An Interview with Kate Harth, CSMO | Cape Resorts

“She felt a much deeper connection with her colleagues... isn’t that what the primary objective should be?”

It’s a rare thing to encounter an executive with a self-described sense of “professional exuberance”. But that’s Kate Harth, the new Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Cape Resorts. Widely known for her expertise in hospitality and exceptional leadership, she is a champion for the guest experience— and once she got to know Cape Resorts a bit, she saw an incredible opportunity. On the next few pages, we ask Kate a few questions about her vision with Cape Resorts.

Kate, tell us about the most inspiring and productive retreat that YOU went on.
I have been on quite a few, and the best was one housed in a large home in Vermont, in the winter. It was relaxed and much more informal than any other retreat I had attended, and the result was that we truly bonded, which created open and honest dialogue.

What makes a hotel a particularly good location?
There are so many amenities on hand —from the nuts-and-bolts, such as the space you need for audio-visual presentations, to the fun stuff, such as cocktail hours, an onsite restaurant and maybe the chance to enjoy some music and dancing, too! Add in our team of talented planners and it’s truly a one-stop shop. We make it so convenient for company owners and HR directors.

Tell us a little about the different offerings at Cape Resorts.
It really does run the gamut—from the fields and cottages and barns of Beach Plum Farm in West Cape May to the ocean views of the iconic beachfront hotels in Cape May, to our just-off-Main-Street Baron's Cove in Sag Harbor, to the 7-acre waterfront campus of The Pridwin—each Cape Resorts property enables groups to build a truly bespoke, tailored experience for their teams.

So, let’s start with the farm. That sounds like a pretty cool place for a retreat.
Tell me about it! Our six beautiful cottages are nestled in 62 acres of working farmland. It’s absolutely idyllic. I would say it’s the perfect escape for executives who want a break from the hustle and bustle of daily corporate life in the city. We have an extensive menu of teambuilding activities in the beautiful outdoors. And then there are the fun events like food competitions—such as blind wine tasting, guess the herbs, a progressive cocktail or dinner party, and the taco battle! From drum circles to hiking, we have a range of activities to fit any kind of vibe.

What about the beachfront hotels in America’s oldest seaside resort?
Maybe I’m biased. I’ve lived at the Jersey Shore and in Newport, Rhode Island, and I absolutely love fall, winter and spring at the beach. Each season has its own special offerings. What better place to breathe the fresh air, listen to the sound of the surf and then take part in fun stuff like Beach Olympics and Scavenger Hunts? Our properties in Cape May offer so much flexibility. You’ve got Congress Hall, the oldest seaside hotel in America and an incredible base for a corporate retreat. We can accommodate any size up to 200 people. We also offer The Virginia, a double-porched, gingerbread Victorian gem—these are great venues for a variety of different types of retreats- whatever someone is looking for.

What retreat opportunities are available in the East End?
They’re both very special, non-traditional retreat venues. The Pridwin is on Shelter Island, which says it all - this beautiful little spot is perfect for a retreat. A chance to get away from it all and create an inspiring enclave for your colleagues. We have numerous breakout spaces all over the Pridwin’s waterfront campus. In Sag Harbor, Baron’s Cove is located a short walk from the village Main Street. It’s a wonderful location for a business retreat. The Map Room offers gorgeous views of Sag Harbor Cove and can accommodate up to 30 people, while the adjoining restaurant can seat up to 55 people. When I think about teambuilding opportunities at both these spots, I think about bonding down at the Grove, an outdoor amphitheater at the Pridwin which is created from its natural surroundings—and it includes a bar! It’s a really neat spot for company discussions, team report-outs and things like that. We could also host our signature scavenger hunts in the town of Sag Harbor—how fun and different!

That’s a lot of options. Is there one thing you would say that connects the Cape Resorts retreats?
Yes! The connection with the outdoors. I read an article that quoted a survey saying that offices with access to sunlight and greenery boosted people’s creativity by 15%. When you think of our waterfront properties and the farm, that’s a whole lot of daylight and beautiful outdoor space. How could you not be inspired to be more creative? We saw years ago how the request for meeting rooms with windows became almost a requirement. Now it’s about unusual spaces that are unique. The owner of Salesforce, which has 74,000 employees, bought a 75-acre ranch in California to use for employee training and teambuilding. More and more, businesses are seriously considering and reconsidering how to build their company culture. An investment in quality company retreats is something that seems to pay for itself.

What Cape Resorts retreat has stood out recently?
We hosted one in February at the Virginia Cottages for an executive team from New York City. They wanted a location that was within driving distance and which took people out of a stress-induced environment. I spoke with one of the attendees and she was gushing about how this was her favorite retreat ever. She loved that it was comfortable and relaxed, but also highly productive —she felt a much deeper connection with her colleagues than she had ever experienced on any previous retreat. Isn’t that what the primary objective should be? I think people are hungry for that sense of connection. We provide an authentic, human element to every stay—corporate meetings included. That’s what Cape Resorts is all about.

Two elegantly set tables with white table cloths

Left:Natural outdoor charm combines with comfortable and customizable table arrangements in Beach Plum Farm’s Hoop House meeting space. The sides of our Hoop Houses can be left open in season, and closed in cooler months
Right:The Frost Room at the Pridwin