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Spas and Retreats

Packages for spas and retreats attract corporate clients who want to reward their employees.

Business and pleasure can be a winning combination. [© Jupiter Images, 2009]
© Jupiter Images, 2009
Business and pleasure can be a winning combination.

Many spas and retreats offer packages designed to attract the business traveler. Corporations have taken note, and use spa retreats to boost employee morale, build teamwork, increase productivity and foster goodwill within an organization.

Retreats are also used to train executives and reward employees for strong performance. Getaways can be designed for a small group of people gathering for a specific purpose or for large, convention-like groups that plan to stay a while and take advantage of a range of activities. At their best, corporate spa and retreat outings break down barriers between employees, build fruitful relationships and leave employees feeling energized and optimistic about their organization's future.

According to Corporate Savvy, retreats offer more than simply massages and spa treatments. Possible activities include golf, swimming, hiking, sports, team building, horseback riding, skiing, boating, fishing, biking, shopping and entertainment. Retreats are usually located in aesthetically pleasing areas meant to soothe minds and bodies. As such, they tend to be found lakeside, mountainside or in pastoral country settings.

Team-Building Retreats

Corporations frequently send employees to spas and retreats to build teamwork. The employees can be high-salaried executives, or an entire department with managers and their employees. The intent is to create a better understanding of how employees can work optimally together, develop creative problem-solving skills and boost overall productivity. Retreats have programs that test and build teamwork, such as river rafting, rock climbing and team scavenger hunts. In the end, employees should be able to see a link between their temporary goal at the retreat and the long-term goal of the company.

The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., is considered a top corporate retreat. It offers team-building activities such as climbing the Alpine Tower, group kayaking and whitewater rafting. The spa's focus is hydrotherapy, but it also offers mud wraps, sports massages and many other treatments.

Golf Retreats

Golf retreats are extremely popular with corporations. Generally used for executives and executive training, they are a fun way to bring people together for a common purpose. Golf retreats do not cater only to experienced golfers. They encourage less seasoned players to learn from onsite golf instructors. This provides visitors the opportunity to acquire a new skill before they return home.

Another twist to the golf retreat is the addition of the golf massage, which targets the upper shoulder, back and core. The Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz.,  started golf-specific massages in 2003. Groups play a round of golf and treat themselves to a massage and a facial afterward.

Sports Retreats

Sports retreats focus on games that are more intense than golf and often require teams to participate, such as basketball, volleyball, football and softball. Games and team members can be established ahead of time by the retreat and the corporation, or the schedule can be flexible and allow participants to select daily activities. Again, these types of retreats offer participants the opportunity to build leadership and cooperation skills and camaraderie among employees. Ideally, these qualities are brought back to the workplace and help boost productivity.

Club Getaway in Kent, Conn., offers weekend packages that include everything from basketball, volleyball and rowing to Pilates, yoga and wine-tasting.

Executive Retreats

At these retreats, executives are often treated to luxury accommodations, ample activities and quiet personal time. Although executives may bring their families along at their own expense, corporations occasionally pay for families to attend as a way of recognizing that executives spend a lot of time away from home.

The Cloister at Sea Island in Georgia is a luxury spa-retreat that caters to executives and their families. Activities range from junior golf and tennis clinics for children to sea turtle walks for parents and their kids. The resort includes a full-service spa, which was considered one of the best in 2007 by Mobil Travel Guide.

Reward Retreats

Sometimes businesses just want to reward employees for exemplary performance. These types of retreats are purely for the employee's enjoyment and do not focus on work or team building. Companies may reward their top sales team with a weekend at a spa-retreat to show appreciation, and also to encourage strong work performance in the future. Employees return to work feeling even better about their accomplishments, and it motivates them to achieve more the following year.

Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara, California offers a Thelma and Louise package that includes two nights in a luxury guest room, a chauffeured and catered wine tour, a 50-minute spa treatment, a personal shopper and a retail discount certificate.

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