For an adventurous incentive trip or a corporate retreat, sometimes it's worth getting out of the hotel and spending a little time outside. Here are five outdoor venues that offer the luxury of a hotel, but in a natural environment that will make your team happy and healthy. They're tailor-made for communing with nature and convening with colleagues -- at the same time.
AutoCamp Russian River (Guerneville, CA)
From fashion to food, "retro" is in. Indicative of the trend is Airstream, whose iconic aluminum campers began rolling onto American roads in the 1930s and are so popular today that the company has had trouble meeting demand. At AutoCamp Russian River
(pictured above) in Guerneville, CA -- 90 minutes north of San Francisco -- groups can enjoy a full Airstream experience thanks to 24 custom Airstream trailers that are parked steps from the Russian River, surrounded by picturesque vineyards and towering redwood forests. Each luxury trailer features a queen-sized bed, a flat-screen TV with cable, a built-in sound system with MP3 input, a modern kitchen, a spa-inspired bathroom, a convertible sofa, and an outdoor deck and fire pit. The camp also offers 10 luxury tents and a contemporary clubhouse, along with wooded walking paths, indoor and outdoor lounges, a meadow for picnics, lawn games, swimming and canoeing, cruiser bicycles, and a canteen stocked with local beer and wine. It's the high-end corporate camping trip you never knew you wanted to take.
Cloud Camp at The Broadmoor (Colorado Springs, CO)
Speaking of corporate camping trips, The Broadmoor
in Colorado Springs, CO, offers another excellent option with Cloud Camp
, its all-inclusive wilderness experience. Located at the top of nearby Cheyenne Mountain, which towers 3,000 feet above the resort at an elevation of 9,200 feet, it features accommodations for up to 56 guests, including six lodge guest rooms, 15 one- and two-bedroom cabins, and a special suite atop a historic fire tower. To reach Cloud Camp, guests check in at The Broadmoor and can choose between being transported to Cloud Camp in a four-wheel vehicle, on the back of a mule, or by way of a guided three-hour hike. Once at camp, guests will hike in the Pike National Forest; eat s'mores nightly around a campfire; enjoy activities like birding, photo safaris, yoga, and rock art; and assist the chef each evening with the preparation of "social hour" hors d'oeuvres. Forget five-star resorts -- retreats at Cloud Camp feel like staying in a five-star forest.
The Resort at Paws Up (Greenough, MT)The Resort at Paws Up
in Greenough, MT, is home to six different luxury camping sites. Debuting in June 2017, the latest is North Bank Camp, which will be able to accommodate up to 15 guests in four two-bedroom tents and two three-bedroom tents. But these "tents" aren't the kind you buy at your local camping depot. Spacious and sumptuous -- totaling up to 1,220 square feet -- they've got beds with electric blankets, spa-like bathrooms with heated floors, daily full-service housekeeping, in-tent Wi-Fi, and furnished decks on which to enjoy beautiful Rocky Mountain vistas. Guests even have their own camping butler who tends to their every need. When they're not relaxing in their tent, guests can gather at North Bank's Dining Pavilion, which features a large stone fireplace, bar seating, and floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors. Along with nightly bonfires, guests can enjoy outdoor activities like archery, horseback riding, mountain biking, skeet shooting, fly fishing, and ATV tours, just to name a few. You won't miss hotel life one bit.
Hôtel de Glace (Québec, Canada)
Although it has "hotel" in its name, Canada's premiere ice hotel is hardly your typical venue. Open seasonally from January until March, Hôtel de Glace
is built anew every year from ice and snow. Totaling 32,000 square feet, it has 44 rooms and suites, a chapel, an ice slide, an ice bar serving drinks out of ice glassware, and an outdoor spa and sauna. For meetings and events, the hotel can carve your company logo in ice, or set up heated tents outside for a wintry dinner. With outdoor activities like dogsledding, ice-skating, and snow rafting (i.e., descending a snowy slope in a raft instead of on skis), it's a chic -- albeit chilly -- way for groups to get outdoors during a season they otherwise wouldn't.
Brush Creek Ranch (Saratoga, WY)
For something truly unique, consider the yurt -- a circular tent covered with animal skins or felt and used by nomads in Central Asia. Brush Creek Ranch
in Wyoming's Platte River Valley has several of them, including the 705-square-foot Jim's Draw Yurt, which guests can reach by horseback for a gourmet meal and an evening of fireside stargazing. The ranch also has a 1,200-square-foot mountain overlook mountaintop for dining, cocktails, and special events; a natural-stone amphitheater for outdoor performances and presentations; and a creekside dinner camp where groups can dine alongside the gentle sound of rushing water. Accommodations include rooms at the main lodge, log cabins, and Magee Homestead, a private cluster of seven cabins for groups of up to 24. Cowboy life has never been cooler.