While most companies accept utilitarian conference rooms and spaces for executive meetings within hotel towers or large seaside spreads, a new collection is raising the bar for companies by offering groups fully staffed, private estates for corporate retreats and incentive trips
Ani Villas earlier this year opened two new private resorts — a 10-room enclave on the shores of Koh Yao Noi in Thailand and a 15-room estate on the central south coast of Sri Lanka, known respectively as Ani Villas Thailand and Ani Villas Sri Lanka. Ani Villas opened its first property, a 10-bedroom clifftop complex on Anguilla, in 2011.
Each private resort caters to groups of between 15 and 30, and can accommodate larger parties utilizing neighboring properties for spill over. Its pricing structure provides value to groups as small as eight without sacrificing the exclusive-use concept.
In all cases the Ani Villas experience skews heavily to the incentive wing of the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, events) market. Not that the resorts aren’t outfitted with all of the required equipment and technology for state of the art conferences and meetings. They are. But what they’re finding in this first year of operation is that real estate groups, car dealers, software companies and others are turning to Ani Villas more frequently for reward trips than for formal meetings and strategy sessions.
The exclusivity of the resort, and the opportunity for the entire group to bond without any other guests on property, is what makes Ani Villas a singular opportunity for team-building, said Ani Villas CEO Ira Bloom.
“Our guests are less self-conscious, and better able to celebrate their own inclinations, when they know they have a place all to themselves,” said Bloom. “Not all the news is fit to print, as they say, but if a group wants to fire up Guns N’ Roses at 3 am, no one’s going to ask our staff to turn down the volume on Axl Rose.”
Much like a traditional resort, Ani Villas have all the trappings of a seaside facility – clustered around pools as long as 42 meters, fully staffed spas, exer-chic fitness centers, yoga pavilions, tennis courts, dining salas and outdoor bars, each with a full complement of staff including general manager, executive chef and cooks, housekeeping, laundry, personal trainers and spa. Unlike a traditional resort, this whole team at Ani Villas only serve one party at a time.
And when it’s a MICE group, said Bloom, having all of the staff focus on one group makes a tremendous difference.
“Some people bring in event planners, but with 20 people on staff, we’re turn-key all the way from arrival transfers and meals to big screen technology if need be, a one-stop shop,” he said.
The staff excel at coordinating bleisure outings and on-property extravaganzas with reggae bands and fire dancers on the cultural side, to all different types of team building activities — paddle tours, bike tours through local villages, shuffleboard tournaments and snorkeling expeditions.
Ani Villas opened its first private resort on Anguilla in 2011 as the brainchild of Tim Reynolds, who co-founded Jane Street Capital in 1999. Reynolds complements every private resort with an Ani Art Academy, offering a free comprehensive drawing and painting program to communities surrounding each resort, and at two additional locations in the United States.
Ani Villas will open its next private resort in the Dominican Republic in the summer of 2017.