I had the pleasure of visiting Salzburg for 2 days on an agency Business Development visit with Stephanie Kubik from ROBINSON Resorts (represented by the lovely Kai Schömann at Hotel Republic) and Carina Schuck at our Salzburg represented DMC Weichlein Tours + Incentives, who organised the fabulous ground programme.
Although this tour was to Austria, WEICHLEIN TOURS + INCENTIVES DMC is based in Munich, covering the main cities, such as Heidelberg, Cologne, Stuttgart and the region of Bavaria. Weichlein Tours + Incentives DMC offer personalised arrangements for meetings, conferences, events, incentives and special interest groups including the coordination of transfers, entertainment, onsite staff, exclusive dinner experiences, hotel reservations, multilingual guides and interpreters.
Deep in the heart of Austria, Salzburg has culture like none other with culture and vibrancy to be reckoned with.
Well, what can I say about Salzburg From the moment you arrive you are whisked into sceneries of beauty; and whether you’re a Sound of Music fan or you’re there for the culture and architecture, or just up for sampling some excellent food and drink; there’s something for everyone in Salzburg.
From a MICE perspective, the destination certainly does not disappoint! For example, why not explore Salzburg by horse and cart – a veritable way to sightsee without the boredom factor! Our carriage fitted 8 of us, which is great for a group who wish to bond, or break the ice a little, or another option was a smaller carriage for up to 4 that was open-top and perfect in the warm September weather.
Did you know that the film Knight and Day was filmed here? No? Neither did I, but I’m glad I know now; as being armed with that knowledge could be the difference between your client (who has a passion for movies) booking the destination, or him not booking it.
Other connections to are Red Bull, Mozart and the creator of Ultrasound, though clearly not in that order! I guess you could say that each of these could help to open the destination up to an array of markets; namely Sport, art and pharmaceutical.
After building up an appetite on the sightseeing tour, we were then very fortunate to enjoy lunch overlooking the city at an amazing place called The Stiegkeller. If you’re lucky enough to have an early lunch there, you can sip a beer on the veranda while listening out for the midday war siren that sounds on a daily basis! Their beer sampling options are another great way to unite a group and the restaurant has some lovely fresh, local cuisine on offer as part of their menu. Not to be missed is their amazing pudding (called Nockerl) which is well worth a try!
Although there is a minimum spend at this restaurant, there is no hire fee whatsoever, which means it could be perfect for large groups needing private hire! As well as being able to utilise the amazing, and spacious terrace for an event, groups will find that there are 2 indoor function spaces; the larger of the 2 accommodating up to 250.
So, our DMC did us proud with the quirky transportation and the fantastic restaurant located right in the centre of Salzburg. Now onto the surrounding areas to see what ROBINSON can offer to groups…
The first of the ROBINSON Resorts we had the pleasure of staying at was the ROBINSON Club Ampflwang. One thing that was really refreshing (after transfers of an hour or so) was the arrival drinks; an interesting array of cocktails served outside, literally next to where our bus parked, with the loveliest selection of canapés. They checked us in quickly in to our rooms and how nice to be served by such friendly staff that were more like a caring family?! The Receptionists don’t just work on reception; they wait tables, they entertain guests; they serve food - they do it all; and are the very heart and soul of the hotels. They are each called Roby (followed by their christian name) and we got to know them by name and were made to feel very welcome.
The resort itself is on a few levels, as it’s been built into the beautiful, rolling hills. The bedrooms are very modern with contemporary bathrooms and amenities. Emphasis has really been placed on the ‘outdoors’ vibe; and the resort offers incredible active programmes that change on a weekly basis; with activities like golf, archery, volleyball, hiking & cycling (included) as well as Horse riding (extra).
During the afternoon some of us made the most of our free time resting at the outdoor pool (which was very welcome after our 4am start!) This area is very much a combination of fitness and wellness activities and amenities, all within a very pleasant environment.
In the evening we started out on the Club’s amazing rooftop, enjoying cocktails as the sun went down. This is a relatively new space and clearly perfect for sundowners; and if it was a little warmer maybe a small, intimate dinner. With its ultra-cool lighting, I personally think this would also be a great location for an Ibiza-style, mini white party!
Next, we sampled typical Austrian cuisine as part of their buffet. Everything on offer tasted great, but it was a buffet with a difference, as wine was available on an all-inclusive basis with table service, while you dined in the elegant restaurant.
After dinner we watched the amusing ‘glow-in-the-dark’ show; in which we re-met the ‘cast’ of the show. Remember the guys in reception?! Well, they showcased their other abilities with great passion! Later on we danced in the bar area. Did you know that the ROBINSON Staff have their own dance, in which you must participate, whether you work in the bar or are in MICE Sales?! Which Stephanie so kindly (and of course very proudly) showed us!
For MICE groups the resort have a vast array of meeting rooms (9) overlooking the grounds; and both the huge activity centre and tennis courts can accommodate large functions, such as gala dinners.
This is the biggest club in Austria, as if offers 200 bedrooms in total. In addition, the main restaurant (overlooking the beautiful scenery) can accommodate up to 378 and the indoor theatre can also accommodate 250, meaning that this resort is perfect for large groups!
The next ROBINSON Resort that we had the pleasure of staying at was the ROBINSON Club Amadé – a very different hotel to the previous one. I would say I personally preferred this resort of the two, as I’ve never been skiing before and had always wanted to see a ski-resort type of venue, even out of season. The sceneries are just breathtaking and the hotel is beautiful. We had lunch on arrival and there was so much choice available via the buffet that it was hard not to over-eat; especially knowing we had a hike to participate in afterwards!
After our short uphill hike to an area about 10 minutes walk from the hotel, we found ourselves ready to participate in the Flying Fox, which is not for the faint hearted! This activity is zip lining with a difference – suspended high above a ravine, not only will you zip line from point to point, but you will also need to work as a group to overcome some challenging elements – namely rock climbing (while harnessed of course!) and balancing on cliff ledges! An exhilarating activity offered by the hotel, but I repeat, only for those that have the courage and upper body strength to participate.
During the evening (after we’d all recovered from the crazy Flying Fox activity!) we had dinner in the main buffet restaurant. We were in a separate part of the restaurant to where we had lunch, which felt like our own private dining room; and again, despite any pre-conceived ideas of ‘buffets’; the food was amazing and at each of the live cooking stations it gave the staff members a chance to demonstrate their flair. Each one greeted you as if you were an old friend, which set a really lovely tone for the evening! After dinner we watched the hotel’s ‘Crazy Mix’ Show, and as the title suggest it was crazy, but totally worthwhile and entertaining! We then spent the rest of the evening dancing in their spacious bar and then a visit to their night club, where some of us attempted to hammer nails into some sort of stump while drinking beer! They ‘nailed it’, if you’ll pardon the pun!
And now back to the fundamentals of meetings… If you visit during ski season, then obviously skiing and sledging take over, but if like me you visit out of season there’s still so many fantastic activities to choose from nearby, such as biking, hiking, rafting and football.
In the winter, you automatically get a ski pass included within your stay. What’s more, you can do Sleigh rides from the mountains that overlook the resort – just amazing! Here’s a crazy fact for you; the resort can do artificial snow for groups if it’s out of season; and if you need the hotel exclusively they are very accommodating.
Apparently it is possible to drive cars into the indoor theatre meaning that this property is great for car launches! Capacity-wise Club Amadé has 3 main meeting rooms; and the theatre seats 220 and the main restaurant seats 370, though apparently the preffered optimum group size for an event is around 50 pax.
Here are some other ideas of things you can do within the hotel for groups: Austrian costumed galas, painting workshops, midnight sauna with fruit etc and oils etc, cooking events in the panorama bar plus cut your own herbs from their herb garden. The hotel can also arrange for a private aperitif reception at the pool bar in the early evening and the large sports hall can be carpeted and used for events, plus you can book nightclub exclusively for functions.
In summary ROBINSON Resorts offer quality accommodation and meeting spaces to the MICE Market, but with a difference; being that each of their resorts is so different from the next, so I’m sure it’ll make you want to visit each and every one! They even find out when you’re leaving and ensure to wave you off in style with your country’s flag?! Did you notice that I keep typing in capitals whenever I mention the word ROBINSON?! Well, that’s their branding – so while I say I don’t mean to shout at you, maybe in fact I do, as their hotels definitely give me something to shout about, especially with the proactive approaches and can-do attitudes, friendly staff, and unlimited possibilities for groups.
Last but surely not least, having our DMC Weichlein Tours + Incentives to support them made our fam trip even more memorable! The fact that Munich (where Weichlein are based) is so close to Salzburg makes both destinations so accessible and of course desirable for groups wishing to twin them up.
We didn’t have time to visit the Salzburg salt mines unfortunately, but the DMC can offer this tour to your clients. This is well worth a visit; you can visit just for fun, utilising the mine train and the crazy slides that go through the tunnels; or for a more refined affair it’s a great location for gala dinners! Their expertise doesn’t just stop there though; if it’s Bavarian Olympics you want, or something related to Oktoberfest, then they are your go-to guys!
All in all Salzburg was an intriguing and unique destination to visit, and I wouldn’t hesitate in going back… like tomorrow!
This visit was brought to you by our German DMC, Weichlein Tours + Incentives