ColoradoMay 15, 2023

Venues Statewide Offer Spaces to Appreciate the Views By
May 15, 2023


Venues Statewide Offer Spaces to Appreciate the Views
In Aurora, Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center offers nearly 518,000 sf of meeting space, including several ballrooms. Photo by Brad Anderson / Visit Aurora

In Aurora, Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center offers nearly 518,000 sf of meeting space, including several ballrooms. Photo by Brad Anderson / Visit Aurora

From the mountains to the prairies, and from tony ski resorts to laid-back dude ranches, when it comes to hosting meetings against a variety of backdrops, Colorado just about has it all.

After all, several Colorado cities regularly appear in the top 20 for U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Places to Live” list. Boulder, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Denver have routinely topped the charts as prime locations to reside, but these areas and many others also continue to draw meeting planners year after year.

Though identified as one of America’s Western states, Colorado is not far from the geographical center of the country, making it a prime target for a centrally located meeting site. The farthest major cities from Denver — Boston and Miami — are just a 3-1/2-hour flight. That central location has helped establish Denver International Airport as one of the busiest airports in the world, with nonstop service to more than 200 destinations, including more than 20 international destinations.

Conveniently located only 8 1/2 miles from Denver’s airport is Aurora’s Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center. The resort offers nearly 518,000 sf of meeting space, which includes the Aurora Ballroom & Exhibit Hall with more than 179,520 sf of flexible meeting space.

Aurora offers more than 65 hotel properties with 13,000+ guest rooms, and more than 1 million sf of meeting space. Another convention hotel is the 249-guest room Hyatt Regency Aurora/Denver Conference Center, which offers 36,000 sf of meeting and event space that includes the 11,800-sf Aurora Ballroom and a 4,000-sf outdoor terrace.

Visit Aurora is available to help planners create a Colorado experience they will never forget.

The Colorado Association of REALTORS chose The Broadmoor for its 100 Year Celebration, Conference & Expo. Photo courtesy of Brenda Moss

The Colorado Association of REALTORS chose The Broadmoor for its 100 Year Celebration, Conference & Expo. Photo courtesy of Brenda Moss

A Historic Venue

Although much of the state is defined by what happens in the Denver metro area, there is plenty to draw meeting planners to other destinations spread around the state, including to the second-largest city, Colorado Springs. Located 72 miles south of Denver, the city is also home to one of the state’s largest meeting properties, The Broadmoor, the “grand dame of the Rockies,” built in 1918.

The Colorado Association of REALTORS chose The Broadmoor for its 100 Year Celebration, Conference & Expo, a gathering of 1,065 real estate agents from across the state. “We held our conferences at the Broadmoor for the first 80 or 90 years of the association,” says Brenda Moss, director of meetings and events, about their four-day event. “We felt it appropriate to return to where it all began. Many of our longtime members have fond memories of the conferences held at the Broadmoor and wished to return.”

An asset Moss recommends to meeting planners is The Broadmoor’s Bartolin Hall. The venue is a new asset for the state, featuring 125,000 sf of flexible events space, including 93,500 sf of true exhibit space designed specifically for trade shows. Bartolin Hall features polished concrete floors, 32 meeting rooms, 25-foot-high black piped ceilings, and direct connection to the resort’s 60,000-sf ballroom Broadmoor Hall. Overall, The Broadmoor boasts more than 315,000 sf of meeting space, and allows large conference or trade show attendees to receive a high level of service at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

“In order to accommodate a large group such as ours with keynotes and breakouts, we had to utilize several buildings, which housed different types of events spaces,” Moss says. “We even moved to two different buildings for our last two days of our conference. It worked out well, but directional signage and good communication is key to getting attendees where they need to be. Bartolin Hall is great for an expo hall, and, if it is possible, I’d suggest utilizing the many breakout rooms in this building. There’s office-type space on the second floor of Broadmoor Hall that was very convenient for our staff and vendors. The International Center Foyer, utilizing the indoor and outdoor area, is a wonderful setting for reception. And our guests really enjoyed the Robert Trent Jones, Sr. Room at the Broadmoor Golf Club for our VIP dinner.”

Moss notes that guest rooms can be quite a distance from the meeting space, but The Broadmoor’s shuttles are convenient and easy enough to use. “The campus is large,” Moss says. “Utilize the conference services staff to find little unknown ways to maximize different spaces, such as suites and their balconies, the Robert Trent Jones, Sr. Room, etc.”

Summer and Winter Activities

Although Colorado Springs is set against a backdrop that includes both the sculpted rocks of Garden of the Gods park and the massive flank of Pike’s Peak, for a true Rocky Mountain experience, planners will want to head for the hills — to one of the resorts that caters to both skiers in the winter and hikers in the summer, and meetings and conventions year-round. “Colorado has so many unique areas to offer up for various events and a wide range of weather options depending upon the time of year,” says Carissa Hughes, director of events and operations for the Colorado Association of School Executives. “For our annual summer convention, we always focus on holding the event in the mountains. It’s absolutely the perfect weather at that time of year for indoor and outdoor activities, and all our attendees love getting away to a mountain destination for the week.”

Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs

Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs

Breckenridge has been the association’s pick for more than 20 years, including for its 52nd annual convention. “We have a long history in Breckenridge,” Hughes says. The main reason: It’s a smaller mountain town that can still accommodate the association’s many event room needs, for 1,300-plus attendees.

Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center serves as the main host hotel, with other Vail Resorts properties providing additional room blocks. “This allows our convention to have so many options for large and smaller sessions, with more than 20 event spaces between the properties. Both entities are great partners and work so well together. We work to match convention meals and menus regardless of which venue they are being served at, so that our attendees have a consistent experience.”

She adds, “Additionally, we use one AV company, Image Audiovisuals. It’s so great to have one point of contact for all our AV needs, regardless of which building I am planning in. Image Audiovisuals are just absolute rock-stars at providing the best AV services.”

In addition to meeting spaces ranging up to the 7,200-sf Colorado Ballroom at Beaver Run Resort, Hughes adds that an attractive feature is the variety of room choices, from hotel rooms and suites to condo-style options ranging up to four bedrooms. “This allows for attendees to plan a full retreat or vacation in conjunction with our convention. Many attendees hold retreats with their teams; other attendees use this time as a full family vacation. The rooms and amenities at Beaver Run, and Breckenridge in general, cater to family stays,” Hughes says, adding, “At Beaver Run, you get a sales and service team that is top-notch and willing to do almost anything to cater to your specific event needs. Plus, the resort has large on-site ballrooms that are perfect for anchor elements, general sessions and trade show halls. And Vail Resorts is a true partner that is skilled in working perfectly as the secondary venue, complimenting all the elements of the larger event.” Vail Resorts’ spaces at The Village are “wonderful” for additional summit seminars and great receptions, Hughes adds.

Hughes’ tip for meeting planners considering a mountain event during summer months: be aware that many facilities do not have air conditioning. “Ninety-eight percent of the time, it is not needed,” Hughes says. “However, we know people have specific preferences, so we book blocks of rooms that provide a combination of lodging with A/C and without, to give registrants plenty of options.”

A Planner’s Favorite

In the past, the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) has chosen the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa for its Head of School Retreat. Kathy Crabb, senior executive assistant to the ACSI’s president, says the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is a favorite of hers and her husband. “When my company brought the idea of a retreat for some of our Heads of School, I was quick to recommend the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek,” Crabb says. “It is a beautiful hotel that offers tranquility or as much as you want to do. It is a gem that we really enjoy.”

Located just west of Vail, about 110 miles from Denver, the more than 190-room hotel offers a state-of-the-art conference center and more than 20,000 sf of meetings space, much of it with floor-to-ceiling windows. “They were very accommodating on space, and worked very well with us to make everything work well,” Crabb says. “The only challenge was that I was not aware of the room types. For a retreat with spouses, it was a little embarrassing when I found out that some of our couples would be in rooms with two double beds. But our group was awesome and rolled with it.”

ACSI provided attendees breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Park Hyatt. “The hotel did an amazing job with the food. It was fresh, colorful and delicious,” Crabb says. “Colorado is one of the most beautiful, scenic locations. It offers so much to do while at the same time the awesome scenery allows you to relax and just enjoy the beauty if you just want to unwind.”

New Promotional Programs

The Beaver Creek Resort Company has a website that prompts meeting planners to consider a “village-wide” conference or gathering. provides the planning tools for large groups at the town’s six different resorts and other venues. The website allows incentive, corporate and association groups from around the world to easily research a Rocky Mountain multi-venue and multi-hotel meeting or event. It’s designed to be a one-stop shop for all Beaver Creek Village event questions.

Another state-wide promotion is Colorado’s Meetings and Events Incentive – through the Colorado Tourism Office – which provides pre-approved applicants with a 10% rebate up to $100,000 against the eligible hard costs of hosting meetings and events that take place before the end of this year.  The online application must be submitted no later than 45 days before the meeting occurs, and additional details are available at

Colorado Convention Center. Photo by Steve Crecelius

Colorado Convention Center. Photo by Steve Crecelius

Expansions and Renovations

Just a few decades ago, Colorado’s capitol was often mocked as a cow town. Today, Denver is one of America’s fastest-growing and most desirable cities. Chief among its lures is the Colorado Convention Center, located downtown. Earlier this year, officials held a “topping out” ceremony, commemorating the start of construction on a 200,000-sf rooftop expansion. The expansion, expected to be completed late this year, will include an 80,000-sf, column-free ballroom — the largest in Colorado — and will have new pre-function and networking spaces, cutting-edge technology improvements, in addition to a rooftop outdoor terrace with sweeping panoramic views of both the city and Rocky Mountains, all seamlessly integrated with the existing building.

It was only a little over a year ago that the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel unveiled its two-year, $80 million renovation. A familiar anchor to Denver’s iconic 16th Street Mall, the hotel features 133,000 sf of renovated meeting space, 1,238 newly redesigned guest rooms and 138 suites.

Another more recent addition to downtown is The Rally Hotel, part of the highly anticipated McGregor Square development in the heart of Denver’s vibrant LoDo neighborhood, next to Coors Field. The 182-room hotel features 21,000 sf of private events space, including the 17,000-sf outdoor plaza, which is available for private events. The Rally’s in-building meetings and events space is flexible and unique, and includes the 1,783-sf Wynkoop Ballroom. From the third-floor terrace all the way up to the skybridge rooftop and pool deck, every venue lets in Colorado sunshine or sparkling evening views of the city. | AC&F |  

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