FOR YOUR UPPER ECHELON incentive qualifiers, look no further than The Dorchester, Park Lane, London. Since 1831, The Dorchester has been heralded as one of London's best hotels, hosting all the important heads of state throughout the 19th, 20th, and now 21st centuries, with its British style and impeccable service — think butler-type-attentiveness.
While 9/11's aftermath has affected hotel business in London as well as the rest of the world, England's Golden Jubilee last June and a steady entertainment and media clientele made '02 bearable, says Natalie Kramer-Bowden, assistant director of sales. But The Dorchester has always enjoyed a steady stream of U.S. — generated incentive programs, and there's good reason.
The hotel has forged ahead with an extraordinary renovation to every guest room (and every room décor is different). Perhaps the most fun — and useful — part of the renovation has been the installment of 42-inch plasma screens in every room. You don't have to be a plugged-in exec or geek to get a kick out of this entertainment/computer system. The hotel has been upgraded with fiber optics and CAT 5 cables to provide a wide selection of entertainment and news channels, international channels, video on demand, three Micro-soft Office programs, and access to e-mail and the Internet. Laptops can be connected to the system via a high-speed VGA link at the desk, meaning you or your execs can use the room to make presentations. Having trouble? Dial the E-butler, from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and get help with anything on the system.
While the Dorchester's 11 conference and banqueting rooms can host from 12 to 1,000, the hotel prides itself on not being a convention hotel, says Kramer-Bowden. With its high level of personal service, it welcomes only one meeting or incentive group at a time, maxing out at 30 to 40 rooms. It also offers day packages for conference groups.
“We have 24-hour, front-office duty managers as well,” she says. Which means that, 24/7, members of your group can get the royal treatment.
And while all of London's amazing sights, history, shopping, and off-site venues will beckon your qualifiers, be sure to allow enough free time for them to simply luxuriate in their guest rooms.