STAY - Hotel Jerome
This stylish, historic property will add six new rooms to its historic Aspen Times building scheduled for June 2018 -- which can be modified to work as two three-bedroom suites -- as well as a new 735-square-foot event space. The offering will add to its numerous other attractions including a bistro, spa, and art gallery.
PLAY - O2 Aspen
This wellness destination relocated to a new 4,113-square-foot space in downtown Aspen earlier this year. The new yoga and Pilates studio includes a street-level retail space, three basement-floor spa treatment rooms, and yoga and Pilates space located upstairs, all with plenty of natural light and striking views of the surrounding mountains.
MEET - The Aspen Historical Society
This institution renovated its 3,000-square-foot archive building in July 2017, and the new facility offers a community gallery space for exhibitions, events, and educational gatherings (not to mention a place for the historically minded to learn more about the local history and explore some interesting artifacts and vintage photos). Groups can take things outdoors into the newly landscaped courtyard.
For both the highest level of meetings properties and one-of-a-kind experiences, Colorado Springs has much to recommend it -- whenever groups come to the destination.
"Now is always an ideal time to book in Colorado Springs," says Kathy Reak, senior director of convention sales for Colorado Springs CVB. "From breathtaking views of Pikes Peak to Garden of the Gods, the Pikes Peak region offers groups unforgettable experiences and accommodations."
This is a time of particular growth in the city's hotel offerings. The Embassy Suites by Hilton wrapped substantial renovations in 2017, including modernized design updates to all guest suites, the property's in-house restaurant and bar, and its atrium -- not to mention, a new 7,000 square-foot meeting and event space. The DoubleTree by Hilton has also completed the renovation of its meeting space -- more than 25,000 square feet. It is now working through upgrades to its guest rooms, lobby, and expanded bar (which will make it the largest bar in the city).
Scheduled to open this summer, the Home2 Suites extended-stay property, will add 120 rooms and 3,500 square feet of meetings space to the city's available inventory. The property will also boast an indoor saltwater pool and pet-friendly accommodations.
But while new things are happening in the city, classic properties have plenty to attract groups, too. It doesn't get more classic than The Broadmoor, which traces its history back almost 100 years and now offers more than 185,000 square feet of event space and 784 rooms, suites, cottages, and brownstones. Guests can also take advantage of the property's Wilderness Experiences, including Fly Fishing Camp and the all-inclusive Ranch at Emerald Valley.
A trip to Colorado must include some local beer, making the recently remodeled Piccadilly Bar at The Antlers Hotel an ideal choice. It offers 50 beers on tap, specialty cocktails, and 100 wine choices. For those who prefer to do it themselves, Colorado's first self-pour taproom is in Colorado Springs, at Trails End, offering 40 taps. Beer connoisseurs can sample around, paying by the ounce as they go -- with 100 percent of their tips being donated to local trail and humanitarian nonprofit organizations.
Colorado Springs is a great choice for unusual venues and experiences, as well. The city recently saw the opening of DroneSpace, where attendees can take part in first-person-view drone racing -- donning a pair of goggles and getting into the drone's "cockpit," directing it as if they are a miniature pilot moving the craft through its course.
Another active outing for visitors to the city is the Great Wolf Lodge, offering a wide range of out-of-the-box experiences for groups, from a huge indoor waterpark (with rides like the Howlin' Tornado and Mountain Edge Raceway) to bowling, minigolf, and a ropes course.
Another new and interesting venue is the UCCS Ent Center for the Arts, featuring music, dance, and theater productions. It includes a 774-seat concert hall, recording studio, and "audio laboratory," as well as the Gallery of Contemporary Art -- with most of these spaces available for groups.
Reak adds that even though Colorado is often considered a winter destination, groups should consider the city regardless of the time of year.
"No matter what the season, the area is home to a temperate year-round climate with endless blue skies, ample sunshine, and very low humidity," says Reak. "Even in the winter months, the area often sees 50- to 65-degree temperatures. Planners can take advantage of an array of great properties and off-site venues, continually increased air access through the Colorado Springs Airport, and, of course, amazing scenery and a warm, western hospitality. Where else would you want to be?" Questions or comments? Email [email protected]
This article appears in the March 2018 issue of Successful Meetings.