A recce trip to Porto

When we are not on the field running events with our clients, we spend our time exploring new destinations for future events. This October we decided to go on a “recce trip” to Porto, in the north of Portugal.

You might think of Portugal as a destination for summer events, but this small city in the north of the country is just perfect in autumn time. Sun is still shining and the temperatures go down by a few degrees, making the weather much more enjoyable than in summertime. The city gets an autumn-y, melancholic look, perfectly in line with the decadent vibe of Portuguese cities.

We spent five days exploring the best shops, restaurants, activities and viewpoints in Porto. Here’s a few of the gems we found.

SHOPS

While wandering the small streets of the old town we came across a couple of very interesting little shops. These are not the typical touristy stores selling you tiles made in China, but local shops with hand-made clothing and beautiful prints. Our favorites were Coração Alecrim and Mercado 48.

RESTAURANTS

We don’t want to reveal too much here, but if we had to choose one restaurant, then Museu d’Avó (granny’s museum) is a must-go. The typical cuisine is amazing, and the candle-light atmosphere with antiques hanging from the walls and ceiling is just fascinating.

ACTIVITIES

There is one activity you cannot miss in Porto: a Porto wine tasting. You can choose among the many cellars available, from Burmester to Sandeman or Cálem. After a guided tour of the cellar learning everything about Porto wine, you can choose to taste 2, 3 or 5 Porto wines, sometimes accompanied by cheese or chocolate. The experience will leave you delighted, and a bit light-headed too!

VIEWPOINTS

There are several spots to stop and admire the city, but we have no doubt: the Crystal Palace Gardens is top of the list. This is a public park where ducks, hens, peacocks and turkeys range freely. You can sit to relax in the grass or walk around the terraces, admiring the city and river from above. There’s even a tower you can climb up to take pictures of the view!

This was not our first time in Porto, and it surely won’t be the last. Thanks to the knowledge we have accumulated over the years, the city is now fully part of our destination portfolio. We hope to see you there on our next event soon!

Monferrato

Who said that corporate events should only happen in sunny destinations or on the slopes?

We love autumn – it’s that melancholic time of the year where you can still enjoy the outdoors but also get cozy with a good cup of tea. We are big fans of organising corporate events for our clients in the fall, as the big crowds are gone and the colours of nature are just beautiful. While exploring event destinations in Europe we have found just the perfect place to visit this time of the year. It’s the Monferrato region in Piedmont, northern Italy.

Monferrato is an enchanting place, made of castles and vineyards and hills. People know it worldwide for its landscapes and wines, and it has become part of the UNESCO heritage since 2014. Monferrato produces some of the best Italian wines along with specialties like hazelnuts, mushrooms, cheeses and truffles. On autumn days, its colourful hills take your breath away.

The climate and particular shape of this region make it perfect for wine production. Famous red wines from Monferrato are Dolcetto, Bracchetto, Barbera, Moscato and Grignolino. But the white sparkly ones don’t disappoint either! This abundance makes Monferrato ideal for hikes in the vineyards, wine tastings and other wine-related activities. Just what you need after a day in the conference room, right?

You can find more information on this beautiful corner of Italy on the visit Italy website. And if you are interested in running your next corporate event in Monferrato, our team at Ten80 will be delighted to help.

Iceland – the Land of Fire and Ice

One of our all time favorite destinations for corporate events is Iceland – the Land of Fire and Ice.

We have discovered this magical land on a corporate trip in 2018 and we’ve since been dreaming of running another event there. This week, it finally happened: we are back in Iceland with our clients!

But why is Iceland such a popular destination for corporate travel?

As this article on cooltraveliceland points out, Iceland has first of all a breathtaking, extremely varied landscape. Glaciers, volcanic landscapes, waterfalls, and black sand beaches, to name just a few.

However, the country also offers a rich culture, a world-class food and drink scene, and some of the most amazing natural hot springs in the world. Quite a few ways to relax and unwind after a busy day in the conference room!

Corporate trips in Iceland can be planned at any time of the year, as the country has something different to experience in every season. From puffin watching in the summer, to discovering ice caves and watching the Northern Lights in the winter. The best news? Its bustling capital city, Reykjavik, has a wide choice of hotels and conference venues to suit every budget.

As our local connections in this destination increase, we will continue to propose Iceland to our clients for future trips. We do hope to see you there on your next corporate event!

Our stay in Lake Orta

As part of our event planning work, we often check new destinations and properties for future trips. So a few weeks ago, we embarked on a trip to northern Italy and visited on of its least-known lakes: Lake Orta. We expected beautiful landscapes, delicious food and the typical warm, Italian hospitality. But we didn’t expect to find hotel La Darbia: an incredible property which made our stay in Lake Orta absolutely magical.

As read in the description on the hotel’s website, La Darbia is situated above Orta in the middle of a wood and park area with ancient chestnut trees, maples and hornbeams. The residential ensemble blends into the terraced landscape, in constant dialogue with the ever-changing light and mood of Lago d’Orta.

All its 20 apartments open onto the garden with its Nebbiolo vineyard, saltwater pool and solarium. The views wander all the way to Monte Rosa. All units have a private outdoor area: on the ground floor a garden bordered by vines, on the upper floor a panoramic terrace.

One of the most impressive features of La Darbia was its food. For breakfast, just like all other meals, guests can enjoy local products and ingredients coming from surrounding farms. Jams and cakes are directly prepared by the chef. Freshly-baked croissants and bread come every morning from a nearby bakery, while fruits and vegetables are from the property’s gardens.

We loved the authenticity of La Darbia and its attachment to the local territory. There is no doubt this property would make a perfect venue for incentives and corporate events. It has entered our list of top properties in northern Italy and we can’t wait to take our clients for a visit to Lake Orta!

An escape to Ibiza

Before proposing a new destination or venue to our clients, we always go out and explore it first-hand. We call this practice a “recce trip”, where we visit a potential destination, eat in the best restaurants and test out some activities. Not the worst job in the world, is it? Our latest recce trip was an escape to Ibiza, a top destinations for our summer events.

We stayed in a newly discovered, lovely hotel at the heart of the island: the Rural Hotel Can Lluc. A real gem that we can’t wait for our clients to discover!

As the hotel’s website describes, Can Lluc stands in a highly prized area of ecological value and natural beauty, surrounded by pine forests and beautiful landscapes providing guests with peace and tranquillity.

The main house and outlying buildings, which are over 300 years old, have been restored while keeping the original features, from the stone walls and wooden roofs to the antique furniture.

The 20 rooms provide guests with the authentic feel of rural Ibiza, with beautiful views of the gardens and the surrounding countryside. For breakfast, guests can enjoy a full buffet made of natural and homemade food. What better way to start the day on this island that offers everyone so much choice?

While staying at the hotel, we even received a recommendation for a hidden beach where visitors need a password to access. These are the little things we love to discover during a recce trip! We can’t wait to take our clients for an escape to Ibiza to discover the hidden gems of the island.

The Starlight Room

How would you feel about spending the night in a mountain cabin with 360 degree views of the Dolomites? This breathtaking experience is what the Starlight Room in Cortina offers its guests.

We are always looking for spectacular experiences for our clients, so it is no wonder we came across this magical venue. On the Cortina Starlight Room website you can find all the information on how the cabin was conceived and how it works.

The Starlight Room was born from an idea by Raniero Campigotto, who created the first wooden room with glass walls in 2016. The goal was to allow guests to sleep under the stars immersed in breathtaking nature. The project had great success and the design was developed to offer an even more comfortable and exciting experience.

The Starlight Room follows sustainable principles, as it is made using larch and fir wood crafted by local artisans and features solar panels to generate power. The room rotates around itself to offer ever-changing views of the breathtaking surroundings. The interiors show the traditional style of mountain cabins, made with natural wood and fabrics from Cortina. 

The room features two areas. On one side, a table furnished with a bench to enjoy a romantic dinner while watching the sunset. On the other side, a queen-size bed for the night. The glass walls offer unmatchable views over the Dolomites. The room has a small bathroom and is equipped with a heating system to guarantee maximum comfort in winter times.

The Starlight Room is located in a quiet, secluded area. The Rifugio Col Gallina staff drive guests to the room by snowmobile in winter and off-road vehicle in summer.

If you would like to try this incredible venue during your event, look no further. We have connections to local suppliers in all our destinations and we are always thrilled to include spectacular experiences in our clients’ event agenda!

A successful event

As much as we love skiing, this is the season for organising relaxing events in the countryside or at the sea for our clients. This summer we decided to explore a destination close to our hearts – Scotland. We just came back from a few days in the highlands running a successful event with a lovely group at Peebles Hydro hotel.

Peebles Hydro is a stunning hotel in the Scottish countryside providing all sorts of services, from conference rooms to team-building activities.

Our busy event agenda ranged from whiskey tasting and highland dances to rifle shooting and bubble football. The hotel even organised an evening with live music from a local band and a painting workshop in the property’s gardens.

We could not be more satisfied with the level of hospitality and service we received at Peebles Hydro. They took care of every detail and the team was extremely friendly throughout the event. Our most experienced team member, Claire, even said they were possibly the best hotel she has worked with in 20 years!

We are always thrilled when venues make it easy to run an event. It is a matter of teamwork and Peebles Hydro have been impressive at it! Thank you for helping us run such a successful event.

Venice setting an entrance fee

Venice is one of the top tourist destinations in Europe and a magical spot when it comes to organising events. As we always keep our favourite destinations on our radar, the news about Venice setting an entrance fee to the city really got our interest.

On January 16, 2023, Venice will become the first city in the world to require an entrance fee, as announced by the city councillor for tourism Simone Venturini. He called the new measure a “great revolution” and a solution for the over-tourism problem that Venice has struggled with for decades.

The cost of the ticket will range from a 3-euro minimum right up to 10 euros. The price will vary according to the number of visitors: the more requests for entry, the higher the cost. The goal is not to “close the city” but to get people to book their presence to reduce the “tourist peaks.”

The decision to set an entrance fee comes from a new mentality towards tourism after 2 years of pandemic. As Venturini explained: “Covid made us realise that what was an everyday occurrence before Covid isn’t acceptable anymore – the mentality has changed, as has the sensitivity”.

The booking system will give Venetians the chance to know how many people are visiting that day and to calibrate services according to the number. The portal will also flag visitors that they might want to change their mind in case big crows are predicted for that particular time.

Venturini stated that Venice won’t be the last to introduce a charge and that many other European cites are trying to understand in what way they can implement a similar measure.

Montreux Jazz Festival

Being based in Chamonix – near the border with Italy and Switzerland – gives us and our clients the chance to attend events happening across three countries. After two years of pause some of the biggest music and sport events in the region are finally back. The most legendary is without a doubt the Montreux Jazz Festival.

The Montreux Jazz Festival takes place for two weeks every summer in Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Geneva. Created in 1967 by Claude Nobs, it has become an essential event, generating fantastic stories and legendary performances.

Nearly 250,000 spectators come to the Festival every year, enjoying a breathtaking setting, concerts with renowned acoustics and many free stages. With its ambitious programming choices and musical diversity, the Montreux Jazz Festival offers a privileged experience to musicians and the public.

In its 50 years history, Montreux has hosted iconic performances by artists including Nina SimoneMiles DavisAretha FranklinElla FitzgeraldMarvin GayePrinceLeonard CohenDavid BowieElton John and Stevie Wonder. Deep Purple and Prince even helped to write the legend of the place in their songs, while David Bowie and Freddie Mercury came to live in the region and record albums.

While jazz, soul and blues are at the roots of this event, other styles quickly found their place, anchored by artistic encounters and unique experiments. In recent years, Muse, Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell WilliamsEd Sheeran, Alicia Keys, Adele, Lady Gaga, Tyler The Creator, LizzoRita Ora and many more played in Montreux and honoured the legends who have played here before them.

We feel extremely privileged to be able to access these events and include them in our clients’ corporate trips. For those interested in participating next year, more information about the festival can be found here.

Mont Blanc marathon

This past weekend Chamonix was filled with excitement as everyone cheered hundreds of runners participating in the Mont Blanc marathon. This is one of the most well-known trail running events in the valley and it features multiple, very impressive races.

90 km

The first, definitely craziest one is the Mont-Blanc 90 km race, which has become legendary in the Chamonix valley. It is 92km long with 6330 meters of vertical drop and it has been recognized as one of the most technical trail races in France. The route uses only hiking trails but these can sometimes be very narrow.

42 km

The flagship race of the weekend is however the 42 km. This race brings together the best of the discipline who are engaged in a breathtaking battle in a dream setting. The race starts with some fast and rolling tracks, then it continues on the steep slopes of the Aiguillette des Posettes before ending at the heart of Chamonix.

23 km

Created in 1979, the Cross du Mont-Blanc race has celebrated its 43rd edition in 2022. This friendly race, whose route has remained almost unchanged since its creation, takes runners on the tracks of the pioneers of the discipline. All while admiring an absolutely breathtaking panorama.

10 km
The Mont-Blanc 10 km allows running with family or friends. This trail, despite its little elevation gain, features short but intense climbs and technical descents.

Vertical km

And finally the vertical kilometer, which takes place in the form of a time trial. The end of the route features a via ferrata with steps, cables, pedals and handrails. Sticks are forbidden because of the technical nature of the race, which is not advised to people suffering from vertigo.

More detailed information on the Mont Blanc marathon, which takes place every summer in Chamonix, can be found on montblancmarathon.fr.

A new Mandarin Oriental hotel

In almost twenty years of event management, we have definitely learned one thing: accommodation is key for the success of an event. We spend a considerable amount of time searching and visiting properties while always being on the lookout for new openings. That’s why we were so excited to hear about the opening of a new Mandarin Oriental hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

As this article on hospitalitynet.org explains, Mandarin Oriental has signed a long term management agreement to rebrand and manage the historic Hotel Cristallo. The property will undergo a substantial renovation, re-opening as a Mandarin Oriental resort just before the Milano-Cortina Winter Olympic games.

Mandarin Oriental Cristallo will be the Group’s first alpine resort and expands Mandarin Oriental’s presence further in Italy. The property sits above the most recognized mountain village in the Dolomites, a short walk away from Cortina d’Ampezzo, known as the ‘Queen of the Dolomites’. Venice Marco Polo Airport is reachable in one and a half hours by car.

Hotel Cristallo was built in 1901 by the Menardi family and was a popular ski destination in the 1930s for the European cultured elite. After the Olympic Games of 1956 the Hotel entered its “golden era”, hosting royals and celebrities, including Peter Sellers, Frank Sinatra, Saul Bellow and Vladimir Nabokov. It has featured as a backdrop for a number of award-winning films, maintaining its historical charm as an early 20th century grand hotel.

On re-opening as Mandarin Oriental Cristallo, the hotel will feature 83 guestrooms including 30 spacious suites with beautiful views of the Dolomites. The property will also feature a range of restaurants and bars, flexible spaces for entertainment and events, as well as an extensive spa and wellness facility, which includes a swimming pool that transverses from inside to outside the building.

A perfect destination for corporate travel

Montenegro has become one of our favorite destinations for corporate trips during the past two years. In fact, we have just been spending a few days over there preparing for an upcoming corporate event.

Its breath-taking and varied landscapes, exquisite cuisine and wide range of outdoor activities make Montenegro a perfect destination for corporate travel. In this article, we have found even more reasons why Montenegro should be a top choice for conferences and corporate events.
 
First of all, Montenegro has experienced notable growth in the conference tourism sector over the past few years. There has been an accelerated construction, opening, and purchase of hotels equipped with conference rooms, and also workspaces that are intended for organizing various types of events.
 
Montenegro is also the perfect choice to surprise and astonish delegates and partners thanks to a combination of nature and breath-taking sites together with high-tech venues and conference halls. It is located only a two-hour flight from any European capital, which makes it a very easy destination to reach.


The National Tourism Organization of Montenegro has established the Convention Office Bureau in 2008, intending to promote Montenegro on international markets and develop the infrastructure of hotels, conference centers, and off-site venues. The Montenegro Convention Bureau includes hotels with convention facilities and agencies that can meet business event organization needs and special venues.
 
Montenegro’s conference facilities are expanding rapidly as more luxury hotels are opening. Most of them have modern equipment and many conference centers feature several halls, allowing simultaneous events to take place and capacities up to several hundred participants.

In sum, Montenegro really is a perfect destination for corporate travel, whether it’s conferences, team buildings or incentive trips. If you are curious to know more about our event destinations and projects, visit the “project” section of our website!