The Conrad Algarve Hotel – the region’s ultimate smart business venue
The Conrad Algarve Hotel is the epitome of ‘smart luxury’, a smart-savvy hotel where technology is the order of the day. But while it is the last word in luxury leisure, the Conrad is becoming increasingly popular as a venue for business events. From product launches to company incentives, meetings, seminars and workshops, the Conrad has all the facilities for getting down to business by the stunning and tranquil environment of Quinta do Lago. We caught up with Conrad Algarve General Manager Katharina Schlaipfer.
On the boundary of the exclusive Algarve luxury community of Quinta do Lago is a monument to luxury and a testament to service.
The sensation is one of grandeur as you enter monumental gates and sweep up a long palm tree-lined avenue that leads to the Conrad Algarve Hotel.
It’s air of exclusivity and seclusion on the edge of the Algarve’s prestigious Quinta do Lago closed community and within the stunning natural beauty of the Formosa Natural Park means that companies can really roll up their sleeves and get down to business without any of the usual distractions associated with many metropolitan venues.
Business can be a heavy and serious affair. But the Conrad’s design immediately lifts the mood. The first word that comes to mind is ‘light’ in both sense of the word.
The contemporary white building contrasts against the lush green vegetation surrounding it. Entering the imposing main lobby the eyes are drawn upwards to a lofty cupola. Bright light floods the main white marble reception area.
The sensation is uplifting, light and airy. “I’ve worked in a lot of hotels around the world, but I don’t think there is any lobby area that compares to this one when it comes to natural light,” says General Manager Katharina Schlaipfer who addresses me in perfect English – just one of five languages she has mastered during her long experience managing hotels in Italy, Belgium and Germany.
The perfect business venue
Although a luxury family hotel, the Conrad Algarve is eager to stress its growing importance as a business events and incentives venue.
“We are not set up to be a congress hotel. In terms of space we are limited, but we do have a very impressive ballroom which can comfortably cater to quite substantial business events with up to 220 guests,” says Katharina Schlaipfer.
The General Manager does, however, point out that the Conrad Algarve is perfect for product launches and incentives, catering for up to 60 to 70 people.
“We have a lot of companies who want four or five day meetings. It’s a great venue for team building activities whereby companies hold meetings in the morning and then go out into the surrounding countryside in the afternoon for open-air activities,” she explains.
The Conrad Algarve can cater to social and business meetings of all kinds including corporate incentives and product launches thanks to its five dynamic conference rooms and Board Room.
The Conrad Algarve Hotel & Resort has the capacity for full private reservation. “Companies and groups can fully book the entire hotel or parts of it which then can be fully customised” says Katharina Schlaipfer.
“For some companies it is very important to fully reserve the hotel and have the company branding and marketing. If they want to take over the lobby and have the company colours, then we can do that. We even changed the carpets in the lounge and bar areas to match corporate colours and clients can brand all parts of the hotel with their logos,” she explains.
Even the Food & Beverage team serving at table can wear uniforms customised with the client’s logo. “The idea is that on entering the hotel the clients brand look & feel can be fully maximized” This is the level of privatisation and customisation that we can do at the resort” Katharina continues.
One example involved a perfume launch where the resort’s signature restaurant Gusto consultant Chef Heinz Beck (3 Michelin-star) had to designed a signature menu inspired on the perfume essences and brand colours.
In another, involving the launch of a model of a well-known luxury car brand, the vehicle had to be hoisted through the roof of the Rooftop Suite and lowered over the pool.
The Conrad Algarve lobby was even transformed into a Hollywood-Style film set involving 10-film trucks and over 100 cast and crew members for the GPS Studios motion picture ‘That Good Night’ starring Sir John Hurt and Miranda Richardson.
The Conrad Algarve prides itself on its concept of Smart Luxury which means the latest technology blended with a sophisticated style and personalised and relaxed service. In terms of Smart Luxury high-technology for business groups, the hotel offers A World of Style: Stylish environments that are comfortable yet luxurious; Flawless Service: Engaging yet discreet where consistent service delivery is key; Connections: The opportunity for guests to connect with each other and the local culture.
In terms of Smart Luxury High Tech for Business Groups the hotel offers a customised online booking page created specifically for each group with direct access to the central reservation system, fully equipped meeting rooms with the latest technology (LCD projector and Sound system) and high-quality/speed Wi-Fi available in literally all hotel areas, while private guests can use the Conrad Concierge App – An App that allows all Hilton Honors Members to completely customise their stay.
The Conrad Algarve believes that one of the key ingredients to a memorable business event is an authentic local experience in the community.
“We offer a set of experiences which we call the Conrad Algarve Authentic Experiences in which guests can discover and explore the destination with that extra luxury touch,” says Katharina.
One experience for business incentives of 12-16 people might involve a trip to Faro Island where the group board a ‘saveiro’ — a traditional fisherman’s boat — go out on the Ria Formosa with baskets and branded towels and go razor clam picking which includes a visit to an oyster farm where fishermen pick the oysters from the nursery which guests eat with their feet dangling in the Ria Formosa while drinking sparkling champagne while the on-board chef talks about the produce.
“This is the kind of deep connection with the destination that we want to provide, like the Winemaker Experience, where guests learn how to blend their own bottles of wine. It’s all about having a story to tell and that emotional experience is important to make the destination and the stay at the hotel memorable” Katharina Schlaipfer stresses.
Portuguese design elements
When overseas companies hold an event at the Conrad Algarve Hotel they can be sure of an authentic Portuguese experience not only in terms of the legendary Portuguese hospitality and service and the genuine signature experiences in the surrounding countryside but even down to the details of the hotel’s design and décor.
“When we opened the hotel in 2012 we used a lot of Portuguese elements; local motifs from the Algarve and Portugal. We wanted to create the idea of an 18th century Neo-classic Portuguese palace estate” says Katharina Schlaipfer.
The Conrad Algarve has certainly achieved that mission. Details wrapped around the entrance pillars suggest the Portuguese filigree goldsmith’s tradition. The Arab Moorish influence is echoed in the wallpaper, frescoes and carpets. An example is the five monumental terracotta vases which are reminiscent of early Moorish urns.
Even Gusto Bar Head Nelson de Matos has designed a menu of original cocktails that trace the milestones of Portugal’s epic history “The Lusiadas”, not only in terms of themes and colours, but the very ingredients that go into them that conjure and celebrate over 1000 years of Portugal’s story. Now there’s authenticity for you!
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