From the city to the sea, the words Chateau Musar were on the lips of many local Charlestonians and Sanctuary guests alike. Prior to The Ocean Room Wine Dinner at The Sanctuary, Marc Hochar (son of Serge Hochar) spoke to diners at Edmond’s Oast of Charleston for a luncheon while tasting rare vintages of these beloved Lebanese wines. But as the clock struck five, The Ocean Room was elated to open its doors to Marc and fellow guests for an intimate evening featuring some of the most exceptional wines represented over the last 80 years.

Chateau Musar Wine Dinner at The Ocean Room

Chateau Musar Wine Dinner at The Ocean Room

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The Kiawah Island Golf Resort Triathlon is quickly becoming a household name for many triathletes. Recently named one of Men’s Fitness’ Top 10 Triathlons Worth Training For, the Kiawah Island Golf Resort Triathlon boasts participants from all across the United States, even as far as the West Coast. The USAT-sanctioned event starts with a .7 mile point-to-point swim in the beautiful waters of Kiawah’s beach. The swim transitions into a 25.1 mile bike segment that departs from the transition area in Night Heron Park. The bike course guides participants to the Ocean Course, out to the Freshfields turnabout, then back to the park. The final leg of the race features a 6.1 mile run through the beautiful neighborhoods and beachfront of Kiawah. At the completion of the run, finishers are greeted with cheers from spectators, a highly coveted race medal, and a finish line celebration worthy of the accomplishment. The celebration features live music, an award ceremony, unlimited beer for participants from Palmetto and Michelob, and a finish line buffet featuring a pasta salad bar, Greek yogurt bar, and more from our award-winning chefs.

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With the year winding down, The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is gearing up for our holiday family festivities. Below are four great events you’ll want to mark on your calendar and gather the family as we celebrate the beginning of the holiday season.
Holidays at The Sanctuary

Holidays at The Sanctuary

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What makes for a unique team-building experience or corporate conferences? Your team is the simplest answer. Your culture, professional values, leadership style and desired outcome determine what kind of events will best suit your organization. When planning the team-building portion of your conference or other kind of corporate event, decide what the intended outcome is: building on leadership or team feeling, enhancing relationships or working on communication, problem solving or decision making skills.

Focusing on a few of these areas while keeping in mind the values you wish to impart and professional atmosphere you want to cultivate should give you an overall direction. Our highly experienced sales team will, by default, incorporate these into your event planning process.

Turtle Point Clubhouse

A great team building event that can develop the best and most interesting skills the people in your organization bring to the table. It should be, at the least: non-competitive, inclusive, safe, energetic, and tailored to your goals and values. Here are a few ideas for you:

Take advantage of the beauty of this environment

And we don’t mean that in a bad way: sustainability is very important to us, especially with such a unique and gorgeous resort setting. Take advantage of our extensive team of naturalists and recreation officers and have them lead your team on Island-wide hiking, biking, kayaking or boating tours to spot everything from rare birds to alligators to shellfish and deep-sea fishing.

Our partners at the Birds of Prey center give particularly incredible lectures, tours and demonstrations – you can often find them on the Sanctuary lawn, but custom events can be created.

If your organization is volunteer-minded, take part in a local Beach Sweep or River Sweep clean-up. Spending a morning cleaning up the riverbank or kayaking around the island in search of trash can bring together unexpected skills and team dynamics within your organization.

Teams can compete in island-wide scavenger hunts themed by food and wine, nature, history or a unique blend of sites based on your organization’s values. These are always a popular option and can be made completely unique to your team’s interests.

Take advantage of our proximity to Charleston with wildlife and history tours by boat. Leaving Kiawah, sail into the Charleston harbor through the back channels and take in the incredible nature, architecture and history all at once for a unique perspective and opportunity for team bonding.

For a luxurious event at the end of these tours, arrange for tours, dinners and lavish cocktail parties set at private antebellum plantations, on the deck of historic ships like the USS Yorktown (the “Fighting Lady” of World War Two), or the 300-year old Old Exchange Building where George Washington was entertained in his day. All this and more can be arranged through Adventures in Charleston, our preferred destination management company that caters to professional meeting and travel planners.

Or stay on the resort and experience a range of incredible experiences from Oyster roasts and shrimp fishing to five-star dinners and tastings.

With eleven world-class restaurants and a market (that has some excellent picnic basket options), we have every imaginable style of dining option available to your group. Some of the more popular options for smaller team-building activities include wine tastings at one of the clubhouses or fine dining restaurants, or cooking classes with some of our incredible chefs.

With an award-winning wine list at the Ocean Room, an extensive program at Jasmine Porch, and three well-stocked Clubhouse wine cellars, there’s no end to the options available to creating an interesting, entertaining and collaborative evening.

While wine tasting may not hone as many team skills as, perhaps, an island-wide scavenger hunt, cooking classes with an uncommunicative or uncooperative team veer into knife-sharp territory. Enhance the communication and trust within your team as you learn about local, ecologically-sound sourcing and the techniques required to prepare delicious dishes.

For a combination of nature and nurturing dishes, consider an Oyster Roast at Mingo Point. You can combine many activities at Mingo Point, which can host 50 – 800: barbeques, cooking and fishing demonstrations (or combinations such as shrimping and learning to make Shrimp & Grits), wildlife talks and boating tours are all available. Our favourite? Cocktail in hand, enjoy a Mingo Point Oyster Cruise – half an hour touring the marsh and river, at sunset, while learning about the local wildlife. Come back to the roast for oysters, shrimp, pulled pork and a range of activities.

Classic Choices: Golf tournaments

Golf tournaments are a standard organizational event for very good reason: social, stimulating and full of opportunities for connections, they are a classic choice. A well-executed golf tournament can easily serve as the high point of a conference or longer event.

Turtle Point Golf Course

Turtle Point Golf Course

Our team has plenty of experience planning a wide range of golf events and we can design an appropriately scaled event for your team. Customizations range from the size and schedule of your tournament to custom corporate merchandise and prize packages.

We already offer some excellent golf packages, but for more customized events, please do get in touch. We have a range of venues that can make hosting a tournament a breeze:

Setting your entire event on-course at the Ocean Course Clubhouse can be an efficient use of time. Built in the style of a classic coastal cottage, the Ocean Course Clubhouse has wraparound porches and 3,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space, set on spectacular views of The Ocean Course’s 18th green.

Turtle Point Clubhouse is a good choice for proximity to restaurants, accommodations, and our golf learning center. With room to host up to 380 people, and proximity to the beach, this is an ideal location for a sprawling team event. For more private events, the Osprey Point Clubhouse is set in the private Vanderhorst Plantation community and is ideal for executive-level events and quieter team-building activities.

In short, give us a call to look at your options

Our website (like this blog!) has plenty of other ideas for events, conferences, tournaments and activities to keep you busy, bonding and building your team’s skill set during your event.

For a formal quotation, submit your request for proposal through our site here. Or give us a call at (800) 576-1585. Our sales team would be more than happy to walk you through and answer any questions you might have.

Taste of the South- Euphoria Greenville       

There is something about a road trip that excites me! Visiting new places, meeting new faces and taking in all the adventures the journey holds. This past weekend Chefs Ryley McGillis and Johnathan Banta packed up their cars and hit the open road for Greenville’s favorite Culinary and Arts weekend.

Taste of the South

Taste of the South

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Kiawah Island Golf Resort is proud to welcome recent graduates of St John’s High School of Johns Island, SC into the Kiawah family!

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Kiawah Comedy Weekend

kiawah comedy weekend

Kiawah Island Golf Resort will offer guests a chance to break out of the wintertime blues this January with their first annual Kiawah Comedy Weekend.  The Kiawah Comedy Weekend runs January 23-25, 2015 and features two nights of nonstop laughter with some of the nation’s most acclaimed comedians.  Each night different comedy lineups of nationally recognized, clean comedians with credits including shows such as The Late Show with David Letterman, The Late Late Show, Conan and networks including Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, CMT and many more will perform in The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.

 

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The LePore family won the 2013 “Know the Kiawah Feeling” e-club sweepstakes and recently took advantage of a free trip to the resort.  Hear about their experience!

This year, there will be four chances to win a two night/three day weekend Kiawah getaway with a round of golf four two.  Go to http://www.kiawahresort.com/eclub to learn more!

 

LePore Family Portrait

After what seemed like a vacation in paradise, I wanted to take a moment to write about my experience at the Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.

While searching online for a family vacation destination, I lightheartedly entered a drawing at www.kiawahresort.com for a free vacation.  A few days later, I received a telephone call which I thought was a joke.  But, it wasn’t.  I had won a vacation package!

I couldn’t wait to tell my wife and two little girls since I had often talked about wanting to visit The Sanctuary.

 

Well, from the moment we arrived, it is really hard to describe the experience as anything less than spectacular.  We travel frequently and experience many resorts.  But, the companies that rate places need to add a new category because five stars isn’t enough to describe Kiawah Resort.

LePores on the Kiawah Beach

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Grand Oaks Ballroom meeting set

Winters on the South Carolina Coast are generally temperate and inviting.  With that in mind, Kiawah Island Golf Resort is offering special winter meetings rates from December 15 until the end of February 2015.  From December 15, 2014 until January 28, 2015, rates in the Forbes Five Star/AAA Five Diamond Oceanfront Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort will start at just $179 per room per night.  Then, starting on January 29th through the end of February, the rate will start at just $199 per room per night.  Villa rates at Kiawah Island Golf Resort will start at just $99 per night from December 15, 2014 until the end of February 2015.

 

“Kiawah Island Golf Resort offers meeting planners a seamless and worry-free meeting experience,” said Marty Couch, Kiawah’s Director of Group Sales.  “These special rates on accommodations in both the resort’s villas and in The Sanctuary only add to the benefits of coming to coastal South Carolina.  These special values also include complimentary meeting space and a 20% discount off audio/visual equipment.  Additionally, for Sanctuary stays, groups will receive one complimentary guestroom upgrade for every 25 guest rooms occupied per night.”   

 

On top of that, the resort is offering up to 27% off to meeting guests on select spa treatments at the Forbes Five Star Spa at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.  In addition, meeting guests enjoy special golf pricing during this period for rounds on the world-famous Ocean Course, site of the 1991 Ryder Cup and 2012 PGA Championship, of just $164 per person.  Rounds on Osprey Point, Oak Point, Turtle Point and Cougar Point are just $84 per person.

This offer is based on availability over select dates and not available on previously booked meetings.  Based on a minimum of 10 rooms or more per night.  Taxes and villa resort fees additional.  Valid dates: December 15, 2014 to February 28, 2015.  Blackout dates: December 31, 2014, January 4-7, 2015.

For more information on Kiawah meeting rates and options, call 1-800-576-1585 or 843-768-6040.  Or, email meetings@kiawahresort.com.

Osprey Point Clubhouse, Kiawah

To craft a successful corporate meeting, conference or event we first need to consider the purpose, timing and other details: especially, who is attending.

RSVPs — the broad process of determining who is and is not coming, and getting all thendetails that come along with that right — are an integral part of planning.

Our sales staff centralizes liaisons between our various services — catering, J&S Audio Visual, golf and recreation planning staff — so you can focus first on the vision of a successful meeting, who should attend and why, and then execution. Getting the appropriate information and confirmations to plan a successful meeting, keynote, conference, or other event — and the planning process around that — can be quite complex and rely on a number of factors that can influence everything from the outcome to cost.

Pre-confirmation and Cost Control by setting other dates

One area that may offer cost controls is in setting flexible dates for the event once you have a general sense of its purpose. Before you set firm dates or a list of optimal attendees, make some inquiries as to whether there could be some flexibility in dates and scope.

This allows us to best plan your event around high capacity times at the Resort at all of our venues, and may result in significant savings. Shifting from a Thursday – Sunday pattern to a Sunday – Wednesday or other schedule, or moving the dates a week or two away, could reduce costs and complexity.

(If you have yet to consider a timeframe at all, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that we’re offering significant savings on December – January meetings, conferences and corporate events.)

Alternately, simply make this a can’t-miss event: so luxurious, relaxing, and valuable both personally and professionally that it becomes a high priority. Taking advantage of the golf, leisure and hospitality beyond our meetings services can only benefit your event.

Work on Return On Opportunity, not Return On Investment

A successful meeting depends in large part on who is attending and why. Make the professional value proposition — the “why attend” — clear by relying on tested, objective goals—measurement of the critical factors executives want to see improved upon at the meeting. “It’s mandatory” never got anyone excited. “It’s at Kiawah” helps, but should never be the main proposition for your meeting, nor the guiding principle in creating your attendees list.

The values of your company — ecologically sound practices, luxury and fine dining, health and wellness, productivity or showy technological savvy, social and professional connections through golf, or fostering a great team attitude — should guide the agenda and how inclusive or exclusive your list may be.

This builds upon the specific purpose of your event in a thoughtful, and measurable, way.ROO is an extension of measuring that purpose and productivity. Measurement can become a factor in the RSVP process. As we’ve outlined in previous posts,

“ROO involves pre-testing of attendees on critical factors that the organization wants to see improved at the meeting, followed by post-testing weeks or months after the meeting to see if those benefits were achieved.”

Including a baseline ROO measurement in the RSVP process may make a lot of sense: an online survey, perhaps, or schedule pre-meeting evaluations. Or simply explain the process in the first succinct introductory emails. This also introduces a sometimes necessary element to the RSVP experience: friction.

Make RSVP easy, but not too easy.

Ever sent out an electronic invitation for a social event, planned for all 200 people who replied to come, and been disappointed by having 20 actually show up? RSVPing inaccurately is never considerate or professional, but has become increasingly common in informal settings.

Online tools can sometimes make it too easy to say yes without thinking through the actual logistics: who else would need to be at the meeting, how much time you can actually devote to it, whether family members will need adjacent bookings to take advantage of the beauty of South Carolina once you extend your meeting into a family vacation (hint, hint. We were named one of the top family vacations in the world by Travel + Leisure recently.)

Introducing some necessary friction into the process will slow it down just enough to ensure that the right people receive the right information, and have time to respond thoughtfully. A clarification process for details such as an online survey or a scheduled series of confirmations and check-ins as the event approaches would do the trick. The first responses may not be the most accurate ones.

Throughout the process, be careful who you’re talking to.

Keep several contact lists of who is responsible for key concepts/presentations/seminars and separately, more importantly, their ‘helpers’ — the people (assistants, secretaries, and anyone responsible for logistics) who can actually answer your question about what time their flight gets in for transportation or their preferred welcome snack for their arrival at our accommodations (a gourmet cheese plate for a lactose-intolerant person may not go over well) without having to search a crowded inbox.

That said, be thoughtful of others’ time. Ensure that the information they need is centrally located (on an intranet server, in an email that takes all necessary info into account, perhaps in a document that is revised and distributed after key points are clarified.)

Write succinctly, and be sure all details are complete before you send any emails or messages out. Finalize an agenda before you begin sending a tentative one to everyone: reply-all is not your friend. Sending out multiple reply-all threads is not an efficient way to ensure that everyone stays in the loop, it’s a cop-out where you’re forcing others to sort through the necessary threads for relevant information. Don’t make them work too hard for it, by being organized and efficient.

Be gracious on the day of when there are inevitable extras.

Now, we’re talking from a point of expertise when we say we’re professional proponents of Southern hospitality. Grace under fire can be as simple as taking a deep breath, and as complex as being prepared in advance.

Let us know of any uncertainties or contingencies. A well-planned event always has a few hidden chairs and supplies for extra people. With room to seat up to 600 in some venues, we have more than enough flexibility (and extra seats).

Who knows, maybe your newcomers will spark ideas in your meetings you may not have actualized by leaving them out on the dreaded folding chair, so welcome them graciously and let us handle setting up a few extra spaces. Relaxing and taking advantage of the amenities of Kiawah during your next meeting will certainly help foster this productive, flexible mindset.