We’re meeting in the mountains? It’s a question attendees might ask when reading any reference to peaks on itineraries and seeing destination photos that generate excitement for gatherings in Colorado Springs, Colorado; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and the Monterey and Carmel area in California. Read on for a brief overview of what groups might find in these unexpected places with peaks.
THE BROADMOOR CLOUD CAMP
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
Overview: Located at an elevation of just over 6,000 feet and with a high alpine desert climate and more than 300 days of sunshine yearly, Colorado Springs dates back to 1871 and is Colorado’s second largest city. Approximately 14,500 guest rooms in the Pikes Peak Region and more than 450,000 square feet of meeting space, 156 parks and a wide range of attractions and activities translate into nearly endless options for memorable gatherings.
PROPERTIES WITH MOUNTAIN BACKDROPS:
Cheyenne Mountain Resort – Set on 217 acres and IACC certified, this resort and country club feature 316 guest rooms, 40,000 square feet of meeting and event space, and a huge range of activities from golf, tennis and fitness facilities to a spa, pools and a lake and beach area. cheyennemountain.com
Glen Eyrie Castle & Conference Center – Nestled on 723 acres, Glen Eyrie is a private conference and retreat center that offers a wide range of accommodations and 19,500 square feet of meeting space across the property. The star is a 17-room, English Tudor-style castle built by General William Jackson Palmer, the city’s founder. gleneyrie.org
The Broadmoor – Opened nearly a century ago and situated on 5,000 acres at the base of Cheyenne Mountain, this AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star property hosts groups in grand style with a variety of lodging, activity and dining options. With 185,000 square feet of event space, The Broadmoor serves groups of all sizes and has more intimate Wilderness Experience options on the mountains nearby, including Cloud Camp and The Ranch at Emerald Valley. broadmoor.com`
Other Great Options: Garden of the Gods Club & Resort; The Mining Exchange, A Wyndham Grand Hotel & Spa; and The Antlers, A Wyndham Hotel.
Great Wolf Lodge – Opened in late 2016, the property has 311 guest rooms, 20,000 square feet of meeting and event space, and seven dining outlets. One of the major highlights is the large water park available only to hotel guests and other indoor fun like a ropes course, miniature golf and the brand’s first and only rock climbing wall. greatwolf.com
U.S. Olympic Training Center – The visitor center recently underwent a state-of-the-art renovation that includes a digitally enhanced rotunda, social media wall to track athletes, rotating exhibits and more. The center has 65,000 square feet of meeting space and various activity options for groups. visitcos.com
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING:
Sandy Milis, CTA, meeting and event planner for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and president of Joyful Journey Travel, coordinated a faith-based meeting of pastors at Cheyenne Mountain Resort and is looking at doing the same in 2017. “I would recommend a visit to the Olympic Training Center to my church pastors if they do return to Colorado Springs this year,” Milis says. “I think the natural beauty of the mountains definitely adds to the appeal of Colorado Springs, and an excursion up to Pikes Peak would definitely be worth the trip.”
Nearby: The Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway, mineral springs in Manitou Springs (for drinking not soaking), Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, Colorado Wolf & Wildlife Center
LA FONDA ON THE PLAZA
SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO
OVERVIEW: Santa Fe, the United State’s oldest and highest state capital, is only 16 miles from Ski Santa Fe. The downtown plaza, museums, one-of-a-kind shops and hotels are just steps from the Santa Fe Community Convention Center with 72,000 square feet of meeting and event space. Plus there is the iconic Canyon Road, home to more than 80 galleries. You may not think of Santa Fe as a mountain town but downtown is just a few minutes from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and the Jemez Mountains and Ortiz Mountains are nearby as well.
PROPERTIES WITH MOUNTAIN BACKDROPS:
Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado – This boutique hotel with 65 casita guest rooms and suites and 13,700 square feet of meeting and event space was designed on 57 acres tucked away in the Sangre de Cristo foothills. Highlights include a spa offering regionally inspired treatments, a restaurant focusing on local influences and ingredients, and a partnership with Equus, a horse-assisted personal development and leadership experience.
Bishop’s Lodge – The iconic 1920s ranch resort on 317 acres, also in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rockies foothills, has new ownership, is undergoing renovation and should reopen in late spring 2018. The project is upgrading all areas of the ranch and expanding accommodations to 123 rooms and suites. The horse stables are still open for business and providing trail rides. bishopslodge.com
La Posada de Santa Fe – On the outer edge of downtown, La Posada has a secluded feeling that reflects its roots from 1880s brick mansion, early 20th century art colony and ultimately a 26-building, 6-acre hotel. More of a village than a typical hotel, the property has 4,500 square feet of function space and 157 casita-style guest rooms, some dating back more than 230 years. laposadadesantafe.com
Other Great Options: Sunrise Springs Spa Resort; Eldorado Hotel & Spa; Inn and Spa at Loretto; Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino.
Venues & Attractions with a Mountain Twist:
Ski Santa Fe, Ten Thousand Waves, mountain views at La Fonda on the Plaza’s outdoor patio garden off the La Terraza room and fifth-floor Belltower Bar and Eldorado Hotel & Spa’s Presidential Patio.
Meow Wolf – The 20,000-squarefoot “House of Eternal Return” interactive art experience is housed in a former bowling alley and has several immersive spaces, a 300-person music venue, video game arcade, treehouses and more.
Santa Fe Margarita Trail – Introduced in May 2016, the trail highlights 31 restaurants and bars that offer special, uniquely designed and named margaritas. Passports are available from Santa Fe Margarita Trail and TOURISM Santa Fe for $3, provide $1 discounts on margaritas, and result in prizes when collecting five, 20 and all 31 stamps.
Hotel Updates - Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi and La Fonda on the Plaza have completed final phases of renovations. La Fonda focused on the revitalization of the historic property’s lobby, La Fiesta Lounge and more, while the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi wrapped up a three-year renovation and celebrated its 25th anniversary in July. Drury Plaza Hotel introduced the 3,000-square-foot O’Keeffe Room with an open design and ability to seat up to 300 guests, bringing the hotel’s total indoor and outdoor meeting and event space up to 20,000 square feet.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING:
Dual Language Education of New Mexico has hosted its annual convention for more than 2,400 attendees and GLAD Summer Institute in Santa Fe.
Favorite Properties: La Fonda on the Plaza, Eldorado Hotel & Spa, La Posada de Santa Fe and Drury Plaza Inn.
Venues: Community Convention Center, New Mexico History Museum, New Mexico Museum of Art.
Attractions Attendees Love: International Folk Art Museum, Institute of American Indian Arts, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe Children’s Museum.
Why Santa Fe?: “We look for retreat-like settings, and with the size and the people in the hospitality industry we find Santa Fe to be a great destination. It might be considered too small a town for our group, but as we grow we have found ways to work out some of the size challenges, and our participants beg us to return as often as we can. The mountains in November are usually snowcapped, and even with 60-degree day temperatures, the mountains hold their snowy beauty.”
- David Rogers, executive director, Dual Language Education of New Mexico
Nearby: Bandelier National Monument, Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, Puye Cliff Dwellings, Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa, the artsy town of Madrid in the Ortiz Mountains.
HYATT CARMEL HIGHLANDS
MONTEREY & CARMEL CALIFORNIA
OVERVIEW: There are 12 towns in Monterey County and a population of more than 415,000, so we focused on highlights around Monterey and Carmel, as there are more than 250 lodging facilities, 12,000 guest rooms, 100 art galleries, 25 golf courses and 10 museums countywide. Fresh local produce and seafood are prevalent on menus along with wines from the county’s 225 vineyards.
PROPERTIES WITH MOUNTAIN BACKDROPS:
Asilomar Conference Grounds – Located on 107 acres of protected California State Park beachfront land in Pacific Grove, Asilomar has hosted groups since 1992. Eleven of the 30 current structures are on the National Register of Historic Places, and the 313 guest rooms and 65,000 square feet of meeting and event space are complemented by an abundance of outdoor activities, ranger-guided tours and team-building options such as Beach Olympics and Challenge by the Sea. visitasilomar.com
Bernardus Lodge and Spa – Set on 28 Carmel Valley acres with vineyards and lavender fields, this property has 57 luxury guest rooms, 14 new suites and villas, 4,300 square feet of meeting space, two swimming pools and Lucia Restaurant & Bar. The recently upgraded spa offers various wellness activities as well as treatments, and there is an indoor swimming pool, warming pool, and a croquet and bocce court on property. bernarduslodge.com
Hyatt Carmel Highlands – One would never guess that this property overlooking the Pacific coastline is turning 100. A major renovation completed in mid-2016 included the 48 guest rooms, bar, hotel entrance and lobby, and the property’s two restaurants merged to become California Market at Pacific’s Edge with an expanded 1,200-square-foot heated deck that seats 40. There is nearly 5,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting and event space, and the renovated lobby now accommodates private gatherings for approximately 100 guests. highlandsinn.hyatt.com
Other Great Options: Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa, the largest hotel in the area for groups is undergoing a $2.5 million renovation; Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley, mentioned in the Venue Report on page 25; and Vendage Carmel Inn and Suites, the area’s wine-themed inn.
Monterey Conference Center – A $60 million renovation targeted for completion in spring 2017 will result in a state-ofthe-art, LEED-certified facility with more than 40,000 square feet of meeting space and a capacity of up to 3,200 attendees. montereyconferencecenter.org
Next to the Conference Center – Monterey Marriott recently completed a $2.4 million renovation to various areas such as the new Greatroom that includes the lobby and a restaurant and bar, Fin + Field. Portola Hotel & Spa underwent an $8 million upgrade that encompasses a full lobby renovation and much more. marriott.com; portolahotel.com
The Hideaway – Located in Carmel-by-the-Sea and formerly known as The Cobblestone Inn, the property has new owners, underwent a full renovation and reopened its doors in April 2016. The guest rooms are completely redone, and the courtyard and lobby also have a new, modern look. hideawaycarmel.com
Venues & Attractions with a Mountain/ Ocean Twist:
Big Sur; 17-Mile Drive (including famous golf courses); Monterey for Cannery Row, Monterey Bay Aquarium and Fisherman’s Wharf; Carmelby-the-Sea, a charming European-style village, historic Carmel Mission, and fairytale-like cottages by Hugh Comstock; and Carmel Valley with vineyards, inns, and a village with tasting rooms, restaurants and shops.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING:
Campari America treats employees celebrating 10th anniversaries with the company and their guests (approximately 20 total) on a weekend trip hosted by the chairman for North America.
The destination for the “Club Ten” trip is typically drivable from Campari’s North America headquarters in San Francisco, and in 2016 the gathering was held in Monterey and previously in Carmel.
Properties: Intercontinental The Clement Monterey (2016), Carmel Valley Ranch
Monterey Trip Activities: Private VIP tour at Monterey Bay Aquarium, dinner and drinks at the Sardine Factory, “rustic vineyard” picnic lunch at Holman Ranch with ATVs taking guests from the ranch to the nearby vineyard, and wine tasting and cheese at Folktale Winery.
Carmel Trip Activities: 17-Mile Drive, shopping in town, and drinks at Vesuvio’s rooftop bar in Carmelby-the-Sea.
Favorite Mountain Experiences: Views on drives to and around Holman Ranch and Carmel Valley Ranch.
Why Monterey/Carmel?: “Our employees come from many parts of the world, and we love to show them all that California has to offer.” - Roberta Ann Pike, executive assistant, Campari America.
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