Where to safely stay this turn of the season
Not every destination is waiting on May flowers. From the very edge of the coast to landlocked, wind-whipped plains to a quiet island in the middle of the Pacific, April marks the start of the winter melt in many parts of the world. These six secluded and spacious destinations are ready to welcome spring meetings.
Dolphin and Whale Watching on California’s Coast
Dana Point, California, is home to more than its share of land inhabitants. Gray whales and five species of dolphins are common sightings off the shores of this city.
April is the tail end of whale migration season, the most opportune time for whale watching. Capt. Dave’s Whale Watching takes sea safari tours off Southern California, where a VIP group is practically guaranteed to meet some mammalian friends.
Where to Stay
- Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club: Good for a larger event in the area, Dana Point’s Waldorf Astoria property is beachfront and has more than 30,000 sq. ft. of indoor meeting space and 80,000 sq. ft. of green outdoors for events.
- The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel: Offering many options for small to large meetings and events, Dana Point’s local Ritz-Carlton has 11 indoor and outdoor meeting spaces—more than 26,000 sq. ft. to choose from.
Molokai, Hawaii: The Tranquil Heart of the Archipelago
The locals call it “Old Hawai’i” for its calm environment and “lack” of attractions—but the small Hawaiian island flanked by Oahu and Maui has become the attraction itself. One of the two least popular Hawaiian Islands for tourism, Molokai is a great spot for small spring events, executive business travel and incentive trips. The fact that Molokai does not have a major resort makes it perfect for a low-key excursion.
Where to Stay
- Hotel Molokai: With ocean views, Hotel Molokai can transition into an event venue that nearly makes you forget you’re on business. The property has 57 guest rooms and 1,000 sq. ft. of indoor meeting space.
- Ke Nani Kai: Near the northwest tip of Molokai, this hotel is a sensible choice for small business and incentive groups. The property has one meeting room that holds up to 100 people but sits just minutes from Papohaku Beach, a three-mile stretch of soft sands.
Montana’s Wide-Open Glacier Country
The sprawling green hills, the herds of passing elk, the vibrant plant and animal life of spring, Glacier Country is full of forests, wildlife refuges and wide-open spaces. Swan Mountain Outfitters at Swan Lake lead horseback rides westward through Swan Valley and Flathead National Forest. Where the Flathead River snakes south, the National Bison Range in Moiese is one of the few places in the world you’ll encounter American bison. And we haven’t even talked about the hot springs.
Where to Stay
- ABC acres: About an hour outside of Flathead National Forest, ABC acres offers three multi-bedroom cabins for a secluded stay on its 80-acre farm—also home to roaming gentle livestock. Send a small group of executives for a mix of team bonding, business and post-meeting wine tasting in town.
- Cedar Creek Lodge: Cedar Creek sits at the gateway to Glacier National Park and has plenty of room for events. Ideal for larger groups, the property has 3,000 total sq. ft. of event space and two sizable meeting rooms.
Sunny and Quaint Kennebunkport
Warm, sunny spring days are a rarity in Maine; but against the southern coast lies Kennebunkport, with its April sunshine, sleepy calm and big meeting spaces. Wells Reserve at Laudholm is an estuarine research reserve with hiking trails, beaches and kayaking. The Franciscan Monastery on the Kennebunk River has an open 60 acres of green walking grounds along the water. And its waterfront hospitality makes it a fan favorite for meetings and events.
Where to Stay
- The Breakwater Inn & Spa: Outdoor events in April at The Breakwater Inn are a breeze. Ideal for small groups to company-wide events, this property offers 1,000 sq. ft. of indoor event space between their two meeting rooms and a 150-guest event space on its riverfront lawn.
- Kennebunkport Captains Collection: A grand and affordable luxury hotel on the water, visitors to this 1800s hospitality site might choose to stay in one of its four “houses.” Its Nathaniel Lord Mansion has plenty of intimate, unique meeting space: 16 antiquely decorated rooms with impressive architectural features, luxurious bedding and draperies and original paintings.
Glass Igloos Under Finland’s Northern Lights
Saariselkä is a small town on the Arctic end of Finland and its views of the Northern Lights are unrivaled. In this icy escape, April is the last opportunity before the fall to send an incentive group to see the lights from inside one of Saariselkä’s many glass igloos.
Where to Stay
- Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort: Though not designed for large events, Kakslauttanen is a sublime location for large or small groups. Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort not only has different styles of glass igloos, but offers suites, chalets, snow igloos and traditional houses.
- Star Arctic Hotel: A hotel known for its miles of white snow on a quiet plain, Star Arctic has 57 guest rooms and eight glass cabins—a smart choice for incentive travel or a small event.
This article appears in the April 2022 issue.