By Beth Buehler
Retreats should be both productive and experiential to get conversations, brainstorming and connections flowing. Colorado is fortunate to have many top business retreat venues in the mountains that can accomplish these two important priorities and also impress busy executives, teams and boards of directors.
I personally like retreats that are held in more out-of-the way places where it’s easy to relax, totally acceptable to wear casual attire and simple to access memorable activities. Smaller venues where you can often book the whole facility are ideal for retreats. However, several mountain hotels also can offer options in the form of beautiful board rooms, and ski resorts have on-mountain places to gather and slip outside for a patio lunch or a morning or afternoon (or just an hour or two) of hiking, biking, skiing or snowboarding.
Aspen & Snowmass
In Aspen, The Gant has condominium lodging and a small conference center with a deck that overlooks one of the property’s pools. Hotel Jerome in the heart of downtown is a historic gem that has a variety of spaces including a beautiful courtyard area that connects to the recently renovated Aspen Times Building.
Meanwhile, Aspen Meadows Resort in the quieter west end of town is a masterpiece of Bauhaus architecture on a 40-acre campus and features the new Albright Pavilion and Bren and Mel Simon Terrace among other appealing places to retreat. If you time it right, catch a concert at the nearby Benedict Music Tent.
The slopeside Viceroy Snowmass, just down the road in Snowmass Village, is certainly at the level executives expect, and the private dining spaces on the on-site TORO Kitchen & Lounge are ideal for leisurely meals that have a business component or not. Relax by the pool in hours off or catch the nearby chairlift in a snap.
The recently renovated Beaver Creek Lodge offers some of the same appealing features and access to on-mountain activities but in the Vail Valley. Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa Avon, Vail Valley is a larger property, but the light-filled meeting spaces and configurations make a retreat here totally doable. The pool, spa and athletic center at this resort are sure to impress.
Crested Butte, Telluride & Steamboat Springs
At Crested Butte Mountain Resort, one of my favorite spaces is the Al Johnson Boardroom at the Mountaineer Square Conference Center. In the winter, book a gourmet winter lunch or a sleigh ride dinner or Uley’s Cabin.
Madeline Hotel & Residences is a great place to retreat in Mountain Village, which connects to historic Telluride by a free gondola. Midway on the gondola, Allred’s Restaurant is a great place combine a delicious meal and meeting. In Steamboat Springs, Bella Vista Estate is situated on seven gorgeous acres that overlook the Yampa River Valley and features accommodations and places to gather in the Lodge, Overlook and cottages.
Winter Park & Granby
Two of Colorado’s finest guest ranches, C Lazy U Ranch in Tarbernash and Devil’s Thumb Resort & Spa in Granby, have plenty of their own activities but also are not far from Winter Park Resort for skiing and other outdoor fun. Both ranches offer stunning scenery and terrific places to meet and dine. There’s no need to go off-site for anything, unless you want to, and the friendly Western vibe is the norm.
An Abundance of Top-Notch Mountain Towns
Colorado also has many top business retreat venues in the mountains that are not in ski town destinations! The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs may be best known for its main “campus” that dates back more than 100 years, but two of the resort’s Wilderness Experience properties are in nestled in the surrounding mountains. Cloud Camp and The Ranch at Emerald Valley are truly impressive and perfect for retreats seeking privacy.
How about adding in some hot springs, vineyards and a world-renowned national park to the mix? Like The Broadmoor, Stanley Hotel in Estes Park is a Colorado landmark and a gateway to one of the nation’s most popular natural attractions, Rocky Mountain National Park. Or head to Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort in south central Colorado near Buena Vista for a retreat that combines soaking and strategizing surrounded by plenty of 14ers (mountain peaks that exceed 14,000 feet in elevation). If your group has its fair share of people who love wine and being in places where it’s produced, consider Wine Country Inn in Palisade, where there are vineyards and fruit orchards galore.
Mount Vernon Canyon Club just west of Denver in the community of Golden is perfect for a day retreat where you can step outside on the patio and smell the surrounding pine forests. Stay at one of the lodging properties in downtown Golden for easy access to shops and restaurants and additional gathering space.
Top business retreat venues in the mountains aren’t hard to find in Colorado. Browse around on Destination Colorado’s website and talk to destination marketing organizations and destination management companies to find the ideal match for your group.
Beth Buehler is editor of Colorado Meetings + Events and Mountain Meetings magazines, has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.