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Only in a Hotel: Hotels Remain Vibrant Venues for Special Events

Special Events offers outstanding examples of hotels as special event venues, including the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe, Peninsula Chicago and St. Anthony in San Antonio

Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe
If all you want is a place to sleep, then log on to Airbnb. But if you demand something more—a stunning setting, fantastic food, or an exclusive experience--you simply must check into a hotel. Here, nine great examples of great event options from hotels.

TAKE IT OUTSIDE … AND INSIDE The Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe in northern California [pictured above] offers access to unparalleled fun for skiers, of course; it's the only AAA Five Diamond ski-in, ski-out mountain resort in California.

It's easy to hold events outdoors here, thanks to the 15,000 square feet of outdoor event space, including the Fireside Terrace. The events team is happy to organize guided sunrise or sunset hikes and scavenger hunts on the mountainside, along with gondola rides and lunch on top of Northstar ski resort. When the weather is fine, the hotel offers bocce ball, Frisbee golf and cornhole toss tournaments.

And while it's beautiful outside, it's beautiful inside, too. The property offers a 6,600-square-foot ballroom with a private terrace overlooking the Martis Valley, along with the 3,000-square-foot Pines Ballroom, which overlooks the mountainside. Additional meeting rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows.

Keeping everything running smoothly is a dedicated meetings concierge.

Rooms with a View: The Peninsula Chicago

Peninsula Chicago

In Chicago—a city with legendary architecture—the legendary Peninsula Chicago [in photo above] makes the most of the stunning sights with its stunning views.

The property features two unique ballrooms. The Grand Ballroom has 20-foot floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides, overlooking Michigan Avenue, while the Avenues Ballroom overlooks historic Water Tower Park and Chicago and Michigan Avenues. The outdoor Terrace is adjacent to the Grand Ballroom and provides a gorgeous backdrop to any event, with iconic buildings and the city’s skyline offering spectacular views.

The Peninsula Chicago has a full-time conference concierge on staff to assist groups with any and every request. The hotel also assists with destination management needs, specialized room amenities (especially designed for companies incorporating their logo), VIP tours of the city, specialized spa treatments and classes and cooking classes. For weddings, the in-house catering staff can assist with all needs of organization, including day-of event planning.

And for more food fun, the hotel's Peninsula Academy offers unique cultural and educational experiences, from "florist for a day" classes to dim-sum making to a "Broadway in Chicago" theater experience and much more


A Star is Reborn: The St. Anthony

St Anthony Hotel King's Ball

First opened in 1909, San Antonio's St. Anthony Hotel [in photo above]—a National Historic Landmark--has had a history of firsts. The first fully air-conditioned hotel in the world, the property has played host to luminaries from U.S. presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson to Hollywood's leaders from Grace Kelly to George Clooney.

A two-year renovation, which ended this year, restored the best of the old, such as Venetian-tile mosaics, while adding the best of the new, such as technology advances and improved space management.

For example, each ballroom stands on its own; there are no air walls. The two-story Anacacho Ballroom features a stage and stunning chandeliers that make any added decor shine. The dramatic Peacock Alley features 12-foot ceilings, while the Cascade Room offers windows overlooking the hotel's pool. The rooftop Sky Terrace offers Spanish colonial architecture and a stunning view of the city.

Complementing the event spaces is the hotel's commitment to service. Brides can arrange their hair and make-up in the hotel's Starlight Suite, which is filled with natural light. To keep groups engaged, hotel staff will arrange for fun events such as bourbon tastings and wine events, which guide guests in blending their own varietals.

And of course, the can't-miss sites in San Antonio are the Alamo and Riverwalk, both only three blocks away from the hotel.

Photo of Kings Ball by Daniel Holman Photography

See the full story in the November-December issue of Special Events. Not a subscriber? We can fix that--just click here.

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