After 12 years of serving as editor of Colorado Meetings + Events, one of the main things I’ve discovered is that the meetings and events industry in the Centennial State is generous. If a colleague in the industry becomes ill or experiences a devastating loss, people step forward. If there is a worthy cause to be part of, venues, staff and creative resources are available to assist. Two of the latest examples are from lodging properties representing mountains and cities.
The Ritz-Carlton, Denver was recently awarded the Most Innovative Wish in 2016 by Make-A-Wish America for its innovative response to a very special wish for Christopher, a young boy diagnosed with a rare and aggressive brain tumor who wanted nothing more than to become a vampire due to his favorite movie, Hotel Transylvania. The award was presented at Make-A-Wish Colorado’s 11th annual fundraiser, The Sporting Affair, that was held in March at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum in March and raised $260,000 to help grant the wishes of Colorado children with life-threatening medical conditions.
A committee was formed by The Ritz-Carlton, Denver with the goal of making Christopher’s dreams a reality and transforming the property into “Hotel Ritz-ylvania.” Known as “Christovitch” during his wish weekend in fall 2016, Christopher and his family and friends were treated to a vampire warm welcome with staff members wearing capes and fangs and a fully decorated suite full of bats and other spooky surprises. Scenes from the animated film were enlivened with a fog-filled ballroom where a monster dance party was held and “scare school” was taught by a vampire using real-life creepy crawlers of all kinds. An outdoor campfire with a sing-along was enjoyed by the group before an interactive dinner at ELWAY’S, the hotel’s signature restaurant, complete with potions and other fun creations provided by Denver’s Inventing Room catering group. A video was created by Make-A-Wish Colorado to share Christopher’s story.
For the third year, Antlers at Vail hosted a free mountain getaway weekend to Vail for Colorado nonprofits. Rob LeVine, longtime general manager of the property, conceived the idea of holding a “Pay It Backward” event each May, a quieter time in the mountains. It is a play on the more familiar “Pay It Forward” concept to thank those who work so hard to help others. The recently retired LeVine continues to be involved in fostering a growing list of 50 Front Range nonprofits invited to participate in the May 12–14 weekend escape.
Nonprofits are invited to designate the person of their choice—with most choosing staff, volunteers or even clients—for two free nights’ lodging and a Saturday night reception with wine and appetizers prepared by Vail catering chef Barry Robinson.
Guests are welcome to bring spouses, family or friends and spend the weekend enjoying the Vail Valley. “It has already become a much-anticipated spring tradition,” says Magda King, who was promoted to general manager upon LeVine’s retirement. “It’s fun to give back with what we do best: providing comfortable lodgings, top-notch personalized service and a chance for guests to kick back and relax.”
Known for its community-minded focus, The Antlers at Vail was presented Vail Valley Partnership’s Community Impact Award last year.