6 Tips for Choosing the Right Retreat Location

Choosing the right location for your next retreat can have a big impact on how successful it is, both in terms of your attendees’ enjoyment and the amount of money you make from it. As an event planner, it’s important to consider all aspects of your location when choosing where to hold your next retreat so that you can maximize the experience for all involved and end up with more happy clients after the event than before it. Here are some tips on how to choose the right location for your next retreat.

Decide on What You Need From a Location

What better way to leave a lasting impression than by delivering life-changing lessons from where you are? When choosing a location try to find one that both its history and legends align with what you’re teaching. This will provide excitement and inspiration for those who want to attend.

For example, if you’re teaching a yoga retreat, look for a locale with lots of natural beauty and historical sites such as an ashram in India. Remember it’s not just about finding an aesthetically beautiful place but also one that matches your subject matter and goals.  If you want to teach mindfulness to busy professionals, find a place where they can disconnect from their everyday distractions so they can focus on what matters most: living in the moment. The possibilities are endless!

Now think about where people might go during their downtime: Maybe they want to go sightseeing? Perhaps they’d like to try out local attractions? Make sure that whatever location you choose gives them plenty of activities outside of just attending your retreat. That way everyone can fully enjoy themselves without worrying about missing out on fun things while they’re visiting.

This is also important because having options helps people feel more comfortable with their choice in attending since it’s less restrictive than having them attend in one specific place or another. If possible, spend some time at or near your potential site before committing yourself. You’ll get an even better sense of how your attendees will enjoy themselves there. Even better? Talk to other groups who have held events there—they’ll give you valuable insights into why they liked or disliked it.

Consider How Long It Will Take To Get There

Location is everything, so it’s worth thinking about when choosing where to hold your next retreat. The location you choose should be convenient enough that your guests will want to go, but also not too far that they spend too much time traveling. Once you’ve narrowed down what places you’d like to hold your retreat at, find out how long it takes to get there (either by car or by plane). This is key! It’s all about balancing convenience with relaxation.

For instance, imagine if you choose a retreat spot an hour away from your home—your guests will be able to get there relatively easily and it won’t take up too much time getting there and back.   However, if you choose a location in another country, you’ll have to factor in your guests’ travel time and decompression time. Jet lag is no joke! So make sure to factor that into your decision so that you give yourself enough wiggle room when planning and don’t end up with grumpy attendees.

If you have your heart set on somewhere far away like the Caribbean, make sure that travel time is included in your itinerary.

You may also want to consider convenience factors like available transportation or nearby hotels if you’re traveling internationally.  For example, one of my favorite retreat locations is Montezuma, Costa Rica because there are so many activities nearby. One of my clients chose a retreat location in British Columbia and had a hard time finding a hotel close by because it was located in an area that wasn’t well-traveled or easy to get to—so double-check.

Once you’ve figured out your flight/driving times and proximity to fun activities, plan accordingly! You don’t want people bored out of their minds just sitting around waiting for something to do. That’s not what retreats are about! And if you have your heart set on somewhere far away like the Caribbean, make sure that travel time is included in your itinerary. This will help ensure success with planning and keep everyone happy when they arrive at your beautiful location 🙂

Does The Venue Offer Private or Shared Accommodations?

In most cases, you’ll have to choose between a private or shared location. Private accommodations are more intimate and can help give your retreat a home-away-from-home feel, but they also cost significantly more. If you’re on a budget, shared accommodations might be better for you. However, keep in mind that private locations will usually let you host fewer people at once than shared ones. It’s also worth looking into how many guests previous groups have had at each venue. If past groups have seen success with certain locations, chances are that you’ll like them too!

Be sure to compare pricing when choosing between a private and shared location; sometimes it can be as little as $50 per person to add privacy to a shared retreat center.

If you’re looking to host a very small retreat, private accommodations might be a great fit. If you’re looking to host a large group, however, you may want to choose shared accommodations so that you can comfortably and easily welcome everyone without being cramped.  The best way to find out which one is right for your group is by doing some research on which venue will give you the most bang for your buck.

Shared accommodations are great if you’re looking to hold a larger group retreat and want to create a community vibe. However, if you want a more intimate experience, private accommodations are definitely worth your consideration. If privacy is important to you, it’s worth investing in private accommodations. However, shared facilities can be very affordable options that still offer plenty of personal space so that you’ll feel comfortable hosting even if space isn’t an issue at all.  It all depends on what’s most important to you—and what fits into your budget!

What’s Your Budget?

Oh and just as important as convenience is making sure your guests can afford it! If possible, try to schedule your retreat during non-peak times (i.e., July). Peak season rates will bump up your costs! Look for group rates and discounts, too: Some hotels and resorts are eager to bring in groups if they know they’ll fill up underused rooms with other paying guests. And don’t forget about Airbnb if you’re looking for an intimate more budget-friendly option; plenty of people rent out their own homes at discounted prices—or you could even go glamping if you want something extra special.

As you narrow down your options, think about what’s most important to you: a more affordable place to stay or a place where your guests can have luxurious accommodations for your time spent together. A place that’s near plenty of restaurants and entertainment? Someplace with a view? Will your retreat offer all-inclusive meals and activities? All of these are great things to consider when looking at potential locations that fit your budget.

Some hotels and resorts are eager to bring in groups if they know they’ll fill up underused rooms with other paying guests.

If you want to do something unique, it may take some extra thinking outside of the box in terms of budget. You might even end up deciding it would be worth it (and maybe cheaper) to host your retreat somewhere out of the way that’s less expensive than staying near a busy city center. And if none of these options work, just remember that most retreat destinations offer off-season deals—which is a great time to start planning. Depending on what kind of accommodations will best suit your needs, prices can vary greatly from one location to another and will impact how much money you’ll need to allocate in your budget.

What Are Your Catering Options?

One of your first considerations should be what sort of food and beverages will you serve during your retreat. Will you have formal sit-down dinners with wine? Is there a restaurant onsite?  Can you bring in outside catering? Will healthy snacks be available all day? Are there restrictions due to local permits or laws that might prevent certain foods from being served? For example, is alcohol permitted at your location? Does the location offer vegetarian or vegan options?  Be sure to know you’re eating plan before booking so you don’t discover these types of questions upon arrival. If possible, arrange a phone meeting or site visit with the caterer so you can understand their offerings, service requirements, and fees before signing any contracts.

There’s nothing worse than having bad food ruin an otherwise amazing experience.

Food, beverage, and catering options are very location-specific. Be sure to ask questions before booking to ensure you’re getting what you want. For example, if serving alcohol is a must, call local officials ahead of time and make sure you meet any requirements so there aren’t any surprises upon arrival. Some locations may only permit outside caterers while others will have onsite catering services available. If an outside caterer is an option, be sure to ask about their experience working with retreats—what types of events do they typically cater to? Do they know how your event will be structured? What are their food & beverage minimums?

Many locations have healthy food options. If vegetarian or vegan meals are required, find out if they are available at your location or if you need to bring in outside catering. Find out what times meals will be served so you can plan your retreat schedule accordingly. Remember, these meal plans need to be written into any contracts before arrival.  Note that all of these considerations apply whether your event is with ten people or one hundred people—the details just change with scale. Catering is as much art as it is science and factors like variety, quantity, and quality matter just as much when preparing a small snack platter as they do when arranging large formal sit-down dinners. You want to make sure your meals are given just as much care and consideration as your retreat program. There’s nothing worse than having bad food ruin an otherwise amazing experience.

Does The Venue Offer Help With Events?

Venues offer a range of additional services, from catering to event management. It’s important to decide whether you want help with these elements or if you want to manage them on your own. An event manager will come in handy if you aren’t sure how to move forward, but additional fees may apply.

Onsite support is an important factor to consider when choosing a venue. Are there local experts on hand that can help with any questions? Do they have experience with your type of event? If you’re planning on hiring additional help, such as wait staff or entertainment staff, will they be provided by the venue or must you find them yourself? A lot of venues will have contracts in place so make sure to read through these thoroughly before agreeing to anything.  Remember that some fees may be per person, meaning larger groups may end up paying more than originally anticipated. Make sure all of your bases are covered and all relevant costs are included in the contract before signing off on it.

Remember that some fees may be per person, meaning larger groups may end up paying more than originally anticipated.

Based on what you’ve learned about each potential location, it might be time to narrow down your options based on price and services offered—or perhaps take note of some locations worth visiting later down the road if things don’t work out at first glance. Whatever happens, remember: nothing is ever set in stone until you sign on that dotted line.  After narrowing down your choices or going through with a final decision, it’s time to start preparing for the event! Don’t forget all those contracts you signed—it’s important to keep track of any changes or charges during your event planning process so there are no surprises come check-out day. In addition, make sure to put together an emergency action plan including any information participants need in case something goes wrong (e.g., fire evacuation route, contact info). The last thing you want is a situation where people are left stranded without support because they didn’t have all their questions answered beforehand. Have fun!

If you’re interested in learning more, get in touch with me today at hello@theawakenedescape.com! I’m happy to discuss my thoughts on how I may be able to help you plan a memorable experience. I’d love to partner up with you so that every one of your adventures is successful.

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