by Morton D. Rosenbaum | October 01, 2005

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

Time for reflection:
Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain
in Paradise Valley, Ariz.

With luxury meetings on the rise again, gone are the days when simply putting attendees up in a glitzy room with a famous five-star name was enough to keep them happy. Whether it’s a subtle, graceful touch or the grand, sweeping stuff only the deepest of pockets can buy, increasingly refined attendees expect something unique from their meetings, and properties big and small are eager to provide.
     Drawing on luxury’s big-name chains as well as the unique offerings of more intimate folios such as Small Luxury Hotels of the World and Relais & Châteaux, M&C presents 42 of this year’s most inspiring luxury perks.

The ride in
1. High-level attendees likely will appreciate something more for the airport-to-hotel shuttle than a mere limo. Antique cars, BMWs and Hummers all make smart statements. The crown jewel of the motor troop, however, is the Rolls-Royce Phantom. If possible, get a proud Phantom owner to personally chauffeur your party, as the Hotel Roger Williams did for its New York City opening early this year.
    2. What could be better than being whisked from airport to hotel in a private helicopter? One answer, provided by Avon, Colo.’s Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa: skipping the hotel entrance in order to alight on the property’s main mountaintop, ski equipment in tow, for a truly ski-in experience. 
    3. When a bus coach is necessary, the 25,000-acre Lajitas Resort, in the desert hideaway of Lajitas, Texas, turns the ride into a more festive affair by setting up several pit stops along the dusty road from El Paso International Airport, invoking the cowboy spirit with margaritas, rattlesnake cakes, and professional bullwhip or shooting demonstrations.
    4. Keep in mind that the attendee’s trip begins long before the plane touches down at the airport. Hotels like The Point in Saranac Lake, N.Y., and the Lake Placid (N.Y.) Lodge, both of which offer private jet service direct to their Adirondacks grounds, will help arrange the initial limo ride from a VIP’s home to the jet pad.

The meeting room
5. St. George, Utah’s Red Mountain Spa keeps things lively and refined with tart candies and tiny hand toys. For the especially adventurous, ergonomic chairs can be replaced with chair-size fit balls. 
    6. W hotels will waft their trademark cool lounge sound through the meeting room upon request, as well as provide a subtle whiff of lavender to awaken and calm attendees. 
    7. Don’t underestimate the power of a majestic view. Saint Tropez, France’s new La Tartane provides a meeting room with a retractable ceiling, wowing attendees with both nature and technology. 
    8. In Switzerland, Le Mirador Kempinski Lake Geneva arranges board meetings on its yacht, set luxuriously adrift in the middle of its namesake lake.
    9. The Four Seasons Hotel Houston brightens afternoon meetings with a rejuvenating round of chilled, fruit essence-scented towels. 
    10. Vancouver, B.C.’s Opus Hotel furnishes the meeting room with designer lounge-style couches and chairs and gel mood lighting. And, if requested, the chic property will serve personal oxygen bottles instead of a coffee break.
    11. Toronto’s Windsor Arms Hotel will call in its spa professionals to administer hand- and foot-pamperings during the actual meeting. (Note: This might not appeal to everyone.) 
    12. Another Windsor Arms touch: A personal stenographer will write up the meeting’s minutes and create a printout of same for attendee distribution.