California is home to redwood forests, colorful desert landscapes, premier wine-growing regions and pristine beaches. Throughout the state, resorts incorporate the great outdoors into their many meeting venues and offer classes, tours and teambuilding activities to help meeting attendees sample what makes their locations so special.
Here are five California resorts to consider for your next overnight event in the Golden State.
Meritage Resort and Spa
The Meritage Resort and Spa and its sister property, Vista Collina Resort, are just outside downtown Napa in California’s most famous wine region. With 80,000 square feet of meeting space and 467 guest rooms between the two resorts, meeting planners have their pick of venues, hosting groups of up to 1,500 people.
The most popular meeting venue at the Meritage is the outdoor event deck in the resort’s nine-acre vineyard, which is perfect for dinners, receptions and outdoor yoga classes. Its rooftop terrace offers stunning views of the surrounding hillside. Beneath the vineyard sits the Estate Cave, which houses the resort’s full-service spa, Spa Terra, and an atmospheric location for wine dinners 40 feet underground. The spa has 12 treatment rooms, a relaxation lounge, steam rooms and soaking pools and offers everything from massages to facials. Special experiences are available for groups and private events.
The Village at Vista Collina has nine tasting rooms on-site, eight wineries and one brewery. Groups can organize tastings in the tasting rooms and fun themed events, like concerts and movies, out on the event lawn. Groups can take a break from their meetings to take part in cooking classes or Iron Chef-style cookoffs at the on-site professional cooking school, or get off-site and visit a neighboring golf course or Napa Valley winery. Downtown Napa is only three miles away and an easy walk or shuttle ride from the resort.
“It is a wonderful place to go if you want to extend your trip to Napa,” said the resort’s marketing manager, Lindsay Toft. “Do your corporate meetings and then spend a couple of days on the Vista Collina side in a suite with a full kitchen to get the full Napa experience.”
Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa
Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa is an oasis in the heart of Palm Springs Valley. With 365 days of sunshine a year, most guests of the resort want to spend as much time as they can outdoors playing 27 holes of golf on the resort’s championship golf course, swimming in the two pools, playing tennis at the resort’s 25 courts or taking their families to Splashtopia, an on-site water park with two 100-foot waterslides, a 450-foot lazy river, a splash pad and a beach.
With 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor flexible meeting space, the resort can host up to 700 guests at a time, although it prefers groups of about 350 people. The resort has 444 guest rooms as well.
One of the resort’s most popular meeting spots is the 5th Hole Fairway of its golf course, which can be completely transformed into a themed event, a corporate dinner or reception or a wedding venue.
“Our executive chef and food-and-beverage people do a great job and are easy to work with,” said Stephanie Torres, associate director of sales at the resort. “They can customize any menu based on theme or dietary restriction. They are very creative with their displays and style of food. We try to keep California farm-to-table and utilize ingredients indigenous to the area.”
Meeting groups can organize desert jeep tours or visits to the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Aerial Tramway or the Living Desert Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Across the street from the resort, guests can visit the Rancho Mirage entertainment district with shops, restaurants and a movie theater.
The Ritz-Carlton Bacara Resort overlooks both the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, one of the only mountain ranges in the country that runs east to west. It is a great location to take advantage of the Southern California weather, the ocean and beaches and nearby Paso Robles, one of the finest wine regions in the world.
The luxury resort has 358 guest rooms, suites and residences; a 42,000-square-foot spa and wellness center; and more than 70,000 square feet of event space. The resort has been around since 2000 and became a Ritz-Carlton property in 2017. Its largest ballroom is 11,200 square feet and can host groups of up to 500 people. Many groups host outdoor events and receptions on the property or organize group teambuilding activities, such as sailing challenges at the Santa Barbara Sail Center or golf at the Sandpiper Golf Club next door. Painting classes, horseback riding, hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding and surfing are also available at the resort or nearby.
On-site, the resort has three zero-edge saline pools, a two-mile-long natural beach, six restaurants and a wine-tasting room that offers both tastings and culinary experiences.
The resort is 15 minutes from downtown Santa Barbara and its marina. Groups can organize a sunset sail or a whalewatching tour or rent a private boat to explore the Channel Islands.
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa
Strategically placed off Huntington Beach’s famous boardwalk, the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa has more than 110,000 square feet of combined indoor and outdoor meeting space. Its 20,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom can accommodate groups of more than 2,000 people, but the resort has 25 different meeting spaces, most in its adjacent conference center — some as small as 540 square feet — that are perfect for any size group.
The resort’s prime beach location gives groups many opportunities to plan outdoor activities, including beach parties, surf lessons, beach bonfires or meeting breakout activities like sandcastle building, paddleboarding, boat cruises and kayaking.
The Hyatt Regency has 517 guest rooms and five restaurant options, from poolside eats to fine dining. It also has a grocery store and the Pacific Waters Spa, which has two pools and a spa grotto with three saltwater whirlpools. The resort is a mile from Pacific City, a 191,000-square-foot shopping, dining and entertainment complex, and is well placed for visitors to extend their stay to visit any of Southern California’s major theme parks.
South Coast Winery Resort and Spa
Set among the South Coast Winery’s beautiful 63 acres of rolling vineyards, the South Coast Winery Resort and Spa offers plenty of opportunities for guests to get outside during their event and not only enjoy the idyllic setting but also sample award-winning wines and farm-to-table California cuisine.
Temecula is about two hours from Los Angeles in Southern California’s wine country. With its rolling hills, mountain views and temperate climate, the area is fantastic for groups that love wine and golf or just any excuse to get out of the city.
The resort has 50 guest suites and 82 villas, ranging from 490 to 850 square feet. It has more than 30,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, including a 7,025-square-foot ballroom and an outdoor amphitheater. Meeting planners have access to the latest in audiovisual equipment and on-site help from the resort’s meeting planning services.
Groups that want to do something different during their event can organize teambuilding activities like cooking classes, hot-air-balloon rides, horseback riding, wine tasting or grape-stomping contests. The 17,000-square-foot GrapeSeed Spa features a saltwater pool, two whirlpools, a spa dining menu and a full fitness center. Horse-drawn carriage rides through the vineyards or a round of golf at nearby Pechanga Golf Course or CrossCreek Golf Club.