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5 must-see venues in Music City, USA

Nashville is now the fastest growing city in America, attracting not just music lovers, but a diverse population from many other walks of life.  The city is known by many flattering nicknames (in a recent blog we discussed one as the “Athens of the South”). But one cannot ignore Nashville’s reputation and heritage for music—hence “Music City, USA.”  That immediately brings to mind such renowned attractions as the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Grand Ole Opry that draw in plenty of tourists as the must-see sights in Nashville.  In that previous blog we presented the Parthenon.  Here is the rundown of the other five must-see attractions perfectly suited as event venues.  

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Music and history lovers can mix and mingle over the exhibits found at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. As an event venue, your guests can peruse the plaques dedicated to country music's best-known names and walk among artifacts like Jimmie Rodgers' guitar and Elvis Presley's solid gold Cadillac limo. Cocktails in hand, your group can admire browse the two-story wall plastered with every gold and platinum country record produced, and then head to Studio B. One of the world's most influential recording studios and a Music Row Landmark, Studio B produced more than 35,000 songs by legends like Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings and Roy Orbison. For a history lesson on the roots and evolution of country music, your group can walk through the "Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music" exhibit, which spans two floors of the museum.

Grand Ole Opry

It was this radio show, which began broadcasting in the 1920s, that put Nashville on the map as the "Country Music Capital of the World." Although its venue has changed over the years, the Grand Ole Opry continues to host top country performers. And a trip to Nashville isn't complete without stopping by the Grand Ole Opry House for a tour to look back through the ages. Your guests will get a behind-the-scenes look with a daytime backstage tour or a post-show VIP tour.   

Ryman Auditorium

There's no better place to start absorbing Nashville's musical heritage than the Ryman Auditorium. It's no longer home to the Grand Ole Opry, but the auditorium continues to host well-known contemporary acts. GMS can arrange for a private tour to show your group behind-the-scenes glimpse of the legendary music venue. Sit in on the "Soul of Nashville" screening for a multidimensional experience that uses archival images and footage of performers from the Ryman's past to illustrate its role in music history. Plus, the group can learn about the auditorium's backstory with its "Workin' on a Building" exhibit, which displays artifacts from the Ryman's construction. What's more, your participants can test out their own pipes at the Ryman's recording studio and record a CD to take home as a souvenir.

While a tour of the Ryman Auditorium is informative, your group may find it more enlightening by enjoying a concert there (that can be organized exclusively for your group). 

The Johnny Cash Museum 

Uncover the enigma behind The Man in Black with a visit to The Johnny Cash Museum. The museum, which opened in April 2013, boasts the world's largest collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia, including films, handwritten notes and letters penned by Cash himself along with more than 25 costumes made famous during the music legend's career. Exhibits spotlight different periods in Cash's life, including his years in the Air Force, his marriage to June Carter and his famous prison concert tour. And because the museum is officially endorsed by the Cash family, the group is bound to stumble across other personal mementos not available to the public anywhere else, like a stone wall excavated from Johnny and June's Hendersonville Lake House that's been repurposed into one of the exhibits. The museum makes a perfect venue for a cocktail party even if some participants may not be Johnny Cash fans.  

Belle Meade Plantation

Constructed in 1853 in a breathtaking Greek Revival style, the Belle Meade Plantation is known as the "Queen of the Tennessee Plantations." At the center of the plantation is the mansion (its columns are peppered with bullet holes from the Civil War). Your group can just have a tour of the mansion's antebellum-style interior or have a cocktail party or dinner there. Your guests are invited to explore the grounds, which are home to the country's first and best thoroughbred breeding farms as well as the renowned Iroquois Steeplechase, the oldest in the United States, or we could arrange for a picnic for the group on the grounds. 

Whether or not your group is a music fan, Nashville now has a wealth of venues for that memorable incentive program. Let GMS put together a custom-tailored program for your next incentive trip. 

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A Very Special Grand Canyon Dinner at the South Rim

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A Very Special Grand Canyon Dinner at the South Rim

Grand Canyon

As a boutique event planning company, we crave opportunities that challenge our creativity—clients that are looking for events with an extraordinary dimension.  Over the years, we have had the good fortune of working with clients that seek out-of-the-ordinary event venues to impress their super VIP guests.  So, when we were asked by our A-List German client for such a venue for a one-of-a-kind memorable dinner, we rushed with our gem of an idea: Dinner atop the world—or close to—i.e., the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.   

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is within Grand Canyon National Park. The Scenic views and vistas are what some could be waiting a lifetime to see.  As with all sides of the Canyon, the South Rim features astounding views of what took Mother Nature millions and millions of years to create. And that’s why it has earned the distinction as one of the world's Seven Wonders.  However, no visit to the Grand Canyon is complete without experiencing the sunset from Hopi, Yaki or Mather Points. 

While visitors to the park get to watch spectacular scenes from many angles, only a very privileged few gets to have an intimate corporate dinner with that setting as a backdrop—and that’s precisely what our client got to experience.  

Having flown on private aircrafts, our demanding yet discerning client arrived just before sunset for a spectacular viewing of Nature’s fireworks of colors as day gave way to an idyllic dusk complemented with an abundant of bubbly beverages flowing only to be followed by a sumptuous dinner fit for kings—a dinner that could otherwise only be experienced in a Micheline-star restaurant. There is nothing like stepping out of the custom-created tent to be wowed by nature’s display of bright twinkling stars in the desert’s dark night sky—and to be rewarded with a divine sense of solitude—albeit short-lived.        

While the South Rim of the Grand Canyon attracts over 5 million visitors each year and by far is the most visited side of the Canyon, only a very special few get to dine atop this nature’s marvel.  GMS was honored to have had the opportunity to showcase this extraordinary venue for such a deserving client.    

 

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America's Best Kept Secret: 3 Hidden Speakeasy-Style Bars You Can Visit Today

During the charmingly-controversial era in the 1920s in the United States—best known today as roaring twenties—skirts got shorter, parties grew livelier, and men and women all across the nation were free to spend their time dancing the night away as vivacious melodies of toe-tapping jazz tunes echoed through the walls of speakeasies: hidden bars established during the Prohibition era so that alcoholic beverages could be secretly sold and enjoyed by the people of our nation without repercussions.

Fortunately, enjoying a delicious artisanal cocktail is no longer something that must be kept secret; however, speakeasy bars have recently made a resurgence in America as the hottest new spots for connoisseurs of culture to order a drink, catch up with friends and colleagues, and take in the enticing atmosphere of our nation’s best “hidden gem” bars.

Read on to learn the ins-and-outs of 3 of the trendiest speakeasy spots in our country, then contact GMS for step-by-step assistance in planning your own stellar speakeasy event! Leave the tough stuff to us; all you need to do is pull up a bar stool, grab a drink, and relax as you travel back in time to a period of glamour, excitement, and entrancing mystery.

Birds & Bees

This secluded speakeasy lounge located in Los Angeles, California, relies on chic lounge décor and classic cocktails with a modern twist to draw in faithful patrons. Locating this hot spot may not be easy for the average bargoer, but speakeasy aficionados know that Birds & Bees can be found underneath LA’s Broadway Media Center; the building even comes complete with a hidden entryway door!

The drink menu boasts an impressive list of mouthwatering cocktails, beer, and wine that are certain to leave your taste buds tantalized, some of which are named after the Jazz Age’s greatest icons; one of their most popular drinks, the Ella Fitzgerald, is a dirty martini with a delicious twist—a splash of pickle juice just as unique as Ella herself!

The Patterson House

The Patterson House was developed by Benjamin Goldberg, a dedicated entrepreneur hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, who dreamed of creating a speakeasy bar with an air of southern charm and hospitality.

Their drink menu features some of the most innovative cocktails around; the house special, a Bacon Old Fashioned, is made with rich, sweet maple syrup, coffee pecan bitters, bacon-infused bourbon, and a hint of orange peel for extra zest. The Patterson House is also known for their creative take on interior décor; perhaps the most highly coveted seating area in the speakeasy is the 20-meter saloon-style bar. 

The Broken Dram

This eclectic speakeasy-style bar located in Portland, Maine, is the epitome of mystery and charm; patrons enter the bar through a secret entrance located behind a fake bookcase found deep within another bar, Portland’s famous Blyth & Burrows, and leave the bar through a hidden back alley exit.

The Broken Dram’s guests can enjoy signature cocktails and delicious drinks named after famous duos like Elvis and Priscilla or Kurt and Courtney while taking in the speakeasy’s dark, sophisticated, and incredibly elegant atmosphere.

Reach out to GMS today to start planning a speakeasy-inspired incentive trip your whole group will adore. Contact us for your personal proposal.

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Saint Patrick's Day

Saint Patrick's Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, "the Day of the Festival of Patrick"), is a cultural and religious celebration held on March 17th, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland.  What began as a religious feast day in the 17th century, has evolved into a variety of festivals across the globe celebrating Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, and a whole lot of green.

Celebrate Irish culture and tradition in Chicago with its deep-rooted Irish heritage.  From raucous pub crawls to lively parades, there’s nothing quite like Saint Patrick's Day in Chicago.  Irish taverns are packed with revelers and jovial crowds jam the city streets.  However, the spectacular sight is reserved for the dyeing of the Chicago River that sparkles brilliant shades of emerald green.

Dyeing of the Chicago River

On Saturday, March 17th, you are in for what might be one of the world's most famous Saint Patrick's Day rituals—when the Chicago River turns an emerald green. Actually, at first glance, the eco-friendly (yet secret formula) dye used appears orange on the river's surface—but don't panic. Thanks to a little leprechaun magic (or, well, science), the hue transforms and seeps in until the whole river is a bright, beautiful green. Dating back to over 50 years ago, the dyeing of the river remains a cherished tradition for many generations of Chicagoans and draws almost ½ million spectators to the city center eager to catch a glimpse before taking in the parade that follows. The Chicago River keeps its color for about five hours only, so don't miss it!

Saint Patrick’s Day Parade

Chicago is home to one of the largest St. Patrick's Day parades in the US.  Join in the Chicago tradition that dates back to over 60 years ago.  Rain or shine, don your best green outfit—or a kilt if you dare—and embrace all Chicago has to offer for those Irish at heart. You will be witnessing an array of colorful floats waving their green flags high, troops of Irish step dancers in their requisite curls, booming marching bands and bagpipers.  A sight not to be missed.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! 

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Find Luxurious Amenities, Serene Views, and Can't-Miss Entertainment at the Newly-Renovated Roxy Hotel

Last week, The Roxy, a historic New York City hotel known for its unparalleled location in the heart of Tribeca, one of Manhattan’s trendiest, liveliest, wealthiest, and most architecturally stunning neighborhoods, announced their nomination for the Travel + Leisure 2018 World's Best Awards. This nomination arrives following the hotel’s completion of $15 million dollars in renovations toward The Roxy’s dazzling public spaces, rooms, suites, and entertainment venues!

Thanks to The Roxy Hotel’s unrivaled array of options for dining, shopping, relaxation, and entertainment, there are endless opportunities available for those looking to enjoy a travel experience with their group at The Roxy that is truly one-of-a-kind.

Perhaps the biggest draw of The Roxy Hotel is The Django, a hip, cult subterranean jazz and cocktail lounge where guests can take in the sweet, soulful melodies of saxophones and grand pianos while enjoying wine, spirits, specialty cocktails, appetizers, and gourmet desserts in the comfort of The Django’s plush, low-lying leather and velvet seating.

After you take in toe-tapping tunes played by the best jazz musicians NYC has to offer, stop by The Roxy Hotel’s Roxy Cinema, an intimate 118-seat cinema in downtown Manhattan that features stunning, Art Deco-inspired design elements, mouthwatering craft cocktails, and a lavish, gourmet concession stand filled with delicious meals and treats to eat as you enjoy your film. Unlike traditional movie cinemas, The Roxy Cinema prides itself on showing unique films that cannot be found elsewhere; first-run independent films, 35mm cult classics, and rare archival prints are just a few of the standout film selections available for viewing at Roxy Cinema.

The excitement doesn’t have to stop there! The ground level of The Roxy Hotel is also home to Jack’s Stir Brew, a premium coffee shop that brews unique, organic fair trade coffee (using a special stir brew technique to produce drinks with richer flavor), loose leaf teas, high-quality espressos, and delicious, vegan baked goods.

After you fill up on The Django’s hand-shucked oysters and specialty cocktails, enjoy an independent film at Roxy Cinema, order a shot of Jack’s famous triple ristretto espresso, and take in some of the sights and sounds of New York City that aid in making The Roxy so special, it’s time to go back to your luxury hotel suite to relax and unwind. Fortunately, resting into a state of calm and tranquility is quite simple at The Roxy Hotel! The Roxy is home to 201 exquisite guestrooms, 40 grand multi-bedroom suites, and Penthouse 8, the stunning, two-story pied-a-terre complete with private access to an exclusive rooftop terrace, 900 square feet of areas to relax, work, and sleep, and stellar floor-to-ceiling windows that provide guests with a panoramic view of the most stunning skyline sights in Lower Manhattan.

For groups seeking travel incentive opportunities that combine the best of art, entertainment, nightlife, dining, and relaxation in a luxurious city setting rich with vitality, history, and culture, The Roxy provides guests with a slice of New York City paradise that is certain to make your next corporate event one that will be remembered forever! Contact Global Management Services today for your personal proposal. 

(All photos courtesy of The Roxy Hotel website).

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Product Launch of a different sort

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Product Launch of a different sort

When the word got out that a luxury auto manufacturer was about to introduce a new vehicle type to the North American market, naturally a fierce rivalry broke out amongst leading event production companies vying for the enviable honor to showcase their ware and flair.  After all, such opportunities don’t come by often.  GMS decided to throw its name in the hat too.  The deciding factors were all very exact, demanding and revolved mostly around uniqueness and creativeness of ideas.  To our delight, the client elected to award the project to GMS. 

Now the hard work started.  Luckily, the client had already selected Chicago for this momentous event.  Situated on the confluence of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River, Chicago is blessed with an impressive urban landscape.  We immediately thought that the Chicago River could offer extraordinary opportunities as an unconventional “road” to transport the model vehicle for this project.  We just had to construct a way of incorporating the River into our proposal—and that we did.  We proposed to have the new vehicle brought in for the reveal on a barge floating on the Chicago River and had the barge docked close by the event venue we had already scouted—the Chicago Lyric Opera.  And not just anywhere at the opera house.  We designed to have the car nowhere by on the stage of the famed opera house. 

The invitees, the company’s dealers from across North America, arrived like royalty and unaware of what to expect.  Upon entry, guests were treated to sumptuous canapés and champagne as they strolled over the theatre’s red carpet admiring the theatre’s grand surrounds as the jazz quartet entertained the visibly excited patrons.  Once introductory festivities were at their height, to the amazement of just about everyone in the audience, unexpectedly lights dimmed, the velvet curtains slowly lifted, and there it was—the brand-new model vehicle—on the centerstage like the rightful star of the show.  Jaws dropped and then, as if in collective awe, the audience broke into an enthusiastic applause—like it had been rehearsed for months.  Admirations were afloat—both about the car as well as the striking way it was revealed.  Many of the dealers had previously witnessed a new vehicle roll off the assembly line, but no one had ever experienced seeing it on the performing stage like a singular star of a Broadway show.       

The participants’ authentic reaction was acclaim enough for us.  But our client showered us after with genuine words of praise—that we accepted with gratitude and humility.  Product launches pose special challenges for event planning companies.  Only careful and measured analysis of the client’s objectives and the product in question can act as a good roadmap to success.  We were gratified to take the bow.   

GMS is the leading producer of special events in the US and Canada    

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Chicago Ranks as the No 1 City in the World

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Chicago Ranks as the No 1 City in the World

According to Time Out’s annual City Life Index, Chicago is once again the top city in the world.  It’s hard to believe it as Chicagoans dig out from under 20” of snow, but over 15,000 respondents from around the world think so.  Two years in a row, the Windy City has grabbed the top rank away from all major metropolitan areas from around the globe.  The Index looked at 6 variables to reach its ranking.

1.     Dining Options

Chicago is blessed with so many food options and ranked in this category only behind Tel Aviv.  Ask any Chicagoan and they will agree with you because on average the Windy City dwellers dine out once a week and don’t mind waiting for a table for an hour. 

2.     Culture, Culture, Culture

The wealth of museums, concert halls and theaters make Chicago the mecca for cultural diversity.  On average, Chicagoans go to a cultural venue once a month. 

3.     Warm and Friendly Residents

As the heart of the Midwest, Chicago is populated with the warmest and most friendly residents. Holding the door for you comes naturally for every Chicagoan as does thanking for anything you do for them.

4.     Chicago is Inexpensive

As the third largest city in the US, and one of the biggest cities in the world, Chicago remains very affordable.  Ranked only behind Philadelphia, it is still possible to own your own home, dine out or enjoy the cultural activities in Chicago without having to take a second mortgage on your home.   Eat your heart out London—or Paris!

5.     Chicagoans are Happy

While no Bhutan, Chicago ranks as one of the happiest people in the survey.  More than 90% of respondents were happy to be living in this Metropolis—harsh winters notwithstanding. 

6.     Quality of Life

Chicagoans are content to be living here.  They cite good public transportation and easily accessible amenities as some of the reasons.  The “L” train does a great job taking away people’s frustration with driving.  The city’s infrastructure makes for an easy place to get around.  Try that in Los Angeles.

 

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Viceroy arrives in Gold Coast

After opening hotels in Saint Lucia, California, Colorado, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates, the Viceroy Hotel Group had been on a hunt for a perfect location in Chicago since 2014. After three long years of picking a site, getting the permits, and finally constructing the 180-rooms, Viceroy Chicago finally opened its doors on September 1st to great acclaim.  Let’s take a peek at what this new boutique luxury hotel has to offer the Windy City.

Accommodation

Viceroy has 48 King guestrooms, 79 Executive guestrooms, 11 Double Queen guestrooms, 5 Junior suites, 12 one-bedroom suites with a view of Lake Michigan, and a suite that’s made up of a two-bedroom penthouse! No matter which room you choose to stay in, you’re assured a great view and such amenities as:

·       WiFi

·       In-room Safe

·       Nespresso machine with complimentary coffee

·       Refreshment center

·       Bedside and desk charging ports

·       Business desk

·       Luxurious body and hair products

·       Sleek rain shower

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Dining  

Two new restaurants come with Viceroy Chicago:  Somerset and Devereaux. Both restaurants will be led by executive chef Lee Wolen, who is a Chicago favorite with a Michelin Star to his credit. Somerset will be on the ground floor of what used to be The Cedar Hotel.  Specializing in American cuisine, Somerset offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day of the week, while brunch is only served on the weekend. Devereaux will be on the 18th floor, along with a rooftop pool and lounge. It’s the perfect place for cocktails and a bite to eat with a gorgeous view of Lake Michigan and the Gold Coast.

Somerset Restaurant

Somerset Restaurant

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The Enormous Assembly Chef's Hall in Toronto

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The Enormous Assembly Chef's Hall in Toronto

Toronto’s newest food sanctuary is the 18,000-square-foot Assembly Chef’s Hall which just opened in the city’s downtown. The massive venue is food lovers’ bazaar.  Open seven days a week, the food emporium is packed with close to 20 dining establishments.  The place is abuzz with activity already before it even opens its outdoor patio.  Here are some of the famed food outlets that are now calling the Assembly home. 

Bluenose Lobster.  Everything Nova Scotia lobster—from bisque to rolls to thermidor.
Bulldog Coffee.  If you are into specialty coffees, head to Bulldog and try Unique espresso-based drinks, made using beans from Africa, Central and South America.

Cherry Street Bar-B-Que.  BBQs anyone?  How about pit-smoked meats, including brisket, baby back ribs and pulled pork.  Don’t forget your side: mac and cheese, coleslaw, baked beans.

Mira Mira.  How about some healthy options:  Matcha-chia pudding, barbecued okra bowls and/or honey-kimchi chicken anyone?

Reyna.  Toronto is now such a cosmopolitan city.  How about some Mediterranean sharing plates and mezze, including charcuterie and Pintxos.

Shari.  Feel like some good sushi?  How about Chirashi sushi, assorted sushi ingredients placed over a bowl of seasoned sushi rice.

The Assembly Hall comes also with a Beer Hall, equipped with a DJ booth perfect for an event, live shows and TV broadcast.

Not to be missed is the Wine Bar, which serves a selection of wines and spirits. The whole space is licensed, so your guests can grab a drink at either bar and find a seat wherever they like.

To hold your event in a totally different venue with an exciting vibe, let GMS organize a dine-around for your group at the Assembly Chef’s Hall.   

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Of Art and Great Architecture

Architecture can say a lot about a city. Its oldest builds can tell a rich history; and the modern buildings seem to always find a spot in the city’s heart and skyline. Global Management Services found some really cool venues that you should check out for your next event if you find yourself in any of these cities.  So next time trade in the humdrum hotel ballroom for a place with real history.

New York City

Built in 1930, the Chrysler building was once the tallest building in the world until the Empire State Building was built just 11 months later. The Chrysler Building is one of the buildings that the entire world recognizes, even if they may have never stepped foot on American soil.  With its beautiful art deco style, it has made several cameo appearances in movies and TV shows. The lobby is open to the public, so stop by to look at the intricate details that the Art Deco was known for. Only the lobby is open to the public, but there are plenty of event spaces where you can get a great view of one the most iconic building in New York City.

Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim family was well-known for their influence on the art world as both artists and art collectors. Having so many connections to artist and architects alike, Frank Lloyd Wright deigned this museum. Opened in 1959, the Guggenheim Museum is a great example of contemporary art. You can even host your event there, with a variety of spaces to choose from. For something small, there is always The Wright, a café that can seat 75 people, or for a larger, grander event, there is the Ronald O. Perlman Rotunda, which can hold up to 250 people for a seated dinner, or up to 1,000 people for a reception.

World Trade Center

The World Trade Center was originally built in 1973, with the Twin Towers being the tallest buildings in the world upon completion. In 2001, the world trade center was attacked by terrorists, leaving the property destroyed. As a way of looking toward the future, the World Trade Center was—and still is—being built, with a memorial park and museum on the spot where the twin towers once stood. On the 100th, 101st, and 102nd floors is the one world observatory deck. There, you can take in some of the best views of Manhattan. There is even a restaurant and bar that you can stop by to wine and dine. The observatory is also available for private events, from meetings to holiday parties.

Boston

MIT Kresge Auditorium

Known as the Kresge Oval to MIT students, The MIT Kresge Auditorium is another great example of mid-century architecture. Designed by Eero Saarinen, it was meant to serve as a place for MIT students to come together in 1955. Today, it still hosts many events and brings people from all over the world to relish in beautiful design. Since this is considered a public space, it may not be suitable for an event. However, there is always the MIT Museum which is always available for events, even without a college sponsorship.

Old North Church

Founded in 1722, the Old North Church is one of the oldest churches in Boston; and service is still being held there. As a part of American history, this is the church were Paul Revere saw the signal of the British coming. On horseback, Revere rode what we now call the Freedom Trail that played such a pivotal role in the revolutionary war. You can have your own personal tour for an after-hours group event. Enjoy the gift shop and chocolate shop with authentic practices of making 18th century chocolate while having the option of renting the outdoor space or turning the gift shop into an event space for a cocktail reception. 

Massachusetts State House

Built in the late 1790’s, the Massachusetts State House is a great example of the Federal style that was popular during the time of its construction. The gold-plated dome is a new addition compared to the rest of the building. Originally, it was just made of wood, but it suffered from leaks, so a copper coating was put on it in 1802. It wouldn’t be coated in gold until 1874. The second floor of the state house is available for daytime or evening events, with a capacity of up to 750 people.

Chicago

Chicago is known as the birthplace of American architecture giving rise to so many prominent architects.  The city is blessed with an abundant of buildings bearing the signatures of famed architects of well-known styles.  

Carbine and carbon building

Chicago is well known for its neo-gothic and Art deco styles, the Carbine and Carbon building was designed by the sons of Daniel Burnham and it was completed in 1929. Carbine and Carbon were expanding and wanted to show off their success at the time, and that is why we have the Carbine and Carbon building today. Rumor has it that the appearance is resembles that of a champagne bottle, with its green exterior and the 24k gold leaf on the very top of the building. The building is home to the Hard Rock hotel, but the St. Jane Chicago Hotel will soon take residence in the building.

The Rookery

Designed by Daniel Burnham and John Root, the Rookery was built in 1888 and is considered to be in the heart of downtown Chicago’s financial district. In 1905, Frank Lloyd Wright redesigned the lobby to what we know it as today. All three of these architects once held offices in this building. Now, it is the home of US Bank. The lobby is available to host great events, from a seated dinner with a band with a capacity of 170 to a cocktail reception with the capacity of 400 people.

The Willis Tower

Although most locals still call the building by its old name “the Sears Tower,” the Willis Tower was built in 1970. Ever since its completion in 1973, it has been an icon of downtown Chicago. It was the tallest building in the world until 1998. With 110 stories, the Willis Tower is home to many offices and attractions, including the Skydeck, where you can see up to four states from the 103rd floor. You can also hold your event on the 99th floor with its 360° views for breathtaking effect. Seat up 175 people, or have a guest list up to 300 people for a non-seated event.

San Francisco

Painted Ladies

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Also known as “Postcard Row,” the Painted Ladies of San Francisco were built during the Victorian era. It was actually quite common for Victorian and Edwardian houses to be painted in many bright colors. However, through earthquakes and repainting, many of these homes were lost or permanently altered. You can find the Painted Ladies of San Francisco in Alamo Square, but you can also find painted ladies in Baltimore, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Toledo, Ohio, and Cape May, New Jersey. Chances are that someone is currently living in at least one of the houses, but you can always get a nice view from them by hosting an event on Alamo Square Park. Alamo Square Park has recently been updated, receiving 5.3 million dollars to invest in fixing the irrigation system as well as adding new trees and landscape to this iconic San Francisco landmark. Like any San Francisco Park, Alamo Square park is available for special events.

Palace Hotel

Built in 1875 and rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake, the Palace hotel is a historical landmark known for its decadence and modern spaces. Staying here means staying in the same place that many celebrities and presidents chose to spent the night.  Stop by the Garden Court for tea time under a glass dome and crystal chandeliers or stay on any of the 9 floors of the hotel. The palace hotel is known for its excellent meeting space. Instead of spending hours in a room that looks like you never left the office, have your meeting in a ballroom that will take you back a century.

Transamerica Pyramid

Built in 1969, the Transamerica Pyramid was once the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. It is still the tallest building in San Francisco, and on the 48th floor, you have 360° views of San Francisco. The 48th floor is also available for intimate dinner parties, as well as training sessions, product launches and corporate meetings. The Transamerica pyramid also has a visitor center at Redwood Park.

Los Angeles

Chateau Marmont

In the 1920s, the Chateau Marmont used to be a luxury apartment building. When the Great Depression hit, many people could not afford the rent. So, the Chateau Marmont was converted into a hotel. Not only that, it was also one of the first earthquake-proof structures, surviving five major earthquakes. For those who love gothic castles, this Neo Gothic structure would be the place to stay. Because this used to be an apartment complex, most guestrooms have full kitchens and dining rooms. For those who don’t feel like cooking, the hotel’s famed restaurant would be perfect for a farewell dinner in the City of Angels.

Walt Disney Concert Hall

In 1987, Lillian Disney donated 50 million dollars for the City of Los Angeles to build a performance venue in the memory of her husband, Walt Disney. The project was finally complete in 2003 after facing some budget issues. Even then, the building’s stainless steel was increasing the surface temperature of the surrounding sidewalk up to 140° F. The glare was also causing accidents. After sanding down the matte finish, everyone started to love the Concert Hall; and is now home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. The Walt Disney Concert Hall is also open for catered events through Patina catering group. Well known for their restaurants in the Greater Los Angeles Area, as well as in the rest of the country, you can have a seated reception dinner right next to where one of the most well-known orchestras in the world would play.

The Mayan Theater

This pre-Colombian style theater opened up in 1927; but in 1990, it became a night club. Every Friday and Saturday night, you can dance the night away while admiring this ornate revival-style that took over in the late 1920s. You can even rent the space for an event that will certainly add a little spice to the evening. With a 5,000 square feet stage as well as two dancing floors, it would surely be a night to remember.

Talking about some of America’s interesting architecture really shows the diversity of what the US has to offer. It would be much better if you were to see these magnificent buildings for yourself for your next event. Contact GMS today, and we can show what your event may look like in any of these and other architectural gems in the US or Canada.

 

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Teambuilding on Steroids

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Teambuilding on Steroids

Pulling off a large-scale teambuilding event is never easy.  But we have always welcome the challenge.  So, when our client asked for a teambuilding exercise that could engage all their 900 participants, we know where to turn to.  We reached out to our partners at Smarthunts to help us conceive of a program that would be engaging for a group of high achievers, fun, and action oriented. 

Imagine having to keep 90 teams on track and focused on their respective “tasks.”  That they did—and with flying colors.  While the run-of-the mill scavenger hunts are becoming blasé, Smarthunts portfolio of tech-based teambuilding activities are designed with millennials in mind.  Using their mobile technology coupled with challenging tasks, everyone in our client’s group remained engaged all the way through. 

SmartHunts was able to include challenging teambuilding activities that encouraged our teams to think SMART, find landmarks, solve clues, answer trivia, perform tasks, and complete fun photo and video challenges shot on our their iPads during the hunt.  This was a perfect fit for a group of highly competitive young professionals.  Everybody was able to let their hair down, have a blast yet be true to their inner competive spirits.

For your next challenging team building exercise—whether it is for a core groups of executive or for companywide teams numbering in hundreds, reach out to GMS:Global Management Services.  We know how to cater to your teams’ craving for challenges in a fun-filled environment that is sure to promote sprit de corp.

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Bar Cargo

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Bar Cargo

Just before 2017 came to an end, Global Management Services was invited to have an early Holiday Lunch at the recently-opened restaurant—Bar Cargo. While Chicago is no stranger to pizza, Bar Cargo prides itself in being the new hot spot for Roman style pizza. We went with open minds and empty stomachs to put Bar Cargo to the test.

Bar Cargo is the new addition to the Stefani Restaurant Group. This isn’t their first try at pizza, but it certainly is a fresh take, both in restaurant environment and the pizza-making process. The restaurant is reminiscent of a cargo container, a very industrial feel that can be seen from the garage doors that open in the summer to the “exposed” piping of the lighting and accents. The pizza, as we were told, has a specially-made crust which makes the pizza that way it is. Three different types of flours are shipped in cargo containers from Italy directly to the restaurant. Then after the dough is made, there is a resting period of 96 hours! Fortunately for us, we didn’t have to wait that long for our pizzas, but the resting period is supposed to give the crust a light, airy texture once it comes out of an imported “Castelli Foni” stone oven. We were soon to find out if the 96-hour crust would live up to its name.

Drinks and appetizers are aplenty, the most popular one being the Bella Vita. Then we each got to try three different appetizers: the Hey Meatballs, the fried calamari with the arrabbiata sauce and the saffron aioli, and the Coccoli, which consist of fried dough, stracchino cheese and prama prosciutto.  The combination of the beef and pork really made the meatballs very tasty and they went well with the charred bread when there was extra marinara sauce. The fried dough and the stracchino paired well together, along with the saltiness of the prosciutto.  With the calamari, we almost forgot that we were still waiting for our pizzas.

 

We finally got to try four different pizzas: the Margherita with tomato, basil, and mozzarella, the Arrabiata with pachino tomatoes, chili, and garlic, the Boscaiola with sausage and mushroom, and the Formaggio with provolone, parmigano, and fresh mozzarella cheeses. Although of the pizzas were all pretty good, the Formaggio was the overall favorite of the group, but the Arrabiata maintained its flavor the day after. While we were eating pizza, we got to meet the man behind the 96-hour crust: Chef Massimo Moresi. A winner of the 1998 world pizza contest and having decades of experience with Italian cuisine, Massimo technique and skill really made the pizza shine. We even got to smell white truffles worth 1,500 dollars. Kept in a container of rice to keep the truffle dry, we each got to get a good look and smell of one of the finest ingredients in the culinary world.

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Just after we thought we couldn’t eat any more food came dessert.  We got to try a slice of chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and fresh, steaming donut holes with a rich chocolate dipping sauce. Many of the team members at GMS are known to have a bit of a sweet tooth; so dessert really hit the spot. The donut holes were so soft and fluffy, and the chocolate sauce only complimented them, while the chocolate cake was very rich and sweet. Although the food was great, what was even better is that Bar Cargo can host corporate events. The restaurant can accommodate up to 100 guests, 125 if the patio is included. They even have a New Year’s Eve celebration coming up if you are interested.

Global Management Services had a great time at Bar Cargo, and we bet you would, too. Although deep dish will always be a Chicago favorite, don’t count out this Roman style pizza. For more recommendation for a holiday dinner, ask GMS for a proposal today.

 

 

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Canada’s Cultural Melting Pot

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Canada’s Cultural Melting Pot

No city in North America has seen such a fast and deep transformation as Toronto. Let GMS guide you for a tour of Ontario’s Capital.  You’ll see very easily why Canada’s largest city is considered a multicultural, world-class destination.  This bustling metropolis overflows with exciting opportunities.  Let’s explore and experience this vibrant city’s rich cultural scene.

A city of charming neighborhoods, Toronto offers a diverse and unique culinary scene like no other.  The city is blessed with nearly 10,000 restaurants of any cuisine imaginable.  Take your group for a truly international culinary tour within a few square miles.  No passport needed.    

The same goes for local brews.  Toronto is burgeoning with craft beer scene.  Let’s take your group for a tour of Steam Whistle Brewing Company, situated in the historic Roundhouse Building, which dates back to the locomotive era.  Here you’ll find out more about this award-winning lager.  Your group can also sample some tasty ale and then ring the actual steam whistle.

Ontario is home to some world-renowned wines.  GMS can guide your group for a tour of the local wineries. A quick daytrip to breathtaking Niagara Falls (just over an hour away) will allow your group to stop by numerous world-class vineyards (and try some delicious wine).

Known as “Broadway North,” Toronto is also home to a vibrant theater scene not to mention some of best-known museums and art galleries anywhere.  

No trip to Toronto is complete without a visit to the iconic CN Tower, one of the tallest structures in the world, which so easily dominates the city’s brilliant skyline. 

From dining to art, culture and adventure, Toronto has it all.  Whether you are in search of a perfect meeting or an incentive destination, Toronto has something for everyone in your group.  This cosmopolitan, international, multicultural city is home to some amazing, world-class experiences.  Let GMS introduce your group to an incredible city flavored with a taste of famous Canadian hospitality.

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GMS Global Management Services, Inc. is a leading destination management and event planning company with offices throughout Canada.  We specialize in custom-tailored programs for meetings, events and incentives throughout North America. Let us showcase our services in planning your next special event in Canada or the US.

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Together: A celebration of corporate unity

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Together: A celebration of corporate unity

How to bring alive the geographic diversity of multilocation practice for a large national consulting company?  That was the challenge thrown our way—a tall order, but we were up to it!  We all had to put our famed GMS creativity hats on and start imagining what each urban area where the company has a foothold stood for. Mandated by the conference theme “together,” and armed with graphic design and CAD drawings, we set off to transform Geraghty, a blank event space in Chicago, into an urban oasis of food and festive imagery representing some vibrant US cities. From Chicago to Texas, from Seattle to New York, from San Francisco to Minneapolis, and from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles, there was no shortage of metaphoric representation of each geographic area. 

Food is what unite us all! From Chicago’s famed deep-dish pizza to Seattle’s celebrated java, from New York’s legendary corned beef to LA’s delightful fish tacos food was everywhere aplenty.  Some were downing Texas smoked briskets while sipping on Napa’s premium wines. In another corner, some found themselves in Pittsburgh admiring pierogi while other were plainly appreciating Minnesota’s wild rice risotto. The food was the best tool we found to bring together such a dynamic group of professionals in admiration of their firm’s geographic and practice diversity. There was no shortage of food replication nor city scenes to cure any nostalgia some participants may have felt during the weeklong proceedings.  With a unifying theme like “Together,” the young and active crowd danced the night away to the versatile music of the Rod Tuffcurls & The Bench Press to wee hours—but miraculously, they were all attentive next morning for their closing ceremonies.  

Event Décor & Technical Production by Kehoe Designs

Challenged with such enormous tasks as creating a lasting theme for what turned out to be 15th year anniversary of the firm’s founding, we had to reach to symbols.  Crystal is the symbol of 15th anniversary and the weeklong celebrations shined in every turn like a symbolically brilliant crystal.  As our client plays a pivotal role in transforming many companies’ businesses, we too tried to bring together the firm’s disperse operations under one brilliantly decorated roof with pomp and circumstance—as a symbol of natural unity.      

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Only in New York City

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Only in New York City

 A whopping 61.8 million tourists travel to New York City every year and they often visit some of the well-known tourist stops: The Empire State building, Central Park, Times Square, and many other big names. While we strongly recommend that you visit these places if you are in the City for the first time, New York City has so much more to offer. Global Management Services found these little gems sparkling in the City and thinks you should check them out.

The McKittrick Hotel---Sleep No More

The McKittrick Hotel---Sleep No More

A bunch of warehouses make up the “recently restored” MicKittirck Hotel. Here you can find an immersive play based on Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” but the setting takes place in a 1930s noir film. Those who come to see the performance are required to wear mask, which the McKittrick Hotel provides. Since it is an immersive experience, guests can leave anytime they like, and can even stop by The Gallow Green rooftop restaurant or The Manderley Bar for food and drinks.

 

The National Museum of Mathematics

Most people shudder and try to avoid thinking of the dreaded subject called math. The National Museum of Mathematics wants to change that. Bringing the everyday and extraordinary things that we experience and showing the math behind it. The MoMath has been in Flatiron district of Manhattan since 2009, showing the beauty in math for the young and not-so-young. See the shadow of a tesseract or a bicycle with square wheels! You are sure to learn something at the nation’s only museum that focuses on mathematics, and maybe—just maybe—you will hate math a little less.

Socrates Sculpture Park

Before 1986, this 4.5 acre park used to be a landfill. Artists and activists of Queens, New York, turned it into what it is today a great place for locals and tourist alike! You can go on a self-guided tour or stop by for one of their outdoor film events. Many upcoming artists show off their work here, so you can come back and always see something new. There are all sorts of classes and performances; and it is open every day of the year.

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There are so many things off the beaten path in New York City, and GMS can take you there. For a unique journey, contact us for all your incentive travel needs. 

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