The ocean is as inspirational as it is beautiful. The poet Walt Whitman once called it "a continual miracle," and singer Jimmy Buffett has said it is his "only medication." Meeting planners can harness this love of the sea by taking groups to properties that have oceanfront meeting space. At such venues, the views alone promise to motivate and inspire attendees in concert with the content they'll consume during the meeting.
One such property is the Auberge Resorts Collection's Malliouhana (pictured). Located in the British territory of Anguilla, the Caribbean resort reopened this past Dec. 20, more than a year after damage from Hurricane Irma forced it to close. Along with existing highlights -- including 46 guest rooms and suites, two-tiered infinity-edge pools, a signature restaurant and a bar -- the fully restored resort plans to unveil several new additions in early 2019, one of which will be an all-new meeting space with ocean views for groups of up to 60 people.
Also planned are a new two-bedroom beachfront villa with a landscaped portico, garden patio, private plunge pool and indoor/outdoor bathroom with free-standing tub; a "toes in the sand" beach shack with locally inspired food and beverages; 11 new beachfront suites, and an expanded spa with new treatment rooms and a brand-new oceanfront swimming pool.
"Malliouhana has long been a beloved and unrivaled destination experience in the Caribbean," said Auberge Resorts Collection CEO Craig Reid. "We have poured our heart and soul into restoring the resort guests have come to know and love, while taking the opportunity to add new amenities and experiences that really elevate and complement this special corner of paradise."
Four More Seaside Meeting Venues
Malliouhana is just one of many resorts with oceanfront meeting spaces in which attendees can commune with each other as well as with the sea. Here are four more:
• The Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort (Río Grande, Puerto Rico). Like Malliouhana, the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort was forced to close in 2017 after that year's devastating hurricane season. It reopened in March 2018, however, and remains one of the largest resorts in Puerto Rico thanks to its 500-acre wingspan, which encompasses 400 guest rooms and suites, a 7,000-square-foot casino, two 18-hole golf courses, a 7,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, two beachfront pools, nearly a dozen bars and restaurants, and a 27,000-square-foot oceanfront conference center that includes two ballrooms: the 6,485-square-foot Caribbean Ballroom for groups of up to 320 people and the 20,913-square-foot Rio Mar Ballroom for up to 2,000.
• Hawks Cay Resort (Duck Key, Fla.). Yet another oceanfront resort impacted by 2017's hurricanes was Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys, which reopened in August 2018 after a $50 million renovation. The rebuilt and renovated property spans 60 acres a features a total of 420 villas and guest rooms, as well as several bars and restaurants, a saltwater lagoon, five swimming pools and a spa. There's also 20,000 square feet of oceanfront meeting space, including the 5,733-square-foot Dolphin Ballroom for groups of up to 644 people, the 5,544-square-foot Overseas Ballroom for up to 615 and the octagonal "Ocean" room for up to 250.
• Paséa Hotel & Spa (Huntington Beach, Calif.). Of course, Florida and the Caribbean don't have a monopoly on oceanfront real estate. Case in point: the Meritage Collection's Paséa Hotel & Spa in Huntington Beach, Calif. Directly across the street from the Pacific Ocean, the hotel boasts 250 guest rooms, a Balinese-inspired spa, a rooftop lounge, a signature restaurant, a 24-hour fitness studio and an outdoor pool with fire pits, cabanas, a bar and a whirlpool. Plus, there are 11 meeting rooms with over 34,000 square feet of meeting space, including the 3,450-square-foot Blue Room, which is an indoor/outdoor reception space for groups of up to 300 people, including oceanfront outdoor fire pits and seating.
• Moana Surfrider (Honolulu). If California isn't "coastal" enough, there's always Hawaii, which is teeming with oceanfront resorts like Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa. Located in Waikiki Beach, the historic resort opened in 1901 and is known as "The First Lady of Waikiki." Along with 794 guest rooms and suites, a freshwater swimming pool, a signature restaurant, a beach bar, a spa and a fitness center, there's over 15,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. A highlight is the Roof Garden, an intimate space for groups of up to 40 people atop the hotel's historic Banyan Wing. The reception room here offers floor-to-ceiling windows, flanked on both sides by outdoor lanais that overlook the Pacific Ocean.