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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Waterfront in Olympia, Washington

Situated on the southernmost point of Puget Sound, about an hour’s drive from Seattle and two hours from Portland, the town of Olympia, Washington, offers a convenient meeting location. With its role as the state’s capital, appealing waterfront setting and proximity to Mount Rainier and Olympic National Park, many consider it an ideal Northwest getaway.

The area offers visitors a recently designated scenic byway, a variety of festivals throughout the year and a number of parks and outdoor attractions. The city of just under 50,000 also puts out the welcome mat for visitors.

“Olympia has that small-town feel but also offers many of the conveniences of a larger city,” said Kyla Cavanagh, marketing and sales director for the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau. “And it’s easy to get here — we’re less than an hour from the airport.”

She said a welcoming attitude is pervasive in the local population.

“Visitors will find a real spirit of hospitality here. If someone is standing on the sidewalk looking at a map, chances are people will stop and ask if they need help.”

Though outsiders might have a mental picture of constant rain, Cavanagh says that’s an exaggeration. “We have such great mild weather,” she said. “And it’s really a lush, green area.” 

Among the area’s attractions, she touts the nearly 400 local restaurants.

“Only a handful are part of a chain,” she said. “There are great breweries and wineries, too.”

Cavanagh said meeting planners who have not experienced Olympia might be surprised at how much CVB staff members do to meet their needs.

“What we hear from planners is that they like being treated like big fish in a small pond,” she said. “We pride ourselves on first-rate service and on making a big deal of events that may be too small for a larger city.”

She said flexibility is a guiding principle when it comes to assisting with meetings.

“We always try to make it a good experience for meeting planners and their delegates. We go above and beyond to customize each event and to create special appeal.”

Hotel Choices

The Governor, a Coast hotel, offers a 2,200-square-foot meeting facility that accommodates 200 for receptions and 120 in classroom format. A second room, with 1,400 square feet of space, has a capacity of 120 to 180. A business center on the same floor serves both rooms, and a small boardroom that seats eight is also available. The hotel has 122 guest rooms.

The Doubletree by Hilton, with 102 guest rooms, features two meeting rooms and a boardroom. With 1,824 square feet of space, one room holds up to 110, and a 625-square-foot room holds up to 40. The boardroom seats 10.