Any time of year, you really can find it here. Minnesota's resorts are the perfect places to celebrate the state's vastly different but equally beautiful seasons. From drifting off to a peaceful sleep in the warm glow of a fireplace, to skiing down rolling hills of freshly fallen snow, Minnesota's colder seasons can be some of the most beautiful to take in the state's nature. But there's something special about the light dancing on the lake and the lush greenery of a Minnesota summer.
Take in the unlimited offerings of this short-lived season at one of Minnesota's finest resorts with expansive meeting space and breathtaking views.
With more Gull Lake shoreline than any other resort, Quarterdeck Resort is one of the area's most popular boutique hotels. Intimate and cozy, Quarterdeck Hotel still has amenities akin to larger resorts. The Boathouse Center is a separate facility from the main building and offers full catering and event capabilities. Acclaimed chef Shawn Lowman recently joined Dock 77, the resort's restaurant and catering partner. "The food is world class but in a cool, hip space complete with a vintage boat serving as the bar," says Resort Manager Quinn Swanberg.
The entire Quarterdeck Resort space can accommodate small groups and weddings up to 200 guests, and the event center can be configured for groups as small as 8-10 or up to 125 people. For outdoor events, the event lawn offers views of Gull Lake.
"The location is conducive to creating an event that's private but has all the amenities of a larger resort," Swanberg says. "Groups can rent out the entire resort or book the townhomes and cottages. The setting provides the feel of 'it's our own private resort,'"
Swanberg says events and activities are typically custom designed for guests and groups. "The event staff and resort management can customize an experience to include a variety of activities, from activities on the water to horseback riding, skeet shooting, snow activities in the winter, and even local brewery tours," Swanberg adds.
For team-building retreats, Swanberg recommends the Boathouse Event Center. "All kinds of outdoor activities can complement any type of work that's being done within the team. Also, the setting is intimate and, particularly during midweek, people have the feeling that it's their own private retreat."
Madden's on Gull Lake
Also located in the Brainerd Lakes area, Madden's on Gull Lake is celebrating its 90th season, making it one of the oldest family-run resorts in Minnesota. Located on more than 1,000 acres, the property offers 63 holes of world-class golf, lakeside spa, upscale dining, a variety of recreational offerings, activities for children and almost every kind of on-the-water recreation possible.
Madden's boasts 285 guest rooms and 42,000 square feet of meeting space that can accommodate more than 600 guests. Adding to its team-building retreat capabilities, Madden's now offers axe throwing, live music on the lakeside patio at Mission Point on Saturday afternoons, and another multi-bedroom home, one of four, featuring a full kitchen and six bedrooms.
Madden's Waterski School can teach your group how to wakeboard, wakesurf or ski. For on-land activities, Madden's Tennis & Croquet Club is home to six tennis courts, pickleball, bentgrass croquet, lawn bowling lawns, shuffleboard, horseshoes, volleyball, badminton, basketball and mountain bikes. They also offer trapshooting instruction and horseback riding.
For a lakeside retreat, Madden's offers groups private docks and lakeside fire pits that bring the great outdoors to your own backyard. For indoor meetings, Madden's Conference Center can accommodate groups as small as four to conferences as large as 800. The 42,000 square feet flow across 32 meeting rooms.
"A meeting at Madden's encourages relationship building not only in the meetings of the day, but presents opportunities to network among the 1,000 acres of greenspace and tranquility," says Kathy Reichenbach, marketing director.
Located where the Poplar River meets Lake Superior on the North Shore, Lutsen Resort is a prime spot for sea kayaking, fly fishing, swimming, beach bonfires, or just sitting back and taking it all in. As the most historic resort in Minnesota that is still in operation, Lutsen Resort has many guests and families who have been coming for multiple generations, says Marketing Director Katie Krantz.
"Simply put, Lutsen Resort is the place to be in the summertime. As the rest of Minnesota grows hot and sticky, Lake Superior acts as a natural air conditioner and provides cool lake breezes and even keeps bugs away," Krantz says.
For those of you looking to cool off in the (rare) Minnesota heat, Lutsen Resort has many meeting and event spaces for all types and sizes of groups. The Standing Beach Ceremony, Bridge Ceremony Site, Superior Ballroom Ceremony, Lakeside Dining Room, Superior Ballroom Meal, Superior Ballroom Reception, Beach Bonfire, and Nelson Suite are available year round for various capacities. The Lakeside Ceremony Site, Lakeview Patio Social, and Lakeview Patio Meal are open from May-October. The Beach BBQ Meal is offered May-September.
"In regard to corporate meetings/events, Lutsen Resort provides a spectacular setting for a business retreat, offering groups a perfect combination of focused work time and relaxation or recreation," says Ana Koch, director of group sales.
Grand View Lodge Spa & Golf Resort
For a group getaway that fulfills all of your adventure and relaxation needs, Grand View Lodge Spa & Golf Resort knows how to deliver. With deluxe lodging, gourmet dining, two championship golf courses and the Glacial Waters Spa, Grand View Lodge has something for everyone.
"From water activities like pontoon rentals, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and fishing, to land activities such as golf, lawn games and bike riding, there's definitely something for everybody," says Kelli Wawro, catering & planning manager. Grand View Lodge also boasts two brand new pools that are part of its new recreation center, NorthPark.
When you need to put the fun aside and get some work done, come inside one of Grand View Lodge's expansive meeting spaces. The largest room can accommodate up to 400 people, and the most intimate space can accommodate groups of 10 or less.
"These meeting rooms are flexible and have the ability to hold a large conference and then flip to hosting a beautiful wedding," Wawro says. "The best part? All of our rooms have windows and/or doors to the outside, allowing for natural light and nature views. They are also equipped with up-to-date technology and located within walking distance to a majority of our lodging accommodations."
Once Grand View Lodge's new hotel, North, is complete, the property will have 13 meeting rooms to offer. Wawro says their wide variety of lodging options, event spaces, activities and dining venues is designed to accommodate anyone from couples and families to business retreats.
"We do our best to understand what you're looking for, and then we offer options to help you have the most enjoyable stay we can provide," she says.
Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior
Last on our list is Bluefin Bay Resort, which is located on Lake Superior. Unlike many resorts, Bluefin Bay Resort hosts only one group at a time in order to give them their dedicated attention. From destination weddings, anniversary parties and family reunions to professional meetings and corporate retreats, Bluefin Bay Resort is ideal for groups looking for a private setting.
"We specialize in events of up to 90 people and offer a range of planning services and full-service catering," says Mark Jury, general manager. "Also, after your event or meeting is over for the day, the view and sounds of ocean-like waves create a soothing and relaxing environment."
All summer programs, events and activities are complimentary for guests. These include: daily guided sea kayaking on Lake Superior (ages 12 and up), guided hikes plus complimentary shuttle service to area trailheads, guided road and mountain bike tours on paved and trail routes, naturalist programs in cooperation with the DNR, complimentary tennis rackets and on-site court, nightly campfires and s'mores, campfire music every Tuesday night from 7-9 p.m., yoga (ages 12 and up), Onion River bike and hike, inland kayaking on Caribou Lake, Kid's Adventure Club and Creative Kids Club, and bikes and lawn games.
Bluefin Bay Resort also has three on-site restaurants, a full-service spa, three pools, hot tubs and saunas.