Meeting professionals and attendees who visit Utah are always surprised by its unique collection of resorts and towns. The reason for all those different meeting resorts has a lot to do with the state’s topographic diversity.

There is Great Salt Lake in the north, the largest salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere, Great Salt Lake Desert in the west and the Wasatch Range just outside Salt Lake City. Heavily forested, impressive mountain ranges run down Utah’s spine and stark canyonlands, and brilliantly colored mesas complement the southern part of the state.

The Utah tourism industry will take advantage of the state’s natural beauty, holding its next conference at Bryce Canyon National Park Oct. 6−8. The red, orange and white rocks will provide a spectacular backdrop for the conference, while inspiring comprehensive discussions about tourism practices.

“We will unplug from the day-to-day and reconnect with our top-level goals and strategies,” says Vicki Varela, managing director for Utah Office of Tourism, Film and Global Branding. “All this will be inspired by some hikes through sandstone hoodoos in the park. There is no better way to refresh your brain and your team than by convening together in nature.”

Park City

Canyons Grand Summit HotelCanyons Grand Summit Hotel

Canyons Grand Summit Hotel

At this AAA Four Diamond property, variety is truly the spice of life. There’s incredible variety in accommodations, for example, with 350 guest rooms, studios and penthouses. Additionally there are two other Canyons Resort hotels that combine to offer 220 guest rooms. Canyons Resort features a total of 47,000 sq. ft. of meeting spaces, ranging from 1,620 sq. ft. in White Pine Ballroom to 15,000 sq. ft. in Grand Summit Conference Center.

The Farm restaurant, located in the heart of Canyons Resort Village, dishes up local, sustainably raised specialties. It was named one of Utah’s 25 Best Restaurants this year by Salt Lake magazine.This summer, Canyons Resort, which is owned by Vail Resorts, and Park City Mountain Resort will undergo a $50 million project, which will establish a gondola connection between the two properties. The resorts will combine to form the largest single ski area in the United States, with more than 7,300 acres of skiable terrain. The project also calls for upgraded lifts, and new and widened trails.

Hyatt Escala Lodge at Park CityHyatt Escala Lodge at Park City

Hyatt Escala Lodge at Park City

Hyatt Escala Lodge is AAA Four Diamond rated. The ski-in/ski-out luxury resort is in the mountainside village of Canyons Resort. The hotel has 178 guest rooms and suites (the latter with stone fireplaces and kitchens), along with 10,000 sq. ft. of high-tech meeting space.

Escala Provisions Company, which has access directly from the slopes, provides hearty Utah cuisine, and there’s an onsite urban market for carry-out.

For a bird’s-eye view of Escala Lodge and Park City, try a ride in a gondola or let the currents lift you up in a hot-air balloon, summer or winter. The hotel has a heated pool with whirlpools, a poolside fireplace and a fully equipped fitness center. Canyons Golf Course is scheduled to open this month.

Hyatt Escala Lodge is near Utah Olympic Park—built for the 2002 Winter Olympics—where you can go for a bobsled ride on the Olympic track.

Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer ValleyStein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley

Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley

Named after the 1952 Olympic gold medal skier from Norway who is also the resort’s host, this is Utah’s only Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond
resort. It was named by the World Ski Awards as the best ski resort in the world. Its Glitretind Restaurant is Forbes Four Star rated, featuring local organic specialties such as elk tenderloin and rabbit, and classics including filet mignon and local trout.

In summer, there’s nearby access to a private Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course. In winter, recreational options in addition to skiing include skating, sleigh riding and snowmobiling.

The resort is a short walk from Park City’s historic Main Street. Boasting 180 guest rooms and more than 26,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including Park City’s largest luxury ballroom, Stein Eriksen knows how to do meetings. It’s currently undergoing an $8 million renovation of all guest rooms.

Deer Valley ResortDeer Valley Resort

Deer Valley Resort

There’s so much variety in Utah that even meeting properties such as Park City’s Deer Valley Resort offer lots of options. There are 10 atmospheric, cozy lodges, more than 400 housing units, and 12 restaurants in the winter and three in the summer. There are also 35 meeting rooms, with 44,275 sq. ft. of space, and four pools. In winter, it is a top-rated ski resort.

The Brass Tag Restaurant, specializing in brick-oven cuisine, is the newest in the area. The Mariposa was named the best restaurant in Utah by Zagat.

While the resort is situated in a historic old silver-mining town, “new” is a keyword here. The 7,300 sq. ft. of meeting space at Lodges at Deer Valley has just been renovated, with new chairs, paint, window treatments, lighting and sound systems. An outdoor vestibule will be completed in June, expanding the event space into the outdoor patio area.

Montage Deer ValleyMontage Deer Valley

Montage Deer Valley

This is a 220-room resort in Park City with world-class amenities and dining, as well as 12,050 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor meeting space. Sitting at the base of a mountain, Montage has world-class views, too.

The interior has an interesting mixture of modern furnishings and Western touches, among them one of the finest hotel art collections in America. The paintings, sculpture and handicrafts of outstanding Utah and Western artists fill the resort’s public spaces and guest rooms.

Opened in December 2010, Montage is a ski-in, ski-out facility sitting alongside forested valleys, trails and rivers. Guest rooms have fireplaces and private balconies. There’s a state-of-the-art fitness center and a movement center offering free classes. After your workout, visit the Spa Montage, which features 35,000 sq. ft. of pure heaven.

The five onsite eateries include Apex, an elegant grill offering regionally inspired specialties.

The St. Regis Deer ValleyJ&G Grill, The St. Regis Deer Valley, Park City

The St. Regis Deer Valley

When you’re sitting outside at the fire pit at the St. Regis, with the Wasatch Range stretching out into the distant horizon…well, it doesn’t get much better. The St. Regis is modern yet cozy, Western yet European. It’s in the center of it all in Park City, but has the allure of a place to get away from it all.

With 177 guest rooms, 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space indoors and 7,000 sq. ft. outdoors, the resort is popular for events. J&G Grill, featuring stone walls and drop-dead views, is casual-elegant. Wine Vault not only has a prestigious collection, but also offers small groups the opportunity to experience winemaker dinners. There’s also an athletic club and Remede Spa.

Snowbird Ski & Summer ResortSnowbird Ski & Summer Resort

Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort

Southeast of Salt Lake City and southwest of Park City in the town of Snowbird, this resort is blessed with a spectacular setting in the Wasatch Range. In addition to very long lists of winter and summer activities, it offers extras such as an aerial tram, alpine slides, guided hikes and snowshoe tours. And it has a great reputation among skiers.

With 850 guest rooms, 54,000 sq. ft. of space in 31 meeting rooms and 17 eateries in four different hotels, Snowbird has a stellar reputation among meeting planners, as well. The signature restaurant here is The Aerie, offering local, seasonal and organic ingredients, and an award-winning wine list with more than 1,000 varieties.

Attendees can detox in Cliff Spa, stretch out in the yoga studio, work off the calories in the fitness center or rooftop pool, and soak in the hot tub, all with incredible views of Little Cottonwood Canyon.


Homestead ResortCrater Springs Golf Course,Homestead Resort, Midway

Homestead Resort

Located in the scenic town of Midway, only an hour from Salt Lake City, Homestead Resort has been welcoming guests since 1886. With 131 guest rooms and 13,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, it’s a low-key, retreat-like destination, with stunning views wherever you look.

Homestead offers planners and attendees one of Utah’s greatest natural attractions right on the property: Homestead Crater is a natural spring that began forming thousands of years ago and is now covered by a rock dome under which you can float along the warm waters of the spring, or take a class in scuba diving or snorkeling.

The resort also features two restaurants, two pools and Crater Springs Golf Course. Summer activities include hiking, biking, swimming, ATV-ing, horseback riding and boating. In the winter, cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, sleigh rides and tubing are popular.

Zermatt ResortZermatt Resort

Zermatt Resort

Zermatt is named after a pristine ski resort in Switzerland. It’s fitting, too, because the town in which it’s located, Midway, has something of a Swiss heritage itself. But you don’t have to travel quite as far to get to this Zermatt; it’s only 45 minutes from Salt Lake International Airport (SLC).

The AAA Four Diamond resort offers 329 guest rooms and an IACC-approved conference center with 38,000 sq. ft. of meeting space in 19 rooms. All guest rooms were upgraded last summer.

Attendees will enjoy Z’s Steak & Chop Haus, a European-style steakhouse serving superb cuts of prime aged steaks and chops, along with excellent seafood.


Red Cliffs LodgeHorseback riding near Moab, Red Cliffs Lodge

Red Cliffs Lodge

Red Cliffs Lodge, 14 miles outside of Moab, is surrounded by towering mesas, cliffs, canyons and striking, vivid red rock formations. Even its wooden facade gives off a reddish glow.

Meetings here have an authentic Western flavor thanks to dramatic 20-foot ceilings, natural wood-paneled walls, rustic log furniture and hand-finished Mexican tile floors. Guests can even go horseback riding through the striking landscape.

Red Cliffs Lodge sits on the Colorado River, and every guest room has views of either the river or Castle Creek Winery. There are 80 suites, 30 cabins and 10,400 sq. ft. of meeting space.

The lodge is near three national parks (Arches, Canyonlands and Mesa Verde). Hummer tours to sacred sites are very popular and there are a variety of options for biking, hiking and water sports to suit all ages and skill levels.

Wrapping Up

If you’re looking for memorable meeting experiences, adventures and scenery, you need look no further than Utah.

“Utah is home to some of the most accessible and accommodating meeting destinations in
North America,” Varela says. “Stunning scenery and recreational opportunities are nearby.
Think great meetings, ‘The Greatest Snow on Earth’ and our Mighty Five national parks, and you understand why Utah is a growing hot spot for conventions.” 

Steve Winston is an award-winning writer who has traveled extensively and writes for national and international magazines.

Salt Lake City Renaissance

Salt Lake City Convention CenterSalt Lake City Convention Center

There’s only one missing piece in the Salt Lake City convention puzzle, and Omni Hotels & Resorts is going to fill it in. The company has been awarded the contract to build a convention center hotel next to Salt Palace Convention Center (pictured). (A bill passed in the state legislature created an additional $8 million to assist existing hotels in the market after the convention hotel opens.)

It will offer 800 to 1,000 guest rooms and an estimated 10,000 sq. ft. of event space. The new Omni property is scheduled to open in 2018.

“Our thriving metropolitan region—with convenient transportation and affordable prices—sells itself,” says Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. “Salt Lake is a young, energetic, diverse place with an unmatched geographic setting. Once we complete our plan for a privately built convention hotel and add much-needed public meeting space, Salt Lake will soon be the Rocky Mountain destination for more large conventions and tens of thousands of new visitors,”

The city’s urban core is enjoying a renaissance that includes new hotels and upgrades to a number of existing properties. Hyatt House Salt Lake City/Downtown, a 159-room extended-stay property adjacent to the convention center, opened in January, with more than 880 sq. ft. for meetings. Next door, a 175-room Courtyard by Marriott, with 960 sq. ft., is scheduled to open this month.

Directly across from Salt Palace, Shilo Inn, Salt Lake City, changed ownership, and recently completed a $10 million renovation. The hotel was scheduled to re-open as a Holiday Inn Express Downtown in January, with 212 guest rooms and 1,392 sq. ft. Hilton Salt Lake City Center recently completed a $10 million renovation, which updated all 499 guest rooms with a bold, contemporary design. It offers 24,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

Visit Salt Lake expects 2015 to be a big year for conventions, with The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, Outdoor Retailer, Comic Con and School Nutrition Association coming to town.

If you haven’t been to Salt Lake City in a few years, you’ll be very surprised at its urban renaissance and happening vibe. It’s a different city than it was just five years ago.

Around the State

In Provo, home of Brigham Young University, the 99-room Courtyard Provo was renovated two years ago. It has a new lobby, as well as extensive upgrades to guest rooms and 2,800 sq. ft. of meeting space.

In Moab, a funky little town with breathtaking scenery, several hotel properties have been upgraded in the past year: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Moab, with 119 guest rooms and one meeting room, and Aarchway Inn, with 97 guest rooms and a meeting space for 60. Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Moab just opened last winter, with 89 guest rooms and a meeting room for 40.

Brigham City, about 60 miles north of Salt Lake City, has a new Hampton Inn, with 73 guest rooms and a 576-square-foot meeting room.

Ogden, home to Weber State University, saw the Courtyard by Marriott Ogden open in December, with 193 guest rooms and 17,000 sq. ft. of event space. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Springville-South Provo Area, which opened in August, has 92 guest rooms.