Colorado is more centrally located than one might think. Attendees from all over the United States can fly to Denver or Colorado Springs within about four hours, and they'll be thrilled to step off the plane into the magnificently rugged mountain glory of the state.
A $20 million propertywide renovation has been completed at the 316-room Cheyenne Mountain Resort. All guest rooms were refurbished, and each now sports a flat-screen TV and an iHome docking station. A large fire pit was added to the Mountain View Restaurant Terrace, along with new furnishings. All 38 meeting rooms, comprising 40,000 square feet of space, received new carpeting, wall coverings, furniture and technology upgrades. The property is accredited by the International Association of Conference Centers and recently earned its Green Seal certification.
Scheduled to open downtown in the fall is the 117-room Mining Exchange, a Wyndham Grand Hotel. The property, which will offer 20,000 square feet of meeting space, is being created from the renovation of four historical buildings from the early 20th century that once comprised a mining stock exchange. Hand-crafted furniture will be featured throughout.
The 300-room Renaissance Hotel, Spa and Conference Center, long under construction and then abandoned during the economic downturn, now is scheduled to open in 2015. The property will offer about 50,000 square feet of meeting space and a Spa Botanica.
Major properties with meeting space include the 744-room Broadmoor, 500-room Crowne Plaza Hotel Colorado Springs, 316-room Cheyenne Mountain Resort, 309-room Colorado Springs Marriott, 299-room Doubletree Hotel Colorado Springs-World Arena, 292-room Antlers Hilton Colorado Springs, 207-room Embassy Suites Colorado Springs and 87-room Garden of the Gods Club.
For a more complete list of area hotels, visit mcvenues.com.
Colorado Springs Airport, about 11 miles southeast of the downtown district. Transfer cost by taxi, approximately $20 to $25. Many area hotels offer airport shuttle service.
Room tax, 2%; sales tax, 7.4%; total tax on hotel rooms, 9.4%
In the mountains just west of town, visitors can explore 800- to 1,000-year-old Anasazi cliff homes at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum. The structures were not built on the present site, but were relocated there in the early 1900s from the southwest corner of the state. The facility welcomes small group events. (719) 685-5242
Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, (800) 888-4748
In Durango, Soaring Tree Top Adventures
has added two side-by-side zip lines to its 1.5-mile course, allowing guests to race each other.
Visit Denver, the city's destination management organization, has launched the Denver Meetings & Conventions website, filled with the kind of information most requested by focus groups comprised of planners from multiple industry segments. The new website's resources include a comprehensive list of Denver meeting hotels, with separate sections for downtown, metro/suburban and mountain/resort properties, along with a simple request for proposal form that can be submitted electronically or attached to other documents. Also featured: detailed information on the Colorado Convention Center; the Venue Guide, which allows planners to select hotel meeting rooms and off-site venues by using multiple criteria including location, attendance and room type; and attendance-building tools, including a digital-marketing kit.
The Colorado National Bank Building is being transformed into a full-service luxury hotel by the Stonebridge Companies. The 230-room property will open in 2012.
The Colorado Convention Center has gone green, having recently received a coveted LEED certification for existing buildings from the U.S. Green Building Council. Many changes were made at the facility to earn the designation, including cutting overall energy usage, monitoring purchasing, using green-cleaning practices, improving air quality, conserving water, diverting waste and more. In the process, the convention facility's carbon emissions have been cut by more than 26 percent. The roof sports 30,000 square feet of solar panels.
A new $29 million museum showcasing works by American abstract expressionist Clyfford Still will open in November, designed by noted architect Brad Cloepfil. Some 2,400 paintings will be available for display at the 31,000-square-foot facility.
The $350 million Four Seasons Hotel Denver opened last October in the heart of the city, just blocks from the convention center and around the corner from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. For relaxation, the 239-room property features a spa and a rooftop pool; for meetings and events, there's a generous 16,000 square feet of space. The hotel's steak house, Edge, serves locally sourced fare.
A few blocks away from the Four Seasons Hotel is the new 403-room Embassy Suites Denver–Downtown Convention Center, which debuted last December. The property offers approximately 22,500 square feet of meeting space across 14 rooms, including the 4,356-square-foot Cripple Creek Ballroom, which can accommodate up to 230 people classroom-style or 410 for a reception. An interesting amenity is the hotel's saline swimming pool.
A three-year project to modernize the bathrooms at the historic Brown Palace Hotel and Spa was completed in March. The work touched 199 of the property's 241 guest rooms. The hotel, which opened in 1892, offers about 13,000 square feet of meeting space and a 5,200-square-foot spa.
The South Terminal Redevelopment Program at Denver International Airport is on budget and on schedule, according to the facility's manager of aviation, Kim Day. A FasTracks light-rail line from the airport to downtown's Union Station will begin running in 2015. A 500-room Westin hotel connected to the terminal and a train station designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava will debut in 2016. The facility also has taken further "green" steps, implementing an organic-waste composting program and building a third solar farm to feed the airport.
Completed in January, a rooms renovation at the 189-room Hotel Monaco Denver brought in a bold new style from interior designer Susan Caruso. The Green Seal Silver-certified property offers approximately 4,000 square feet of meeting space.
The scheduled opening of the $113 million History Colorado Center, the new home for exhibits from the Colorado Historical Society, has been moved to spring 2012. The facility also will house the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, as well as the Stephen H. Hart Research Library.
Meeting Hotels Colorado's capital offers more than 8,300 rooms within walking distance of the Colorado Convention Center. Major properties include the 1,225-room Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, 1,100-room Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center, 615-room Denver Marriott City Center, 512-room Grand Hyatt Denver, 430-room Westin Denver Downtown, 403-room Embassy Suites–Downtown Convention Center, 239-room Four Seasons Hotel Denver and 202-room Ritz-Carlton, Denver. For a more complete list of properties, visit mcvenues.com.
Convention CenterColorado Convention Center; exhibit space, 584,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 63; (303) 228-8000
Airport Transit Denver International Airport, about 24 miles northeast of downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $54.50 to downtown and $60.50 to the Denver Tech Center; by Super Shuttle, $21
Taxes Room tax, 7.5%; sales tax, 7.35%; total tax on hotel rooms, 14.85%
Group Venue Upstairs at the Wynkoop Brewing Co. (previously owened by Colorado's current governor, John Hickenlooper, who sold his part of the business when he went into politics) is Wynkoop Billiards, a spacious pool hall with a total of 23 tournament-sized tables and a back bar that was trash-picked from the tasting room of Denver's late, lamented Tivoli Brewery. Dart boards and shuffleboard tables also beckon in the space, which accommodates up to 700 people for a party. The brewpub has five other areas suitable for private events. (303) 297-2700
Contact Visit Denver, The Convention & Visitors Bureau, (303) 892-1112