by Alex Palmer | March 07, 2018
Colorado brings to mind images of snow-topped mountains, craft beer, and outdoor adventure. But it's also an excellent destination for meetings groups, whether for a big-city conference or snowy retreat.

There's no shortage of development happening in the Mile High City, which has major projects underway, with a slew of new and renovated properties and some exciting new meeting-friendly spaces. Last fall saw the opening of The 200-room Kimpton Hotel Born Denver, adjacent to the city's famed Union Station. It offers 14,000 square feet of meeting space, as well as two private terraces and a chef-focused restaurant. But it's not the only Kimpton of note in the city: the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Denver is wrapping up a full renovation of its guest rooms, bringing in a blue and green color scheme, with striking floral arrangements along with metallic details and art by local artists.

Opened last year, the 172-room Maven Hotel at Dairy Block offers the 2,300-square-foot Windsor divisible event space that can accommodate groups of up to 200 people amid its rugged hardwood floors and exposed-brick and wood walls. It's part of the 60,000-square-foot mixed-use Dairy Block development near Union Station that gives visiting groups a huge range of shopping, dining, and entertainment options from which to choose.

Also part of the exciting Union Station neighborhood is the 180-room Hotel Indigo, opened last year. The LEED-certified building offers a 1,188-square-foot event space and design elements that showcase Denver's natural surroundings (including murals of the Rocky Mountains and Colorado's Front Range). The Hilton Garden Inn Union Station, opening this year, will bring 233 additional rooms and 5,000 square feet of meeting space to the Union Station area. (The historic Union Station, which reopened in 2014 with a number of new restaurants, retailers, and bars, recently added the new tapas restaurant, Ultreia from James Beard Award--winner Jennifer Jasinski.)

Other recent openings of note: the 170-room Marriott Moxy in Cherry Creek and the dual-branded Le Meridien/AC Hotels Denver Downtown, with a 233-room AC Hotels by Marriott property and 272-room Le Meridien from Starwood.

Fort Collins
An hour-and-a-half drive north of Denver, the bustling city of Fort Collins is seeing a lot of activity, ranging from high-end hotels to new retail and dining concepts.

"Fort Collins has held top spots on lists such as the best places to live, play, and work for decades -- and now with the influx of new and revitalized hotel rooms and meeting spaces, Fort Collins is also the best place to host a meeting," says Erik Barstow, director of sales for Visit Fort Collins. "Pair your event with the outdoor recreation, culinary, and entertainment district experiences that make our community so unique, and you have a recipe for a successful event."

This past December saw the opening of 164-room The Elizabeth Hotel Autograph Collection in Old Town. Paying tribute to the city's music scene, the property includes details such as record players in the guest rooms, jazz music at the rooftop Sunset Lounge, and even a musical instrument lending library from which visitors can borrow something to play. Its Magic Rat Live Music venue hosts local and visiting artists with late-night jam sessions for guests to drop in on while they're there. Those feeling hungry can swing by the Emporium Kitchen & Wine Market, offering everything from gourmet sammys and grilled pizzas to charcuterie platters.

Speaking of local eats, not far from The Elizabeth, visitors can find The Exchange, a development of food and entertainment offerings (many of which are housed in repurposed shipping containers), with plenty of outdoor areas and other creative spaces. While the north end of this entertainment district is complete, the south building and plaza area (including many drinking and dining spots) is expected to open this spring.

Other entertainment attractions here include the landmark Washington's -- a historic live-music venue with a 900-person capacity -- which reopened after being purchased by the Bohemian Foundation and fully renovated with top-of-the-line A/V and lighting systems, making it an ideal place for groups to host an event and soak in some local color. Another favorite venue, The Lyric cinema, expanded with a 10,000-square-foot building late last year.

Looking further into the future, a mixed-use development of residential and retail spaces, called Confluence, will be breaking ground in the spring. Not far from this, a new 107-room Staybridge Suites is planned and will be breaking ground in early summer.