The Lodge at Vail, the first resort ever operated at the base of Vail Mountain in the Colorado Rockies, has been a meeting place from the day it opened its doors in the winter of 1962. Back then, local townspeople would gather in its lobby to collect their mail and discuss the news of the day in front of a welcoming fire. Now people gather from around the world to hold their meetings in the Lodge's new 5,800-square-foot slopeside ballroom, part of a recently added $15 million wing that also houses 18 luxury rooms and suites, and a 3,500-square-foot penthouse suite.

Reminiscent of a European chalet in its Old-World decor, the Lodge also offers modern amenities. The ballroom, which can be broken down into four smaller rooms, has a custom-patterned carpet woven in England, oversized custom walnut banquet chairs, original oil paintings featuring Colorado landscapes, and wrought-iron chandeliers hung at the appropriate height to allow for unimpeded rear-screen projection. A fully equipped banquet kitchen is adjacent to the ballroom, and the movable partitions are constructed of high-quality acoustical barrier materials to eliminate distractions when more than one meeting is being held in the space. Luxury condo units and suites are available for breakouts and smaller meetings as well.

A member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, The Lodge at Vail offers more than skiing to its meetings and incentive guests. World-class golfing, hiking, horseback riding, four-wheel-drive mountain treks, kayaking and rafting, snowmobiling, and mountain biking also are among the many activities that are readily available in the Vail Valley. The hotel offers two restaurants: the Wildflower, featuring fine American cuisine and a spectacular view of Vail Village; and Cucina Rustica, which offers breakfast and lunch buffets featuring Northern Italian cuisine, and dinner during the ski season.--Sue Pelletier