International travel doesn’t have to be difficult, and one of the most accessible places to visit is the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which doesn’t require passports for entry for U.S. citizens. Attendees don’t have to navigate through customs, either, and the use of U.S. currency eliminates foreign exchange fees from the budget. The communication barrier is lifted with English and Spanish as the official languages. There are hundreds of non-stop flights to Puerto Rico’s three airports by major U.S. carriers, including Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, and U.S. Airways. The Caribbean island also has plenty of space for meetings: more than 1.2 million square feet and the most extensive facilities in the Caribbean.
The new 580,000-sq.-ft. Puerto Rico Convention Center, set in the heart of San Juan, opens the door for large corporate event businesses. The center’s impressive stats—28 meeting rooms, more than 152,000 square feet of exhibit space, and a high-tech 39,500 sq. ft. Ballroom—nicely complement the capital city’s existing fleet of meeting properties and its abundance of attendee activities, from sightseeing in historic Old San Juan to the island’s bountiful shopping, fine dining, lively nightlife, and gorgeous beaches.
With 14,000 total guest rooms, Puerto Rico can accommodate a wide range of group sizes. If you’re seeking a luxury option, look no further than atop a 300-foot cliff where the El Conquistador Resort is perched. Divided into five villages, the property offers everything from 24-hour butler service to a view of the new waterpark and private marina. Now a member of the Waldorf Astoria Collection, the resort has 984 guest rooms and suites and more than 100,000 square feet of meeting space.
Located between the El Yunque rainforest and the Atlantic Ocean, the Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa, a Wyndham Grand Resort, sprawls out on 500 acres, accommodating two championship golf courses and a 7,000 sq. ft. Casino. The 672 guest rooms and suites are set in a Spanish hacienda style, and the 48,000 square feet of flexible meeting space can host large groups.
Puerto Rico’s natural beauty also provides an excellent incentive for team building, creative group outings, and extended attendee stays. El Yunque, Puerto Rico’s lush, remote rainforest, is a must-see group excursion, teeming with exotic plants and wildlife and suitable for novice hikers. The island of Vieques, just off Puerto Rico’s eastern shore, offers planners a unique, accessible breakaway for pampering board members and VIPs.
Located in the heart of Central America, Costa Rica extends barely 200 miles from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, so a drive across the country takes a mere three hours. With 762 miles of coastline, Costa Rica features stunning beaches and a variety of aquatic ecosystems, making sport fishing and snorkeling among the top activities.
A passport is required for U.S. citizens to enter the country, and a $26 departure fee is charged. English is widely spoken, though Spanish is the official language. Just a two-hour flight from Miami and five hours from Toronto, Costa Rica is also easily accessible to North American cities. Its two international airports host 22 international carriers representing 350 flights weekly.
The country has more than 1,800 hotels in various styles, from boutique to grand resorts. The JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa is one of Costa Rica’s newest luxury resorts boasting the largest pool in Central America. The property is adjacent to a golf course and has oceanfront access. Its 310 guest rooms are styled in traditional Costa Rican decor. The property’s 7,223 square feet of meeting space can accommodate groups of up to 600. Another property, The Westin Resort, and Spa, Playa Conchal, has 406 guest rooms and 2,131 square feet of meeting space. The resort’s proximity to multiple national parks provides many activity options.
Suppose you’re looking for an option more accessible to the city. In that case, the Real InterContinental Hotel and Club Tower Costa Rica are located in the heart of San Jose’s trendy Escazú area and adjacent to the luxurious multi-plaza shopping mall. The hotel’s 16,000-sq.-ft. The spa is the largest in Central America. Its 372 guest rooms include 98 in a separate tower with a private lounge, perfect for housing VIP delegates. With 23,142 square feet of total meeting space, the InterContinental can accommodate groups of up to 800. For the sixth year in a row, the International Congress and Convention Association have ranked Vienna the top destination for international meetings, hosting 2,934 congresses and events in 2010. Also, Europe’s leading destination for political, scientific, and business conferences, the city offers state-of-the-art conferencing technology. Vienna’s 26,336 hotel rooms range from luxury accommodations in a former palace to Austrian and U.S. hotel chains suitable for any budget.
Meeting venue options in Vienna are plentiful, with three convention centers, 88 conference hotels, and 39 historical venues. World-renown for its first-rate musical and cultural attractions, Vienna is a haven for concert halls, museums, and theaters that can act as your meeting venue or serve as entertainment for an evening function. While German is the official language, English is widely spoken. A passport is required for U.S. citizens to enter the country.
Originally the 1893 residence of a Viennese prince, Hotel Imperial combines the regality of the 19th century with modern, state-of-the-art facilities. The hotel has 138 guest rooms and 1,453 square feet of meeting space, perfect for intimate groups. Le Méridien Vienna offers 294 guest rooms and suites for slightly larger groups and 3,660 square feet of meeting space. Listed in Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards for the top 50 Northern European hotels, Le Méridien has guest rooms that are spacious and contemporary.
Host of the 2012 Olympic Games next summer, London is a city with a vast infrastructure to accommodate everything from a large-scale meeting to an intimate gathering. The city boasts more than 100,000 hotel rooms, more than 1,000 event venues, and 214,403 square feet of meeting space in the ExCeL London exhibition and conference center alone. Singapore
Located in Southeast Asia, Singapore has a land area of just more significant than 274 square miles, making it one of the smallest countries in the world. Its sound business infrastructure and favorable economic climate provide a thriving tourism industry, attracting groups worldwide. Once a humble fishing village, Singapore is a cosmopolitan city-state with a multicultural appeal. From art and music to a thriving nightlife, the destination offers an eclectic mix of entertainment and attractions to suit every group. English is the primary language of instruction, making communication with hoteliers and other suppliers easy and efficient. The Singapore government is eager to attract international groups, offering grants depending on the size of the meeting and educational content.
Located in the center of the city’s commercial and entertainment district, the Grand Hyatt Singapore is a five-star oasis at the start of the Orchard Road shopping district. The hotel offers 663 guest rooms, suites, and more than 50,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space. Fairmont Singapore has 769 guest rooms and suites and 70,000 square feet of meeting space for larger gatherings. Guests of the Fairmont have access to the Willow Stream Spa, one of Asia’s most extensive spa facilities. The hotel’s 16 restaurants and bars provide a myriad of dining options. Centrally located amid three shopping malls close to the financial district, Pan Pacific Singapore has 778 guest rooms and suites and more than 20 meeting and banquet facilities.
Situated on the southeastern coast of China, Hong Kong is a leading trading port and financial and services center in Asia. Its blend of Eastern and Western influences, diverse attractions, and stunning countryside contribute to its thriving tourism industry. Hong Kong is a significant transportation hub served by more than 80 airlines, cruise lines, ferries, and trains from mainland China and other destinations. The city’s six distinct districts are alive with a variety of art and cultural heritage. From the hip SOHO district to the hustle and bustle of the Wanchai business district, Hong Kong provides a variety of eclectically infused environments.