By Beth Buehler
Whether your executive team is already based in Colorado or flying in from around the globe, the state is the premiere place to gather for a productive and memorable executive retreat. Not only are there great destinations and venues for meeting, but planners can break up the work sessions and fuel creativity with classic Colorado fun, world-class attractions and team-building options that can tie into the purpose of a meeting. Here are a few ideas to consider.
Hideaway or quick access? – If time is a bit limited, hosting retreats near airports like those in Denver, Colorado Springs, Aspen, Eagle/Vail and Grand Junction can be helpful. Denver recently launched the A-Line train from Denver International Airport to the beautifully restored Denver Union Station near many downtown hotels. From there it is possible to catch Amtrak to various destinations and get the meeting started on the way to destinations like Winter Park/Fraser and Glenwood Springs or even all the way to Grand Junction. If something more remote and private is desired, Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa on Colorado’s Western Slope or C Lazy U or Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa, both in Grand County not far from Denver, may be the ticket.
Classic boardroom setting or something different? – There are boardrooms and then there are boardrooms and small meeting spaces with big views or big locations. At Hotel Boulderado, the famous Pearl Street Mall is just a block away. At Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s Mountaineer Square Conference Center, the ski slopes and hiking/biking trails are right out the door. For something unusual check out the new Estes Park Event Center with a boardroom and the Silo Meeting Room (actually located in a silo) and stay at The Stanley Hotel. Hotel Teatro, Hotel Monaco Denver and Devil’s Thumb have wine cellar rooms that could change it up for a day or work nicely for a retreat dinner meeting.
What is the season? – Colorado is a year-round destination. The important thing is to match the season with the type of activities that retreat attendees might enjoy or an organization’s strategic planning calendar. Viceroy Snowmass has a great location to hit both the slopes and all sorts of festivals and concerts happening around the ski area base. Loveland has beautiful sculpture gardens for a cocktail reception in summer or fall. Or chose a property in the Vail Valley for action almost any time of year. New for this ski season is the rebirth of train service from Denver Union Station to Winter Park from Jan. 7 – March 26 on weekends and holiday Mondays. Get the best of both worlds, a city and mountain town and no transportation hassles.
Make time for Colorado-centric activities – People on executive teams usually have unique interests. Find out what attendees enjoy ahead of time and plan activities accordingly, whether it is fly fishing, biking, visiting historic sites, attending a concert or performance, or enjoying tastings at local microbreweries, distillers and vineyards. If golf comes out on top, check out River Valley Ranch Golf Club in Carbondale or Garden of the Gods Club & Resort and Cheyenne Mountain Resort, both in Colorado Springs.
Don’t forget the special touches – If stellar customer service and a AAA Five Diamond rating are desired, look to the meetings and events teams at Ritz-Carlton, Denver, The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs and The Little Nell in Aspen for great ideas. Destination Colorado’s member destination management companies and meeting/event planners also are available to assist around the state and make a retreat efficient and memorable.
There’s almost no end to the possibilities for a distinct executive retreat in Colorado. The problem will be narrowing it down to just one town, so perhaps the best solution its to keep coming back and experiencing all that the cities, mountains, plains and Western Slope have to offer.
Beth Buehler is editor of Colorado Meetings + Events and Mountain Meetings magazines, has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado in all seasons.