Fanhams Hall – our January FAM

We are slowly making our way through all of the fabulous Excluisve Hotels and Venues and last Friday we headed off to Fanhams Hall, a Grade II Jacobean mansion house located in Ware for our first FAM of 2018. From Liverpool Street, the venue is just a 45 minute train ride away and only 60 minutes from Heathrow which is very handy.

Our group arrived at 3.00 pm for an amazing light lunch and a chat with Jonathan, MD of Fanham’s Hall before heading off on a site visit of all the meeting and event spaces and there are a lot of wonderful spaces. Fanhams Hall has 24 meeting and syndicate rooms. Of these 20, 12 are principal meeting rooms and a further 12 are breakout rooms, all flexible in their layouts and all of them having loads of lovely natural daylight. The biggest space, The Hertford and Ware is perfect for larger meetings and is very modern and sleek in design with the most amazing views and fits up to 70 cabaret. Amongst all the meeting and event spaces you will find the Long gallery which is my favourite.

The Long Gallery was originally a stunning picture gallery with ornate chandeliers and dual aspect views of the gorgeous gardens, there is also two small syndicate rooms that work with it to make it a wonderful, different option for that board level away day. You can find more on the capacities of all the meeting rooms here.

In the midst of our site visit of the event spaces, we headed outside to see the grounds and the Japanese Tea Gardens which are truly spectacular. They would make a stunning backdrop for your onsite activities. I really fell in love with them they were just so unexpected (check out the pictures).

After our site visit it was back to our rooms to freshen up ready for our welcome drinks and private dinner which was superb. Chef certainly served up an amazing menu and words (but I hope pictures can) cannot describe the desert. It was AMAZING and provided a good lining for the next part of our site visit… the Karaoke Klub. I can’t quite put into words how fun our night was but I will try. The Karaoke Klub is the venue’s Klub which is a completely self-contained stand alone venue where your guests can sing their hearts out. It also has its own bar and I think adding this on to any offsite/away day would be amazing. It is so good for team building. We certainly had the best time!

The next morning, with some very sore heads we all met up for breakfast and had a giggle about the nights signing stars. This was such a wonderful FAM trip, thank you so much to Fanhams for having us! We really think Fanhams would work beautifully for a away day or meeting. They have some very competitive 24 hour rates and combined with its proximity to London’s Liverpool Street and those magical gardens it’s definitely worth looking at!

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Eventprofslive – FAM Trip October

Our last FAM trip for the year was held at Pennyhill Park  who certainly looked after the group well. Our group arrived at Sunningdale station where we were whisked off to Pennyhill Park, just a 15 minute drive from the station.  On arriving at the property, you are immediately blown away by the grounds and you very much feel like you are amongst the fab Surrey countryside.

Our group started with a site visit, seeing the screening room first where we were given a brief overview of the property whilst we snacked on sweets and popcorn (which all can be branded bespoke). The screening room would be fabulous addition to your event, you could use it for so many things.  After the screening room we made our way around the various event space which all had state-of-the-art technology and super-fast Wi-Fi.  All the event spaces have natural daylight and range from rooms to accommodate up to 200 people. What really blew us away was the inbuilt av – not having to bring in external equipment makes life so much easier.

After we had our site visit of Pennyhill Park we were whisked away once again to another Exclusive property, Royal Berkshire.  Royal Berkshire is a 63 bedroom property that has 11 meeting and function rooms and would be amazing for a buyout for a small event. You would have the whole property and it would work so well for a multitude of events. I loved the mix of new and old style reflected in both the bedrooms and the meeting rooms and attendees would be blown away by the “energy zone” where delegates could grab a coffee and play a game of old school Pac Man or the “55” Smart Screens in the meeting rooms.  They even have huge bean bags in some of the meeting rooms for something completely different. The Royal Berkshire would work ever so well as an overflow hotel if you needed more than the 123 bedrooms than Pennyhill Park can provide as well.

After seeing our second property it was back to Pennyhill Park for a bit of downtime where nearly every one of us had a bath in our amazing bedrooms.  One of our guests had a room that had a horizontal shower, the other had a piano and a room split over two floors.  I had a uber cool ying/yang bath which I managed to use not once but three times in 24 hours where you can dim the lights and watch tv.  It was hand on heart.. AMAZING and I will remember it forever (am already trying to convince the husband we should put one in our bathroom)!

Pre-dinner drinks were up next where the owner of PennyHill Park, Mr Danny Pecorelli judged a cocktail competition for us where we each had to test a cocktail and name the ingredients.  The cocktails are part of the hotels exclusive cocktail list on the bar menu and most of us, I am proud to say, did pretty well. We then moved over for dinner in the private dining room where we had the most amazing meal of mushroom risotto to start and an amazing chump of lamb, most of us where hard pressed to finish the pudding. We may have struggled however we still ate it all!

As always, after dinner drinks where great fun and a lot of the group had very sore heads the next morning. The hotel’s bar is fabulous with live music and a great atmosphere, it was so much fun.

Saturday morning saw us with free time to explore the hotel and the all-important spa! I am yet to mention the spa as it needs its own paragraph.  The spa is quite frankly my now most favourite place in the world and I am practically begging my husband to buy me membership.  It is one of Europe’s best spas and you can see why. The spa contains over 20 different treatment rooms and is set of 45,000 sw. ft. of pure relaxation.

There are 8 indoor pools and hot tubs and steam rooms, ice igloos and you can actually take yourself on a thermal sequencing journey through all the rooms.  This would be amazing as an add on to your group event for both men and women – it is just fabulous.  Along with the spa, there is a 9-hole golf course and an abundance of grounds that you can use for a variety of team building activities.

Our group loved Pennyhill Park.  If you need any information on the property for your events you can contact Ratnesh, here.

Eventprofslive – FAM Trip

There is a three letter word that, as an Event Manager, sparks more interest than most for me and that is FAM. I love a FAM trip. I love being able to experience a location and a hotel first hand. See how they treat their guests, how comfy are their beds, how do they check people in… the list is endless and by attending a FAM trip you develop this amazing knowledge of that venue that stays with you forever, ready to recommend should it suit a particular brief.

Eventprofslive had its very first FAM trip just two weeks ago at the stunning Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club.  Our group of Event Managers were just eight in total and we had a fabulous time.

Ashdown Park is situated just 30 minutes from London and then just a 10 minute taxi ride from its closest station, East Grinstead. The hotel is part of the Elite Group of hotels (everyone knows Luton Hoo) and has 106 bedrooms in total and when Kate and I checked in to ours, we immediately called each other to come and check each other’s out. The first thing I do is check out the bathroom (I love a bathroom) and filled with Molton Brown treats, a very impressive shower with too many jets to count meant I was in heaven.

We had invited a select few of event and hotel bookers to our FAM Trip. The majority of our group arrived around 6.00 pm where after checking-in, we met in the foyer with Chillisauce whom had organised a treasure hunt around the hotel’s vast grounds for us.  This was an amazing way to see all the grounds of the hotel (including its lake, on-site golf course and meeting spaces) and after 45 minutes and some very odd selfies (all part of the treasure hunt) we headed back to the main house to award the winners and cringe at the photos!

After our team building it was on to the most important part of the trip… For our group, it’s all about the meeting rooms and there is definitely something unique about the spaces at Ashdown Park.  Meeting rooms with amazing arched ceilings and natural daylight via stained glass windows would make for impressive syndicate rooms and the hotels “Richard Towneley Suite” can seat up to 250 (split over two floors) and also offers six syndicate rooms, all self-contained.  There is even an original organ in there! You can view the capacity charts here.

After a quick nip back to the hotel to change, we were back in the foyer to meet the hotel’s General Manager and Group Business Development Manager for some cocktail making, very tasty canapes (what diet) and a lovely dinner in the private dining room.  Chef Andrew Wilson is in charge of the menu and his Michelin Starred experience is very much evident in his food and presentation.  The food was amazing and paired well with some great conversation on everything from events to weekend plans being discussed.

After dinner a few of us stayed up chatting away in one of the hotels fab private rooms and having a few wines before turning into the oh-so-comfy beds.

Next morning it was a run(stroll) thorugh one of the hotels 3 jogging tracks, a scare by some of the deer on premises and then a trip to the gym, a swin and a massage! Absolute bliss. The gym is fully equipt and the swimming pool and Jacuzzi were very popular with the group.

I adore Ashdown Park it would work so well for any number of events, retreats and conferences.  For more information on the hotel or events assistance you can contact Carina here.