Looking to reward your best performing sales staff with a VIP experience? Where better to do it than on board Her Majesty The Queen’s private yacht?
The Royal Yacht Britannia was home to HRH and the Royal Family for more than 40 years, sailing over 1,000,000 miles around the world. Today, it is permanently berthed in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is available as a unique corporate events venue.
The yacht is presented exactly as it was when The Queen was in residence and guests who embark are treated to an authentic state dinner in the elegant state dining room.
We used the venue for the first time recently, organising an incentive dinner for 95 top sales people from a premium cookware brand.
Our head of events, explains: “The dinner was part of a summer incentive trip in Scotland we organised for 150 people at the Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club. The event involved things like a mini-Highland Games, a fancy dress party and a gala dinner, and, at the end of it, we included an added incentive for senior sales staff.
The yacht was the perfect venue option: “The whole ethos is that the vessel stays as she always was, an ambassador for British trade and industry, making it ideal for corporate events. And, for that reason, they don’t have a licence for weddings.
“The venue aims to make it as close as possible to the original experience. They roll out the red carpet and the guests are piped on board. If it’s raining, they come out with umbrellas. They treat everybody as if they are state guests – the only thing missing from the experience is The Queen!
“If the client wants, they can even go back through their records to find a link with a state dinner that is relevant [to the client] and recreate the menu from that evening.”
The cuisine on board Britannia is of an exceptional standard, produced by executive chef Mark Alston, who trained at the Mandarin Oriental in London. But before guests get to tuck in, they start their evening with a drinks reception in the state drawing room.
Vine plum tomato and citrus risotto with marinated courgettes
Fillet of sea bass, potato gratin with saffron and leek and tomato butter sauce
Warm chocolate ginger pudding with crème fraîche sorbet
Says our head of events: “Guests can be entertained by a pianist playing the grand piano that Princess Diana and Princess Margaret used to play. They can also enjoy short guided tours around the boat, taking in the captain’s quarters, officers’ mess and engine room downstairs, before coming back up to see the state bedrooms.
“Guests are often surprised to see that most of the fixtures and fittings on board are original and very homely as The Queen reputedly hates waste and doesn’t remodel if things are still in good working order.”
More original décor can be seen in the impressive state dining room, with its white-panelled walls adorned with gifts Her Majesty received during state visits.
It is here, where kings and queens, world leaders and celebrities have all dined, that the exclusive dinner takes place. The room can accommodate 50-96 for dinner.
Our head of events, explains: “A state dinner costs from £198.00 plus VAT per head and includes 3 glasses of champagne, which is incredibly good value for money. You would pay significantly more in London for this type of experience.
“The attention to detail is second to none. When we were there, they were phoning up and checking what time the coaches were arriving and ensuring they would be coming through the right gate to get onto the dock. They were very concerned to get it right from the word go, before the guests were even on board.”
The client was suitably impressed with the service: “They loved it. They said it was the best thing they’d ever done. As a way to reward people who are doing well they thought it was the best thing because it feels like a money can’t buy experience.”
This was the first incentive event that we felt had a real person impact on our contest winners. To understand the context and prestigious history of the rooms and the overall dining experience made the evening simply unforgettable. I would definitely recommend this to anybody who has a brief to not only incentivise but genuinely reward hard working people. A special night.
During the summer months, it is also possible to charter Royal Racing Yacht, Bloodhound, once owned by Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip. Located in Oban, small groups of up to 8 people can take the boat sailing on the lochs.
“It’s a very unique experience,” says our head of events. “And soon guests will be able to have another – sleeping on board a floating hotel. There are plans for it to be moored next to Britannia. It means guests will be able to stay the night after their dinner – it will be the complete royal treatment!”