New Mexico's stunning natural beauty can help attendees feel at peace, even as they're getting down to business. In Santa Fe, for example, the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado (pictured) places a heavy emphasis on wellness-focused activities like hiking, biking, meditation and spa treatments.
• Phase 1 of a $5 million renovation of Albuquerque's classic Hotel Cascada is set to wrap up this month, when the property will be officially rebranded as the Wyndham Hotel & Conference Center. Features include 300 rooms, more than 30,000 square feet of meeting space and an indoor water park. The hotel, which was built on 11 acres in 1972, will debut a new fitness center, a redesigned lobby and other upgrades.
The Sunrise Springs Spa Resort in Santa Fe offers a variety of group spaces, both indoors and out. Venues such as the Blue Heron Restaurant make the most of the lush environs.
• Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm has invested $15 million to renovate and expand its business. The historic farmhouse sits on 25 acres of lavender fields, cottonwood trees and gardens. The building has more than doubled its guest-room capacity, from 22 to 50; the original dairy barns also have been restored and will be incorporated into use for an expanded farm-to-table restaurant, a bar, a bakery and a farm shop, most of which will debut by the end of this month. The property has a variety of meeting and event spaces.
• Late last year, the city's Environmental Planning Commission greenlighted a local entrepreneur's plan to open a "bed and brew," a craft-beer version of the traditional B&B. There's no opening date yet set for the Painted Lady Bed & Brew, but the establishment eventually plans to offer two rooms for rent in the owner's historic home, for a maximum total of six guests. In addition to accommodations, the venue will serve craft beer in an evening session focused on local beers. Albuquerque is proud of its small but distinctive craft-beer scene, with six breweries and taprooms within a 15-minute walk of the Painted Lady.
• Albuquerque International Sunport, the city's airport, is in the midst of a $17 million renovation. The baggage claim and ticket counters are being revamped, and new lighting is being added to the drop-off and pickup areas. Increased airlift to and from the facility already has been announced to coincide with the upgrades.
• The city broke ground in January of this year on the Albuquerque Baseball Complex, a $17.8 million multi-sport establishment that will contain five baseball fields, indoor facilities, a soccer field, concessions, meeting rooms and more. The complex is expected to debut by year's end.
Groups can help horses via volunteer and team-building activities with the Tamaya Horse Rehabilitation Program, a nonprofit that cares for these neglected and abandoned animals in New Mexico. The program, based at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa,
lets groups interact with the equine beauties, assist in their care or even sponsor one.
Luxury lodging has arrived in Albuquerque in the form of the 118-room Hotel Chaco, which opened in April. The boutique property, in the heart of Historic Old Town, juxtaposes the modern and ancient, paying tribute to Native American traditional art and masonry techniques. The Level 5 rooftop restaurant and lounge offers stunning views of the landscape.
Meeting Hotels: Albuquerque offers more than 17,000 guest rooms. Downtown meetings properties include the 394-room Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, 295-room DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Albuquerque and 261-room Embassy Suites by Hilton Albuquerque Hotel & Spa. The Midtown/University area includes the 342-room MCM Eleganté Hotel & Event Center, 309-room Hotel Cascada (soon to be Wyndham Hotel & Conference Center) and 261-room Crowne Plaza Albuquerque. Uptown properties include the 411-room Albuquerque Marriott Hotel and 295-room Albuquerque Sheraton Uptown Hotel, and Old Town hotels include the 188-room Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town, 173-room Best Western Plus Rio Grande Inn and 118-room Hotel Chaco.
To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit mcvenues.com.
Convention Center: Albuquerque Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 167,562 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 27; (800) 733-9918
Airport Transit: Albuquerque International Sunport, about three miles southeast of downtown. Transfer cost by taxi to downtown/convention center, $18-$22; by shuttle, $15
Taxes: Room tax, 6%; gross reciepts tax, 7.5% ; total tax on rooms, 13.5%
Group Venue: The Prairie Star Restaurant & Wine Bar, an acclaimed restaurant at the Santa Ana Golf Club, offers fine dining in a restored 90-year-old adobe mansion. The "contemporary new American" cuisine focuses on local ingredients and changes with the seasons. Private event facilities can accommodate up to 170 indoors and 400 outside. (505) 867-3327
Contact: Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau, (800) 284-2282