Bleisure in Bordeaux

Imagine you’re planning a conference for 100 of your top performing partners. These folks are the best of the best so you need to pull out all the stops to make them feel VIP. You want to plan an agenda that mixes productive working sessions with relationship building activities, and of course a few leisure activities for your delegates to make memories. Afterall, work-life balance isn’t just for the office. Your delegates deserve an experience they will tell their friends and family about, and your brand can certainly benefit from being associated with the kind of emotion we feel when we are treated like a VIP.

InterContinental Bordeaux - Le Grand Hotel

I recently had that feeling at the InterContinental Bordeaux – Le Grand Hotel.

I’m an avid traveler, usually visiting at least 10 countries a year on leisure with my wife, but also for business. Just this year alone I’ve been to France and Spain multiple times respectively, Italy, Malta and several cities in the UK. But whether the primary purpose of my trip is business or leisure, I always mix the two, a term coined as “bleisure”. Some may call me a workoholic, but I like to think of this as my work-life balance. Nevertheless, I was recently in Bordeaux on a leisure trip and took the opportunity to mix in some business.

As a Director and Board Member of Select Event Solutions, a London-based meetings and events agency, I was excited to stay at the InterContinental Bordeaux – Le Grand Hotel, not just to experience the 5-star service the hotel is known for, but to also explore their MICE offering.

The venue and team were brilliant, from the moment I walked through the revolving door into the grand reception to my late checkout before catching an evening flight, the entire experience was classy.

InterContinental Bordeaux - Le Grand Hotel

In recent years my appreciation for good interior design has grown significantly. My taste in this respect varies, but I do enjoy a classic interior as much as I love modern bold design. So when I checked in I was more than impressed with the stately feel of my room, especially the cozy atmosphere that evolved as the sun set and the colours and patterns came to life in the evening lamp light. I could picture myself back in the late 1700s surrounded by candles flickering, listening to a harpist and drinking wine with a merchant I frequently traded with.

Bordeaux is a walking city with an abundance of beautiful French architectural views. Within 20 minutes of exploring I told my wife that it might just be my favourite city in France. Surely my favourite city in France this year. The location of the InterContinental Bordeaux – Le Grand Hotel couldn’t be better, for both leisure or business. The hotel is less than five minutes walk to the tram that goes to the main train station, Gare de Bordeaux St-Jean. (We took a day trip from there to the lovely village of Saint-Émilion in wine country – the perfect leisure ad-on for any business trip.) The ornate Opéra National de Bordeaux, sits directly opposite the hotel as it has since the late 1700s. That made for an amazing breakfast view!

Speaking of breakfast, my favourite meal of the day, I enjoyed a delicious ham and cheese omelette, bread with butter and jam and coffee. But that’s just my preference. There was loads to choose from a buffett that had an entire room dedicated to it.

InterContinental Bordeaux - Le Grand Hotel

But my favourite part of my stay was getting a full tour of the historic venue that included exploring luxurious suites designed for entertaining, impressive rooftop views overlooking Bordeaux and classy meeting and event spaces, one of which has an 18th century ceiling mural!

InterContinental Bordeaux - Le Grand Hotel

Which brings me back to that conference for 100 top performing partners you are planning, or at least imagining that you are. Now imagine the emotion and excitement your delegates will feel during their VIP French experience while growing closer to your brand.

InterContinental Bordeaux - Le Grand Hotel

That’s why I believe Bordeaux should be ranked in the top 5 bleisure destinations in 2017, and the InterContinental Bordeaux – Le Grand Hotel is the perfect venue for a business conference in France.

Pictures by Caleb Parker (Instagram @caleb_parker)

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