• Downtown Denver Continues to Grow as a Meetings Market

    A Mile High & Rising

     
    POSTED January 9, 2018
     

Take a look at a photo of Denver's skyline in 2007. Then, take a look at a photo of that same skyline in 2017. You’ll quickly notice that the Mile High City is undergoing a period of unprecedented growth with a booming economy, an array of ambitious construction projects, and an influx of leisure and business visitors, all looking to experience Denver. 

Denver has witnessed a 62 percent increase in tourism since 2005 and 17.3 million overnight visitors spent $5.3 billion in 2016 alone, according to VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau based on results from the Longwoods International annual visitor profile study. Forbes ranked Denver as the sixth fastest growing city in the United States for 2015. 

The meetings and events market has seen similar growth, with signature gatherings such as the Great American Beer Festival and the Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show bringing in thousands of attendees. Meetings and events as a whole brought close to $750 million to the city in 2016 based on statistics tracked by VISIT DENVER. 

Nowhere is this boom more apparent than Denver’s vibrant downtown, boasting 10,000 hotel rooms (by the end of 2017); a state-of-the-art convention center; a central location; easy access to an international airport via the A Line train from Union Station; and a walkable district packed with an endless array of shopping, dining, nightlife and cultural attractions. 

With so much growth and no signs of slowing down, it’s easy to see why the Mile High City was the location of choice for the Le Méridien Denver Downtown and AC Hotel Denver Downtown— the first Marriott/Starwood co-branded property to open post-merger. The new hotels, opened on Sept. 14, 2017, added 495 rooms to the heart of the city at the intersection of 15th and California, just one block from the Colorado Convention Center, steps away from Denver’s famed 16th Street pedestrian promenade, and near the Colorado State Capitol. Also close by are leading attractions including LoDo (the Lower Downtown historic district that includes the beautifully restored Union Station), Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and sports venues such as Pepsi Center, Coors Field and Sports Authority Field at Mile High, home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos. 

Groups can enjoy unique moments of discovery and take advantage of all that is happening in the city through Le Méridien Denver Downtown’s “Unlock Denver” program. By showing their room key card, guests have access to perks from a number of carefully curated community partners including Clyfford Still Museum, Laws Whiskey House, Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery, Renegade Brewing Company, Colorado Cider Company and more.

FUN FACTS

LE MÉRIDIEN DENVER DOWNTOWN
» 272 guest rooms and more than 12,000 square feet of high-tech banquet and meeting space, including a 5,700-square-foot ballroom.
» Corinne offers a buzz-worthy dining and cocktail experience of simple, American comfort food with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients.
» 54thirty Rooftop, the highest open-air rooftop bar in the city located on the 20th floor, is a venue for groups and individuals to socialize, sip and stargaze. 

AC HOTEL DENVER DOWNTOWN
» 223 guest rooms
» On-site dining, bars and restaurants
» 24-hour rooftop fitness center

Paul Eckert is the dual general manager of the new Le Meridien Denver Downtown and AC Hotel Denver Downtown. 

Four distinct seasons impress guests, accommodate budgets and tap into a laid-back lifestyle.

 

Meeting and incentive trip planners: Get ready to be surprised at the diverse range of lodging options available in Colorado from glamping tents, yurts and teepees to overnight accommodations in a jail, train station, castle and replica fort. colorado.com

The 200-acre, family-owned Arapaho Valley Ranch has cabins, lodge rooms, glamping tents outfitted with southwestern flair, and 20-foot teepees equipped with queensized beds.

 

When planning a gathering, make sure to check a destination’s calendar of events for festivals, concerts and noteworthy exhibitions. Leslie Heins and Lisa Cook, owners and event architects of Denver-based Affair with Flair, demonstrated how this can be done with a social occasion, which easily could have been a corporate event in conjunction with the Denver Art Museum’s recent blockbuster “Dior: From Paris to the World” that wrapped up in March 2019.