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It may be nicknamed the Silver State, but Nevada is golden when it comes to meetings, including a bona fide rush of off-site gathering spots for visiting groups.
A new performing arts center in Las Vegas, an auto museum in Reno and two noteworthy restaurants in Lake Tahoe are among the possibilities for planners looking to host a special event.
MEET Las Vegas, Las Vegas
MEET Las Vegas is a three-story special event and meeting venue in downtown Las Vegas with built-in technology, multiple rigging and connection points and a large menu of capabilities that are well-suited for a variety of events, from product launches and receptions to banquets, trade shows and training sessions.
Situated nearby numerous hotels and the popular Fremont Street Experience, the venue’s spaces include a showroom, outdoor pavilion and a multimedia training center.
“At MEET we’ve tried to think of every aspect needed for a truly amazing event while providing built-in, cost-effective solutions, from interior signage and lighting to move-in and move-out,” says Dan Maddux CEO of MEET Las Vegas.
He explains that the building, inside and out, is a blank canvas that planners can easily customize.
“The exterior is covered with aluminum siding with Illumivision lighting that projects colors against the reflective siding that can be seen for miles,” he says. “The space has no ambient light so planners can control the mood and tone of an event using light and sound.”
The entire building and outdoor pavilion can accommodate up to 1,900 guests.
The Smith Center for Performing Arts, Las Vegas
The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, home to the Nevada Ballet Theatre and the Las Vegas Philharmonic, opened in March with three theaters, including the 2,050-seat Reynolds Hall.
“We are foremost a world-class performing arts center and because of that our spaces inspire creativity,” says Myron Martin, president and CEO for the center. “You won’t find any standard ballrooms here and thus our approach to every group and event is anything but standard.”
Gathering spaces include three theater-style venues, several conference rooms, general meeting spaces, a courtyard and a park setting, and handily accommodate everything from receptions and banquets to executive meetings and fundraising events.
“The building itself is an architectural and design masterpiece,” Martin says. “Our five-acre campus boasts the most elegant event spaces with natural lighting, views of the city and timeless Art Deco-inspired designs. No detail was overlooked in the creation of the Smith Center; every light fixture, furniture piece and floor upholstery was custom made.”
The flexibility of the venue’s event spaces allows a wide range of group sizes.PageBreak
Keep Memory Alive Event Center, Las Vegas
Another architectural gem is the Keep the Memory Alive Event Center.
Located at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, a 67,000-square-foot medical and education facility and area landmark with iconic architecture by visionary Frank Gehry, the Keep Memory Alive Event Center is a unique meeting space boasting 199 windows in a wavelike stainless steel canopy.
The facility accommodates up to 300 people seated for dinner and 700 people for a standing reception.
In addition to indoor spaces, a gathering may extend to the breezeway and garden space at the center, which also offers a list of fine wine and cuisine prepared in a Wolfgang Puck-designed kitchen.
The Celebration, Laughlin
Laughlin River Tours offers daily sightseeing cruises, including a brief history of the region, river and casinos, as well as dinner, lunch and cocktail cruises aboard the Celebration, a deluxe 100-passenger replica two-story steamboat with a full-service bar, snack bar and restrooms on board.
“Guests topside can enjoy the view and the fresh desert air, or they can relax in the climate-controlled lower deck,” says Shirley Parke, who with her husband Warren Parke, owns and operate Laughlin River Tours. “Laughlin River Tours offers the only dinner cruise in the area.”
The Celebration can be chartered for a dinner cruise for a minimum of 35 people. PageBreak
The Spa at CasaBlanca Hotel Casino, Mesquite
Mesquite is home to the Spa at CasaBlanca Hotel Casino, an intimate retreat for a private function.
“The Spa at the CasaBlanca is not only one of the top spas in the Southwest but also a versatile space for meetings and events to take place with a tranquil backdrop,” says Christian Adderson, corporate sales manager at the property. “We have two dynamic locations at the spa to give meeting-goers a break from the meeting room or to reconnect and network with other meeting-goers.”
Adderson explains that the south lawn gazebo can accommodate up to 75 people and “gives them the feel of the high desert pines of northern Nevada but the weather of the south,” and the outdoor mineral pool at the spa offers a great escape for anything from a cocktail reception to a team-building event accommodating up to 75 people.
The CasaBlanca Spa is serviced by the on-site catering department, which can suggest decor and menu items or work with planners to create a customized event.
“The CasaBlanca Spa locations encapsulate all that the resort has to offer,” Adderson adds. “These are two great locations that take an attendee’s mind and body miles away to relax but are only a short walk from guest and meeting rooms.”
California Trails Interpretive Center, Elko
The new California Trails Interpretive Center opened in June to showcase the history of the California Trail.
Situated with the scenic Ruby Mountains in the background, the facility tells the story of pioneers and the westward movement from1841-1869 through life-size dioramas and multimedia presentations, according to Janet Petersen, spokeswoman for the center.
“Overlooking the Humboldt Valley, the location of the California Trail Interpretive Center provides a setting similar to how the natives lived and what the emigrants experienced on their westward journey,” she says.
The center’s South Fork meeting room, with multimedia equipment available for groups, accommodates 80 people for a reception and up to 50 people for meetings requiring tables and chairs. And its 18,000-square-foot entrance plaza is also available for events. For receptions using the entire facility, Petersen adds, 330 people can be accommodated.
“Many events have taken place at the Trail Center already, including a wedding on the plaza, business training and meetings and square dances on the plaza,” she says.PageBreak
National Bowling Stadium, Reno
The National Bowling Stadium, dubbed the “Taj Mahal of Tenpins” by the Los Angeles Times, is a popular venue for bowling tournaments and corporate retreats.
“The venue is a one-of-a-kind event location offering groups the ability to mix business with team-building,” says John Leinen, vice president of convention and tourism sales at the Reno–Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority.
He explains that the main concourse has 78 lanes and can accommodate corporate gatherings of almost any size, and the Stadium Club offers a more intimate, luxurious vibe for cocktail mixers and smaller board retreats.
Mixers can also be held in the new 18,000-square-foot International Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum, which is scheduled to undergo renovations over the course of the next five years, including adding the Showcase Lanes.
“Coming this spring, the Showcase Lanes will open with a modern bar and restaurant atmosphere that also happens to hold 10 professional bowling lanes,” Leinen says.
The National Bowling Stadium, which has hosted parties of up to 1,500 people and is within walking distance of 4,000 hotel guest rooms, recently upgraded to Levy Restaurants as its on-site catering company.
National Automobile Museum, Reno
The National Automobile Museum is one of the country’s five greatest automobile museums, according to Becky Contos, the venue’s sales and marketing manager, and is an attraction every group visiting Reno should visit.
“Having an event at the National Automobile Museum is truly a memorable experience,” she says. “Imagine enjoying an evening in period street scenes, surrounded by unique memorabilia and some of the most historic, beautiful and one-of-a-kind vehicles of the 20th century.”
The museum has four galleries, including one with dedicated banquet space for sit-down dinners, a 157-seat theater with high-definition audiovisual capabilities for presentations, and the period street scenes accommodate cocktail receptions.
“One of the greatest aspects of holding an event in the museum is no matter where your food and beverage are located, the entire museum is open for your guests to explore and enjoy,” Contos says, explaining that the venue’s exclusive caterer, Silver Peak, is responsible for such menu items as “pepper-crusted prime rib that melts in your mouth” and an original selection of microbrews.
Any number of events can be held here, including fundraisers, small trade shows, banquets and receptions, for 50 to 1,200 people. PageBreak
Lone Eagle Grille,
North Lake Tahoe
The Lone Eagle Grille, located at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino, offers fine dining with great views for groups of up to 250 people, according to Hanna Bankston, the resort’s marketing manager.
“Recently transformed to the tune of $1.3 million, our newly designed lakefront restaurant sits on 500 feet of private resort beach with outdoor patios, roaring fire pits and the proverbial front row seat to Lake Tahoe’s most beautiful sunsets,” she says. “Chefs accommodate special requests and our ingredients are always fresh, sustainable and locally sourced whenever possible.”
The restaurant’s dining room, lounge and patios, as well as a private dining section set in the back of the restaurant, are all options for visiting groups. And it’s worth noting buyouts are available.
“The restaurant’s decor is modernly rustic with influences of old Tahoe throughout,” Bankston adds, citing wooden beams, indoor fireplaces and custom-made aspen dining chairs. “A sophisticated wine room, state-of-the-art kitchen plus new furnishings and flooring all reveal an alpine modern look and feel.”
Popular menu items include steaks, a frozen cocktail called Golden Eagle and a version of the dessert Baked Alaska called Baked Tahoe.
Hungry Bear Restaurant,
South Lake Tahoe
The Hungry Bear Restaurant at Ridge Tahoe Resort has a warm and inviting atmosphere that captures the tone and feel of Lake Tahoe, according to Marlena Boldt, the restaurant’s director of resort sales.
“The space is unique in that it has large windows on both sides with beautiful views of the Lake Tahoe Mountains and the Carson Valley,” she says. “There is also a large outdoor deck for warm summer sunset receptions.”
The Valley View room, a private dinner event space with large windows overlooking Carson Valley, is connected to the Bear Trap Lounge and Hungry Bear Restaurant. In between the Valley View room and the restaurant, there is a piano and buffet area, and extending off the restaurant, there is a large deck with views overlooking the Stagecoach Chairlift area and Lake Tahoe Mountains. Boldt says the entire floor can open up to accommodate events of up to 200 people.
“The decor has warm earth tones matching the feel of Lake Tahoe,” she says. “Exquisite cuisine from Executive Chef Stephan Moise features local and sustainable items.”
Brewery Arts Center, Carson City
The Brewery Arts Center, located three blocks from the main street of Carson City, dates back to 1864 when it started out as the Tahoe Brewery.
The Brewery Arts Center houses three venues—the Grand Ballroom, the Maizie Harris Jessie Theater, and the Performance Hall—that according to Grayson Stipe, events and rentals coordinator, hold historic value.
“It’s easily seen and appreciated, whether one is admiring the sloped ceiling of the Performance Hall [formerly St. Teresa’s of Avila Church] or pictures of the original Tahoe Brewery and brewers that line the wall just outside the Grand Ballroom,” he says. “The atmosphere that these historic buildings provide offers a unique feel to all our client’s events.”
A multitude of events are accommodated here, including receptions, banquets, fundraisers, private screenings, business retreats, lectures and seminars, and the center has a dedicated on-site caterer and cafe.
Carolyn Blackburn is a frequent contributor to Meetings Focus West.