on which are cultivated the vines of the yellow and straw wine characteristic for Franche-Comté.
But Arbois has other celebrities to offer: Louis Pasteur spent a large part of his childhood in Arbois and later returned regularly to the city. The house can still be admired as a museum. And the supposedly best chocolaty of France, Hirsinger, is here. Arbois is also considered a city of good taste.
Culinary in the Hermitage
The culinary highlight of our trip, however, was rather inconspicuous and therefore the understatement typical of the region: In the municipality of Métabief - Rochejean is quite a distance the alpine hut La Petite Echelle, quasi a hermitage.
There is no electricity and no running water, guests of the hostel stay in a yurt, an igloo-like multi-purpose tent, the outhouse in a modern timber construction is outside and the restaurant in the cottage is conceivably simple - but the food that Maestro Norbert in conjuring his apron, is a dream:
Fondue with special, self-collected herbs, Rösti with flower arrangements, fresh Raberkuchen of the dessert - there comes for me the Michelin-starred restaurant hotel (simple, but very comfortable) Au bon accueil in Malbuisson not quite, even if the kitchen of Of course, Marc Faivre and his wife Catherine are a different story.
From Malbuisson it goes to the Belvédère des Lacs, a fantastic vantage point with a view of the lakes Lac de Narlay, Lac d'Ilay, Petit Maclu, Grand Maclu and Lac Du Vernois. If the visibility is clear, you can also see Mont Blanc from here.
Not too far from the Belvédère des Lacs are the Hérisson Falls: they are made up of 31 waterfalls and torrents, all of which can be experienced up close on a three-hour hike, mostly uphill. The Hérisson valley in the Jura department was settled early on People who used the enormous power of the water and the natural resources on site, such as iron ore, wood and grain: Visitors can therefore still discover traces of this settlement along the water. Great air that relaxes the body!
There are several very large camping sites near the falls, which are particularly busy in August. In addition, the hiking trail itself is very busy, so if you want to enjoy the waterfalls in peace, you should come early in the morning, as the hiking trail starts at noon fast can get busy.
Solid footwear is necessary
It is also necessary to wear solid footwear, preferably hiking boots, with a good profile sole. On the forest path lie a lot of loose stones, which are also damp and slippery due to the water vapor. There is therefore a certain risk of injury to unsuitable footwear.
You also need good hiking shoes and a good level of fitness on the 2,5-hour hike from Château Chalon to Baume-Les-Messieurs. Although the path is not slippery, it is also strewn with many loose stones, which are twice as steep Descent can quickly become a stumbling block.
One of the most beautiful villages in France
Baume les Messieurs is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France. It is surrounded by picturesque vineyards and rocks. The Saint-Pierre Benedictine Abbey, founded by 909, was rebuilt several times over the course of time. At the end of the valley above Baume-les-Messieurs (Cirque de Baume) lies the source of the Dard in a rock grotto, under which the water forms a large bead of Kalktuff. In the restaurant of the grotto you can eat directly next to a waterfall.
Conclusion: Overall, the Franche-Comté offers a diverse range for outdoor friends in a picturesque setting. However, the right equipment when hiking is a must, as well as French, as other languages can not be assumed.
3. Meetings at an archaeological site: Carnac in Brittany
South Brittany has one of the most important historic sites in France: Carnac. The 4227 community is famed for its 3000 Stone Age menhirs and the largest tumulus on mainland Europe. Next to it, the hotel of the same name, called Tumulus, offers itself for meetings and seminars - practically at the excavation site.
The stone rows
The stone rows of single standing menhirs and the dolmens of granite were reached in the Neolithic period and date approximately between 4500 and 3300 before Christ. They form the groups of Kerlescan, Le Menec and Kermario and extend on fenced meadows over three kilometers.
Originally it was 3000 stones that are high between 0,5 and 4,0 m. In the Maison des Mégalithes au Ménec, a visitor center built especially for this purpose, guided tours can be booked and information on the stone rows can be found. Apart from its historical fame, Carnac is also a well-known bathing and beach town today, which is very busy, especially in the summer months.
The largest cemetery in Europe
The Tumulus St. Michel, the largest mound on the continent of Europe with a length of 125 m and a width of 60 m, lies just three kilometers south of the stone rows. It is about 10 m high and contains steinkists and a dolmen, which were formerly publicly accessible, but are now closed to the public due to a risk of collapse.
At the top of the burial mound there is a chapel for the Archangel Michael and a stone cross with a picturesque view over the Gulf of Morbihan - unfortunately also not accessible at the moment.
Zacharie Le Rouzic
The history of Carnac is closely linked to the archaeologist and prehistorian Zacharie Le Rouzic, who, along with James Miln, is the namesake of the Carnac Prehistoric Museum. Le Rouzic's research contributed significantly to the fact that the historical Significance of the rows of stones was recognized and the monument was conserved.
Zacharie had dug the St. Michel tumulus and bought the land around it and opened a small visitor center here. In 1901 he moved with his family to the house called “Kerdolmen”. In the 20s, his oldest daughter Julienne opened the Hotel of the Saint-Michel Tumulus, which was taken over by her younger sister Josephine in the 30s.
Hotel Du Tumulus
The hotel's beautiful panoramic dining room also dates from this period. In the 70s bungalows, private gardens and a pool were added. This was later expanded with a small wellness area with 2 wellness cabins, a steam bath and a whirlpool.
1979, the Hotel Du Tumulus was taken over by Josephine's granddaughter Gwénaëlle Wilhelm, then 18. She runs the hotel until today. Since 2006 the hotel belongs to the cooperation of the Relais de Silence hotels.
rooms and suites
The 18 rooms and 6 suites are simple but comfortably furnished with solid wood furniture - even in the bathroom - and decorated in pastel shades. The prices vary according to season and equipment: They start at 66 Euro in the autumn, but in the summer can come close to 200 Euro, the suites are even higher.
Some rooms have direct sea view, the others are facing the garden. The house has a quite well functioning ADSL connection, which is available in the rooms but unfortunately only for an extra charge and in the bar, salon and restaurant and of course the meeting room can be used free of charge.
Meetings and seminars
The so-called hydrangea room offers space for a maximum of 50 persons, depending on the seating. However, the dining room with space for up to 100 persons can also be used in the low season. In addition to WLAN, the hotel also offers an LCD screen, a projector and a flipchart.
Further equipment as well as cafe or appetizers can be requested by arrangement and at an extra charge. Group should book at least six months in advance, during the main season in July and August, seminars are virtually impossible because the hotel has many regular guests, including the Rothschild family. The price for the seminar room has to be discussed individually.
Butter in tricelliform form
In general, the hotel is run very traditionally, which is also reflected in the kitchen, for examplespiegelt, which consists of many local products and therefore varies according to the season.
A nice detail is the butter: it is specially poured into molds to be served as a Triskell, the Celtic symbol of Brittany.
Worth seeing on arrival: Rennes
For those who like it historically, a visit to the historic center of Rennes, the capital of Brittany, is recommended upon arrival. Here you can admire the well-preserved medieval half-timbered houses - a building tradition that extends from Brittany to the middle of the 17. Century draws.
Also well preserved are parts of the medieval town fortifications such as the Duchesne Tower and Portes Mordelaises, one of the most important fortifications of Rennes.
With Airfrance you can fly to Rennes or Nantes, then continue by train to Auray or Carnac, with the train station a few kilometers from Carnac.
Cathedral and Parliament
The cathedral of St. Pierre, known in its present form, is the third sacred edifice erected here. The monumental façade was completed by 1704; the church ship and the choir are from the second half of the 19. C.
Also worth seeing is the “Parlement” from the 17th century, originally a government building, now the highest court in the region. In 1994 it was significantly damaged in a fire and was rebuilt.
4- Alternative meeting and incentive location: Balenbouche Plantage
Something hidden in the South of the Caribbean island of St. Lucia lies the Balenbouche estate, a meeting and incentive location of a different kind with a historical background: food and atmosphere are top, the half-decayed barn for events but no equipment, but quite charm.
The History of Plantage
Since the 18. In the 16th century, Africans were brought as slaves to St. Lucia to work on the plantations - also to Balenbouche, which was founded in the 1740 years as a plantation for sugar cane and rape production.
When 1834 freed the slaves by law, 166 worked on them on the 253 hectare Plantage. Since the middle of the 19. 2000 brought workers from East India to the island, many of whom also worked at Balenbouche and settled in the commune of Baica in the north of the Plantage. Many remnants of the plantation plant are still visible today.
Against the resistance of the government
In 1964, Erik Lawaetz, a hotel owner and merchant from the island of St. Croix with Danish roots, bought Balenbouche and attempted to continue the plantation business. Back then, St. Lucia was focused in infrastructure and Marketing mainly on the banana export. After gaining independence from the former colonial power England, the family initially had to leave the country.
In 1984 the German Uta Lawaetz, goddaughter of Erik Lawaetz and married to his son, the artist Roy Lawaetz, discovered the property as her life's work. From then on, as an architect and interior designer, she saw it as her task to repair and maintain the house and plantation as far as possible – even against the odds Resistance the government.
From Plantage to the hotel
The old buildings have been renovated and new plant species such as star and passion fruit, vegetables and tobacco cultivated. Her daughters Verena (born 1977 in Copenhagen) and Anitanja (born 1984 in St. Lucia) taught them home for many years.
When Ute and Roy Lawaetz separated 1990, they continued the property together with their daughters and converted the original workers' apartments into guest cottages.
Step by step it became the one of three Women operated plantation now a more or less profitable business model with a mixture of farm, hotel, restaurant and event location. There are even four employees who help maintain the property.
Accommodation and event. Location
Four with antiques and finds from all over Welt Furnished cottages are available for guests: The smaller ones, the Calabash Cottage and Frangipani Cottage, each measuring around 40 square meters, each have a bedroom with a double bed. They cost $150 and $110, respectively. The two larger ones, the Almond Cottage and the Banyan Cottage with a size of approx. 120 square meters have two bedrooms, each with a double bed. They cost $180 and $140, respectively.
An old barn is available for events of all kinds, which is unfortunately quite dilapidated. She will be happy for antiStress and yoga events. WLAN is available, but additional technical equipment must be brought along. The entire property is available for rent for $900.
Kitchen and activities
The ladies of the house cook excellently, light and healthy. The food is a mix of local, Asian and Creole cuisine as well. Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free or sugar-free cooking is also available on request, just by one selection to name possible diet variations. The restaurant is also open to outside guests.
It also offers regular yoga classes, massages, meditations and similar treatments. Here is a major shortcoming of the otherwise quite convincing location: The pretty dirty natural beach, which is not suitable for bathing due to strong currents.
5. Days on a farm in Iceland: Business meeting between the volcanoes
Granted, a farm is not a typical meeting place - and yet for smaller ones Company, who want to hold their seminars and meetings in an unusual atmosphere, the perfect location: a Swedish company and a film crew were already there.
The Location: Idyllic and Comfortable
Hotel Laekur means "hotel on the river" and this is exactly how the family-run farm is located: idyllic in the middle of nowhere, not far from the volcanoes Eyjafjallajökull and Hekla. Read more about the history of the hotel here.
With 13 modern and comfortably furnished double rooms with bathroom, the hotel only offers space for small groups. In return, the group is among themselves when they convert the dining room into a meeting room, like a Swedish company recently did. A projector is available.
Northern Lights and volcanic eruptions as extra
The farm has been rebuilt by Gunnar Noroğdahl himself. Also a special window with which the visitors can see the northern lights can be found here. Because of the northern lights or volcanic eruptions Gunnar gets his guests out of bed at night.
While his son Hrafn takes care of the horses, wife Maria cooks herself. It is well-bourgeois and orientates itself on traditionally Icelandic food. The selection is however quite limited, the guests can only choose between fish or meat.
Local products, reasonable prices
For the most part, local products are used - including lambs or chickens from their own slaughter or even fish, because Gunnar himself catches.
The prices are comparatively cheap: 165 Euro costs overnight including breakfast for two people in summer, in winter 109 Euro. Special prices can be negotiated for groups.
The specialty of the location is the surroundings: they can explore groups either on hikes or guided riding trips on the 30 horses of the hotel. 1,5 hour riding tour cost 40 Euro, 3 hours 80 Euro and one day trip 160 Euro.
The hotel is also close to some of the most famous Icelandic sites such as Þingvellir, Gullfoss, Geysir, Seljalandsfoss, Skógarfoss, Þórsmörk and Landmannalaugar, which are no more than 45 minutes away.
With the super jeep to the volcano crater
Tourists Southcoast Adventures offers a unique experience: The journey with the Superjeep to the summit of a snow-covered volcano. Sometimes fast, sometimes it goes over lava drifts, snowfields and through dense clouds, until you can finally look up into the crater Eyjafjallajökull, the 2010 paralyzed the air traffic throughout Europe.
The pleasure is not quite cheap: per person proposes a Jeeptour with converted 170 Euro to book.
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