Every time we bring our readers together, they begin to swap stories about their experiences with different destinations or properties. So we launched an occasional feature in& Incentives, "Readers Recommend," where we contact a sampling of our readers for their top picks in various categories. This month, we conducted an informal phone survey asking which luxury hotels readers have used in the recent past that they would recommend to others who plan corporate meetings and incentives.
Marriott Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Country Club
* Rancho Mirage, Calif. "They pay attention to detail and do a terrific job with small groups. Our last event there was fewer than 50 people and everybody was treated well and had a good time." --Miriam Blazowski, director of sales administration, EGS/Appleton Electric Co., Chicago
Hyatt Regency Kauai Resort & Spa
* Kauai, Hawaii "It's always good to be on the beach. The property is very large, with extensive grounds and facilities, so even though there were a lot of people there, you never felt crowded." --Lanaii Kline, director of software development, Sterling Software, Information Management Division, Redwood City, Calif.
Coeur d'Alene Resort
* Coeur d'Alene, Idaho "The atmosphere is unhurried and relaxed, so you have the sense of getting away from it all. They have all the amenities, such as good meeting rooms and restaurants. It's almost like a small town overlooking a beautiful mountain lake, with a great golf course and marina." --Eugene Miller, executive vice president, Western National Mutual Insurance Co., Minneapolis
Beverly Hills Hotel
* Los Angeles "It's quite elegant and the staff does a very good job. It has a lot of prestige--people are very impressed when they find out they're staying there." --Ezra Millstein, president, Mills, Venice, Calif.
* Berlin "The city itself is really hot now--it's attractive, interesting, and easier to get into and out of than other large cities in Europe. The Inter-Continental, in particular, has fantastic facilities and is nicely designed for small meetings as well as larger ones. It's a very flexible facility and is designed more like an American hotel in its meetings layout than a European one." --Denise Sangster, president and CEO, Global Touch, Inc., Berkeley, Calif.
* Las Vegas "It's not too ostentatious--the whole place has a certain class about it. It's also a fresh enough facility that no one has developed an attitude yet." --Dennis Mariasis, owner, Audio/Video Environments, Bartlett, Ill.
* Lake Tahoe, Nev. "They had a great large outdoor area we could use, which also gave attendees the chance to be outside while doing business. Plus, there's gaming for times when we weren't holding meetings." --Linda Watren, marketing services manager, Airstream Inc., Jackson Center, Ohio
Inverness Hotel & Golf Club
* Englewood, Colo. "It's a first-class business hotel/conference center with first-class accommodations and restaurants. It has everything that any company would want for a conference." --Ralph Reeves, director of home improvement division, Kawl-Howells, Denver
Four Seasons Hotel
* Tokyo "It's in a very secluded part of town, which is what we were looking for. We were able to capture all our attendees' attention because they couldn't wander off or go very far." --Gregory Lampert, president, International Asset Group, Los Angeles
* Las Vegas "The accommodations are very good and it's a very romantic place, which works well with the spouses. They took great care of us as a group and everybody had a great time." --Daniel Kunitzer, CPA, president, Kunitzer and Associates P.C., Battle Creek, Mich.
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
* Big Island of Hawaii "The hotel is very private and unique, in that it really fits in with the island. It has the same standards as other Four Seasons, but in terms of surroundings and architecture, it's different from other Four Seasons and even other Hawaiian hotels I've seen. For example, instead of the standard pineapples and palm trees, they have a pool of lava rock and snorkeling in a tropical pond." --Diane Scheid, manager of sales administration, West Bend Co., West Bend, Wis.
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale at Gainey Ranch
* Scottsdale, Ariz. "The great surroundings are a given, but the service is also exceptional, from top to bottom. It's one of my all-time favorites because the staff is friendly and will go to any end to do what you need." --Rich Matteson, director of corporate communications, Consumer's Energy, Jackson, Mich.
* Snoqualmie, Wash. "The setting in the Snoqualmie Falls area is beautiful, as are the guest rooms and the overall facility. I would rate the service very highly. In the Northwest, it also has a established reputation as an exclusive resort, so there's the recognition factor." --Sally LaFollette, director, Ethix Pacific Corp., Portland, Ore.
La Quinta Resort & Club
* La Quinta, Calif. "I've brought everybody there, from sales meetings to business meetings with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin when I was in the entertainment business. No matter who it is, they're always impressed by the food, the attentiveness of the staff, and the history of the hotel." --Fred Rice, president, Fred Rice Productions, La Quinta, Calif.
Walt Disney World Dolphin
* Walt Disney World,Orlando "The service was excellent. Anybody can build nice rooms--which, of course, this hotel has--but it's how you take care of the people that matters and they're top-rate here." --Doug Martin, vice president of commercial operations, Tuthill Corp., Burlington, Iowa
* Naples, Fla. "They go above and beyond and make sure every need is met. In fact, they often think of things before I do and suggest them to me. You never hear a negative from anyone--the word "no" is not in their vocabulary." --Paula Gazaway, senior executive secretary, Arch Coal Corp., St. Louis
Palm Springs Riviera Resort
* Palm Springs, Calif. "We really liked the sunshine and warm weather, but also the setting. The hotel is two stories high and spread out in separate buildings, with guest rooms and a main building, so it's completely different from being in a skyscraper and having to wait for elevators and deal with those hassles. On the other hand, it's not so spread out that you have to take golf carts to get back and forth--nothing is more than a five-minute walk." --Sherman Tam, channel marketing manager, Diamond Multimedia, Vancouver, Wash.
Hyatt Regency San Diego
* San Diego "They are very customer-oriented. We had a major glitch in our meeting that had nothing to do with the hotel, and they responded very quickly and appropriately to fix things--even though they hadn't been at fault to begin with. They did everything they promised to--and always sooner than I expected." --Larry Thomas, director of marketing support, Cummins Engine Co., Columbus, Ind.
Claremont Resort and Spa
* Berkeley, Calif. "We had an international meeting with people from 13 different counties, so we chose the Claremont because we know the service level is very high and they would be able to make all our guests feel comfortable. In addition to the service, the rooms and meeting rooms are extremely nice, and there's a great spa on property. The hotel has easy access to San Francisco, but it maintains a true resort feel." --Tricia Hoekwater, administrative assistant, international marketing, AirTouch International, Walnut Creek, Calif.
Marriott Frenchman's Reef
* St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands "The hotel is located right on the ocean, which is just perfect, and it provides water shuttle service right from the hotel to downtown, which the whole incentive group appreciated. The food and the service were also excellent." --Joyce Holub, director of training, American Income Life, Waco, Texas
Four Seasons Newport Beach
* Newport Beach, Calif. "It had very good meeting space for a luxury hotel. Many luxury hotels weren't built for meetings, but in this case, the meeting space really works well with the rest of the hotel. The service level was also impeccable from check-in to check-out.Everyone was very courteous and bent over backwards to make sure we were all happy." --Glen Parnell, regional director, HelmsBriscoe, Houston