9 unusual venues for conferences, events and meetings

Posted by: Kate Gunn on November 12th, 2013 IN Conferences

This week Line Up’s head of logistics, Kate Gunn, looks at some completely unique venues that could help you set the right tone for your conference, meeting or event.

At the very heart of a conference or an event is the audience.  Delivering the right content in the right way for them is of paramount importance.  People need to walk away feeling like have gained from the experience, like they have gone through some kind of transformation.  But as experiential marketers we understand the value in adding texture and atmosphere to an experience.  Wrapping delegates up in your story, a world that you have created, is incredibly powerful.

Like any good story, one of the first tasks is to set the scene.  Picking the right stage on which the experience is going to be played out on can be a gruelling task.  It sometimes very much comes down to practicalities but sometimes we can be a little more playful with the venue.

There are more and more unusual venues out there, but here are some unique venue ideas that will help capture the imagination of attendees.


Jaw Dropping Design: Hotel Marques de Riscal

1 Hotel Marques de Riscal

Opened in 2006, this Frank Gehry designed building has his unmistakable design – titled walls, zig zag windows and cathedral-height ceilings.  The hotel has 42 rooms and suites and is located in Elciego Spain, nicknamed the City of Wine.


Intimate:  Table Lumière’at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, London

2. Table Luminere3. Table Lumiere


Quite aside from the fact that you are dining at Alain’s stunning 3 Michelin starred restaurant, the stunning Table Lumière is one of the capitals ultimate private dining experience (for up to 6 people) . Surrounded by 4,500 shimmering fibre optics which drop dramatically from the ceiling, the table is adorned with specially selected Hermès china, Puiforcat silverware and exquisite Saint-Louis crystal


Most unusual place for dinner: Concorde Conference Centre at Runway Visitor Park, Manchester

4. Concorde Conference

10 years after Concorde was decommissioned, the supersonic jet still captures the public’s attention. Located at ManchesterAirport, this super hangar contains the Concorde G-BOAC, the legendary flagship of the British Airways’ fleet. Dinner can be held for up to 750 people.


Most Innovative: Fabriken Furillen, Sweden

4. Fabriken Furillen5. Fabriken Furillen

Located in the north-eastern corner of the Swedish island of Gotland, lies the remote peninsula of Furillen. In an area mostly undiscovered by tourists, lies Fabriken Furillen a hotel located in a remote former lime quarry turned nature reserve. With only 14 rooms, it features modern Scandinavian design and is only open for 4 months a year!


Historical: Tower of London

6. Tower of London


The White Tower is the oldest building in the Tower of London, built in 1078 and steeped in history. The atmospheric space can accommodate a maximum of 80 for dinner and can be combined with a drinks reception in the Jewel House – home of the Crown Jewels.


Size matters: Wynn, Las Vegas

8 Wynn Las Vegas

Love it or hate it, Las Vegas is destination that likes to divide opinion. Looking at the location of the largest 20 hotels in the world – Las Vegas features an incredible 12 times! A recent visit to the Wynn, proved to me that large hotels can “do it well” and each and every of the 9000 employees that you encounter, really can make sure your stay is as great (cue cheesy American smile) as possible.


Luxurious Nature: Chewton Glen, New Forest 

9. Chewton Glen

Chewton Glen completed its 8 magnificent treehouses in 2011 and provides all the luxury facilities of the 5* hotel in a cosy forest setting. Each property has a living area, bedrooms, kitchen area and bathroom as well as a hot tub on the balcony. The best bits – room service is controlled via tablet, so you can order anything from the comfort of your sofa and breakfast arrives via hamper in the morning!


Museum for Corporate Events: Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh

10. Dynamic Earth

There are many museums and public venues finding their way on the events market and why not – useful revenue stream for after hours. I’ve attended and organised a number of these though the years – the Natural History Museum, Tower Bridge and Science Museum in London for example. Recently, I visited Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh – an iconic, unusual building based across the road from the Scottish Parliament. I was pleasantly surprised at their conference facilities as well as corporate entertainment spaces.


Eagerly Anticipated Hotel: Shangri La, London

11. Shangri La

The Eastern hotel chain’s second venture into Europe was due to open during the second half of 2013. As I write at the end of October, no specific opening date has been given. Occupying floors 34 to 52 of The Shard, Renzo Piano’s iconic building, the hotel will comprise of 202 rooms. We can’t wait to see it, when it eventually opens!


Best way to arrival in style: Boat in Dubrovnik

12. Boat Dubrovnik

Based on recent enquiries, Dubrovnik is one of the hottest destinations in Europe. Thanks mainly due to docking cruise ships, the famous City Walls and Old City can get overrun with tourists in the summer.  Why not arrive in style from the airport on a Sunseeker yacht (darling!)


If you are looking to wow your guests then picking an unusual venue can be a great way to set the scene, but if you are going to create a truly engaging experience make sure the structure and content don’t play second fiddle otherwise people will walk away remembering the experience, but not your key messages.

If you would like to discuss the use of unique and unusual venues then please get in touch.

Kate Gunn

Kate Gunn

As Line Up’s Head of Logistics, Kate is a multi-tasker extraordinaire and expert problem solver. Her knowledge of destinations and venues is second to none – the walking, talking Google of the event and incentive world. Her passion for food is right up there with her passion for travel and she claims there is nothing she won’t try!

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