The Rocky Mountains are known for their national parks, wildlife and outdoor lifestyle. Meeting planners looking to hold events in the region should check out these distinctive resorts that cater to the adventurer’s spirit.
Coeur d’Alene Resort
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
In northwest Idaho, the Coeur d’Alene Resort sits perched on Lake Coeur D’Alene, surrounded by the Canfield Mountain Natural Area and the Coeur d’Alene National Forest. Known for its water sports and outdoor activities, the resort is famous for having the world’s only floating, movable golf course green. The 14th hole is programmed to move constantly, and golfers need to take a boat out to finish the hole, if they make it onto the green, that is. Visitors to the resort can take part in fly-fishing, zip lining, hiking, mountain biking and kayaking. Downtown Coeur d’Alene, with its restaurants, antique stores and art galleries, is right next door. The resort, built in 1986, recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation. It updated its 338 guest rooms, 80 percent of which have lake or mountain views; the public spaces; and the 32,000-square-foot conference center.
Many of the conference rooms overlook the lake, and the resort has some outdoor venues, like the Lakeview Terrace, that are great for welcome receptions or dinners. Conference planners can raft two of the resort’s five cruise boats together for a dinner cruise or use the boats for a scenic meeting space. The double cruise boat can hold up to 700 people. Other amenities include a year-round heated outdoor pool and hot tub, an elegant restaurant called Beverly’s that boasts an 18,000-bottle wine cellar; and a spa with 21 treatment rooms.
Izaak Walton Inn
Glacier National Park’s Izaak Walton Inn was built next to the railroad yard in 1939 to serve as a refuge for railroad service personnel. Strategically located between the East Glacier and West Glacier entrances to the park, the inn is a great location to hold small conferences and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the big city. The inn doesn’t get cell service, and there are no telephones or TVs in the guest rooms.
“There is Wi-Fi access in the common areas, but it is not widespread across the property,” said Holly DuMay, director of sales, marketing and retail for Izaak Walton Companies. “Visitors are forced to focus and communicate, forced to disconnect.”
The inn is known for its 20 miles of nordic ski trails, and the area is a snowshoer’s delight.
“We’re nestled in the Great Bear Wilderness Area next to Glacier National Park,” she said. “You can’t get a better location than that.”
The inn has rental cars available for guests to visit the park, and since it is situated next to the railroad yard, visitors can travel directly to the resort by Amtrak train. Its meeting space can hold anywhere from 10 to 150 people, but its most popular space is its outdoor pavilion that is fully enclosed by glass garage doors. The doors can be open during the summer months. During winter, they are closed and the space is heated.
Some guests can stay in restored cabooses or locomotives. There are 13 vacation homes and 33 lodge rooms for rent.
Snake River Lodge and Spa
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
One of the oldest hotels in Teton Village in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Snake River Lodge and Spa is known for its distinctive meeting spaces, scenic Snake River float trips, whitewater rafting, fly-fishing, Via Ferrata rock-climbing program and prime location next to Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. With 147 guest rooms and 6,000 square feet of meeting space, the lodge can handle small and large groups. It has three separate meeting spaces, all boasting natural light and windows. The largest can accommodate 120 people and has a built-in audiovisual system with high-definition LCD projectors, drop-down screens and full catering available.
Tourists flock to the area to see Yellowstone in the summer, but Al Gauthier, director of sales for the Snake River Lodge, said it is a “really surreal feeling and activity to take a snowmobile into Yellowstone.” Only 90 are allowed in at one time, which changes the whole experience for tourists wanting to view Old Faithful and other park highlights. The resort is also next to an elk refuge. On any given day, there are 3,000 to 10,000 elk inside, and visitors to the lodge can take a 45-minute tour of the refuge by horse-drawn sleigh.
“When you walk into our lodge, you know you are in Jackson Hole,” said Gauthier. “It is not a cookie-cutter property you could find anywhere. It is really an identity. It is truly a lodge, and I think that’s what speaks to its strength.”
Summer conferences like to use the Via Ferrata rock-climbing courses as a team-building exercise, but biking is another big draw. There are 56 miles of paved bike pathways linking Teton Village to Jackson Hole and Teton National Park. For adrenalin junkies, downhill or cross-country mountain biking is also available.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
The historic Broadmoor celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018. The resort at the base of Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs is steeped in history. What sets it apart from other Rocky Mountain resorts is its attention to detail and service, said Krista Heinicke, public relations and communications manager at the Broadmoor. “Everybody can have the best places, the most beautiful scenic areas, but when you don’t have service and personalization, you get lost,” she said.
The 5,000-acre property is a playground for groups of all sizes, offering team-building activities such as tomahawk throwing, pickleball, tennis, golf, guided hiking, rappelling and climbing. The Wilderness Experience at the Broadmoor is a unique collection of rustic properties that offer more intimate settings for meetings. Cloud Camp, on top of Cheyenne Mountain, offers team activities like cooking, crafts and archery. The Ranch at Emerald Valley is more activity driven, offering horseback riding, fishing and team-building activities, and the much smaller Fly Fishing Camp is dedicated solely to fishing.
With 185,000 square feet of meeting space and 779 rooms, the resort can host groups of as many as 5,000 people.
La Posada de Santa Fe
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Two blocks east of Santa Fe, New Mexico’s historic downtown plaza sits one of the oldest resorts in the city, La Posada de Santa Fe. The original three-story brick mansion on the property, which now serves as a restaurant and bar, was built in 1882 by a merchant named Abraham Staab. In the 1930s, adobe casitas were added around the existing mansion and carriage house, and the property became a hotel. Kristin Lepisto, director of sales for La Posada, said the resort underwent a major remodel in 1998, adding a conference center, additional guest rooms and a spa. The beautifully landscaped grounds and art collection add to the location’s many charms.
With 4,500 square feet of flexible meeting space, the resort prides itself on being an exceptional corporate event venue. It also hosts events outside on its lawn court, adjacent to the conference center. La Posada is the only full-service resort in Santa Fe with grounds. The property boasts six acres of landscaped gardens.
Guests of the resort have an easy walk to the area’s art galleries, shops, cathedral and restaurants and can take their time perusing the jewelry and other crafts displayed daily by Native Americans on the plaza. La Posada has 157 restored casita-style rooms and suites, and each one is different. They feature adobe walls and traditional exposed beams and wood ceiling slats.