Are you looking for a venue for a retreat you’re organising? Organising a religious, spiritual or wellness retreat can be a difficult task if you’ve never done it before. Choosing the right venue is a crucial step that can greatly impact the success of your event. Whether you’re planning a spiritual retreat, a wellness weekend, or a religious conference, finding a venue that aligns with your goals and values is essential.
In this guide, we’ll explore a range of considerations to help you select the ideal retreat venue that caters to your event’s needs.
How To Choose a Retreat Venue
1. Decide on Your Goals
Consider who your retreat is for and what you are hoping to achieve from the retreat.
- Is it a youth retreat where you’re hoping to teach them and expand their understanding of their faith?
- Are you hosting a women’s mindfulness weekend?
- Is your church hosting a retreat for couples to reconnect in a private space away from home stresses?
- Are you hosting a religious conference, followed by a gathering for prayer, networking or spending quality time together with your brothers and sisters?
Once you have a clear goal for your retreat, you’ll then be able to decide what style of retreat will help you achieve that goal. Having a clear understanding of what you’re trying to achieve will help plan your retreat schedule and then help you to continue the planning process laid out below for a successful retreat.
2. Inclusivity and Respect
When selecting a retreat venue, it’s important to ensure that all participants are welcome. Look for venues that not only welcome all belief systems but also respect cultural and religious laws, such as dietary restrictions such as providing kosher options.
Can a venue offer flexible catering arrangements to allow you to do your own catering or offer separate dining options – whether that’s in the form of separate dining times or private dining space?
3. Dedicated Spaces for Spiritual Practices
It’s also important to consider whether your potential retreat venue offers suitable spaces for prayers or meditation sessions. Do they already have a prayer room or do they have a space that can be set up to provide this for your visitors?
Whether you require certain spaces or equipment for specific activities or prayer sessions, consider whether you need AV equipment, adequate space for prayer mats or prayer circles, space for ice breaker or team building activities.
4. Accommodation Options
If you are planning a retreat that will last more than a day, accommodation will be required for your guests. So you’ll need to consider the retreat location – is it accessible for your guests? A hotel might be the ideal venue for your event, typically offering meeting rooms and additional facilities as well as hotel rooms for your guests.
Most retreat venues will offer guest rooms or be able to recommend hotels or accommodation close by, so it’s a good idea to consider who will be attending your next retreat and whether they’d be happy to sleep in the great outdoors with camping or glamping options available, or whether they’d prefer a few more amenities with a hotel stay. You’ll also need to consider whether your guests would share accommodation or require individual accommodation.
Choosing a dedicated venue that can offer the perfect event spaces for your retreat is an essential part of the planning process.
4. Embracing the Great Outdoors
If you’re looking to utilise outdoor space as part of your retreat schedule, you’ll need to ensure that a venue can offer this or has good local outdoor spaces available close by. Integrating the outdoors into your retreat is perfect for activities such as prayer, meditation, reflection, team building and exercise. Whether you’re looking for a serene garden, quiet forest paths, lakeside spot or open green space that allows you to connect with nature or host yoga sessions, you’ll need to consider your goals and retreat schedule before looking for the perfect venue.
These things are particularly important for those looking to create a holistic retreat experience, as well as providing your guests with leisure space for retreats that will last more than one day.
This is also why you should consider the location of your venue and whether you want to host multiple retreats at the same venue, so that you can continue to perfect the experience you are providing.
5. Staffing & Resources
Decisions that may limit your options for choosing a venue may include, hosting a youth group weekend or if you’re looking for exclusive use of a venue, so you will need to decide early on if you require resources for particular types of retreats. For example, does the venue have a safeguarding policy? Would you have exclusive use of the whole venue or a portion of it and if it’s a certain area of the venue, would you come into contact with any other guests?
You’ll then need to decide if you’re looking for a venue that just provides the meeting space for your events and activities to take place or whether you’re looking for an all-inclusive venue that provides the staff. If you opt for a venue, you’ll need to consider how many people you expect to run the retreat for and then how many team members will be required to help you run the event.
These are just some of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself and your chosen venue to ensure they offer everything that you require.
5. Easily Accessible & Ideal Location
When planning your retreat, you’ll need to pick the ideal place for your goals and your retreat schedule. You should consider the following questions:
- Is it easily accessible – central location with good public transport? Will guests be required to drive?
- Does the venue offer free parking?
- Will you need to organise transport?
- Are there things to do around the venue if you plan to go offsite?
- Are you looking to take advantage of the surrounding nature? Is there a beach, forest or large outdoor space available?
Your chosen location should take into account the activities and goals you want to achieve as well as being easy for most people to attend which is an important part of your planning to ensure you can fill your retreat spaces and cover costs. Plus the right location can make or break an event.
6. Time of Year
If you’re looking to utilise outdoor space or visit the beach during your retreat, you’ll need to consider your environment and the time of year you’d like the hold the retreat. Especially important in the UK where our weather can’t be relied on, our advice would be to choose a location that offers indoor and outdoor space.
Other questions to ask yourself are, can you offer a retreat multiple times of year to ensure anyone can attend? Hosting during school holidays might increase prices but mean that more people are able to attend. It might be worthwhile avoiding times of year such as April at the end of the tax year if you’re target audience for your wellbeing retreat is business owners or avoiding December and January when people are putting their money towards Christmas. The best thing you could do if you already have an audience base is to carry out research in the form of a simple poll to see what months or dates would be best for them.
7. Understand Your Guests Budget
Understand what is essential for your retreat and what is a nice-to-have. Clarify your budget and negotiate with potential venues to achieve your goals within your financial constraints. This will include knowing your target audience and the costs that groups would incur for attending your retreat.
You should consider if guests are coming from the same local area and whether you can choose a venue that meets your requirements that is a good distance for these people to travel to. Alternatively, if you’re looking to go further afield and host a retreat in a different country, you’ll need to acknowledge that the budget might need to be higher to include flights or to take summer holiday times into account.
Remember to budget for food or take into account that your guests will need to provide their own food, again affecting the location of your venue and what the group has access to depending on your decision on this.
Budget will be a big determining factor in whether a person will be interested in attending your retreat so be careful to take into account who you are targeting with your retreat and if you’re pricing them out of attending.
Selecting The Right Retreat Venues
Whether you’re organising a single retreat or looking to host reoccurring retreats across one or multiple locations, you’ll need to be prepared to select an event venue that works for you.
When selecting the perfect retreat venue you should consider the needs and preferences of participants while aligning with the goals of your event.
If you have any questions about choosing the right venue for your religious retreat or well-being weekend, our event planners are available to discuss what Kents Hill Park can offer.
We’re an experienced venue with ample meeting spaces, conference rooms and in a fantastic central location for guests to attend your retreat. Explore our retreat venue information.
We also have experience in hosting a number of corporate retreats in our dedicated conference facilities.Go back to other articles