Editor’s note: This story is part of our InterConEuro2014 series, highlighting InterContinental meeting and incentive programs in Prague, Budapest, Vienna and Davos.
It’s a beautiful two-hour train ride from Zurich to Davos, the highest city in Europe famous for its annual World Economic Forum bringing together the world’s most powerful people.
On the edge of this small town, the 216-room InterContinental Davos opened in December 2013 with a golden pine cone design unlike anything else in Europe. Yet, while the outside is futuristic, the interior is warm and inviting with a contemporary Swiss Alps vibe.
The biggest selling point for groups, and what this resort does better than anywhere else we’ve seen in Europe lately, InterContinental Davos blends its modern meetings infrastructure and incentive product seamlessly. This hotel is the poster child for high-end ‘bleisure’ programs combining work and play.
In fact, during our visit in November, the hotel was awarded Best New Ski Hotel 2014 at the annual World Ski Awards. In August, InterContinental Davos won Europe’s Leading New Hotel 2014 at the World Travel Awards.
It’s just a 5-minute drive from the Davos Dorf train station to the resort, and the strikingly modern design at the base of a forest-covered mountain provides loads of wow factor.
The stairs by the entrance to the property lead down into the ground level meeting space totaling 16,500 sf. A large prefunction foyer leading to an outdoor deck is bookended by a main ballroom with mountain views on one side, and a bank of meeting and boardrooms on the other.
The layout provides great movement for a large reception for up to 1,000 pax, especially in warmer months from May to August with the outdoor space. Habegger is the local event tech provider.
Adjacent to the meeting and function space, the 13,000-sf Alpine Spa is constructed out of natural rock. It features a heated indoor/outdoor pool with Kneipp baths and hoses, and many massage and shoulder jets. There are also two steam baths with steam showers, two Finnish saunas, a kelosauna and a sanarium.
Among the 14 treatment rooms, there are two couples spa suites with a hot tub, private steam room, shower, day bed and a large terrace. Spa products include the traditional Swedish Kerstin Florian brand, the luxury Swiss La Prairie skincare series, French cosmetics specialist La Biosthétique, and leading hand and nail care specialist, OPI.
InterContinental Davos has a surprisingly large amount of F&B outlets for 216 rooms. On the lobby level above the meeting space and spa, the Capricorn brasserie, Matsu Asian restaurant, Nuts & Co. lobby lounge, and the adjacent Club InterContinental Lounge front a massive outdoor terrace. The views are incredible overlooking the town of Davos, nestled in a valley between two sloping mountains capped with the area’s famous ski hills.
On the top floor, the Studio Grigio restaurant and bar have another expansive outdoor terrace, with even better views, capable of hosting up to 200-pax receptions. The decor is modern and edgy with dark furnishings and lots of zig-zaggy glass walls, but again it’s entirely comfortable for even the most conservative group.
“Our groups like that we have three restaurants and two bars because if they’re here for a week they have a lot of variety,” says Annika Sosnizka, marketing assistant.
The bright and airy rooms are especially well designed with large balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, blond wood plank floors, and a crisp milk and chocolate palette for the soft goods and furnishings, with an occasional punch of purple and burgundy.
For VIPs, recommend the 1,000-sf Alpine Suites located at either end of the hotel. These 10 units are awesome. The balconies are enormous, connecting the guest room, living room, and bathroom with a standalone tub facing the forest canopy.
We asked Sosnizka, how does Davos compare with Switzerland’s other famous ski resorts. She says the city is less of a scene than some of the others.
“We are on the same level as St. Moritz and Zermatt, for example, but without a lot of the attitude that you might find there sometimes,” she explains. “People here are down-to-earth, it’s very chill. I think Davos offers more of a connection to the local community, and it’s easier to focus on business.”
Sosnizka adds that InterContinental Davos is positioned as a business and meetings hotel first, and a leisure resort second. That’s the beauty of this hotel. It’s hard to figure out where one begins and the other ends.
For offsite conferences, check out the Davos Congress Center, where the World Economic Forum takes place every winter.