When it comes to creative thinking,
productive palaver and making new contacts, the standard meeting room format of table ringed by chairs seems so...standard. But a number of venues around the country offer beautiful spaces where schmoozing can reign supreme. Here are a few stellar examples of square footage expressly made for mingling.
The stunning 10-story Atrium at the 271-room Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., features running streams, exotic 30-foot palm trees and a cascading waterfall, all reflective of a Colonial Asian theme. Up to 350 people can gather here; Wi-Fi (for a modest fee) is available. (888) 740-7020; www.worldgolf
At the 301-room Chateau on the Lake Resort Spa & Convention Center in Branson, Mo., the warm and cozy library draws attendees from the property's 43,500-square-foot convention facility to review the day's agenda and swap business cards. (888) 333-5253; chateauonthelakebranson.com
For those who seek the cutting edge, the Catalyst Ranch in Chicago offers a collection of six high-tech meeting rooms that break the mold and invite innovative brainstorming and networking. The 1,400-square-foot Mambo room, for example, holds up to 75 for a reception in a wonderfully whimsical layout. (312) 207-1710, www.catalystranchmeetings.com
The rustic wood-lined Rooftop Terrace at the 201-room Tribeca Grand Hotel can host up to 50 people for a reception overlooking the glitz of New York City's perennially trendy downtown. And after a gathering, the nearby neighborhoods of SoHo, Chinatown, Little Italy and the Lower East Side await. (877) 519-6600; tribecagrand.com