Thank you for your response to the earlier post on designing a team off-site. We had some readers writing in to ask for suggestions on venues to conduct team off-sites and team building programs. We had published one such list of best luxury hotels suitable for team building programs across India. In this post, we will try and look at 10 excellent venues for conducting team building programs in the South of the country (in no particular order).
Like in the earlier posts, we have kept some criteria in mind while penning this list, few of them being
- Accessibility – Ease of travel and connectivity to airports
- Quality of accommodation and service
- Quality and size of conferencing facilities
- Availability of options in local area for recreation/team experiences.
- Suitability for conducting team building programs – both in terms of space available and support from hotel staff.
Wherever possible, we have included links to both the hotel website and their banquets page for ease of planning. Let’s get started!
For the corporate group which has been to Goa multiple times and want to try out a different beach/lake location, Kerala offers many unique experiences, including pristine beaches in different districts, backwaters and even small hill stations!
1. Vivanta by Taj, Kovalam – Set on a small hill near the picturesque Kovalam beach, Taj-Kovalam is one of our favorite properties down South. The innovative layered hill type design adds to the charm of the overall experience and the hotel is located at a convenient 20 minutes from the Trivandrum Airport.
Some of the local experiences which teams could explore include visiting the nearby beaches of Kovalam for traditional sightseeing and boat rides, spending lazy afternoons at the numerous shack restaurants that dot the beaches and a tour of the city to visit the numerous museums and temples. For teams interested in exploring the city in a fun way, the Incredible Race is a unique option to have an unforgettable team experience in and around the city. More details on conferencing facilities are available here – http://www.vivantabytaj.com/Kovalam-Kerala/Events/Banquet-Facilities.html
2. Raviz – Kollam – A relatively new entrant in the scene, Raviz (now managed by ITC) offers amazing service and luxurious accommodation. Accessible from both Kochi and Trivandrum airports (around 2 hours’ drive from the latter), Raviz offers a remarkable lakeside experience on the banks of the beautiful Astamudi Lake.
he hotel has the added benefit of excellent banqueting facilities that make it a favorite for large groups, even up to 350 people! Customer service is one of their biggest strengths, and quite a few program participants and our own team members have given glowing testimonials to their exceptional attention to detail and customer focus.
3. Zuri, Kumarakom – this is one of our all-time favorites: for more details, you could have a detailed read at our earlier post.
4. Kumarakom Lake Resort – An ideal venue for groups up to 50 people, this is one of our favorites for conducting senior leadership workshops. It provides the complete backwaters experience and has been rated frequently amongst the top hotels in India by travelers.
Some of the recreational activities available at the resort include luxury houseboat ride, a heavenly spa experience and an infinity pool on the edge of the lake! The sunset cruise is an amazing team experience, where the entire team can get a chance to spend time together while watching the mesmerizing sunset on the backwaters. Water sports (speed boat rides and banana boat rides) are also gaining popularity in addition to the traditional cultural experiences that participants go in for- the Kalaripayattu(traditional Kerala martial art) performance or spending an evening watching the exponents of Kathakali (Kerala’s native classical dance form).
5. Vivanta by Taj, Bekal – Situated in Calicut, one of the upcoming tourist locations in in Kerala, the Taj, Bekal has easy access to the Kappil beach and combines a beach and backwater experience. Mangalore Airport now offers good connectivity to Mumbai and is situated at a 2 hour drive from the hotel.
For teams who have been to Kerala before and visited the popular destinations of Kumarakom and Kovalam, this one is a welcome addition to the list of impressive locations they can consider in the state. The banquets can easily support teams of up to 100 participants. Some of the interesting recreational options available in and around the resort include a visit to the beautiful Bekal Fort dating back to Tipu Sultan’s times and houseboat rides in the picturesque backwaters around the property.
6. Golden Palms, Bangalore – For teams based out of Bangalore, Golden Palms remains of the best options at hardly an hour’s drive from the city. Spread over lush green landscapes, the hotel also offers good conferencing facilities for groups up to 100 people.
The property boasts of one of the largest swimming pools in the country, which could also provide a good venue for a shortened version of our Rafting Challenge activity! For off sites, which involve participants flying in from different parts of the country, this is an ideal venue because of the excellent connectivity that Bangalore Airport offers to all parts of the country and abroad.
7. Vivanta by Taj, Fishermans Cove, Chennai – Teams based out of Chennai have been using the Taj Fisherman’s Cove for one day team outings and residential conferences for quite some time. Situated off the beautiful ECR Road, this is still one of the best options in and around Chennai for groups who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and yet not travel too far for it!
The recently added conferencing block has modern facilities and more venue options, adding to the attractiveness of the offering. The property can easily host off-sites for 200 participants. The beach access is easy and the beach itself is fairly clean and isolated, so it gives good options to host team building activities, the Beach Challenge is one of our most popular activities for groups at this venue.
8. Radisson Blu Temple Bay, Mahabalipuram – Located a bit farther down ECR Road, the erstwhile GRT Grand Property is now managed by Radisson Blu. With more than 130 rooms, this is one of the best options for residential conferences in and around Chennai for large groups.
The banquet facilities are excellent as well. Situated at approx.: a 1.5 hour drive from the Chennai Airport, the resort also offers good variety of recreational activities including a 9-hole mini golf course and sea sports depending on the season.
For groups based out of Bangalore, who do not mind a 6-7 hours’ drive, Coorg/Madikeri offers two excellent options which round up our list of top ten hotels in the southern part of the country for conducting team off-sites.
9. Orange County, Coorg – Set in a huge, functional coffee plantation spread over 300 acres, the Orange County is one of our favourites, especially for conducting leadership off-sites. The tranquil surroundings and vast landscapes provide ample options for trekking, nature walks and visits to the coffee plantation.
Another interesting option available seasonally, is the coracles (local fishing boats made of reed) ride on the River Cauvery. The conference room facilities are however small and can host up to 40 people, making it an ideal getaway for senior leadership teams.
10. Vivanta by Taj, Madikeri – Set in the pristine rainforest environment off Madikeri, The Taj Madikeri is a new entrant in our list. The entire resort is innovatively designed without disturbing the natural hills and rainforest vegetation that dot the area.The resort can host large groups of up to 100 people with their new banquets facility. Team experiences worth exploring include nature walks in the many natural trails crisscrossing the property to learning pottery through in house sessions. Conducting a Geocaching Challenge across the beautiful property is one of the personal favorites of our team as well!
Which are your favourite properties down South for conducting team off-sites? Do join the conversation…