HIDDEN CONGRESS GUEST RESULTS 2012-2013
Based on a systematic evaluation of the quality of meeting facilities for our readers, we have developed a unique method of hidden congress guest. Data is collected using a hidden congress guest, who in a structured way observes and records what is actually happening at the hotel and where are opportunities for improvement. We have been carrying out the project since 2007 and we have assesed over 70 hotels so far.
The methodology is used for awards for excellence in the field of meetings tourism MEETINGS STAR. The winners of this year’s award will be announced at Conventa on January 21, 2013.
1. KEMPINSKI PALACE, Portorož, Slovenia
Final score: 4,77
The Kempinski Hotel is the only five-star superior hotel in Slovenia. This means that the rooms are spacious and well-equipped, as befits a top hotel. The interior colour is subdued, of modern design and appears prestigious, whilst offering a lot of style and freshness. The technical equipment showcases the hotel’s technological sophistication. The modern convention centre is prestigious and well-equipped. Six conference rooms have natural daylight and the largest hall can accommodate up to 220 participants. The heart of the convention offer is Crystal Hall, which post-renovation shines in full splendour and which in addition to the Union Hall in Ljubljana is the most prestigious conference and banquet hall in Slovenia. It opens onto a century-old park, which is an attractive venue for outdoor events.
2. HOTEL MONTE MULINI, Rovinj, Croatia
Final score: 4,76
This is the hotel to enjoy, for which the entire business philosophy is covered. There are only a few hotels that delight and thrill as fully as Monte Mulini does. The hotel looks good, is superbly equipped and offers a number of extras. The longer we hung out in the hotel, the better was the feeling that it is an extraordinary gastronomic oasis. A real 5 star hotel in an excellent location. Suitable for the most demanding and exclusive conference events.
3. FALKENSTEINER SCHLOSS HOTEL VELDEN, Velden, Austria
Final score: 4,73
The legendary hotel is no doubt one of the best hotels in the region. Managed with German precision and Austrian charm, it is the ideal of excellence in all areas. Unfortunately, the town Velden is not following the hotel standards and also the rest of the tourist offer is only average. After the takeover by the Falkensteiner hotel chain the hotel was slightly refreshed and is probably one of the best incentive hotels for the most demanding guests. The Hotel was established as the best hotel for elite guests in Carinthia. We consider that the goal is close, however still a little mastery of details will be needed by the Falkensteiner Team. You know what happens when a large hotel chain buys a boutique hotel: in the great zeal to rationalise, it is often forgotten that some things simply cannot be squeezed into a boutique hotel.
4. HOTEL LONE, Rovinj, Croatia
Final score: 4,72
We understand design hotels as an experience that includes reflection and very personal contact with culture, nature and the culinary art of the destination. The creators of the first Croatian design Hotel Lone were probably thinking similarly. We like it. Lovers of hotel glamour and kitsch will not like it, but we think that the luxury is in the small details, like the enormous room service menu and the hotel guide in broadsheet newspaper format, or in the selected fabric for curtains and the numerous other details. The hotel is ideal for “DINKS” and young professionals and is a monument of Croatian creativity and the zeitgeist of the new generation.
5. HOTEL LAV MERIDIEN, Split, Croatia
Final score: 4,62
It is in a class of its own on the current hotel and convention scene in Split. Operators of Starwood have done their homework excellently and are winners in the most sensitive area – friendliness and professionalism of the staff. This has in the past earned them a place among the best in its class. However, there are also some shortcomings, particularly in the field of catering and hospitality, where one would expect a little more from a top hotel. However, this is a balanced congress hotel, which is elegant and charming and the perfect choice for the most demanding congress clients.
6. HOTEL MELIA CORAL, Umag, Croatia
Final score: 4,58
Hotel Meliá Coral convinces with the quality of the offer, comfort and spaciousness. The final grade is that this is a good hotel for good money. Prices are in fact reasonable in relation to the nearby Istrian and Slovenian competition. There are numerous options for organising receptions and outdoor activities. Without much bragging Istratourist together with the hotel chain Melia managed to make a great hotel and convention product. Umag is now becoming a serious and respected European incentive destination.
7. HOTEL & SPA IADERA, Zadar, Croatia
Final score: 4,52
The overall result of the new resort is extremely good. The hotel follows the known standards of the Falkensteiner group and is an excellent choice for incentive and product launches and smaller conferences. It is important to avoid the high tourist season and go for less frequent dates, carefully planning the arrivals logistics. From what we saw and experienced we can only give a firm nod of approval.
8. HOTEL DUBROVNIK PALACE, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Final score: 4,41
At the Hotel Dubrovnik Palace I wonder how little is needed to move from being a solid hotel to something special and collecting numerous awards. Firstly, it is about the quality of services, as well as about the marketing that was excellently prepared around the hotel and is reflected in its increased profile. According to the World Travel Awards jury, something of a tourism Oscar, the hotel earned the 2011 award for being the leading Croatian hotel and spa resort. At the same time, we wonder whether they are eligible for other prizes. After visiting the hotel, it is clear that the Hotel Dubrovnik Palace deserved the award; to the highest category it does not lack much, and depending on the assessment we ranked it among the top premium congress hotels in the region, where the emphasis is not only on the environment, but also on quality. In almost all respects a modern hotel and definitely a good choice among the many options in Dubrovnik.
9. RADISSON BLU RESORT & SPA, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Final score: 4,38
The Hotel does not have any serious weaknesses and convinces with comfort and quality that befit hotels in the colours of the Radisson chain. If we use automotive jargon, it is a premium hotel. If you wonder what we see under the term premium in this hotel, then it would be its rich and luxurious equipment, small details and above all the image of the brand. If you have ever organised a meeting in a hotel belonging to the Radisson Blu chain, then you can expect a similar experience in Dubrovnik. The Hotel is very suitable for incentive events, which seem to be taking place as if they were lined up on the conveyor belt at the Hotel’s Convention Centre.
10. GRAND HOTEL TOPLICE, Bled, Slovenia
Final score: 4,35
In Slovenia there are only a few hotels with such a long tradition and regular guests who like to return to Bled. The Hotel Toplice (Spa) remains one of these, regardless of the change of ownership and renovation of a hotel classic that gets under your skin. Changes since the last renewal have been welcome, but they did not deprive the hotel of its soul. This is the right hotel for sworn lovers of historical locations and a place where time slows down and almost stops. It is reminiscent of the period that many people long for.
WHO IS HIDDEN CONGRESS GUEST?
Professional person who has years of experience in the field of wellness and health resort tourism and has knowledge of hospitality management. Required skills and competencies to ensure objectivity are:
- min. 15 years of international experience in the hotel business or meetings industry;
- Knowledge of international standards with specific knowledge of control standards (DIN (Deutsche Industrie Norm), DEHOGA and others;
- Knowledge of trends in the meetings industry in the domestic and international markets;
- Identifying specific needs and preferences of customers;
- Knowledge of all the necessary elements for guest satisfaction (technical specifications, catering services, additional services, security, ….);
In addition, our examiners have checked references in the field of quality assurance of their own work in the hotel industry, which provides an unbiased view on behalf of the client and maximum reliability of the method. Our hidden guests are objective, fair, accurate and reliable, and well-organised and pay attention to detail.