Iconic Locations for Meetings in Colorado
By Beth Buehler
The current tagline for visiting and meeting in the Centennial State is “shine brighter.” This can mean a lot of things, which is why it works so well. For a meeting, shining brighter could be a gathering that attendees truly notice or a shared activity that fosters confidence and builds team bonds. What better place to do this than at iconic locations for meetings in Colorado?
What does iconic really mean? According to my friend Merriam-Webster, one of the definitions is “widely known and acknowledged especially for distinctive excellence.” Based on this, four categories provide a glimpse of legendary locations for meetings in Colorado.
Hot Springs Meccas
What I love about the following four towns is that they all bring four significant features to the table as locations for meetings that are sure to please groups: hot springs, thriving downtowns, rivers running through town, and outdoor fun galore.
Buena Vista has the mighty Arkansas River that is known for whitewater rafting, kayaking and all sorts of sports related to water. For a place to stay, meet and soak in amazing hot springs, head to Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort with a peaceful location in the mountains and its namesake, the 14,200-foot Mount Princeton, visible from the various hot springs pools.
In Durango, the recently renovated Durango Hot Springs Resort & Spa is an amazing way to spend a late afternoon or evening after a day of discussing business. Also consider a walk or bike ride on the paved 7-mile Animas River Trail that is close to the 1887-era Strater Hotel, a great place to stay and meet.
In Glenwood Springs, there are two hot springs choices: Glenwood Hot Springs Resort that dates to 1888 and the newer Iron Mountain Hot Springs. Hotel Colorado, located across the street from Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, opened five years later in 1893. The property has newly renovated guest rooms, a nice selection of meeting spaces, a spacious courtyard for having a beverage in the summer or fall. The hotel and pool are a short walk to downtown via the pedestrian bridge over the Colorado River.
Steamboat Springs also is a two hot springs town with Old Town Hot Springs right in town and Strawberry Park Hot Springs on the outskirts but worth the drive. The Yampa River is this town’s waterway, and The Steamboat Grand at Steamboat Ski Resort is the place for groups to gather.
Internationally Known Ski Towns
Since we are already on the topic of ski towns, let’s move on to two classic pairings: Aspen/Snowmass and Vail/Beaver Creek. Not only are they on many peoples’ bucket lists, but they also offer an international vibe that is hard to beat.
In the Roaring Fork Valley, Aspen and Snowmass Village are only 9 miles apart and offer completely different experiences. Aspen Mountain and Snowmass ski areas are owned by the same company, Aspen Skiing Company, along with Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk in between. There are many top-notch lodging and meeting space options between the two communities.
The dynamic between Vail and Beaver Creek is similar. One is more of the main town in terms of size of the central business district and number of residents, while the other is ski village that also has plenty of activity in summer and fall. While Aspen is a historic mining town, Vail and Beaver Creek are newer on the scene but have an energy that is sought after by people from around the globe. Like Aspen and Snowmass Village, there are many options for accommodations, venues, dining, culture and outdoor fun in Vail and Beaver Creek.
College Town Vibes
While there are college towns sprinkled around Colorado, Boulder and Fort Collins are the best known since they are home to the two largest public institutions: University of Colorado and Colorado State University. Both have schools have excellent facilities to rent, and University of Colorado Boulder Conference Services stands ready to assist.
Two iconic places to stay and meet in Boulder are Hotel Boulderado that opened in 1909 just steps from downtown’s Pearl Street Mall and Colorado Chautauqua the brushes up against the Flatirons and dates to 1898. In Fort Collins, stay a in Old Town, a lovely historic district filled with shops, restaurants, nightlife, and the Elizabeth Hotel, where there are record players in the room, a collection of 1,200 vinyl records to choose from, and an instrument lending library.
You can get the college vibe in Denver, too, at University of Denver, one of Colorado’s best-known private schools. Book gathering space through the school’s conference services team. When in town, cheer on The Mile High City’s professional sports teams—Nuggets, Avalanche, Broncos and Rapids—and book their home venues. West of the city, Red Rocks Amphitheatre is where some of the top names in music perform.
Other special places to work into your agenda are the beautifully renovated Denver Union Station with shops, restaurants, a hotel, function space and a transportation center, including the A Line train that connects to Denver International Airport. Also host an event and browse the amazing collection at the recently expanded and improved Denver Art Museum campus.
There are so many great hotels in Mile High City, there is sure to be an option for your group’s size, interests and budget. Plus, the major expansion at the Colorado Convention Center downtown will be wrapped up later this year.
Colorado Springs, Colorado’s second largest city, also offers a wealth of options. The Broadmoor, opened in 1918, has a firm spot on the state’s most iconic list. The resort recently landed on the Historic Hotels of America’s Top 25 Most Historic Golf Courses list for 2023, and the new Colorado Golf Hall of Fame Museum opened in The Broadmoor Golf Club in April. It’s only a glimpse of what the property offers with Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond class. The Broadmoor also owns and operates two of the state’s beloved attractions: Seven Falls and Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway.
Another classic experience in Colorado Springs is the 1,400-acre Flying W Ranch that opened in 1953. Stunning red rock formations serve as the backdrop for rodeos, axe throwing, archery, horse-drawn wagon and carriage rides, and farrier, silversmithing and Navajo rug weaving demonstrations. Don’t miss shows by the Flying W Wranglers from the end of May through early October and the group’s Cowboy Christmas Jubilee in December.
If you want to stay, gather and golf amongst the red rocks, head to Garden of the Gods Resort and Club. There are many other outstanding lodging properties and venues throughout Colorado Springs so make sure to check out the various options.
Having grown up in Colorado and traveling the state frequently for business and leisure over the years, it’s hard to narrow down the options. I hope this sampling of iconic locations for meetings in Colorado is helpful to get the ideas flowing. Happy meeting!
Top Photo: Outdoor concert in Old Town Fort Collins, photo by Richard Haro/courtesy of Visit Fort Collins
Colorado native Beth Buehler has been editor of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for 18 years, helped launch Mountain Meetings magazine, and is on the team introducing Southwest Meetings + Events. She has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.