Great Offsites on a Shoestring Want to boost morale without sinking the balance sheet? Try one of these local spots for your next company retreat.
(Business 2.0) – That last offsite in Barbados? The beach was great, not to mention the rum punch. But add up the plane tickets and the days lost to travel and ... well, the office conference room starts looking pretty good. But don't go there--not if you're in one of these five cities, anyway. Whether for a one-day session or an intense overnight, these nearby retreats won't break the budget but will still provide that invaluable sense of getting away from it all. Prices are for groups of 50 and include meals. -- AMY GOLDWASSER
Château Elan Winery and Resort Napa meets Tara at Château Elan. Only 40 minutes north of Atlanta, the resort's regal aesthetics cede little to any castle. Plus, there are nearly as many places to confab as there are Riesling grapes: Choices include a 25,000-square-foot conference center, 19 meeting rooms, and an auditorium for 60. The cuisine and 310 guest rooms are luxe, and if a winemaking workshop doesn't sound like fun, the group can set out on one of four golf courses. Day: $3,500. Overnight: $13,950. 100 Rue Charlemagne, Braselton, GA 30517; 678-425-0900; www.chateauelanatlanta.com.
Exchange Conference Center Beantown's Fish Pier overlooks a spot synonymous with New England hubbub--the site of the Boston Tea Party. Today your staffers can roll up their sleeves at the pier's Exchange Conference Center. Constructed with teak, glass, and slate, it offers a dozen rooms with views. Meals are catered seafood, and you can linger over oysters and still quickly get back to your office: Boston's financial district is less than a mile away. Day only: $3,750. 212 Northern Ave., Boston, MA 02210; 617-790-1900; www.legalseafoods.com.
Keystone Resort & Conference Center Set strategies for getting over your company's molehills while taking your team out into the mountains. Want to try fly-fishing, or a picnic in a field of wildflowers? No problem. But it's just as easy to get down to business: Only an hour west of Denver, the four-year-old, $11 million conference center has 100,000 square feet of meeting space. Stay the night and your lodging choices extend from condo-style suites to a four-star hotel. Day: $1,900. Overnight: $12,550. P.O. Box 38, Keystone, CO 80433; 800-448-6049; www.keystoneconferences.com.
Korakia Pensione There's no high-speed Net access here--or even TVs, for that matter. But the quiet twin villas, located in the desert 90 minutes from L.A., are the perfect venue for a focused offsite. The meeting spaces include various courtyards--try one of two poolsides framed by bougainvillea. Most of the Moroccan-style hotel's 29 rooms have private patios. Overnight only: $11,550. 257 S. Patencio Rd., Palm Springs, CA 92262; 760-864-6411; www.korakia.com.
Algonquin Hotel Imagine the kind of PowerPoint slides that the 102-year-old Algonquin will inspire: It's where William Faulkner drafted his Nobel acceptance speech in 1950. Today you might find yourself next to Michael Bloomberg at the Blue Bar--at least until you sequester your team in the legendary Round Table Room. Make sure everyone gets a "Cat Nap" milk-and-cookie break, named in honor of the hotel feline, Matilda. Day: $4,900. Overnight: $17,350. 59 W. 44th St., New York, NY 10036; 212-840-6800; www. algonquinhotel.com.