Penguins Blog

Istanbul FAM Trip

February 16th, 2012 by Aimee


I have always fancied a trip to the vibrant city of Istanbul but never seemed to make it there. When our Managing Director suggested Istanbul as the next destination for one of our client fam trips I jumped at the opportunity. Istanbul is a fantastic city steeped in culture, history and nightlife. Divided in two by the beautiful Bosphorous Strait, it is the only city in the world to straddle two continents, Europe and Asia and the influence of both can be seen throughout this vibrant city.

With only a 4 hour flight from Heathrow Istanbul is a great short haul destination for any conference or incentive event. Our group of twelve were hosted by Dekon and partnered by our friends from MM & Co. Our base camp for this trip was the Ritz Carlton Hotel, which in my opinion was absolutely sumptuous, which is what you would expect for a hotel voted Best International Business Hotel by Condé Nast Travellers Readers' Awards 2009!

This wonderful five star hotel is in Taksim Square and stands in the centre of this fascinating city. Bathed in Ottoman-inspired splendour that pays homage to the rich historical traditions of Turkey, it features 244 well-appointed guest rooms, including 23 suites and 57 Ritz-Carlton Club Level rooms. With vast meeting space, luxurious Spa  and fitness centre it has everything that you expect a modern 5 star hotel to have. A perfect location for any event!

What Istanbul can also offer is plenty of variety in terms of places to eat, activities available and places to visit. Most visitors to Istanbul will immediately be struck by the quantity of mosques, and in our short time there we visited Haghia Sophia, which dates back to AD537 and has previously been a orthodox basilica, a roman catholic cathedral and a mosque; Topkapi Palace which is a large palace that was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years; and then the  Blue Mosque, Istanbul’s most famous landmark which was constructed by some of the same stonemasons who later helped to construct the Taj Mahal in Indian. We also visited the 1001 Column Cistern which is now used as a drinks reception and gala dinner venue. But be warned, as the name suggests there are one or two pillars that interfere with your line of sight!!  Finally no visit to Istanbul could exclude a trip to the  Grand Bazaar! And as in the scene from the Life of Brian….haggle!!

The rest of the time on this trip was spent eating and drinking at some of Istanbul’s most coveted restaurants. We had superb lunches at both the Ritz Carlton’s restaurant and then at the
Develi Restaurant which is a traditional Ottoman restaurant who served us with the most amazing mezze and traditional kebabs.

In the evening we were picked up from Kabatas Pier on a brand new luxury cruiser (not easy to get on and off in high heels!) to take us for a short cruise up the Bosphorous to our pre dinner drinks reception at the exclusive Esma Sultan – wow this place is absolutely breath-taking!! Our final night’s dinner was at G-Fish Restaurant at SuAda – a man-made island on the Bosphorous Strait where Istanbul’s socialites come to sip world-class cocktails and enjoy the finest sushi and fish dishes Istanbul has to offer. With a beach and swimming pool with a 360 degree panoramic view SuAda is truly amazing!  

Although we were only in Istanbul for a little over 48 hours we really did get a true feel for this magnificent city. You would need to spend a lot longer here in order to truly discover all Istanbul has to offer, we enjoyed just a bite size experience but I would totally recommend Istanbul to anyone considering going there, and as a conference and incentive destination this is a definite must! 
Istanbul is one of many destinations that we have explored this year with our clients and we are staging others later this year and next year.

If you are keen to come, and you are a serious organiser of meetings, incentives, conferences or events then either register your interest on our home page or contact me on 01753 839671 or and we’ll get you along.

Tweet @PenguinsEvents with your thoughts on Istanbul as a conference or incentive destination.



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Creative team building ideas for the digital age

February 16th, 2012 by Chris

Motivating and building teams in today's digital age can be a tricky business when staff spend every waking hour using smartphones, ipads, social networking sites and blogs among others to communicate at home and work. If you've been racking your brains on how to get your team's creative juices flowing in 2012 then check out this fab creative team build idea.

I absolutely love this product, inspired by my daughters’ Year 5 After School Film club, I thought what an excellent team building activity this would make, except instead of taking an entire school term to create an animation - do it in one day from brief to concept to design to animation.

The amazing thing about Creative Animative is it is just a fantastic, fun way of getting your team's creative juices flowing. To give you an idea think of Aardman’s Morph or Creature Comforts or Nick Park’s incredible Wallace and Gromit. Each team is tasked with creating a 30 second animation from scratch and there are lots of roles for everyone including scripting, making the characters, scenery, voice overs, music selection, direction and not least the animation and filming. These short works of art can then be shown at the end of the day. 

The great thing is that you are in control of the brief, you can get the teams to create a company commercial, a hilarious workplace situation, re-create scenes from well known movies or just be given a free rein to go anywhere they choose, it is entirely up to you. You bring all the creativity and we supply all the plasticine you need. Our expert facilitators, animators, technicians will ensure that your team build event flows smoothly.

In this digital world, it is a great opportunity to have the chance to create something real using tried and tested animation techniques, the best thing is that at the end you can keep the models and better still is that the animations can be taken back and put up on the company's website for every one to enjoy again and again; and vote on their favourite!


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How to stop delegates sitting at the back of a conference room

February 2nd, 2012 by Mark

We continually work with our clients on making their conferences more engaging and possibly one of the most effective ways of reducing the desire for delegates to "hide" is to stop conferences being a "them and us". Engage audiences in advance of the event and allow them to contribute to the event. Provide training to those that are going to present with how they present. Then stage the event in "the round" so that the presentation is delivered from the middle of the room. There is then no "them and us".

It becomes more inclusive and it shows that, if it is an internal event, that the company really is breaking down barriers and inclusive of everyone. It makes the event exciting, interesting and much more visual. We have used this style of conference many times and I have yet to read any negativity from those that have attended events in the round. The speakers are more visible, which is something not all speakers like, but then we believe that presenting from behind a lectern is not the most engaging way of presenting and surely as technology and events evolve, so should the skills of those presenting! 



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