Denver is looking forward to hosting Meeting Professionals International, anticipating as many as 3,000 meeting planners for the 2004 convention July 25-27. Many meeting-goers will arrive via Denver International Airport, which has opened a new, longer (16,000-foot) sixth runway that can handle jumbo jets such as the Airbus A380, a double-decker plane expected online in two or three years.
MPI delegates may be well advised to “Look for the blue bear paws.” People walking to the Colorado Convention Center have only to follow the big blue prints on banners along California and Welton streets to get into the center during construction. The Center's front entrance is in rubble. With the expansion and the new 1,100-room Hyatt Hotel going up, nearby sidewalks are difficult to navigate. The prints are inspired by a piece of whimsy by artist Lawrence Argent: a 30-foot blue plastic bear that will appear to be standing on 14th Street, staring into the completed convention center.
Intrawest is building an entirely new mountain resort at Olympic Valley, Calif. The Village at Squaw Valley opened for last year's ski season, and has added another 147 units for a total of 286 one-, two-, and three-bedroom accommodations at the base of Squaw Valley USA, 10 minutes from Lake Tahoe. The resort has event space to accommodate 160 for a meeting. Winding, pedestrian-only streets, and exteriors that are heavy with timbers and stone accents most resemble European alpine towns. Condos are equipped right down to the gas fireplaces, DVD players, and Internet access.
This past summer saw the groundbreaking for Denver's 1,100-room, $350 million Hyatt Regency convention hotel across from the convention center. The hotel is scheduled to open in December 2005.
- In Telluride, Ritz-Carlton is in a controversy with Mountain Village Design Review Board over the hotelier's plans for a hotel/condominium complex to reach a height of 96 feet in an area zoned to permit a maximum of 60 feet.
Adam's Mark Denver is planning a multimillion-dollar renovation of the 629 rooms in its tower. Adam's Mark has 1,225 guest rooms and 133,000 square feet of meeting space.
Vail Cascade Resort & Spa completed a $2 million renovation of its 19 meeting rooms last year, including expanded Internet connectivity in all rooms.
Pharos Group LLC has acquired the 56-room Lodge and Spa at Cordillera in Vail. A $5 million renovation and upgrade of the property will begin this spring.
In Aspen/Snowmass, the 410-room Silvertree Hotel enlarged its restaurant and added a bar and fireplace lounge. Much of the Silvertree's meeting space also underwent improvements.
Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino in Incline Village in November completed a four-year, $60 million renovation and expansion of its 449 guest rooms and cottages.
Stein Eriksen Lodge completed a $40 million expansion that includes the 20,000-square-foot Olympic Conference Center with fireplaces and a year-round terrace that holds up to 425 people. Over the next two years, the Lodge will spend $3.9 million to refurbish its 170 guest rooms and suites.
At the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the 129-room Teton Mountain Lodge is Jackson Hole's newest luxury hotel.
Because of the nature of travel to the mountains, some of the best airfares are often available for midweek travel.
A ski or snowboard bag plus a boot bag are considered one item by the major airlines. The boot bag must be a boot bag and not a duffle bag with boots and other clothing inside.
Men, pack your nail polish when you head to the Rockies. Experienced skiers, both male and female, know what a few days of buckling and unbuckling frosty boots on an arid mountain can do to their hands — and take precautions with clear nail polish and heavy hand creams.
Built to commemorate the 2002 Games, Olympic Cauldron Park opened in August 2003 at the University of Utah, site of the opening ceremonies. The Olympic cauldron towers over the park. A visitors center showcases Olympic photos and a film, The Fire Within. (801) 581-5445; www.visitsaltlake2002.com
The Utah Cultural Celebration Center opened in July in West Valley City for meetings, dinners, and local ethnic festivals. On 28 acres, the center has space for up to 1,000 people and a 1,200-seat amphitheater. (801) 965-5102
Combine sophisticated elegance with a mysterious setting at Thunderbird Lodge, a six-acre estate on the shore of Lake Tahoe. Opening its doors to the public for the first time, the Lodge is available for special events and meetings. (775) 833-3822
The Big EZ Lodge promises Big Ideas under the Big Sky for small groups that take over the posh resort in Montana. With 12 guest rooms and one suite that come with fireplaces and laptops, groups also have access to two meeting spaces built away from the main lodge. An 18-hole putting course and Montana-size hot tub provide relaxation between meetings. www.bigezlodge.com
ASK THE CVB
Aspen Chamber Resort Association
(800) 670-0792; www.aspenchamber.org
Total Hotel Tax: 8.5%
Snowmass Village Resort Association
(800) 598-2006; www.snowmassvillage.com
Total Hotel Tax: 15.5%
Denver Metro CVB
(800) 480-2010; www.denver.org
Total Hotel Tax: 13%
Telluride & Mountain Village Visitor Serv.
(888) 376-0770; www.telluride.com
Total Hotel Tax: 10.5% in the town of Telluride and 11.5% in the Mountain Village
Vail Valley Tourism and Conv. Bureau
(800) 775-8245; www.visitvailvalley.com
Total Hotel Tax: 15.3%
(800) 847-4868; www.visitmt.com
Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority
(800) 443-1482; www.renolaketahoe.com
Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority (South Lake Tahoe)
(800) 288-2463; www.virtualtahoe.com
North Lake Tahoe Resort Assoc. VCB
(800) 462-5196; www.tahoefun.org
Salt Lake City CVB
(801) 521-2822; www.visitsaltlake.com
Park City CVB
(800) 453-1360; www.parkcityinfo.com