Your colleagues are coming in from Tokyo, you're currently in London, and your negotiating partners are stationed somewhere outside Baltimore. If location doesn't really matter, go somewhere for that hard bout of negotiation where location is everything...and where there’s little except the natural world to distract you from really getting down to business.
1. Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru
With several conference-sized rooms, and private sea plane transfer from capital Malé, end your working day by dipping your toes in the Indian Ocean, then refresh for another day of discussion back in your serene thatch-roofed water bungalow. Visit the Marine Discovery Centre, which pioneers research into white sharks and manta rays, and consider persuading your company to give a little something in support of the Maldives’ environmental efforts.
2. Chumbe Island Coral Park, Zanzibar
Only fourteen guests in total are accommodated on this coral-fringed island floating just off Tanzania’s fabled Zanzibar Island. With no mod-cons to disturb you, this is the place to go if intimate, barefoot strategising is the order of the day. Simple, eco-friendly and exclusive, you’ll soon be resorting to good old fashioned pen-and-paper, then making up for the inconvenience with some of the world’s best snorkelling and a home-cooked dinner by candlelight.
With sprawling country castles and wild, rain-lashed scenery in abundance, Ireland’s the place to get down to work beside a roaring log fire with perhaps a tot or two of local whisky to grease the cogs. Consider Castle Leslie, the perfect 1000-acre estate for a larger corporate retreat, or Tankardstown, a smaller, stunningly restored Georgian mansion complete with meeting room and set amid glorious parkland.
4. Clayoquot Sound, Canada
At the mouth of a river off the western coast of Vancouver Island, you’ll find the Clayoquot Sound Resort, a series of truly luxury tents harking back to the grand Victorian days of travel. Build team spirit with surfing, kayaking or horse riding adventures, then socialise over a sumptuous locally sourced grilled oyster chowder.
5. Goa, India
Easy to reach with Kingfisher flights from Mumbai or Delhi, retreat to the Park Hyatt Goa for fabulous food, extensive grounds, plenty of space for meetings and a quiet, calm beach to explore once the working day is done. For something more unusual, rent Aashyana, a luxurious villa in Candolim sleeping up to 13 guests, with extra cottages dotted about the grounds and a staff of 19 to cater to your every whim.
6. The Pampas, Argentina
If your idea of relaxation after a long day’s deal-making is a quick game of polo, followed by another of Scrabble, whisk your important colleagues to the red-blooded Estancia El Rocio, where the steaks are juicy and the welcome warm. With just a handful of rooms and few distractions save mile upon mile of grassy Pampas, this is the perfect place for a few people to knuckle down and get things done, stopping for a bracing gallop whenever the adrenalin needs pumping.
7. Conrad, Bali
With a solid reputation for its business traveller-friendly facilities – including its own dedicated meeting planner – along with the perks of a beachfront Balinese location and its fabulous Jiwa Spa, the Conrad is the perfect destination for a tropical conference.
8. The Nam Hai, Vietnam
Stunning villas set along a mile of central Vietnam coastline – and within easy reach of several UNESCO World Heritage sites for those moments off work – the Nam Hai, now offering corporate facilities, makes for a thoroughly tranquil retreat, with the option of a few five o’clock rounds on the nearby Casuarina-brushed Montgomerie Links golf course.
9. Nikoi Island, Bintan Islands, Indonesia
Hold important talks uninterrupted on this incredible island just one degree north of the equator; eco-friendly and with no in-room television to disturb you, it’s a massage rather than CNN on the menu during downtime. Don’t worry, though: there’s cell-phone reception so the office can still reach you – if you choose to let it.
10. Hollywood, USA
Though it might not be strictly conducive to getting much work done, credit yourself as Executive Producer no matter what your real vocation at the venerable Chateau Marmont, the stuff of real Hollywood legend. With secretarial services readily available, you can make that once-in-a-lifetime deal at the Bar Marmont then have someone else type it up for you whilst you discretely spot celebrities around the pool.
This article was published in July 1010. This article was refreshed in September 2012.