It feels really strange to have hosted the last Connections event of the year! I can’t quite believe it. This whole year has been about fast and furious preparation for each of our events – what will I do now?!

From November 4th-5th, the Conrad London St. James became the first brand to host its very own event powered in the Connections Way. And what an event it was…

The synergies between the Connections Way and Conrad’s Stay Inspired 1/3/5 destination experiences were so obvious. The 1/3/5 philosophy is all about offering guests authentic, one-of-a-kind local experiences that  help guests create unique memories – whether they have one hour, three hours, or five to spare.

We also showcased another fantastic brand during the event, bespoke Icelandic tour operator, HL Adventure – another like-minded company, which is all about once-in-a-lifetime expeditions with a luxury twist.

As I walked around the Conrad London St. James, watching people weave Christmas wreaths together, taste fragrant cups of tea and decorate cookies while chatting about everything from their markets to their families, it was clear that the experiences were really helping people to bond and forge business connections.

Aside from the excellent British experiences provided by the Conrad London St. James, it was the hotel’s team that really made the event. They are so committed, so full of personality, and so intuitive when finding out exactly what guests need. The buyers were so impressed by the attention to detail, the quality of the product and the overall experience of staying in the hotel.

I have to give credit to Delia from the Conrad London St. James for really championing Connections and seeing the potential for hosting our first white label event at the hotel. Delia, it was amazing to finally work with you, you’re fantastic!

And my hat goes off to Simon Drake, the hotel manager, for running such a tightly-knit team and creating a hotel with such a special, individual atmosphere – Simon, it was an absolute pleasure working with you, and thank you!

I have two highlights from the event. The first one has to be the wine and canvas session. We tasted three wines, and using colourful pastel crayons, we drew what those wines made us feel, or think of – a trending activity in New York at the moment.

It was just hilarious. I saw so many things I hadn’t expected to see, and I’m not talking about unusual fruits – some delegates felt it was perfectly reasonable to draw dolphins and Justin Bieber! Thanks again to the Conrad London St. James for introducing me to this experience.

And my second highlight was the magical Icelandic dinner supported by HL Adventure on our closing night. Watching my good friend Jon, the company’s CEO, talk so animatedly and honestly about how he and his partner Johanna run their business really inspired me. Not only did he have everyone in stitches, but his passion for showing others the raw beauty of Iceland completely shone through.

The five-course Icelandic menu expertly created by the Conrad London St. James’s chef, Zoe, was sensational, and a testament to how the hotel really can turn its hand to anything you ask. As we sat around the long, candlelit table tucking into tender goose carpaccio and succulent deer garnished with berries, I remember feeling like we were in a fairytale.

Finally, I have to thank the absolutely lovely group of hand-picked buyers who took time out of their busy schedules to come to London and support Connections’ first ever white label event. It was great to see a mixture of old and new faces, and see you leave as friends after just one day.

Here’s to what will hopefully be the start of many more successful white label Connections events! If you’d like to talk about what’s possible – perhaps you’re tempted to host your own Connections white label event, and showcase your brand via the Connections Way – I’m only a phone call away (+44 (0)20 7881 4848) , and I’d love to hear from you.

Until next year!