The Inland Empire, nestled in the center of Southern California, is surrounded by mountains and vineyards, and olive and orange groves fill the valleys. Combine this bounty with its spas, resorts and cuisine that highlights this local produce, and there is a bumper crop of wellness options that can be harvested by groups.
Across both Riverside and San Bernardino counties, three of the Inland Empire’s destinations offer their own ways for meeting and event planners to incorporate health, well-being and a bit of relaxation into their programs.
Temecula Valley Blends Wine and Wellness Options for Groups
Selected as a “Top 10 Wine Travel Destination” by Wine Enthusiast this year, Temecula Valley is now a known destination for wine, good food, serene vistas, spas and outdoor activities.
“The destination has grown to nearly 3 million visitors and 7,330 tourism-related jobs,” said Kimberly Adams, president and CEO of Visit Temecula Valley. “It wasn’t long ago that people outside of Southern California hadn’t heard of Temecula Valley.”
The temperate weather year-round, convenient location in the center of Southern California and new developments are attracting more incentive and meeting travel to the area as well.
According to Adams, groups can easily incorporate wellness activities with Yoga in the Vines, Fitness in the Vines or even an early morning run on wine country trails where one may even see hot air balloons overhead.
Where there is good wine, there is usually good food, and the chefs of Temecula Valley are elevating the area’s food scene with the local bounty.
“Healthy eating is easy when surrounded by agriculture. The chefs are able to use local ingredients and have been doing so long before “farm-to-table” was a trend,” Adams said. “There are also three farmers markets to choose from throughout the week, where visitors can purchase local produce, shop for handmade gifts and eat cultural foods.
Temecula Valley Dinner
Groups can recharge and relax while enjoying spa amenities. The new 26,000-square-foot, two-story Spa Pechanga at Pechanga Resort Casino makes it easy for attendees to refresh just feet from their meeting space or guest room.
“An indulgence at Spa Pechanga includes a eucalyptus steam room, dry sauna and whirlpools,” Adams said. “Guests can also choose from a variety of Native American-inspired treatments.”
Pechanga Resort Casino completed a $300 million expansion last year, adding 568 guest rooms, 68,000 additional square feet of meeting space, the full-service spa and a 4.5-acre pool complex.
“Last year we morphed into this 1,090-room resort with 275,000 square feet of meeting and event space,” said Scott Wilson, director of sales. “This has made us one of the larger meeting resorts on the West Coast.”
In addition to the services provided at the spa facility, the spa can come to an event with treatments, amenities, such as an Aromatherapy Bar, and fitness activities.
Many of the spa treatments use local and indigenous ingredients, which connects guests to the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, the owners of the property.
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A native of Temecula, Mimi Ko is the fitness coordinator and runs the wellness initiatives at the property. In addition to teaching spin, yoga and circuit training classes five days a week for hotel guests and spa patrons, she can also host private classes for conference groups on the Event Lawn or Green Roof Terrace.
“There was recently a group meeting on-property with attendees that were primarily senior citizens, so I taught a 50-person chair yoga class on the Event Lawn,” Ko said. “I can specialize a program to meet any groups’ needs, including health coaching and personal training.”
Pechanga Resort Casino Fitness Coordinator Mimi Ko
Ko also has a series of fitness videos on in-room channels that use guest room furniture as equipment.
Greater Ontario’s Greater Outdoors
Ontario, home to the Ontario International Airport and venues such as the Ontario Convention Center and Citizens Business Bank Arena, is well equipped to host conventions of up to 40,000 attendees.
Groups of any size can enjoy the area’s parks and outdoor options to stay active, reset and recharge.
“In the city limits of Ontario is the Cucamonga Guasti Regional Park with over 150 acres of green grass, large shade trees, a waterpark, even fishing—a beautiful little gem in our backyard to enjoy the great outdoors,” said Michael K. Krouse, president and CEO of the Greater Ontario CVB, which also includes the city of Rancho Cucamonga.
“One of the lovely outdoor areas is Big Bear Mountain," he added. "Big Bear Lake is a beautiful place for fishing, boating or hiking, and further up the hill is Lake Arrowhead with the famous Lake Arrowhead Queen tour boat, which provides tours of the alpine lake."
The Pacific Electric Trail runs 21 miles from the Los Angeles County Line to the city of Rialto, passing through Rancho Cucamonga.
The Pacific Electric Trail follows the route of the Pacific Electric Railway that spanned the Pacific coast through Los Angeles and east to San Bernardino until the 1950s. In Rancho Cucamonga, part of the trail is located on the iconic Route 66, and according to Krouse the trailhead is a perfect place to snap a selfie on a piece of the original “Mother Road.”
“Walking, biking, running and even horseback riding is available on the Pacific Electric Trail, with a combination of asphalt and dirt trails,” Krouse said. “Another great place to take a hike is the Etiwanda preserve, also in Rancho Cucamonga, where you can relax your mind and refresh your soul along this rugged area at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.”
Modern Indulgence for Groups in Historic Riverside
Walkable downtown Riverside is home to the Riverside Convention Center, with the 292-room Marriott Riverside at the Convention Center, The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa and the Fox Performing Arts Center all within a few blocks of each other.
Groups at the convention center don’t have to go far to incorporate wellness into their program. In addition to its 65,000 square feet of indoor space, there is nearly 14,500 square feet of outdoor space at the Center, including the Plaza, which can accommodate 600 attendees.
These venues can be used for a group yoga class, meditation or just to get some fresh air between meetings.
Riverside Convention Center Terrace
The kitchen at the Riverside Convention Center is led by Executive Chef Brand Martin. Chef Martin and his team pride themselves on using produce from locally sourced growers, including produce from Raincross Hospitality Corporation’s own orange grove.
Raincross manages the operations of the Riverside Convention Center and the CVB as well as the Riverside Sports Commission and the Riverside Film Commission.
The culinary team also has a partnership with nearby Loma Linda University Health, a nationally recognized medical research university. This innovative partnership ensures that the meals prepared at the Center use the healthiest ingredients possible, and with detailed attention to preparing creative and delicious dishes for those with dietary restrictions.
The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa is an icon in Riverside.
The property, which first opened in 1876 as an adobe boarding house, is now a National Historic Landmark and member of Historic Hotels of America.
Thanks to the citrus boom in the early 1900s, the property grew into a full-service hotel with multiple dining outlets, 238 guest accommodations, 20,000 square feet of meeting and event space, and the 7,000-square-foot Kelly’s Spa.
Kelly’s Spa is ranked in the top 10 on Conde Nast Traveler’s “Top 50 Hotel Spas in the United States,” and is the property’s Tuscan wellness oasis.
The Italian-themed spa features 12 treatment rooms, including two private villas, two rooms designed for therapeutic baths, a salon and an outdoor pool. The facility uses natural products for the treatments and offers a new Wellness Cuisine Menu for healthy dining while at the spa.
Inland Empire CVB Contact Information
Greater Ontario CVB
Temecula Valley CVB