Looking for something new and exciting to impress your group for a meeting or incentive trip? Here are some fresh ideas from the U.S. Mountain West and western Canada to consider.
This summer marks the opening of Caldera House, an eight-suite luxury hotel and members-only alpine club located at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Imagined by owner Wesley Edens, Caldera House enlisted the help of friends and co-owners Michael Novogratz, David Barry and Randal Nardone to create a luxury property that celebrates both the destination and the local legends who inspired it. Since the project began in 2013, more than $100 million has been invested in Caldera House’s design, construction and infrastructure.
The property has four 5,000-square-foot suites with four bedrooms and four 1,500-square-foot suites with two bedrooms. An on-site restaurant and café helmed by local chef Paul O'Connor, bar, lounge, locker room, ski valet and ski shop will provide a one-stop oasis. The interior design blends European style with American craftsmanship to create a modern chalet. General Manager Pamela Lenci will oversee a guest’s or group’s stay, bringing more than a decade of experience running a heli-ski lodge.
In the Olympia area, a recently launched self-guided bike tour Biking Beyond takes visitors along the Yelm-Tenino Trail and is a fun option for groups to get outside and explore. Points of interests range from recreation to top spots for sipping, exploring and dining. The trail stretches 14 miles through the rural communities of Yelm, Rainier and Tenino along the former Burlington Northern railroad line. An elevation gain of just 320 feet makes for an easy and accessible ride for casual riders, while the views of farmland, wetlands, wildlife and Mount Rainier make the ride enjoyable for all abilities. Cyclists can bring a bike or borrow one for free courtesy of the Tenino Yellow Bicycle Project.
In Northern California's Tuolumne County, Emberz restaurant located on the main strip of historic downtown Sonora has expanded into the space next door to add a wrap-around bar, plentiful seating and a state-of-the-art self-serve wine bar. Black Oak Casino Resort in Tuolumne introduced an outdoor concert venue, Westside Pavilion, last summer with well-known performers like Justin Moore, Smokey Robison and Rick Springfield and is making plans for 2019.
Perched atop the cliffs on Scenic Highway 1 in Mendocino County, the new Harbor House Inn in Elk is a great place for small groups to get the creative juices flowing. With just nine rooms, the inn is outfitted for meetings on the broad redwood deck overlooking gardens and the crashing sea. Or build team spirit with a sea cave kayaking adventure among the offshore sentinels in Greenwood Cove or wind down the 200-plus steps to a private cove for a beach-combing exercise.
This spring, Maple Leaf Adventures is launching the 138-foot catamaran Cascadia,
British Columbia's first ship designed specifically for luxury expeditions along Canada's west coast. Able to accommodate up to 24 guests, Cascadia is designed to offer intimate and authentic experiences that are aligned with the scale of the coastal inlets and communities guests and groups will visit. Maple Leaf Adventures has transformed this former South Seas boutique sailing vessel built in 2007 into a sturdy ship capable of navigating British Columbia's challenging coastline. There also are plenty of amenities such as spacious cabins with generous windows, an open-air lounge ideal for dining al fresco, and extensive local art that evokes the essence of a traditional West Coast lodge.
Operating along the same ecotourism principles as Maple Leaf Adventure’s other vessels, Maple Leaf and Swell, Cascadia’s programming is being developed to provide extraordinary access to wildlife and coastal experts, from leading field researchers to First Nations elders. itineraries on the Cascadia include Haida Gwaii, Great Bear Rainforest, Vancouver Island, southern fjords, and wine cruising through the picturesque Gulf Islands.