Impeccable Colorado

Elite service, Western friendliness, and stellar experiences are the state’s hallmarks

C Lazy U Ranch
C Lazy U Ranch || Courtesy of C Lazy U Ranch

When assembling all the moving parts of a meeting or event, planners frequently score big with standout venues, first-class customer service, and local experiences. Colorado excels at satisfying this checklist, doing so with its own unique style.

While it takes a whole team of suppliers to make a gathering successful, Colorado Meetings + Events elected to focus on several city and mountain venues from around the state that are truly impeccable. It’s not a comprehensive list, and of course Western Slope favorites like Gateway Canyons Resort in Gateway and Wine Country Inn in Palisade could easily be included, but insightful comments from the planners and suppliers interviewed helped turn on the ideas tap.

“From the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the vibrant culture of cities like Denver and Boulder, Colorado offers a perfect blend of adventure and sophistication,” says Joshua Riggs, associate director of private events and catering for Denver Botanic Gardens. “Attendees can indulge in outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and whitewater rafting, or explore the thriving culinary and arts scenes the state has to offer.”

Brady Johnson, director of sales and marketing for C Lazy U Ranch near Granby, adds, “Colorado is the best place to host an event because it has breathtaking scenery, amazing venues, easy access, and a wonderful, year-round appeal. There is never a bad day in the mountains of Colorado, and there is something to do in every season.”

The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Avon, Vail Valley
The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Avon, Vail Valley || Courtesy of The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Avon, Vail Valley

Front Range Style

It seems appropriate to start off with The Broadmoor, recipient of Forbes Travel Guide’s Five Stars since 1960 and AAA’s Five Diamonds since 1976. Opened in 1918 and a standard-bearer for elite customer service ever since, the Colorado Springs property has 315,000 square feet of function space and numerous activities on its 5,000-acre campus. The options expand even more when including The Broadmoor’s Wilderness Experience portfolio that includes the nearby Cloud Camp and The Ranch at Emerald Valley, as well as Fly Fishing Camp located 75 miles to the west.

The Ranch at Emerald Valley
The Ranch at Emerald Valley || Courtesy of The Broadmoor

“One of my favorite properties to plan meetings in Colorado is The Broadmoor,” says Deb Brannon, owner of Altitude Events in Golden. “They have impeccable service and always go above and beyond to ensure the meeting is a success. I love the rich history of the property and how they incorporate quintessential Colorado through Camp Cloud, wilderness adventures, and the beautiful setting where the hotel resides.”

Also located in Colorado Springs, Flying Horse Resort & Club offers 11,000 square feet of indoor and 10,000 square feet of outdoor event space, well-appointed guest rooms, an athletic club and spa, and multiple dining options. “Planners speak highly about their attendees being able to play our two private, award-winning 18-hole championship golf courses. For attendees who may not be golf enthusiasts, our Tuscan-inspired athletic club and spa offers wellness experiences and activities suited for every guest,” says Marketing Manager Kendyl Berger.

“Colorado stands out for seamlessly combining memorable events with personal adventures,” Berger adds. “Whether you’re in search of Rocky Mountain escapades, serene wellness retreats, legendary golfing experiences, or the buzz of city life in the evening following your event, Colorado has it all covered.”

Both Colorado Springs properties deliver city and mountain surroundings as does St Julien Hotel & Spa in Boulder. The hotel has more than 16,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor function space, including nine meeting rooms and four terrace and garden areas that can host 10 to 400 guests. The hotel has an on-site event planner to help ensure seamless execution of gatherings and offers a menu of a la carte group experiences such as brewery tours, guided hikes, and yoga.

The lobby  at St Julien Hotel & Spa in Boulder
The lobby at St Julien Hotel & Spa in Boulder || Courtesy of St Julien Hotel & Spa

“Meeting and event planners almost always mention the outdoor space with the views of the Flatirons and that the location within Boulder is very well received by their attendees,” says Director of Sales Valerie Knorr. “Guests will find themselves just steps from popular dining and shopping at the outdoor, pedestrian-only Pearl Street Mall and miles of hiking and biking trails at nearby Boulder Creek and beyond.”

In Denver, there are many options with Denver Botanic Gardens and The Ritz-Carlton, Denver, among the standouts.

Denver Botanic Gardens;
Denver Botanic Gardens || Courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens

“Meeting and event planners often rave about the diverse array of features, amenities, and activities that Denver Botanic Gardens offers,” says Riggs. “From the 50-plus curated gardens and serene water features to a wide range of versatile outdoor and indoor spaces like the UMB Bank Amphitheater Tent to the Orangery or Mitchell Hall, there’s something special for every event. Attendees can also enjoy year-round activities including guided tours, educational workshops, and seasonal events like Blossoms of Light and art exhibitions.” 

With over 24 acres of meticulously curated gardens, Denver Botanic Gardens has 18 different function spaces that can host intimate gatherings of 10 guests up to large-scale events for 1,500.

The Ritz-Carlton, Denver, has a convenient downtown location and blends timeless elegance and Western hospitality. Groups of up to 500 attendees can be hosted in the 13,000 square feet of indoor space, and a 2,000-square-foot urban terrace gives groups a chance to get outside.

Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation has held its annual Kaleidoscope Gala at the property for more than a decade. “As an event focused on elegance and philanthropy, I can’t imagine hosting it anywhere but The Ritz-Carlton, Denver,” says Director of Development Patti Kinnear. “The venue sets the perfect stage for the evening, and the entire staff works in tandem with our team to ensure every guest is taken care of and the event is a success.”

Mountain Magic

Located along the Eagle River, The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Avon, Vail Valley, is a Silver LEED-certified property with more than 23,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space. New options include The Osprey and Talons suites with floor-to-ceiling windows and the ability to host up to 60 people each.

Real estate company Slifer Smith & Frampton has booked numerous meetings and retreats at the property. “Regardless of what last-minute changes we may have, the team seems to stay a step ahead of us and exceeds our expectations,” says Lisa Wilkes, corporate services specialist. “We recently enjoyed an all-day retreat in The Osprey Suite, which is a unique boutique-style conference space. The entire event was seamless, including both lunch and dinner served in the room. It was our own private oasis.”

Located at the base of Breckenridge’s Peak 9, Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center has accommodations that range from hotel rooms to three-bedroom condominiums and more than 40,000 square feet of meeting and event space spread across boardrooms, patios, and ballrooms. Beaver Run can host groups of up to 1,000 and is at the heart of every citywide conference held in town, like the annual conference hosted by the Colorado Association of School Executives.

“There are quite a few mountain meeting locations, but Beaver Run is one of the largest options that is truly located on the mountain for beautiful views and outdoor events, but also is still easily walkable to the vibrant town of Breckenridge,” says Carissa Hughes, director of events and operations at the association. “It is the best of both worlds for finding the balance of mountain serenity, but also having access to many off-site dining and entertainment options.”

Rio Grande Club & Resort is a special place in a remote southern Colorado town. While South Fork is known for outdoor pursuits like hiking, trout fishing, and hunting, many are unaware that a top golf resort is located there as well. However, it’s the affordability and flexibility for custom events that keep groups coming back with the clubhouse and fishing lodge available for group bookings.

Rio Grande Club & Resort;
Rio Grande Club & Resort || Photo by Chris Wheeler and Great Divide Photography

“The Rio Grande Club & Resort has been the venue of choice for Creede Repertory Theatre’s biennial gala for many years,” says Development Director Lori Heinrich. “From its beautiful views to its grand dining room, the resort provides the perfect atmosphere for an evening of exceptional dining and entertainment. The staff always goes the extra mile in planning and execution to ensure that our gala is an evening to remember.”

The 8,500-acre C Lazy U Ranch is only two hours west of Denver but far enough away that groups feel like they are in a different world. “Meeting planners love the location and the horses,” says Johnson. “The ranch does a daily ‘jingle’ or ‘running’ of the 200 horses in and out of pasture, and this is one of the most beautiful events. It is an experiential retreat where you stop and smell the flowers, see the beauty, and experience the fun of the Rocky Mountain outdoors.”

With 38 guest cabins and 7,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, the circa-1919 ranch caters to smaller groups ranging from a 10-person executive retreat to a company buyout for 40 to 60 people.

“We rebook a significantly large number of guests and groups each year—well over 50%, which is unheard of in the industry,” Johnson says. “It is the amazing team at the ranch that shows up in our surveys time and time again and drives our return business. Genuine Western hospitality goes a long way in our world today, and that’s what we offer via using your name, a handshake, and a smile.”