Destinations with Laura: Hotel Golf
The beauty of Bled, Slovenia inspires creative meetings and events
Have you ever gone to a location and felt like you could be in a fairytale? Bled, Slovenia is such a place. The serenity is all-encompassing, as are the Julian Alps. A walk around Lake Bled is a wonderful way to get creative. A rowboat to the island in the center of the lake is a smart team building adventure, and a conference and stay at the Hotel Golf makes for an enjoyable and productive place to “Eat, Drink, Meet & Succeed”!
Let’s start with the personal and professional attention you are given at Hotel Golf. It is an affordable four-star hotel and spa in the Sava Hotel and Resorts Company, which specializes in Slovenia properties. Its cultural roots of hospitality are on display at every turn. The entire hotel team – from the front desk, bartenders, lobby attendants, conference staff and booking managers to the housekeepers and the back of house – will see to your every detail and exceed your expectations in every way. I was greeted by name by Roman Krištofelc, booking manager, who lives and breathes the Hotel Golf. No hour is too late, no question is too difficult and he answers with great knowledge, and as the others, in English. He works with small and large groups alike – everyone from presidents and athletes to conference attendees and tourists – all with the same signature respect and attention of Sava Hotels.
The Hotel Golf itself is set amongst trees overlooking Lake Bled. Each room has a balcony with an outstanding view. The dining is epicurious and an experience in and of itself. The menus and buffets include regional specialties, fresh vegetables, outstanding desserts and incredible service. The conference center is just off the lobby with multiple meeting rooms that can be combined and a gallery that can serve as registration for an expo. It is open, yet, intimate and conducive to conversations between sessions. You’ll notice that the meeting rooms have only three walls – the fourth wall is made of floor to ceiling windows looking out upon Lake Bled. The rooms are inviting with natural wood tones, wonderful light and are equipped with modern technology and an accommodating staff.
You’ll soon find that at the Hotel Golf it is as much about what is on the outside as what is inside! Though there are many activities to choose from, I’d like to highlight two of my favorite – both perfect for any meeting or conference, large or small.
The first is a 75-minute walk around Lake Bled. It is a paved path that leads you safely along the lake, through the trees, to the foot of Bled Castle and then next to a famous rowing center before arriving back at the hotel. There is a huge link to walking and creativity. In fact, a study by Stanford University showed that creativity is boosted by 60% when walking and the boost continues even after you return to your desk…or in this case, meeting room! I definitely suggest you get the map from the concierge and plan it into your meeting. (Watch Event Solutions next month for Laura’s article on the art of designing a walking meeting!)
And the second activity is Lake Bled itself. As you can see by now, Bled highlights the best of the outdoors and at its center is Lake Bled. And at its center are the Assumption of Mary Pilgrimage Church, an accompanying cafe, an art gallery and a gift shop. The island is only accessible by boat and you will see wooden flat-bottom Pletna Boats ferrying folks to and from the island for a few Euros. Or even better, and this is where the team building comes in, you can rent your own boat and start to row! There is a rowboat launch and rentals just down the path from the hotel. You can reserve ahead of time, form teams, have one person on each oar and then change up with others once getting to the island for the return. It is invigorating and if some attendees aren’t up for rowing, they can sit, help guide and enjoy the ride!
I believe one of the keys to a well-produced meeting or conference is to create an atmosphere that is productive and enjoyable – this certainly is both. You and your clients will be impressed, re-invigorated and remember every moment of your trip to this small, but accessible, town in the Julian Alps. At just 22 miles from the capital city and Ljubljana International Airport, Bled, Slovenia, its activities and the Hotel Golf is a memorable destination to “Eat, Drink, Meet & Succeed”!
For more on Sava Hotels & Resorts’ four properties in Bled, Slovenia and their MICE: Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions, venues click here and discover more team building, banquet and conference opportunities throughout the city and region.
eNews August 2014
Yes, Bled is a truly magical place and the Hotel Golf and staff are just as you describe them.
I first "discovered" Bled and the Hotel Golf in 1979 and in 1987 on my 11th visit I met Christine. We spent our Honeymoon there and have been going twice, and sometimes three times, a year ever since. Though we do go to other holiday destinations as well. We have been on all the walks on the Bled Walk Map several times and our "first morning" ritual is the walk round the lake, which you describe, with a stop for coffee at the regatta station. Another of our favourites is the 5 mile walk to Radovljica returning by bus to Bled. We always use public transport for getting about and trains for longer distances. Every time we try to do something we haven't done before, or for a long time.
Over the years the Hotel Golf has become like a second home for us and our holiday commences as soon as we enter the hotel and are greeted by the reception staff. The hotel has also catered for several family occasions for us and no request is too much trouble for the staff, especially Roman, who always make sure that every small detail is carried out. When we go in October it will be our 44th holiday there together and next May (God willing) we will reach the impressive total of 100 individual visits to the hotel (55 & 45 respectively).
Bled is a beautiful place to visit and recharge one's batteries whether just to relax or participate in more strenuous activities.
Christine and Frank Waller
I totaly agree with your comments on Bled and the Golf Hotel, we have been coming for the last 10 years and now feel like we are coming home. The friendlyness of the staff coupled with a stunning location make Bled and the Golf Hotel the perfect retreat for us. We will be back in October for our 18th visit, cant wait
Nigel and Yvonne