Thinking outside the box: Small corporate retreats at New England Inns

Meeting at Deerfield InnBy Marti Mayne

This is a topic that’s near and dear to my heart because some of the best meetings I’ve ever been to have been held at the Distinctive Inns of New England (DINE) member inns.  As a former meeting planner for a large corporation, I particularly appreciate attending a meeting at an attentive and attractive venue, offering luxurious guest rooms and intimate meeting room spaces.  As an attendee at meetings held at each of the 12 Distinctive Inns of New England, I’m in a great position to personally vouch for the  hospitality, attention to detail and intimate settings our inns and many  inns in general offer over larger hotels and resorts.

When considering the ideal place for your corporate retreats, it’s important to consider a venue that will fulfill your needs.  The Distinctive Inns of New England member inns won’t be ideal for meetings of 100+ people. However, this group of professionally run inns are an ideal choice for smaller corporate retreats seeking a place to hold smaller break outs and meetings, fabulous dinners and morale building events.

Meeting at Manor on Golden PondThe Manor on Golden Pond has hosted a number of corporate events and smaller retreats.  This is a well-loved venue for these events as their private dining and meeting rooms, fabulous fine dining, AV equipment and wi-fi signal throughout the house offers everything meeting planners might need. The in-house Seasons Spa and recreation in the surrounding Lakes Region of New Hampshire is ideal for spouses who wish to come along too.  At Manor on Golden Pond,  meetings take over the entire inn.  A pre-determined per person conference rate includes lodging, breakfast each morning, morning and afternoon snacks during the conference and a buffet lunch on day of conference.  Dinners and additional events can be arranged too.  Because the Manor on Golden Pond, and all the other DINE properties are independently owned, they can be so much more flexible in their pricing and what’s included.

“Small inns and B&B’s are ideal location for corporate retreats, creative sessions and strategic planning sessions,” Mary Ellen Shields, co-owner of the Manor On Golden Pond, said recently.  “We can offer our corporate clients a venue free from distractions and intrusions from the austere atmosphere of large hotels or conference centers.   Personalized service is a key to our small  venues and we can customize each event to meet the needs of your corporate event,” she added.

Eiran Gazit, co-owner of the Gateways Inn and Restaurant in Lenox, has hosted a number of smaller corporate retreats, often for pharmaceutical companies.  “It’s a great way for local companies to do something away from the office. We offer special rates that are  tailored to client,” he told us.  The beauty of holding a meeting at one of the Distinctive Inns of New England means that you’ll be working directly with the owner of the property, who can make special arrangements and fulfill unusual requests that larger corporately owned hotels simply can’t fit into their plans.

Meeting attendees gather in the parlor at Grafton InnThe Grafton Inn in Grafton Vermont is well known among meeting planners for their expertly hosted corporate retreats and small business meetings. “What we all have to offer is an entirely different experience from the ball rooms of the large hotels,” said Angela Comstock, Chief of Hospitality and Innkeeper at the Grafton Inn.  “We focus on local food, craft beers, and spirits.  Our common areas and parlors invite a different type of meeting space.  We’re seeing more of an emphasis on soft seating and inviting spaces, not your traditional “u” shape meeting space. We have a conference room with a fireplace and the groups just love that!” shared Angela.

Each of the Distinctive Inns of New England takes a turn at hosting association meetings, held twice a year.  Having now attended these meetings at every member inn, it’s clear that DINE inns offer something that larger hotels simply can’t.  Here you’ll find individually decorated guest rooms, meeting spaces with fireplaces, artwork and comfortable tables and chairs, plus food that simply can’t rival larger hotels.  Best of all, you’ll find a warmth and hospitality from innkeepers that is impossible to offer at more impersonal hotels and resorts.

For business travelers attending meetings at nearby hotels, the 12 Distinctive Inns of New England offer the perfect alternative.  Think rooms with deep soaking or whirlpool tubs, individual fireplaces, cozy down comforters and breakfast included – often for less than the hotel’s rate.  Next time you’re looking for an alternative to that conference hotel, contact one of the Distinctive Inns of New England and ask about business traveler rates.

Each of the Distinctive Inns of New England can work with your groups or business travelers to accommodate your needs.

In New Hampshire:  Manor on Golden Pond in Holderness & Chesterfield Inn in West Chesterfield

In Massachusetts:  Harbor Light Inn in Marblehead, Gateways Inn & Restaurant in Lenox, Deerfield Inn in Historic Deerfield and Captain’s House Inn in Chatham on Cape Cod.

In Vermont:  Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford & Grafton Inn in Grafton

In Maine:  Captain Jefferds Inn in Kennebunkport & Camden Maine Stay Inn in Camden.

In Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic