Times certainly are a turbulent for us event managers now. The Coronavirus has thrown our beautiful industry in all manner of disarray however we #eventprofs are made of strong stuff and whilst we ensured we were following government guidelines and protocols, we went ahead with our pre-planned FAM this past Friday to Marlow and beyond and what a FAM it was.
Marlow is one of those places that you may or may not have been to but you would have most certainly have heard of, it’s hotel and foodie heaven and it’s home of the infamous Hand and Flowers and one of my favourites… Sindu.
First up on our FAM was first class lounge access to the GWR lounge which is pretty much the best way to start any rail travel. The lounge offers everything you need for your delegates pre-travel, it’s a great place to gather everyone where you can have a meeting post trip. You could even have your delegates meet here first prior to a short meeting on-board – ensuring you are maximizing their time out of the office. More details here.
On arrival into Maidenhead which is just 40 minutes away, our group were taken to their respective properties where they had a little chill time before heading off for our first site visit; The Henley Business School. The HBS is set within a gorgeous 30-acres, adjacent to the Thames. The grounds are stunning and on arrival, it took us longer than usual to arrive because of just that. The sheep happily grazing away provides quite the distraction but that’s only before you see the building. Situated in a Grade II Listed Building it does provide a fabulous setting for meetings and events. The school has 11 conference rooms which can seat up to 115 delegates, there are 40 meeting rooms, all with natural daylight and their location (just 3 minutes from the center of Henley-in-Thames) it is a great option for your events. They even have 100 bedrooms onsite.
After the HBS, it was back to our hotels for a quick change before drinks and dinner. Each hotel offered something amazing and a spectacular dinner. Those of us in the Complet Angler had our very own gin tasting before dinner and those in Hurley House had a fabulous drinks reception before both groups heading to a private table for dinner, a few drinks post dinner and then off to bed ready for a early(ish) start. Everyone was in love with their bedrooms in both properties so it was hard to get them up.
Next morning it was up early and off to the stunning Monkey Island for a private breakfast and a catch-up with the whole group. Monkey Island is something of a mystery if you are yet to have seen it and once you do, you’ll immediately want to work to put any event you have there. There are four key spaces here which can take from 12 – 200 (reception style) however when we were there, we were lucky enough to see the whole space taken over for a children’s birthday party and let me tell you, it was epic. The things you can do…. Oh my! You can read more about their spaces here.
After Monkey Island it was on to our two properties for a full site visit. First up was Henley House which is probably the most idyllic country retreat that you can tell no expense has been spared to make it exceptional. As soon as you walk it you know you are in for something special. The property boasts two key meeting spaces. The private dining room can take up to 28 delegates.
It has stunning natural daylight and an in-built screen. The second space, The Pavilion needs to be seen to be believed. It’s that good. This striking space is ideal for large groups, parties, conferences and formal dining events.
Our Pavilion can host up to 180 guests and boasts an incredible sound system and dance floor, plus an HD, 4m x 2m (180”) LED screen. With beautiful bi-folding doors, this function room is spectacular during the summer months.
Our last stop was The Fabulous Compleat Angler where we explored all of the meeting and events spaces before sitting down for lunch with some spectacular views over the lock. The Compleat Angler is such a special property and suits so many event types.
It has five key event spaces with its biggest, The Regency Room able to take up to 120. The event spaces coupled with the two fabulous restaurants on property and staff that go above and beyond for you make this a great spot for your off-sites and away days. The property (like Hurley House) is only 6 minutes away from the station meaning you can also use both properties together if you need to accommodate a larger group.
We loved our site visits and stays in each of our hotels. We had fabulous conversions, a lot of laughs and saw some amazing spaces. For further information on any of the properties reach out to us to connect you.