Western hospitality

From stunning waterfront hotels and mountaintop resorts offering breathtaking views of Vancouver and its harbor to world-class Alberta properties that blend the best of sporting and gaming excitement with fabulous event spaces, Western Canada offers event planners a host of spectacular meeting venue options.

Pan Pacific Hotel, Vancouver

Pan Pacific Hotel, Vancouver

Meeting planners in Vancouver looking for a downtown waterfront venue would be hard pressed to find a more perfectly situated hotel than the Pan Pacific Hotel Vancouver.

Literally “on the water,” this stunning modern hotel is built on a pier and uniquely located atop Canada Place at the heart of Vancouver’s downtown waterfront. Rising above the Alaska cruise ship terminal and the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Pan Pacific features sweeping views of the Coastal Mountains, Coal Harbour and Vancouver’s city skyline.

“Our incredible location puts everything nearby,” says Kathryn Poole, executive assistant and marketing coordinator with Pan Pacific Vancouver. “Step out the front door of the hotel and you’re minutes from shopping, theatres, the marina and renowned Stanley Park. Or watch the magnificent cruise liners pass by from the intimacy of your guest room.”

A flexible design and spectacular views have made the Pan Pacific one Vancouver’s most in-demand event venues, hosting everything from global conferences attended by world leaders to the wedding reception for superstar crooner Michael Buble. Over 42,000 square feet of event space is anchored by the Crystal Pavilion, an elegant ballroom for up to 700 while the Oceanview Suites offer the ultimate in multi-functionality. Eight spacious meeting rooms with floor-to-ceiling views provide natural light for daytime meetings or transform into an exclusive moonlit reception area for up to 750 guests.

In addition, the hotel features 503 guestrooms and suites and more than 20 versatile meeting and event spaces ranging from the Gallery Board Room for meetings of up to 20 people to the airy Atrium Lobby for 1,200 guests, all with a big-picture view of minimizing the hotel’s environmental footprint. The Pan Pacific currently holds a Four Green Lead rating by the Hotel Association of Vancouver for its environmental programs.

“Our beautiful and extensive facilities are complemented by the highest standards of service and hospitality allowing us the opportunity to make great planners look like superstars,” says Poole. “Our environmental initiatives are also playing more of a role in the venues ultimately selected by meeting and event planners.”

Grouse Mountain, Vancouver

Grouse Mountain, Vancouver

With most of Grouse Mountain’s meeting venues situated in a mountaintop chalet setting offering breathtaking views of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland below, it’s no wonder that the only decorator event planners might need to rely on is Mother Nature herself.

“Grouse Mountain is particularly appealing to meeting and event planners as our natural setting means that little or no added décor is needed,” muses Sarah Lusk, public relations manager of the B.C. meetings and activities destination. “But what really separates our venue from others is the large variety of add-on activities including skiing and riding, snowshoeing, zip-lining and tours to the Eye of the Wind, the world’s only wind turbine with a 360-degree viewPod.”

Whether your event is an intimate gathering with 15 people or a spectacular party for over 500, Grouse Mountain offers a venue for almost any occasion.

“We have seen a growing demand for events co-ordinated with corporate team-building or participatory activities and, in some cases, an educational component,” says Lusk. “Many organizers are looking for an experiential component, such as health and fitness activities, to spice up their meetings and events.”

Among the varied event spaces located throughout the resort are:

The Timber Room: A rustic alpine banquet room for sit-down dinners, cocktail receptions, presentations and meetings. The mountain, city and ocean views provide an inspirational backdrop for both wedding ceremonies and cocktail receptions.

The Observatory: One of Vancouver’s most exclusive settings, this fine-dining restaurant offers spectacular elegance and style, rich earth tones, elegant furnishings, and refined wood accents.

Theatre in the Sky: Grouse Mountain’s HD screen theatre offers an exceptional setting for award ceremonies, presentations, and seminars.

Chalet: For larger groups seeking the flexibility and drama of several rooms linked together, the Chalet sets the scene for a magnificent event, whether a buffet, sit-down black-tie dinner, cocktail party, or reception.

Híwus Feasthouse:  This traditional aboriginal longhouse offers a truly spectacular atmosphere complete with intricate carvings, totem pole entranceway, open fireplace and the rich scent of cedar. The peaceful ambiance is perfect for team building, corporate meetings, presentations and brainstorming.

Spruce Meadows, Calgary, Alberta

Spruce Meadows, Calgary, Alberta

Since its opening in 1975, Spruce Meadows has evolved and grown on to the global stage. Today it continues to enjoy its reputation as a unique environment of “good friendship, good commerce and good sport.”

Nestled on the edge of the Rocky Mountains, just outside Calgary, Spruce Meadows’ proximity to quality hotels or the comfort of a country cabin make it an appealing venue to host clients from around the world wanting to experience Canadian hospitality.

With more than 550 acres of property, Spruce Meadows offers multi-purpose meeting and special event space complete with breakout rooms, options for banquet facilities and trade-show floor space. The mixed-use sporting and events venue also boasts a “behind-the-scenes” experience for their clients, including a tour of the stables, the television production facilities, and an insider’s understanding of their tournament operations.

“From novice rider development to the Olympics, Spruce Meadows supports the sport of show jumping like no other facility in the world,” says Ian Allison, senior vice president.

In addition to its stellar reputation as an equestrian facility, Spruce Meadows has planned and organized a wide variety of world renowned and diverse events from small private meetings to large strategy sessions, elaborate weddings for high-profile guests to confidential VIP meetings.

Among the meeting and event options are: The British House, a 3,600-sq.-ft. Georgian Room that is an ideal venue for intimate dinners and meetings along with the flexibility of breakout rooms; Congress Hall, which offers 12,000 sq. ft. of unique conference/banquet space; and Equi-Plex, a 36,000 sq.-ft. venue large enough to host a variety of events from equestrian competitions to trade shows and galas.

“With Spruce Meadows’ experience and flexibility, one can expect a blend of imagination, sophistication and unique atmosphere to be brought to any event,” says Allison. “If you can dream it, we can do it.”

Stoney Nakoda Resort, Morley, Alberta

Stoney Nakoda Resort, Morley, Alberta

Opening in 2008 as Alberta’s only casino resort in the Rockies, the Stoney Nakoda Resort & Casino offers a relaxed atmosphere, only 30 minutes west of Calgary, and a short drive from Canmore and Banff.

“The ability to get away from the everyday interruptions of the city, and escape to the mountains where you can enjoy breathtaking scenery, host meetings or events in first-class facilities, and stay in luxurious and spacious guest rooms is very appealing to meeting and event planners,” says Chris Grimes, Stoney Nakoda sales, catering and marketing co-ordinator. “For groups of 15 or more, the resort will even come and pick you up in one of our two 32-passenger luxury shuttles.”

When the meetings are over, delegates and guests can relax in the indoor pool/waterslide/whirlpool area, catch all the sports action in Sidelines Lounge, enjoy one of Stoney Nakoda’s themed buffet dinner nights, or try their luck on the casino floor. New to the resort this January is a high-tech golf simulator where players can choose from over 30 world-class courses, including Pebble Beach, Spyglass, and Spanish Bay.

“Just like being on the course, we’ll bring your drinks to you, even food from our menu,” says Grimes.

Whether you’re planning a small meeting for four, or a large event for 450, the Stoney Nakoda Resort & Casino has 111 guest rooms and 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space to handle a wide variety of functions. Meeting room features include customized menus, business services and teleconferencing equipment. The Stoney Nakoda Showroom seats 600 theatre-style and up to 700 for receptions while some of the smaller rooms can be combined to accommodate groups of up to 200 for receptions.

“This summer we’re looking forward to being able to offer our guests numerous team-building and adventure packages,” Grimes explains. “Some popular choices are golfing, rafting, ATV tours, paintball, horseback riding and heli-tours. During the winter months, we offer a popular ‘Stay & Ski Package,’ and for next season we’re hoping to add dog sled and snowshoe packages. Also this summer, we’ll be providing our guests with an up-close encounter with some buffalo, as we plan on opening our buffalo paddock on site.”

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