Engage All 5 Senses at Colorado Meetings
Photos: Wine Country Inn in Palisade, Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Uncorked Kitchen in Centennial, The Home Ranch in Clark, Keystone Resort/Bob Winsett, Vail Resorts
Find additional ideas and information about iconic places for a Colorado meeting and search for meeting venues by region or statewide.
Today’s meeting and event participants are selective with their travel time due to crazy-busy work and family schedules. The content, networking opportunities, destination and overall experience have to be 100 percent dialed in to create enthusiasm among staff to attend, ensure repeat registrations and provide incentive trips that inspire. Colorado can help planners deliver by engaging attendees’ five senses.
Colorado specializes in natural and urban beauty. Whether mountains, mesas, cityscapes or gardens best fit your group’s agenda, the Centennial State offers all sorts of options and has creative pros that excel at transforming spaces.
Book a venue in the heart of the Rocky Mountains at a ski-in/ski-out hotel, a guest ranch in Steamboat Springs or Grand County, or the YMCA camps in Granby and Estes Park. Dine surrounded by a vineyard or peach orchards in Grand Junction or Palisade and on farms in the Boulder area to savor local foods where they are grown. Groups can even go on a bike ride between farms with an outfitter to truly enjoy the scenery.
Cityscapes also are divine, and downtown Denver has jaw-dropping views from hotels, The Rooftop at Coors Field (home of the Colorado Rockies professional baseball team) and upper-story venues like the Pinnacle Club by Grand Hyatt Denver, Peaks Lounge at Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center, 54thirty rooftop bar at the new Le Méridien Denver Downtown and the rooftop pool and bar at Halcyon, a hotel in Cherry Creek.
For beautiful gardens and landscapes, head to the Denver Botanic Gardens, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail or The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, where the grounds were designed by John Charles and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., sons of the father of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted Sr.
Also tap the creativity of a great selection of audio-visual firms, florists and decor companies around the state to take a meeting or event to the next level visually.
Whether a group is seeking peace and quiet for an executive retreat in a tucked-away lodge, the sounds of music at outdoor concerts or enthusiastic cheers for cowboys at rodeos or the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Colorado steps up to the plate.
Almost every mountain town has a free outdoor summer concert series that groups can plug into and bring picnic dinners, and there are outstanding venues in the Denver metropolitan area to rent for private concerts such as the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre, the new Levitt Pavilion Denver and Fiddler’s Green.
Summer in Colorado also means rodeo time in communities like Greeley, Gunnison, Steamboat Springs, Snowmass and Colorado Springs, or catch the National Western Stock Show in Denver each January. The heartbeat of the West also is reflected at the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering every fall.
If the roar of the crowd is preferred after a day of meetings, Denver has eight professional sports teams to watch ranging from football, baseball and basketball to soccer, lacrosse and rugby, all playing in facilities that will impress and with staff that can help arrange special options for groups.
On the quieter side, Colorado communities of all sizes feature thousands of miles of trails to explore by foot, bike or horseback and lakes for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). Yoga on a patio or SUP in the mountains is also a way to take a moment out and really hear the rustling of aspen leaves and birds singing a chorus.
Colorado’s food and beverage scene has skyrocketed into a new stratosphere over the past decade, with an abundance of creative chefs trying out new concepts, harvesting produce from their own gardens and being available for culinary team-building. Schedule a gathering to coincide with festivals that are a nod to local harvests, beer, spirits and wine and make room in a group’s itinerary for a food tour or hands-on cooking experience.
Book a meeting in tandem with one of the state’s many beer, wine and food festivals, such as the Colorado Brewers’ Festival in Fort Collins, Colorado Brewers Rendezvous in Salida, Colorado Mountain Winefest in Palisade, and Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. Or follow the white coats of Colorado chefs and communities that were highlighted on Bravo Media’s “Top Chef” in 2018.
Plan an ultra-memorable class at Uncorked Kitchen in Centennial or go on organized food and beverage tours in Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, Telluride, Steamboat Springs, Colorado Springs and Grand Junction.
With a huge focus on farm-to-table in the state, build local foods into menus like Western Slope peaches, Olathe sweet corn, wild game and more. Some venues even have their own gardens and/or beehives, like the Colorado Convention Center and The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa in downtown Denver, and Omni Interlocken Hotel in nearby Broomfield.
Seeing, hearing and tasting are naturally integrated into meetings and events, but what about touch? A sponsored massage station at a trade show is heavenly, a visit from dogs and cats from a local animal shelter is a sweet break from meetings, and building bikes for a good cause are great ways to integrate touch. Or head straight for venues where touch is part of the experience.
Guest ranches not only provide great venues and lodging accommodations, you also get a feel for the place by ringing the dinner bell, building a gooey s’more around the campfire and sitting in the saddle of a resident horse for a trail ride.
Around the state, catch and release a beautiful rainbow or brown trout in a pristine river or lake and chefs at places like Smith Fork Ranch in Crawford and The Broadmoor's The Ranch at Emerald Valley near Colorado Springs will deliciously prepare the bounty for dinner. Denver Zoo, Downtown Aquarium Denver and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs all have meeting and event space and can incorporate animal encounters. There’s nothing quite like feeding a giraffe at eye-level at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo!
Eclectic Hive, a Denver-based event design and decor firm, has organized unique group dinners that start with a hand scrub station and end with a wine crush. Guests create their own hand scrub from seasonal fruit purees, oil, essence, dried herbs, peels, salts, etc., instead of having the standard cocktail reception.
The sense of smell is closely linked with memory and emotion. Like touch, how much do we consider this sense and its impact on gatherings? Fresh flowers, crisp mountain air, spa experiences, cookouts and restaurants with open kitchens are just a few ways to mingle the powerful sense of smell into meetings and events.
There are delicious scents galore at the growing number of indoor marketplaces and food halls in the Denver metro area (Stanley Marketplace, Avanti F & B, The Source and Denver Central Market), Colorado Springs and Fort Collins, perfect for groups looking for unique spaces to gather and a variety of food and beverage choices.
At Scented Studio in Englewood, groups can create home, bath or body products to take home or schedule a Scented Journey Workshop to explore the art and history of perfume making while crafting a bottle of perfume or cologne. Founded in 1986, Lily Farm Fresh Skin Care is the first skin care company in the world to build an organic farm center open to the public. Launched this fall and located steps away from The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, the center is open daily to provide open viewing of how fresh, natural skin care products are made and to serve as a venue for meetings and events.
As you can see, groups will have no problem engaging all five senses in Colorado!