Teambuilding with 280 people
During my stay, I'm allowed a swiss Company Accompanying the Ristis, one of the Engelberg summits: Once a year, you gather together your Swiss and international employees, 280, for a three-day meeting and team building event. This is where people meet, celebrate - and, like this morning, all kinds of tasks are solved on the Ristis. My edition: No names, no photos.
Organizer of the team building activity is Outventure and they have all sorts of fun activities ready: Melkschemel curling. Collectively build an igloo. Or yodelling. And everyone is excited about it. The event, the organizer tells me, would take place mainly because of the logistics in Engelberg: good accessibility from Zurich Airport and good accommodation for a group of this size, which had booked several hotels exclusive.
Engelberg as a MICE location
The fact that there are only two 4 star hotels in the area, and 3 star hotels in the first place, only disturbs the fact that the employees have to be accommodated in different categories. Otherwise there is the policy that no 5 star hotels may be used at corporate events - because of the external impact.
Another reason is the committed MICE team from Engelberg, which actually has many other exciting activities ready: such as carriage driving in the middle of winter, an ice grotto and Europe's highest suspension bridge on 3000 meters on the Titlis. Or the SnowX Park, where you can drive around on a cart track with homemade electric snowmobiles - per minute from 2 francs, for groups from 5 per hour 650 francs.
Meetings in the igloo
Right next to it, at the Trübsee station with 2000 meters altitude, lies one of the highlights, the igloo village. Every year, from Christmas to Easter, it is open to 60 people, with sleeping quarters made up of ice beds, mattresses, skins and sleeping bags - this should be warm and comfortable despite the 0 indoor temperature. Only the walk to the toilet is uncomfortable, there is no shower, but two hot tubs. One night costs from 159 francs per night per person.
However, it's one of the most original meeting venues I've seen so far: the so-called event and church igloo (used for weddings) has theater seating 60, with tables for up to 40 people. The first hour costs 400 francs, the second 200. And correspondingly less with a longer service life. Due to the cold, however, it is recommended not to take a seminar longer than 2 hours - or you can interrupt this for a warm snowshoe hike.
Also the seminar equipment is only rudimentary: electricity is provided, WLAN does not exist, but the mobile radio should function well. Beamer and screen can be provided on request. The high prices with at the same time only limited comfort explain itself by the extreme conditions: Every year the igloo has to be rebuilt and then constantly repaired. For this, I am told, snow must be produced and procured in great masses, which is not cheap.
Engelberg still has other exciting locations, such as the 1902-built Kursaal, which can be used for events up to 500 people and has a screen that takes the entire stage. Or the Benedictine monastery of Engelberg, founded in the 12. Century, the present construction comes from the 18. Century and has the largest organ in Switzerland with 9000 pipes between 8 mm and 9 meters.
The monastery houses 21 monks and a private school, an important source of income for the monastery, and there are also comfortably furnished single and double rooms for guests as well as various seminar rooms - such as the large ballroom where up to 17 people can meet or have one Workshop room, which was lined in the 100er years by a dedicated monk with inlays.
The technical equipment, beamer, screens and also Wi-Fi, are available - the latter but not aware in the rooms. However, the monastery does not accept every seminar group:
These must fit in with the house and, for example, also comply with meal times of the monks. This includes various banks, UBS or the universities of Lucerne, Basel, Friborg or Bern among the customers. Occasionally, the monastery offers Reflection weekend, but it does not have the staffing, they tell me.
Gastronomy and hotels
Directly in the monastery is also the Schaukäserei Kloster Engelberg, where groups can see up to 20 persons and can also try out how to make your own cheese.
Apart from that, I was not quite as convinced of the gastronomy and the hotel industry: most of the houses are, as already described, 3 star-houses and inside and outside a little old-fashioned. Only next year is to be built by a Chinese investor in 5 star house.
The Hotel Schweizerhof (38 room), for example, is architecturally beautiful and has a nice lobby and a cozy restaurant, as well as a seminar room, as well as a small sauna with a gym.
The rooms are however more functional than stylish and also the quality of the food is in many cheaper 3 star house better, however, there were fresh ingredients and good bread.
Dining in the ski lodge
Something better, was the food in the cozy ski hut stand on the Titlis, which shines by its own salad creations and offers country-typical salad creations.
All in all Engelberg has its weaknesses, however, as a MICE location is mainly recommended because of the MICE team.
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