Top Destinations for Executive Retreats in the Mountains

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Top Destinations for Executive Retreats in the Mountains

By Beth Buehler
Executive retreats are a bit different than the “normal” meeting. First, they are an opportunity to get away from the office or off Zoom to have in-person, high-level discussions. Second, a venue that offers comfortable places to gather, lodging, meals and privacy also are important. So why not make it someplace fun where memorable activities can be part of the mix?

To get the ball rolling, here is a snapshot of Colorado’s top destinations for executive retreats in the mountains and a luxury property or two for each. In all of these towns, there is rich history usually connected to mining, ranching and/or skiing; a plethora of locally owned restaurants and shops; the availability of signature festivals and concert series to tie into; and plenty of outdoor fun ranging from skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and dog sledding in winter to hiking, biking, fishing, golfing and rock climbing during fair weather.

Check Destination Colorado’s website for other great mountain towns, hotels and resorts that are well versed at hosting small groups.

Aspen

Long a destination for the rich and famous, Aspen has retained a small town feeling but with cosmopolitan amenities, a wide range of meeting facilities and plenty of year-round action. A former mining town turned skiing and cultural mecca, Aspen has plenty to satisfy the outdoor adventurers, foodies, art lovers, history buffs and nightlife seekers on your executive team. Aspen Mountain offers skiing right in town, so it’s easy to catch some runs between meetings, and strolling the pedestrian-friendly downtown is fun and easy any time of year.

The Little Nell: If 20,000-plus bottles in the wine cellar is any indication, Aspen’s Forbes Travel Guide Five Star and AAA Five Diamond property is sure to impress. Located right by Aspen Mountain, The Little Nell is a nice medium size with 92 guest rooms and suites, and intimate gathering spaces like the boardroom, The Gallery and Terrace Room are great options for executive retreats. Book a private cellar tasting and tour with one of the hotel’s sommeliers.

The town of Aspen is surrounded by Rocky Mountain beauty. Courtesy Aspen Skiing Company.

Beaver Creek

Situated immediately south of the town of Avon, approximately 10 minutes from Vail, Beaver Creek is a perfect getaway without as many distractions. The road to Beaver Creek is lined with flags, indicating this is a place that attracts visitors from around the globe. At the center of Beaver Creek is a charming village with restaurants, shops, and access to a ski resort that is just the right size for all levels of outdoor enthusiasts to gather midday or for après ski. If you time it right, there might be a performance at Vilar Performing Arts Center or an event at the ski area base. For a memorable evening, book a snowcat-drawn sleigh ride dinner to Beano’s Cabin for fine dining at 9000+ feet.

The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Avon, Vail Valley: This full-service resort with 230 guest rooms and residences is located along the Eagle River and has floor-to-ceiling windows and magnificent views of Beaver Creek Mountain from its meeting and event spaces. The Rapids Room and various salons work well for executive retreats, and enjoy lunch and breaks on the Riverside Terrace or Maya restaurant. A large outdoor pool, the well-equipped Athletic Club, and award-winning Spa Anjali are ideal for relaxing during free time.

The newly updated lobby terrace at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Avon, Vail Valley. Courtesy The Westin Riverfront.

Grand County

Many will know Grand County as home to Winter Park Resort, but we’re heading north a bit to Tabernash and Granby, the locations of two high-end ranches and outdoor fun galore. Tabernash has easy access to Winter Park Resort and downtown Winter Park with shops, dining, local brews and more. Granby also has small town vibe and a ski resort, Granby Ranch, for snowsports, golf, biking and more. Plus, the community is close to one of the entrances for Rocky Mountain National Park.

Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa and C Lazy U Ranch: It’s hard to choose between the two for executive retreats, as they are equally worthy. Both have a variety of lodging options (including cabins) and plenty to keep an executive team happy outside meetings, from outdoor activities based on the season to lovely spas and exquisite dining. At Devil’s Thumb, the Main Lodge Boardroom, Timber House and Yaeger House & Loft work well for small groups, and John Ls’ Wine Cellar & Uncorking Room is ultra-impressive for private dinners. C Lazy U has the Patio House and Latigo Meeting Room that are idea for retreats, and the Adega Wine Room hosts private wine tastings and chef’s tables.

John Ls’ Wine Cellar & Uncorking Room. Courtesy of Devil's Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa.

Vail

Vail may have the largest ski mountain in the state and ability to host sizable gatherings, but the world-class service and venues also are attractive for small groups like executive retreats. If your team plans to ski and snowboard, make sure to plan a full day at Vail Mountain or it won’t be enough! For other activities, it’s easier to take a few hours, morning or afternoon. There are a dozen championship golf courses located within a 38-mile radius, and memorable venues like the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater for concerts and the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens next door for a pre-cocktail party in a beautiful setting. Walking around Vail Village and Lionshead in tandem with a meal or nightlife also is highly recommended! 

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail: Located at the foot of Vail Mountain, this property offers attention to detail with European flair. Book an executive retreat in a boardroom or the Gore Range Suite that has a dining table for 10, a spacious living room and sizable outdoor terrace. Out of Bounds, a beautiful private dining space in the on-site Flame Restaurant, and three terraces (including the one at Flame) can be reserved for a meal or reception in the fresh mountain air. The Four Seasons culinary team is available for cooking and craft cocktail experiences.

Mixing mountain style with luxury at the Flame Restaurant private dining room. Courtesy Don Riddle/Four Seasons.

There options for top destinations for executive retreats are plentiful in Colorado. The only challenge you will have is choosing what season to go as there are benefits to all four seasons!

Top Photo: Courtesy C Lazy U Ranch.

Beth Buehler has been editor of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for 16 years and helped launch Mountain Meetings magazine in 2013. She has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.