Last weekend staff from Inspiring Travel Company, Deva Travel, ITC Sports Travel and Horse Racing Abroad were treated to a very special night out...in Tenerife! We had all put in the hard work to achieve the most successful year in the company's 40 year history, 2014-2015, but no one could have guessed what an incredible thank you we'd receive!
Hosted by The Ritz-Carlton, Abama, every employee was invited to join this 'Dash for a Splash'; a weekend in a beautiful luxury resort, eating great food and celebrating in true ITC style.
Gathering at Manchester Airport at midday on Saturday 12th, a large group of us boarded our flight and set off from the drizzly north-west to the sunnier climes of the most southerly islands in Spain. As you can imagine, the plane was abuzz with excitement as we all enthused about this very special trip.
Our descent over Tenerife was a picturesque arrival; the deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean was contrasted by the striking volcanic landscape, with its craters and mountains rising in the distance. After disembarking into the balmy evening air, we enjoyed the scenery on the 25-minute transfer to our final destination.
Approaching The Ritz-Carlton, Abama by road is an impressive experience. The lobby and reception are located in the resort's main building; The Citadel. It's certainly aptly named, as the commanding terracotta structure is evocative of a classic Moorish palace.
We received such a warm welcome too! Attentive staff lined our route into reception, holding trays of Champagne and unloading our bags, so that we could go straight to check-in, which was remarkably efficient with dozens of us arriving at the same time!
Then it was off to our rooms to change, and they did not disappoint! Even the entry level Deluxe Rooms at Abama feel totally luxurious, with a chic lounge area leading onto a spacious balcony or terrace. The marble bathrooms also impressed, with double vanity sinks, plus a separate bath and shower. What a fantastic setting to get ready for a night of celebrations!
The evening officially began with a drinks reception at La Casa Club, located on the resort's magnificent 18-hole golf course. Fizz flowed and cameras flashed as we arrived. There were many warm, excited greetings exchanged. Having never travelled as a whole company before, the atmosphere was electric, with everyone aware of just how special this evening was.
Beautifully dressed tables had been laid outside for our dinner. Jennifer Atkinson, our CEO, welcomed everybody to the celebration and thanked us for all the hard work we'd put in to create such success. She also expressed gratitude to our hosts, The Ritz-Carlton, Abama, and the trip's sponsors, the Tenerife Tourism Corporation, who made it all possible.
The food was sumptuous, with a fantastic buffet offering everything from fresh, tasty salads, to mouth-watering king prawn kebabs and perfectly cooked chicken. In fact, the food really is fantastic across the board at this luxury Tenerife resort.
After dinner, it was time to continue to celebrate the company's success and those who go the extra mile to make it happen. The Abama Awards Winners were nominated by colleagues across the company, and it was fantastic to be able to acknowledge dedicated individuals, as well as our team as a whole.
Claire Pennington, an ITC Business Manager won the prize for Top Sales to Abama; a hotly contested category as we have had great success sending clients to this world-class hotel.
The three other categories were those chosen by nomination. Cathy Whitely, Commercial Manager, won the 'Above and Beyond' category, while Travel Specialist, Laura Long, and Head of Sports, Olga Fahey, won the title of 'ITC Ambassador'. Last but not least, Marketing Manager, Jo Davenport, and Agency Sales Coordinator, Bev Townend, shared the 'Never Say No' award. Needless to say, all were richly deserved! What was so fantastic about the awards ceremony was the genuine celebration of each winner by the entire ITC family.
It was an incredible evening all round. Richard Nurse, our Sports Tour Director and head of the ITC South Africa Office, flew over especially for the occasion and said "it was such a special night, if you looked around you could see people chatting together and laughing at every single table; what an atmosphere!"
No wonder everyone was so happy, we were well aware that very few companies would attempt such an ambitious and luxurious 'outing'. But then, at Inspiring Travel Company we do things differently, which is why we've been listed in the Sunday Times 'Top 100 Companies to Work For' for four consecutive years.
After the awards and a spot of decadent dessert, it was off for a night on the tiles. While most of us boarded coaches, award winners were treated to an ultra-luxe stretch Limousine, which took them to the venue where we danced the night away.
The Ritz-Carlton, Abama is the ideal place to wake up after a night of partying. Just a few steps from your cosy bed is the balcony, where you enjoy the Atlantic breeze and sip a complimentary Nespresso, made from the machine in your room.
On Sunday, we all had time to enjoy the stellar resort at leisure, beginning with breakfast at La Veranda. The extensive buffet offers anything you could possibly want, from coffee and pastries to ‘made to order’ omelettes. Set up for the day, many ITC staff then headed to the resort's main swimming pool; a huge freeform 'lagoon' surrounded by daybeds.
Come lunch time we were treated again, this time in the stunning setting of El Mirador, a seafood restaurant at the resort's edge. We dined on delicious paella whilst enjoying incredible views over the Atlantic and the freeform infinity-edge pool just next door.
Just a minute from El Mirador is Abama's funicular, which takes you down to a beautiful sandy beach. Here you can enjoy the ocean in a sheltered cove, or simply lounge on a daybed. Some members of the team even sampled the Champagne sangria from the Beach Club restaurant, which they would certainly recommend!
At 5pm it was time to say goodbye and head back home. Of course, it was sad to leave such a beautiful place, but we all left feeling immensely grateful for the opportunity to experience a luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel firsthand. No doubt some of us will return for our own holidays before long!
We can't thank our hosts enough for the most incredible weekend, or our leader Jennifer Atkinson who had the vision to instigate this crazy, joyous 'office party' trip to the ‘island of eternal spring’!
If you'd like to experience some winter sun in the decadent surrounds of this, The Ritz-Carlton Abama, why not start a webchat or pick up the phone and talk to one of our Travel Specialists on 01244 355 600? They've all got firsthand knowledge to share!