Get inspired by the events of these unique hotel offers

When it comes to creating a unique event, you don’t necessarily have to take everything apart and start from scratch. Even one distinct, standout feature can be the thing that keeps guests talking about your event for weeks. Here is a list of unique features to inspire you.

Lessons led by professionals

Sometimes the most engaging entertainment is educational. Learning new skills and spending time side-by-side with experts in classic and obscure fields is a great way to create memorable experiences that attendees can forget about feeling accomplished.

Inspiration:

  • This year, the Hyatt Region Maui Resort & Spa offered a Father’s Day package consisting of a variety of private lessons, including coconut shelling, ukulele, cocktail tasting and, for children, fire knife. Guests had the opportunity to explore the Hawaiian Sea on a catamaran snorkel tour and participate in a star tour led by a NASA astronomer.
  • The Weekapaug Inn offers the services of an on-site naturalist to arrange stargazing, biking and bird watching tours.
  • Oberoi Rajvilas Jaipur, India offers weekly spice chat sessions to customers. These hour-long sessions teach the secrets of the herbs and spices used in traditional Indian cooking.
  • As you would expect from London, the Lanesborough St. Regis serves afternoon tea, accompanied by a pianist and an English tea sommelier, who educates guests on the intricacies, preparations and the benefits of different teas.
  • The Park Hyatt Aviara Resort previously offered a “surf with the chef” program. Attendees had breakfast with the Executive Chef, then went surfing with him, ending with a lunch on the beach served by the Chef. Participants received a personalized longboard to take home.

Ideas to Steal: Hire an expert in a unique skill set and allow guests to hone their abilities in trades they might not otherwise seek out. Offer cooking classes adapted to the location of your event; host your own afternoon tea, complete with a tea sommelier and classical musician; involve the venue’s chef in the experience and have him or her teach guests about the landscape and the origin of the ingredients for the menu.

Retreats and well-being

It’s becoming common to include wellness spaces at events, but you can go beyond meditation rooms and breathing exercises. Offer personalized activities and use your event as a way for attendees to fully recharge and reconnect with themselves, so they have a greater ability to immerse themselves in the event experience.

Inspiration:

  • The Art of Living Retreat Center in Boone, NC offers a variety of retreats, such as yoga, silence, Ayurveda, and meditation sanctuaries.
  • Hyatt Region Maui Resort and Spa also offers a three-day wedding package that includes several spa treatments: hot stone spa and aromatherapy massage, coconut oil scalp massage, foot scrub and a hot tub.
  • Las Alcobas, Napa Valley offers guests a unique healing experience: an apothecary-style aromatherapy blending bar. Research shows that scents directly activate the brain’s limbic system, which aids in memory, emotions, and unconscious experience. Aromatherapy works with the brain to control emotions and can give guests a chance to ground themselves in the experience of the event and create positive emotions.

Stealth Ideas: For multi-day events, where attendees can get carried away with the itineraries, consider incorporating a brief retreat or spa times that allow them to reconnect with themselves and get the most out of the experience of the event. If you are more pressed for time, create your own aromatherapy station, whether through oils, candles or other scented objects.

Personalization/Private Routes

Everyone likes to feel special and express their own individuality. Giving guests choices, big or small, will increase their engagement and presence at an event.

Inspiration:

  • The Halcyon in Denver offers guests a plant menu, where they can choose from a menu of plants they would like to take care of in their room. Each plant includes instructions on its care, including where to place inside the room.
  • For Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017, Fairmont Le Château Montebello offered “After in the Air”. Via private flight, guests stayed at three legendary properties across Canada and spent the days following personalized itineraries, complete with activities such as dog sledding, skiing, a spa day and private dining. .

Ideas to Steal: Give guests choices in small details, like custom decor, or major event areas, like their schedule. Install a different plant at each table and seat guests according to the plant they choose. Take attendees on a private flight and give them the flexibility to customize their itineraries, ensuring they get the experience they’ll enjoy the most.

Highlights of the organized event

History, geography and culture provide some of the best inspiration for the characteristics of a distinctive event.

Inspiration:

  • Hyatt Region Maui Resort and Spa’s aforementioned wedding package also showcases local culture by including a helicopter ride over Maui and a special wedding ceremony: the couple receives two Hawaiian leis and a conch-blowing tradition.
  • A fun feature of all St. Regis properties is that in the evening they hold a champagne sabering ritual, much like Napoleon Bonaparte opened champagne with his saber.
  • In 2017, the Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills hosted a caviar reception and six-course dinner with champagne pairing for participating guests.

Ideas to Steal: Draw inspiration from local tradition for ceremonies and celebrations. Take a history lesson and wow your guests with a champagne saber. Choose a specific food to highlight at a reception and offer champagne pairings to delight guests’ palates.

Hobbies as extras

Sometimes all you need for a little extra touch is just to take an activity or memory to the next level.

Inspiration:

  • At the Curtis Downtown Denver, guests can choose from several themed rooms, including an arcade room with Pacman and Donkey Kong arcade games, as well as other board games.
  • The Betsy in Miami’s Art Deco District offers customers bookmarks made from recycled paper and wildflower seeds, which can be replanted and grown in a garden.
  • Portland’s Hotel deLuxe is a pet paradise, providing visiting furry friends with bedding, water, food and toys.

Ideas to Steal: Define your audience demographics based on their interests and use their hobbies or passions to your advantage. Rent an arcade game and install some good old-fashioned board games for an interactive play station; provide guests with invitations, bookmarks, programs or other paper products made from recycled paper and wildflower seeds for a unique and functional keepsake; make your event pet-friendly and provide goody bags for each guest’s fur baby.


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Sandy A. Greer