JG Collection live and breathe Hotels and whilst many of you will have your go to’s John and Jo have built there business working a curated collection of luxury independently owned hotels that will inspire and surprise in more ways than one for your next meeting or event. With their extensive experience and knowledge in the luxury hotel market the team at JG Collection have a collection of hotels from award winning country house hotels to historic Castles to exciting Resort’s. Whether they be in the best locations in the City or sat amongst the very best of what mother-nature has to offer you will find a passionate team with a can do attitude ready to help not just on the hotel but the destination too.
I had a JGC experience recently with my stay at Linthwaite House in the Lake District. Overlooking the stunning South Lake owned by Leeu Estate based in South Africa in the famous cape winelands Linthwaite House opened its doors on June 1 after a major refurbishment set in magnificent grounds both manicured and natural gardens with its own lake to venture out on with the hotels little rowing boat – a great spot for pre-dinner drinks or activities. The view onto Lake Windermere is quite spectacular. With contemporary yet homely interiors to give you that cosy country house feeling and eye catching South African art adorning the walls with books placed at every table to bury your head into telling the story of clearly what is the owners passions; sculpture, art, landscape and wine. I felt relaxed within seconds breathing in the fresh Lake District air looking out across to the lake, I really had forgotten how beautiful this part of the UK is, with its chocolate box vistas – childhood memories of Peter Rabbit and his mischievous ways came flooding back as I was reminded Lake Windermere is the writing home of Beatrix Potter. So I left with an enthusiasm to want to share with my clients what this beautiful part of the world has to offer for those looking for a retreat, offsite meeting or incentive the Lake District is now firmly on my radar and I highly recommend it to be on yours too.
Having had this JGC taster I am keen to explore the rest of their portfolio. My aim is to venture up to Scotland to begin a journey taking in the ICMI Collection which has been part of JGC since its inception a decade ago. Starting with Inverlochy Castle recently voted No1 Hotel in The Uk Conde Naste reader awards where John and Jo of JG Collection married – and I can see why – this has evolved in what we see today a collection of 11 rural Scottish properties two of which are Castles: Inverlochy at the foot of Ben Nevis and Crossbasket just outside of Glasgow. The rest are country house hotels with 1 city being Rocpool Reserve in the heart of Inverness overlooking Loch Ness. Standing on its own island is Isle of Eriska near Oban in the Highlands and further on you’ll find Inverlodge which I understand from Jo is like stepping onto another planet scenery wise. Greywalls overlooking the famous Muirfield Golf Course near Edinburgh and Cromlix owned by Andy Murray are both within an hour of Edinburgh Airport making these properties very accessible for meetings, offsites and team building events. In partnership with Albert Roux each chef is Roux trained and it’s very much kept in the family with Michele Roux Jnr’s daughter Emily Roux being the Chef at Crossbasket Castle. With an abundance of awards the ICMI Collection will take you on a culinary journey and wrap you up in the very best of warm Scottish hospitality.
After the tranquil effects of the Lakes and Scotland JGC take you into bustling London with The Ampersand Hotel, a stones through from South Kensington underground station with the museums on its doorstep and Royal Albert Hall within 5 minutes. This hotel is instagramable each bedroom has its own theme: music, birds and geometry, drawing on inspiration from the surrounding area which give the hotel a story, a thread. Boutique yet spacious in the lobby and lounge area this hotel works well for small meetings, training meeting and private dining all at a very competitive price point – It’s surprising when you venture down the road that little bit further from Knightsbridge you stumble across a hidden gem that ticks the boxes. The owners will continue this journey with the opening of Vintry & Mercer early next year in the City of London, close to both Mansion House and Bank Stations V&M will be a welcome addition to the dare I say “usual” City offering. Mixing the old with the new V&M is inspired by the historic trading guilds of the area, the clothworkers and ironmongers, the salters and grocers. Vintry a guild established in 1364, was the centre for London wine merchants, and Mercer, established in 1304 for noble textile sellers specialising in fine silks and damasks. The interiors will reflect this heritage throughout the hotel. dNd the hotels speak easy style bar, Vintry Kitchen providing all day dining with Mercer Roof Terrace on the top floor in one swoop will take in London’s skyline. 3 interesting event spaces with natural daylight will be an ideal spot for those looking for an offsite meeting or private dining in the heart of the city providing creative food and beverage offerings. Just like its sister hotel it will be competitively priced yet won’t fall back on service.
We fly into Europe and land in Zurich, a destination that immediately shouts “financial” and probably “expensive” I hear you say but I know Jo at JGC is very keen to dispel the immediate perceptions this destination has, we’ve come to realize that everything we might have previously thought about Zurich, from its enigmatic banking “gnomes” to its homogeneous, type-A Swiss Germans, was not entirely true. Zurich may seem one-dimensional at first glance, but it’s full of secrets that continue to surprise us. Giardino Hotels are one of the many surprises. Located 10 minutes from Zurich City Centre the Urban City Resort overlooks not only the fabulous Zurich city skyline but also the Utilberg Mountain. This mix of City and Country makes Atlantis by Giardino a perfect offsite meeting destination with easy access from both airport and city including the hotels complimentary city transfer which is offered to groups too. As with all JGC hotels the theme once again is stunning interior design, excellent food this time with two restaurants one of which is 2 star Michelin. Spa, large meeting spaces including outdoor spaces to enjoy and in the warmer months welcome cocktails and bbq’s round the only outside heated swimming pool in Zurich. We love the large spacious bedrooms each with their own balcony and views of either the City or the mountain with mod cons where you can hire hotel bikes peddle down to the train stop at the foot of the hotels driveway and head up to the top of the mountain and cycle or rather take your feet off the pedals and zoom your way down the Utilberg Mountain taking in the fresh clean Swiss air and dramatic scenery. Famous for its spa with indoor pool it does have a medical influence although you don’t detect that in any of the design but health is very much in mind at Atlantis offering guests the chance to ease the mind and soul. Wellbeing is becoming more and more important in today’s fast paced world so what better way than to switch off, recharge and take a short trip to Zurich to hold your next event. Sister properties: Giardino Mountain in Champfer St Moritz and Ascona by Giardino on Lake Maggiore are definitely worth checking out too.
Catalonia may have made headline news last year with its political situation but the opening in May 2016 of Hotel Camiral on the PGA Catalunya Golf Resort was good news for the UK MICE market. Barcelona and Southern Spain are UK MICE hot spots but Northern Spain hasn’t really been on the MICE radar, those who know the Costa Brava through holidays will know this is an area of stunning beach coves, fishing towns, home of the surrealist artist Dali and gastronomy boasting 18 Michelin star restaurants alone in the region including the Roca Brothers famous restaurant El Celler de Can Roca with a year’s waiting list that only JGC have the ability to pull strings at if you speak to Jo at ACE! The resort overlooks the French Pyrenees giving a peaceful surrounding yet 1 hour drive from Barcelona international airport or 10 minutes from Girona airport which services a number of UK airports flying Ryan Air or Jet 2. This shiny new hotel dare I say it again provides stunning interior design, bags of natural daylight, views, spacious luxury bedrooms and bathrooms with 9 beautifully appointed event rooms all with natural daylight. The resort has two golf courses one touring and one stadium – the only PGA in Spain. Tennis courts, vineyard and by next summer it will have its own Lake and Lake house. In addition to the hotel it has another hotel on resort called La Vida built for the golfer in mind so whilst not the same interior design it acts as a perfectly acceptable overflow providing your group has a pecking order. It also has 40 contemporary large luxurious villas 2-3 bedrooms with kitchens and private pool. These can again be a great overflow to the hotel or used as additional event spaces. This property is ideal for all kinds of small and large meetings, conferences and product launches and once again JGC seem to be able to find a hotel that not only looks spectacular, delivers 5 star service, value for money screams out at Hotel Camiral, that’s what just over one hour North of Barcelona offers you.
Talking of Barcelona. JGC recently welcomed Almanac hotels to their collection. Jo from JGC walked us through this exciting new luxury hotel brand. Almanac Barcelona is the first born of the Almanac family. May this year Almanac Barcelona arrived in the City located near to Passeig de Gracia whereby you fall out of the hotel into the luxury shops, bars and restaurants of the area and is home to some of the city’s most important modernist buildings. Under 100 muted and gold tone bedrooms with accents of oak and walnut, elegant stylish meetings spaces for small and larger groups this boutique modern hotel captures the DNA of the Almanac group which combines distinct local style whilst delivering exemplary hospitality. The roof top terrace bar and restaurant is a destination spot in which groups can take over the entire space and take advantage of its excellent location and vibe. Barcelona will be followed by properties in the great cities of Vienna, Prague and Budapest. Each recognised for their contributions to art, culture, music, architecture and design. Barcelona continues to be one of the most popular international MICE destinations and so my believe is another fabulous Hotel in Barcelona – bring it on!
As we near to the end of our JGC journey we take a quick stop over to Italy to visit L’Orologio Florence and Venice. Any Italian speakers will know L’Orologio means clock in Italian. The name is very much a result of the owner being a collector of fine watches. His love of watches has spilled into the L’Orologio brand which could have been seen as tacky but not here, the watch connection is elegant and refined in true Italian style. Both hotels centrally located; Florence works well for smaller meetings whilst Venice is accommodation only.
Our journey ends in the Caribbean and why not, it is mid-October after all and although we enjoyed an exceptionally good English summer this year we can’t help but dream of the aqua blue waters and white sandy beaches the Caribbean has to offer. Bequia is one of the smaller Caribbean islands, not so well known as its neighbours which is what makes Bequia so special as it’s the unknown’s us event planners love to learn about. Plantation Hotel and The Liming Villas and Ginger Lilly the Mansion House are what you would call an incentive paradise. Full of wow factor and luxury.
So there ends our JGC journey for now…I’ve been told by Jo to watch this space as she’ll be back with some new properties and destinations to share with us in the near future New York, Turkey, Vienna, Paris and Budapest which to be honest I can’t wait to hear about. Jo’s passion shines through and it’s always a pleasure to work with companies such as JGC who present a collection of interesting beautiful hotels the majority of which can be taken over exclusively. Wendy did say at the end of Jo’s presentation “you must have a tough job Jo!” Jo giggled and said “yes!”……
For further information JG Collection contact Jo Wilson at ACE.