Monday, April 15, 2024
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Spectacular Vistas

Lift the mood and increase productivity among attendees with awe-inspiring views

By Amy Durham

Crown Block at the top of Reunion Tower in Dallas
Crown Block at the top of Reunion Tower in Dallas || Courtesy of Crown Block/Steelite

Texas is full of scenic locations and breathtaking panoramas, but none of them makes a difference if attendees are sitting inside a room with no windows all day. Take advantage of the natural beauty of the state by booking a venue with a view.

Whether it’s all day in a light-filled space or half the day in a breakout room with floor-to-ceiling windows, time spent in these venues will inspire attendees. A field study by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, shows that people who work in environments with sources of natural light are more productive and focused than those who work in windowless spaces.

Sunlight also has been shown to increase serotonin levels, which means attendees might just feel happier when they can see outside. That mood lift would likely not only result in a more enjoyable experience for attendees, but perhaps also lead to higher scores on review surveys after the event is over.

Not every meeting is suited to a view of the lake, nor is a meeting necessarily improved by a high-rise cityscape. It’s important to consider the meeting format, culture of the company, and preferences of the group when choosing the right type of view. Be sure to consider height phobias, allergies, and other restrictions when considering the use of outdoor or sky-high venues.

We gathered some examples of venues with impressive views to help you get an idea of what’s possible. These spaces will help inspire positive feelings, relaxed moods, and talking points that go beyond what’s on the meeting agenda.

The rooftop pool at Hôtel Swexan in Dallas
The rooftop pool at Hôtel Swexan in Dallas || Courtesy of Hôtel Swexan,

On the River

With balconies overlooking the San Antonio River Walk, the Omni La Mansión Del Rio will give attendees a view even after the day is over. The hotel offers patio seating for margaritas and meals on the banks of the river. With 18,000 square feet of meeting space—including the Iberian Ballroom for up to 500 attendees—and 338 rooms, the property is spacious while maintaining a boutique, European vibe.

Tucked away behind cedar and oak trees in Round Rock, the 39-room Ruby Hotel & Bar gives attendees the feeling of being whisked away to a secret location without leaving the city. “The Ruby offers a variety of event spaces ranging from a boardroom to a second-floor patio with 180-degree views of Brushy Creek,” says Cole Di Carlo, director of sales and marketing for Alexa MGMT, the hospitality management company for The Ruby. Brushy Creek is a tributary of the San Gabriel River and is banked on either side by overhanging trees and wildlife. The Ruby sits on 2 1/2 acres along the water. “After a day full of meetings or trainings, you can take your delicious cocktail to the patio where there are nesting egrets, swimming sea turtles, and grazing cattle,” says Di Carlo. The midcentury modern Ruby House, including the lounge, boardroom, and patios, can accommodate up to 100 attendees. A 20,000-square-foot lawn shaded under heritage oak trees is also available to groups.

La Perla rooftop patio at The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park in El Paso
La Perla rooftop patio at The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park in El Paso || Courtesy of Destination El Paso/Andy Austin

Sunset Scenery

Some of the most beautiful places in Texas might be considered the sparsest, but far West Texas is known for its desert landscape and stunning sunsets. La Perla, the rooftop bar at The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park in El Paso, was once the penthouse where Hollywood movie star Elizabeth Taylor lived with Conrad Hilton in 1950 during their brief marriage. Today, group dining at La Perla provides a front-row seat for some of the Franklin Mountains’ most scenic sunsets. With 7,600 square feet of meeting space and 130 rooms, the historic hotel also offers a cellar-level private dining room and a light-filled boardroom.

Sunsets sparkle on the water of Lake Travis when viewed from the Lakeway Resort and Spa. Located in Lakeway, the resort is only 45 minutes from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Planners can choose from 24,000 square feet of meeting space, much of it with expansive views of the sunset over the lake. The Vistas Ballroom is on the top floor of the resort and boasts 5,150 square feet with vaulted ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides, and a wraparound terrace. The Colorado Ballroom, also walled with windows, gives 4,000 square feet of space that can be split into three smaller rooms.

Something to Talk About

If you really want to shake things up and give attendees a conversation starter, opt for an artistic view that is hard to ignore. A perfect example, The Eye is a sculpture on the lawn of The Joule Hotel in Dallas along Main Street. At 30 feet tall, the fiberglass, resin, and steel creation is a replica of artist Tony Tasset’s own eyeball. The Instagram-worthy spot is just one part of The Joule’s 30,000 square feet of available spaces, including executive meeting rooms and top-floor terraces.

The Eye at The Joule Hotel
The Eye at The Joule Hotel || Courtesy of The Joule Hotel

City Skylines

In the evening, the lights of a city can provide an awe-inspiring view. Atop Reunion Tower, the iconic glowing ball in Dallas’ skyline, Crown Block offers a spectacular scene for attendees while dining on Texas wagyu steak, Gulf of Mexico seafood, and plant-based cuisine. This restaurant doesn’t spin like its predecessors, but the event space one level up, the Crown Room, does spin slowly to reveal a constantly changing perspective on the city. With space for 250 guests, the Crown Room is an elegant backdrop for cocktails or seated events.

“Partnering with trusted vendors and using planner-friendly applications, we ensure every detail—from audiovisual equipment to floral arrangements—contributes to a memorable experience for all,” says Mackenzie Kahl, The Crown Room’s director of catering and events. “Regardless of your choice between Crown Block and Crown Room, both spaces provide breathtaking 360-degree views of Dallas through floor-to-ceiling windows.” Note that the dress code is enforced in both venues throughout the day.

The Ruby Hotel & Bar in Round Rock
The Ruby Hotel & Bar in Round Rock || Photo by Casey Dunn

For artistic surroundings, book one of the chic meeting rooms at Hôtel Swexan, newly opened in Dallas. The 134-room hotel aims to extend Swiss hospitality and Texas charm to its 12,000 square feet of meeting space. The sixth-floor ballroom, with marble floors, white millwork walls, and hand-carved fireplaces, overlooks the Harwood District through its floor-to-ceiling windows. Attendees can enjoy cocktails at the Mediterranean-inspired rooftop pool and lounge.

Houston is renowned for its historic role in the oil industry, and the Petroleum Club was there for much of it. Established in 1946 in the top floors of the Rice Hotel, the club has since moved twice and now occupies space on the 35th floor of the Total Plaza, resulting in towering views of downtown Houston. From ballroom space for 250 to a wood-paneled, vintage-styled room for 30, the rooms at the Petroleum Club speak to traditional elegance.

Throughout the state, venues with wow-worthy vistas are ready and waiting to help planners host an inspiring meeting.