Every year, M&C hand-picks incentive travel destinations -- some traditional, some up-and-coming -- that will appeal to a wide range of winners. This year, four fabulous destinations -- Bermuda, the upscale island steeped in British traditions; Calgary, seat of Canada's Wild West heritage; Panama, with its heady mix of sophistication and Central American sizzle; and Slovenia, a young European country with ancient roots -- are on our radar. See why these spots are perfect for your next program.
BermudaWhy now? In the Atlantic Ocean, due east of North Carolina, Bermuda is less than two hours by air from most major airports on the Eastern seaboard. With idyllic weather, beautiful beaches, historic sites, natural wonders and plenty of golf, there is much here to please incentive winners.
Britain's oldest colony, Bermuda has an air of formality and grace. African influences, too, can be found here in dance, music and food. Visitors will need passports, but the Bermuda dollar is matched to the U.S. dollar, and the two are accepted interchangeably. A plus for shoppers: no sales tax.
Accommodations. The stunning Rosewood Tucker's Point offers 88 luxurious guest units, as well as golf and tennis on its sprawling, manicured grounds. The island's two Fairmont properties -- the 593-room Fairmont Southampton and the 410-room Fairmont Hamilton Princess -- work in tandem to host large groups. A ferry, free for Fairmont guests, runs between the hotels.
In Paget, the Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort and Spa, with spectacular views of Hamilton Harbor, has 45 luxurious studios and suites. On-site is Beau Rivage restaurant, where master chef Jean Claude Garzia welcomes groups of up to 14 into the kitchen for dinner.
Activities. A nature reserve, Nonsuch Island, is 15 minutes by boat from Tucker's Point; Select Sites Group can arrange for permission to access the island. A guide leads groups of 18 to 24 through winding pathways and pink sand beaches, pointing out the cliffs where cahows -- seafaring birds once thought extinct -- live and nest.
Take able-bodied adventurers to Crystal Cave, a natural wonder 120 feet underground, followed by a visit to the 12-acre Walsingham Nature Reserve for a guided hike and the chance to swim in honeycomb caves. From there, stop for a cocktail at the Swizzle Inn, originator of Bermuda's signature rum swizzle.
Group venues. The Bermuda Maritime Museum is a 30-acre area that encompasses the Commissioner's House and a Dolphin Quest attraction. The Keepyard can be tented for receptions of up to 3,000 or dinners for 600. (View M&C's video from the site at mcmag.com/videos.)
Contact. Bermuda Department of Tourism; (800) BERMUDA (237-6832)
-- Loren G. Edelstein