Who says you can’t have a meeting without some pampering mixed in? Several hot springs resorts in the U.S. Mountain West can accommodate smaller meetings complete with lodging, function space, din- ing and soaking. Some even have on-site spas and other standout features like an ice museum or microbrewery to include on an itinerary.
“By nature, these properties provide a thought-provoking atmosphere and an ideal place for people to reconnect in a more relaxed environment,” says Vicky Nash, who organizes the Hot Springs Connection con- ference and recently launched hotspringsofamerica.com. An added bonus is the fact that many renovation projects are currently underway to revitalize historic properties. “The hot springs industry is experiencing a resurgence right now,” Nash notes. “Along with restoration, modern technology is also being incorporated. This combination especially appeals to young entrepreneurs who want to connect with their peers in a unique setting.”
The Centennial State has its fair share of hot springs as evidenced by the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop, which includes five destinations and 19 hot springs attractions around the state. But we’ll only look at a handful that work well for groups.
Glenwood Springs has been a destination for hot springs aficionados since Glenwood Hot Springs Pool opened in 1888. Since then, the world’s largest mineral hot springs pool has become Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, with the addition of a lodge featuring 107 guest rooms and two meeting rooms that seat 20 to 35, as well as Spa of the Rockies and an athletic club, both located in a beautiful historic bathhouse. There is a warm therapy pool, the large pool that is slightly cooler and the brand new Sopris Splash Zone, which is ideal for when meetings include families. However, all ages will enjoy the Shoshone Chutes river ride!
If your group needs more meeting space, Hotel Colorado is across the street from the pool and next door to Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge. This historic beauty dates back to 1893, and the fairly new owners recently completed a total renovation of the seven private meeting rooms that total 10,000 square feet of space. Future improvements include all guest rooms and public spaces.
Nash selected Glenwood Springs as the location for the first-ever Hot Springs Connection conference in November 2018. “The 95 attendees were geothermal spa experts, so the highlight of this event was the behind-the-scenes tours at the three hot springs facilities in Glenwood Springs, including Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, Iron Mountain Hot Springs and Yampah Spa & Vapor Caves,” she says.
The three-day gathering was based at Morgridge Commons, a downtown meeting space operated by Colorado Mountain College in partnership with Garfield County Public Library District, and lodging was at Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge, Hotel Colorado and Hotel Denver. In 2019, the event was held in California’s Palm Springs area, with the meetings portion based in Indian Wells, and the hot springs tours and two social events held in nearby Desert Hot Springs. At both gatherings, Janet Abbott, a water sommelier and president of the Balneology Association of North America, guided attendees through a flight of waters sourced from area springs.
The Springs Resort & Spa in Pagosa Springs also has numerous smaller hot springs pools of varying temperatures and a lower-temp large pool for swimming and playing. Nestled in the San Juan Mountains along the banks of the San Juan River, the resort also has a conference room, private space for evening socials, a spa and 79 guest rooms and suites.
Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort near Buena Vista celebrated its 140th anniversary in 2019 by debuting a new Relaxation Pool with an infinity-edge design, built-in seating, lounging deck and gorgeous scenery. This pool and the nearby new beer garden are available for private parties and events. There are many more soaking opportunities throughout the resort, accommodations in the form of lodge rooms and cabins, and distinct meeting spaces with big views like the 4,800-square-foot Pavilion with glass walls and doors, a small conference center room and a conference cabin. Outdoors, a large lawn and meadow are perfect for events.
Maple Grove Hot Springs & Retreat Center is a solar-powered “eco center” that sits on 45 acres, providing plenty of space for a 30-foot retreat yurt and a wide variety of lodging options including yurts, cabins, canvas tent glamping and camping. With four riverside mineral pools and endless wilderness on all sides, Maple Grove Hot Springs can accommodate groups of up to 60 for workshops, trainings and retreats. Don’t expect posh but instead a beautiful setting that is comfortable and comes with all sorts of outdoor options, riverside dining and a sizable River House patio.
Remaining pretty much untouched for nearly 40 years after devastating fires, Castle Hot Springs reopened in October 2019 and is nestled in a rugged and remote desert location northwest of the Phoenix/Scottsdale metro area. Situated in the Bradshaw Mountains, Castle Hot Springs features the hottest nonvolcanic natural spring in the world, resulting in its origins as Arizona's first health resort. In earlier days, the guest register included names like Rockefeller, Pew, Vanderbilt, Astor and Roosevelt.
Today, there are 32 finely appointed rooms that accommodate up to 64 guests, The Stone House and The Barn for meeting and event space, and a lodge that embodies the original Palm House and includes a restaurant and gathering bar with an outdoor terrace.
Additional highlights are a great lawn, hot springs pools with a deck that can be booked for events, and an organic farm and greenhouse.
At Quinn's Hot Springs Resort in Paradise, pools of varying temperatures (and even an ice pool for those who dare) may be the star attractions. But for groups the appeal also lies in the availability of Paradise Hall Event Center, lodges and cabins for accommodations, Quinn’s Tavern and the historic Harwood House Restaurant, which received a 2019 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.
“Located in a big mountain setting, Quinn’s Paradise Hall Event Center is the perfect venue to enjoy your next business meeting, conference, retreat or celebration surrounded by panoramic views of the Clark Fork River and Quinn’s Canyon,” says Marketing Director Rachel Nore. “Whether you’re planning a small or large event, our events team will assist you in creating a truly memorable experience.”
The five mineral hot springs pools (including four covered by teepees and a 70-foot pool), three indoor and outdoor gathering spaces, a day spa, pub and Snowy Mountain Brewery (Wyoming’s second oldest craft brewery) make Saratoga Hot Springs Resort a great choice for groups. The largest spaces, Platte Room and The Terrace, hold up to 50 guests.
Reopening this summer after a long hiatus and the Jackson community banding together to make it happen, Astoria Hot Springs and Park will have river pools and a deck that are ideal for poolside events and an event tent for larger groups and weddings. Also look for Johnny Counts Cabin on the Snake River, which is a high-end log cabin with caterer’s kitchen that can accommodate approximately 30 for board retreats, strategic planning and small gatherings.
Wondering if hot springs are a right fit for your group? Nash says, “Think of the great ideas that could evolve from 20 people soaking together in a geothermally heated pool!”
Sometimes hot springs are in the form of mineral springs baths like those at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. The Spanish mission–style property sits atop an ancient thermal mineral spring that flows from 1,100 feet below the surface and translates into soaking in soothing mineral baths, relaxing by fireplaces and indulging in a treatment, all located in the 40,000-square-foot spa. Indoor meeting and event space exceeds 13,000 feet and reflects wine country’s relaxed, casual elegance.
The community of Calistoga, with its geothermal hot springs of mineral water running underground, has a renowned history as a place of healing. The spa at Calistoga Ranch pays homage to these healing waters with natural geothermal baths and treatment rooms. For groups, attendees can stay in the 50 freestanding guest lodges and planners can choose from distinct indoor and outdoor meeting and event spaces, such as the Vineyard Venue and Wine Cave/Founders Room.
Solage is the sophisticated-chic sister to the more secluded Calistoga Ranch and features 89 private cottages and Spa Solage, which has updated twists to the renowned Calistoga mud and mineral water therapies on its menu of treatment options. The main meeting and event space is the 3,500-square-foot Solstice with a vaulted ceiling, polished concrete flooring and sliding window walls that open to terraces and an event lawn.
One of the most unique hot springs experiences and one of the best places to see the northern lights in the United States is Chena Hot Springs, located 60 miles from Fairbanks. Discovered in 1905, the hot springs became famous for curing crippled prospectors of their aches and pains.
Today, there are lodge rooms, cabins, a variety of meeting and event spaces and the incredible Aurora Ice Museum, the world’s largest year-round ice environment. Created from more than 1,000 tons of ice and snow harvested at the resort, the museum was completed in 2005 and stays a cool 25 degrees inside. Parkas are available to use during tours, and appletinis served in ice glasses can be ordered. Don’t miss the amazing activities groups can tap into like year-round sled dog experiences with Chena Hot Springs Kennel.