Southern Utah has a wealth of spectacular natural beauty: craggy red-sandstone cliffs and deep, narrow canyons; fascinating rock formations sculpted by wind and rain; sweeping deserts and towering mountains; and brilliant blue skies filled with sunshine more than 300 days a year. Throw in a full-service 100,000-square-foot convention center; five conference hotels; resorts; a dozen golf courses; four state parks and one national park; a charming historic downtown lined with art galleries, shops and restaurants; and a 2,000-seat amphitheater beneath one of those sandstone cliffs, and St. George and the Greater Zion area offer rare opportunities for unforgettable meetings.
And despite its rugged locale, St. George is easy to reach. St. George Regional Airport has daily flights to four hub cities, and Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport is a scenic 90 minutes away on Interstate 15.
Nine meeting planner readers of Small Market Meetings got a firsthand look at this fascinating part of the country during a recent familiarization tour hosted by the Greater Zion Convention and Tourism Office and its convention, meeting and event sales manager, Jacqueline Grena.
The planners toured the impressive Dixie Convention Center, with its multiple services and rooms, along with smaller meeting spaces at hotels and resorts. They sampled the area’s culinary offerings and experienced just some of the many outdoor adventures that can spice up a meeting, from hiking in Zion National Park to all-terrain-vehicle rides on Sand Mountain in Sand Hollow State Park. Along the way, they met a bevy of friendly people eager to host meetings.
From hiking through waist-deep water and bouncing over off-road trails in all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) to a relaxing hand and foot massage and an entertaining outdoor musical, the meeting planners experienced the many activities that can add to the experience of a meeting in St. George.
• Hiking — There are numerous opportunities to experience the natural wonders around St. George on foot. The meeting planners braved the water of the Narrows and hiked to the Lower Emerald Pools in Zion National Park, an hour from St. George, and walked over the uneven surfaces of the Petrified Sand Dunes in nearby Snow Canyon State Park.
• ATV Ride — Four-passenger off-road vehicles with ATV and Jeep Adventure Tours offered a thrilling way to see the unusual rock formations and red sand dunes of Sand Hollow State Park. Attendees can drive if they choose or ride with an experienced guide.
• Cable Mountain Spa — After hiking in Zion National Park, some of the meeting planners gave their aching feet a break with a foot and hand massage at the Cable Mountain Lodge, located at the entrance to the park. Others opted for facials, among the many services offered by the lodge’s spa.
• Silver Reef Brewery — The Silver Reef Brewery started out in 2018 to provide the St. George area with fine locally brewed beer. It has since expanded to also make root beer, wine and spirits. It has a tasting room set amid gleaming metal brew tanks.
• Shows at Tuacahn — For a memorial after-hours event, the meeting planners enjoyed a wonderful production of “Annie” at Tuacahn, a 1,920-seat amphitheater set into the base of a red rock ridge that towers over the stage. The amphitheater is celebrating its 25th season this year with a series of Broadway musicals and concerts.
Dixie Convention Center
The Dixie Convention Center is a full-service venue in the heart of St. George with 100,000 square feet of space for meetings, conventions, banquets, trade shows and sporting events.
Meeting Spaces : A 46,550-square-foot column-free exhibit hall; 32,000 square feet of meeting space; a 13,200-square-foot ballroom; 25,000 square feet of prefunction space; 19 breakout rooms, including the atrium-style Garden Room; two boardrooms; a rotunda; and an indoor lobby.
Meeting Services: On-site full-service catering staff, high-speed internet, top-of-the-line A/V, hybrid meeting capabilities, decorating service and event management.
Lodging: Thirteen hotels within one mile of the convention center
Built in 2017, Springhill Suites is 1.5 miles from the entrance to Zion National Park in Springdale. Its lobby features a floor-to-ceiling window that looks out at red-rock mountains.
Rooms: Springhill Suites has 114 suites on two floors with magnificent mountain views. Its two sister properties — the Hampton Inn and Suites and the Holiday Inn Express — are located next door, and the three properties together provide a total of 321 rooms.
Meeting Spaces: There are two meeting rooms totaling 3,700 square feet: a 3,330-square-foot conference room that can be broken into two separate rooms and a 400-square-foot boardroom. An outdoor event space can be rented separately.
Dining: The Springhill Suites is within walking distance of several restaurants, including the Bit and Spur Restaurant and Saloon, across the street.
Recreation: The hotel has an outdoor pool and hot tub with amazing canyon views, a splash pad, patios and fireplaces.
Hilton Garden Inn
The Hilton Garden Inn is steps from the Dixie Convention Center and a four-minute drive from the St. George Utah Temple.
Rooms: The property has 150 guest rooms.
Meeting Spaces: The Hilton Garden Inn has a 4,000-square-foot ballroom that can be divided into various combinations. Two nearby sister properties — the Holiday Inn Express and Hyatt Place — have a combined 2,500 square feet of meeting space.
Dining: The Great American Grill specializes in American cuisine, and customers can wrap up their day with a drink at the bar/lounge. Chef-made omelets are available for breakfast for a fee.
Recreation: The hotel’s recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, a spa tub and a 24-hour fitness center. City-owned Crosby Confluence Park, with a wide variety of walking and biking trails, is just minutes away.
The Advenire opened in 2020 in downtown St. George as the town’s first Autograph Collection full-service luxury boutique hotel. Its Pioneer-Federal architecture is reminiscent of St. George’s historic 1860s inn, the Big House.
Rooms: The Advenire has 60 rooms, including 22 suites. Each room is designed with a nod to St. George’s history.
Meeting Spaces: The Advenire has two meeting rooms — a private dining room and a rooftop terrace — that total 2,029 square feet.
Dining: Everything is made from scratch at the hotel’s gourmet wood.ash.rye restaurant, which puts a unique spin on American cuisine and mixes its own distinctive cocktails from local ingredients.
Recreation: The Advenire has a year-round rooftop terrace whirlpool tub and a mountain bike valet and wash station and is within walking distance of downtown shopping and 16 art galleries and museums.
Cable Mountain Lodge
The Cable Mountain Lodge is beside the entrance to Zion National Park in Springdale and has magnificent views of the park’s canyon walls.
Rooms: The Cable Mountain Lodge has 78 rooms.
Meeting Spaces: The lodge has a 3,100-square-foot ballroom; a small boardroom is under construction.
Dining: The Cable Mountain Lodge is part of the Zion Canyon Village complex, with a locally sourced restaurant. It is also within easy walking distance of several restaurants in Springdale.
Recreation: The Cable Mountain Lodge has its own picnic area with gas grills on the banks of the Virgin River and is just steps away from the many adventures offered in Zion National Park. It also has its own spa with a variety of treatments.
Best Western Abbey Inn
The Best Western Abbey Inn is part of Wittwer Hospitality. It was opened in St. George in 1996; the South Tower was added in 2005.
Rooms: The inn has 130 rooms, including two VIP deluxe suites, in the main building and 24 suites in the adjacent South Tower.
Meeting Spaces: A 3,100-square-foot ballroom in the South Tower can be broken into three rooms. The main building has two meeting rooms and a boardroom.
Dining: The Best Western Abbey Inn has award-winning in-house catering for meetings and banquets.
Recreation: There are 10 golf courses within 13 miles of the inn, which is 10 miles from Snow Canyon State Park, with 16 miles of hiking trails.
Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club
The 25-year-old Entrada Country Club sits on 710 acres of desert landscape near the entrance to Snow Canyon State Park outside St George.
Rooms: The separately operated Inn at Entrada has 57 suites and studios with patio, living room and fireplace.
Meeting Spaces: The Entrada Country Club has a 1,950-square-foot ballroom that can be divided into three sections. It also has two small meeting rooms and a 3,000-square-foot event lawn.
Dining: The Clubhouse features the Grille for lunch and dinner service with panoramic views of red rock cliffs; the Snack Bar is open for breakfast and lunch. There is in-house catering for meetings.
Recreation: The club is renovating its golf course from a Johnny Miller design to a David McLay Kidd Course, which is expected to be complete in the fall. The Wellness Center features an indoor and outdoor pool and hot tubs, workout rooms, classes, spa treatments, tennis and pickleball courts, a basketball court and a sand volleyball court.
Red Mountain Resort
The Red Mountain Resort is located on 55 acres of black lava gardens and mesquite set amid red rocks and carved canyons a quarter mile from the entrance to Snow Canyon State Park.
Rooms: The Red Mountain Resort has 82 rooms and 24 villa suites.
Meeting Spaces: With nearly 10,000 square feet of meeting space in five rooms and an outdoor gazebo, the Red Mountain Resort can accommodate groups of eight to 100.
Dining: The Red Mountain Resort offers full-serve catering in addition to buffet-style, prepackaged and bar service.
Recreation: The Red Mountain Resort has private walking trails, a spiral labyrinth, indoor and seasonal outdoor swimming pools, three whirlpools, a full-menu spa and salon, guided hiking and biking, more than 50 fitness classes weekly and an adventure concierge.
Sand Hollow Resort
Located near Sand Hollow State Park, Sand Hollow Resort is set amid striking southern Utah red-rock scenery a half hour from St. George. It offers a variety of options for lodging, recreation and dining.
Rooms: The Sand Hollow Resort offers more than 100 units in a variety of accommodations, from rooms and suites to condominiums and vacation homes with one to six bedrooms.
Meeting Spaces: The Rock Bowl, with a green lawn set amid towering red sandstone, provides year-round outdoor meeting space for up to 1,000. The Clubhouse can seat 120 inside and has covered outdoor gathering areas and adjacent grass fairways. An outdoor deck provides an additional 1,200 square feet of space for 80 guests. The 4,000-square-foot Penthouse Suite can accommodate 10 to 50 guests.
Dining: The full-service Grille has 360-degree views of magnificent red rocks. The Grille’s kitchen provides catering for meetings.
Recreation: Sand Hollow’s highly rated Championship golf course contours through ridgelines and red rock outcroppings; its Links course brings traditional links-land golf to the desert. All-terrain-vehicle rides in Sand Hollow State Park are nearby.
The meeting planners on the Greater Zion fam sampled the area’s wide range of culinary options, from regionally sourced cuisine to Mexican, Southwestern and even Hungarian, in the following restaurants.
• wood.ash.rye — Located in the Advenire boutique hotel in downtown St. George, wood.ash.rye uses regionally sourced ingredients for distinctive recipes that rotate with the season. These are coupled with a wide selection of craft cocktails primarily using Utah breweries, distilleries and wineries. It also has a bakery and a lounge.
• MeMe’s Café — You can eat the delicious home-style food and wide variety of crepes at MeMe’s Café inside or outside on two patios amid the soaring beauty of nearby Zion National Park. Owner Mechelle, affectionately called MeMe, opened her cafe in downtown Springdale in 2012 and this year opened the adjacent Zuma’s Baja Mexican Kitchen.
• Anasazi Steakhouse — For a different dining experience, cook your steak and seafood at the table on hot rocks at the Anasazi Steakhouse in St. George. The restaurant is also famous for its fondue appetizers and desserts served amid a variety of artwork.
• Aragosta — Upscale Aragosta features a contemporary American and fine European menu by executive chef Imi Kun, who relocated to St. George in the mid-1990s from Hungary after visiting on a cultural exchange program. And, yes, he serves a delicious Hungarian goulash.
• Bit and Spur Restaurant and Saloon — The successor to a popular roadside bar, the Bit and Spur Restaurant and Saloon opened in 1981 in Springdale and has steadily grown. You can still shoot pool in the bar and listen to live music while ordering an array of Southwestern dishes such as local favorites sweet potato tamales and tofu tacos.
Fore more information:
Greater Zion Convention and Tourism Office
If you are interested in hosting a FAM for readers of Small Market Meetings, call Kyle Anderson at 866-356-5128 or email him at email@example.com.