Unique. Exquisite. Breathtaking. All words used by event planners whose corporate groups choose, time and again, to take advantage of all that Colorado Springs has to offer. The city at the foot of America’s mountain has it all: natural beauty, walking-distance convenience, elegantly appointed meeting spaces and ample teambuilding opportunities.
Imagine arriving at your company’s conference hotel, where the first thing that catches your eye is the majestic Pikes Peak, 14,115 feet of mountain glowing purple in the early evening light. Peeling your eyes away from the breathtaking sight, you move toward the hotel’s entrance, passing through huge, solid granite arches that were put in place more than 100 years ago. You soon learn that your lodging, The Mining Exchange in downtown Colorado Springs, was built in 1900 and served as a bustling stock exchange for mining companies during Colorado’s gold rush days. The facility still sports five large steel vaults from back in the day, according to Colin Christie, Mining Exchange creative director. This meticulously restored, one-of-a-kind venue is among the city’s premier meeting and event offerings accommodating groups of many sizes and exceeding all expectations.
“With over 17,000 square feet of meeting and event space to support the 117 rooms and suites,” says Mining Exchange owner Perry Sanders Jr., “each of our venues has original and unique features. In the heart of downtown Colorado Springs, the urban vibe is present throughout. We have an eight-time gold award-winning [local designations] Cajun/ Creole restaurant called Springs Orleans on one side and a lively 250-seat art deco entertainment venue called The Gold Room on the other side.”
Mary Crosslin, vice president of Client Care Group for locally based Alert Management Systems, Inc., arranged for her company’s client user group of 125 participants to stay at The Mining Exchange for their two-anda- half-day annual event. “Last year was our first experience at the Mining Exchange, and we were thrilled with our clients’ reaction to the venue,” says Crosslin. “The rooms have classic personality—much better than cookiecutter hotel meeting rooms—and the hotel guest rooms are exquisite.” That’s high praise from Crosslin, who travels some 36 weeks of the year.
“It was really great to be the only group in the hotel; the lobby was often full of our staff and clients, visiting in small groups and socializing in the grand atmosphere of The Mining Exchange,” she adds. “The breezeway between buildings and the exterior patio are perfect for groups wanting to enjoy the typically excellent outdoor weather we have in Colorado Springs most of the year.”
Located on the north end of town with easy access to Interstate 25 is one of the city’s newest properties, the Lodge at Flying Horse. Described as a Rocky Mountain Tuscan-style hotel, the lodge provides nine indoor function room options totaling nearly 10,000 square feet. Two large conference rooms feature fireplaces, connecting covered terraces with floorto- ceiling windows and panoramic views of the property’s Tom Weiskopf golf course.
Based in California, Tom Brennan, vice president of Global Support Services with Avaya, Inc., booked Flying Horse for an annual goals and objectives meeting that included 16 participants. “I chose this venue due to the excellence in lodging, meeting rooms, dining, access to the athletic club and spa at Flying Horse, the awesome views and the service,” he says. “The lodge is a wonderful facility for meeting, with excellent lodging and dining right next door at the Club at Flying Horse.”
Andrea Heffernan, executive assistant to the CEO of Colorado Springs-based Cherwell Software, chose Flying Horse for a three-day sales meeting for 100. “We used their largest conference room and all 48 of their hotel rooms,” she says. “We ate at their new steakhouse, and they catered all of our breakfasts, lunches and snacks for each day of the meeting. It is a very beautiful property with great views and some brand new facilities. The service and food were amazing.”
Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
If you’re looking for a unique setting for a relatively small group, look up to Cloud Camp, one of The Broadmoor’s new Wilderness Experience offerings. Sitting high above The Broadmoor at an elevation of 9,200 feet, Cloud Camp is on the historic 1925 site of Broadmoor founder Spencer Penrose’s original Cheyenne Lodge. Cloud Camp, with an 8,000-square-foot main lodge, can sleep small groups of up to 60 guests between 11 oneand two-bedroom guest cabins as well as six accommodations in the lodge and an adjacent suite. A unique two-story Fire Tower suite boasts 360-degree views.
Allison Scott, director of communications for The Broadmoor, says, “We just built a 1,500-square-foot dedicated meeting space at Cloud Camp called Overlook.” Cloud Camp is fully wired and set up with A/V capabilities. Activities to be enjoyed at the high altitude retreat include hiking, mule rides, archery and Cloud Camp’s signature nightly Cooking Club.
The Broadmoor’s Wilderness Experience also includes The Ranch at Emerald Valley nearby and Fishing Camp from April through early November, located 75 minutes west in the mountains and ideal for a day trip/retreat with meeting space to accommodate groups of 20 or so. The Broadmoor—with 185,000 square feet of meeting space, 779 guest rooms and suites, three golf courses, a tennis facility and several restaurants—has been a longtime favorite with groups.
Colorado Springs’ full slate of premier venues also includes: The Antlers, a downtown landmark hotel offering 27,500 square feet of meeting space and 292 guest rooms and suites that was purchased by Sanders and a business partner in 2015; Cheyenne Mountain Resort with 40,000 square feet of meeting space, 316 guest rooms and suites, 18-hole Pete Dyedesigned golf course and various other activities; and Garden of the Gods Club and Resort with 69 guest rooms and suites, 10,000 square feet of meeting space and 27-hole Kissing Camels Golf Course.
Out and About
Colorado Springs is home to an endless array of activity and dining options. For a little offthe- beaten-track fun, follow Brennan’s lead. “We did a goofy group bowling night at the Bass Pro Shop and had a blast,” he says. Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl & Grill sports an underwater ocean theme with 16 full lanes of bowling and custom bowling balls that bear the likeness of octopus, mermaids and camouflage, to name a few.
Meeting and event attendees can choose from a wide range of downtown eateries and venues such as Phantom Canyon Brewing Company, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and The Warehouse, or go a bit farther afield to some of Heffernan’s group favorites such as Biaggi’s, Southern Hospitality and the new Cowboy Star. Chelsy Offutt, director of communications with the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, says some of the city’s newest activity offerings include Garden of Gods GeoTrekker Theater, Manitou Springs’ SunWater Spa, The Broadmoor’s Seven Falls Soaring Adventure and the Royal Gorge’s Route Railroad, Dinosaur Experience and zip line tours. The Olympic Training Center recently underwent a $2 million renovation and has space for events, and the Money Museum opened a brand new Olympic exhibit that will run through 2016.
“Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is America’s only mountainside zoo and also offers space for events,” says Offutt. “They just opened a new Australia Exhibit. Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs are both very close with wonderful galleries, boutiques and restaurants to enjoy as well as natural mineral springs and various recreation like hiking, The Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway, Cave of the Winds and Manitou Cliff Dwellings.”
Two new indoor water parks with planned meeting space are currently in the works on the north end of the city: Colorado Grand Resort and Hotel, offering 165 rooms and a 60,000-square-foot water park, and Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs, with 311 rooms and 65,000-square-foot water park.
With top-notch meeting spaces, indoor and outdoor opportunities sure to speak to the inner adventurer in attendees, dining options to satisfy any palate, and lodging accommodations to meet every need, Colorado Springs is indeed a go-to destination. An additional bonus, Brennan says, “It is beautiful any time of year.”
COLORADO SPRINGS BY THE NUMBERS
14,500 Lodging Rooms
6,035 Feet Above Sea Level
70 Miles South of Denver
37 Inches of Snow Annually
6 Major Airlines Serving Colorado Springs