Throughout the central states, there are plenty of resorts with a full range of services for meetings and events, and enough amenities to keep attendees occupied before, during and after the official day’s agenda. Consider booking a conference or convention at one of these Midwest retreats, where your company will get both value and a wide range of options despite the temperature outdoors.
Located in the village of Kohler, Wisconsin, an hour north of Milwaukee and two-and-a-half hours north of Chicago, this resort can house attendees in a wide range of accommodations including The American Club, built in 1918 as a boarding house for immigrants working in the Kohler factory and renovated in 1981; the luxurious guestrooms of The Carriage House, located in the annex to The American Club in the same building as the Kohler Waters Spa; the Inn on Woodlake; and Sandhill, a private cabin situated on 350 acres in nearby Mosel. Meeting and function space includes everything from the 7,519-square-foot Grand Hall of the Great Lakes, which can seat 750 guests – theater style, to the Founder’s Boardroom, seating 14. In all, there are more than 20 different venues and configurations in different settings on the property. Activities and team-building opportunities are endless, including everything from Bavarian curling and bowling on ice to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The resort offers a 25,000-square-foot, full-service spa that features Kohler products; a three-level Kohler Design Center; a 100,000-square-foot Sports Core Health & Racquet Club; classes at Yoga on the Lake; and more than 20 specialty stores at The Shops at Woodlake Kohler. Dining options range from four-star fine dining at The Immigrant Room and farm fresh cuisine at The Wisconsin Room to more casual fare at the Horse & Plow and The Greenhouse. There is also Cucina, Take 5 Café, and River Wildlife Lodge Restaurant as well as restaurants at both Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run golf courses. Attendees can pick up treats at Craverie Chocolatier Café and groceries at Woodlake Market.
Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa
Just 150 miles west and slightly north of Chicago, amid the scenic landscape of rolling hills and winding roads in Galena, Illinois, is an all-encompassing getaway nestled into the 6,800-acre Galena Territory. Attendees can stay on the resort’s grounds in rooms at The Inn or in more than 250 private villas and distinctive homes available for rent. Eagle Ridge has 15,000 square feet of meeting space and conference homes that can accommodate corporate groups. Book one of more than 21 meeting rooms with capacities ranging from 10 to 350. When not engaged in official business, attendees can spend time in the state-of-the-art fitness center, game room, an indoor pool area complete with a steam room and sauna, and the Stonedrift Spa. Winter activities perfect for team building or pre- and post-meeting options include rentals from the Nordic Ski and Winter Sports Center to cross country ski or snowshoe groomed trails, a trip to the nearby sledding hill and skating pond, or grabbing a 15-minute complimentary shuttle ride over to Chestnut Mountain for downhill skiing and snowboarding. It’s also worth a half-day trip to quaint, historic downtown Galena’s shops and restaurants. When not catering during the event, the resort offers plenty of dining options including Woodlands Restaurant & Lounge, Paisanos, Eagle Ridge Coffee Shop, and The General Store Bakery & Deli.
French Lick Resort
Venture just 70 miles from Louisville or 108 miles from Indianapolis to find this resort in the heart of Indiana’s Hoosier National Forest, with its two historic hotels, each containing its own top-notch spa, restaurants, and indoor pool. There is 165,000 square feet of meeting and event space resort-wide, including a $20 million Meeting and Event Center expansion that opened in January 2015. Between the two hotels, there are 38 meeting rooms for all manner of events. Attendees stay at either French Lick Springs Hotel or West Baden Springs Hotel and have access to a 60,000-square-foot Sports & Exhibit Complex, a bowling alley and gaming arcade, shops, and a 51,000-square-foot casino. Off property, consider excursions to French Lick Winery, Hoosier National Forest, and Paoli Peaks for skiing, tubing, and snowboarding. Dining venues include 1875: The Steakhouse, Hagen’s Club House Restaurant and Sinclair’s Restaurant; casual fare at Pluto’s Pizzeria, Spring No. 8 Deli, The Grand Colonnade Restaurant, Power Plant Bar & Grill, Café at Sinclair’s, Ballard’s Bar and Nosh; and quick pick-me-ups at French Lick Mercantile Co. and Xanadu Coffee & Creamery.
Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa
Consider planning your meeting or event at this resort located close to the attractions and entertainment of Branson, within the Ozark Mountains, overlooking Table Rock Lake. This expansive resort in southwest Missouri can accommodate meetings and conventions in 43,500 square feet of meeting space including a 32,000-square-foot Great Hall ballroom and a 54-seat theater for special presentations. The property includes a 14,000-square-foot Spa Chateau; the Movement Therapy Studio for Zumba, yoga or Pilates; a hair salon; an indoor pool, hot tub and fitness facilities; a 10-story, sky-lit atrium containing streams filled with Koi fish; and a Library Lounge with a large stone fireplace. Dining options include Chateau Grille, Atrium Café & Wine Bar and The Sweet Shoppe.
Grand Traverse Resort and Spa
This 900-acre resort along the shores of Lake Michigan’s East Grand Traverse Bay is a year-round destination. Located in the northwest corner of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, and just 6 miles from Traverse City, attendees check into guestrooms in the Hotel or Tower or one of 150 one-, two- and three-bedroom privately owned condominiums. Flexible meeting space includes 86,500 square feet divided into 36 rooms, with the largest at nearly 20,000 square feet. The resort can accommodate groups from 20 to 2,000. Be sure to set aside time during your function for attendees to check out the 20,000-square-foot Gallery of Shops; a 2,000-square-foot Grand Traverse Resort and Spa Golf Academy building, open for lessons and practice sessions year-round; the 100,000-square-foot Health Club with five indoor tennis courts; and a two-floor, 7,000-square-foot spa. Embrace winter and team build on up to two kilometers of groomed cross country ski trails, while snowshoeing or ice skating. Head off property for nearby horse-drawn sleigh rides, downhill skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling.
When it’s time to pick the location for your next company conference or convention, consider these winter weather picks for a memorable function where the cold will be the last thing on attendees’ minds.