Park Hyatt Beaver Creek: Rustic Elegance

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meeting venues Park Hyatt Beacer Creek
Exterior of Park Hyatt Beaver Creek in summer, facing the mountain

Snacking on s’mores, the classic campfire treat combining chocolate, graham crackers and roasted marshmallows, may not seem like a high-end culinary experience. When the marshmallows are handcrafted, flavored with crème de menthe or Grand Marnier and roasted in the elegant backyard of Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa, it’s a different story.

The daily S’mores Happy Hour is one of many elements that create a comfortable kind of charm at this upscale meeting venue in the Rockies. Dining and spa services are exquisite, accommodations are luxurious and meeting spaces are well equipped. But leave the suits and heels at home unless your group’s dress code calls for them; the dress code here is jeans and boots or, at most, khakis and loafers.

Park Hyatt is one of several properties in Beaver Creek Resort, a picturesque enclave nestled in the Vail Valley; it’s about two hours from Denver International Airport and 20 minutes from Eagle County Airport in Vail. A premier ski destination, Beaver Creek has been chosen to host the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships in February.

Park Hyatt is a “ski in/ski out” resort; it sits right at the foot of the mountain so no one loses precious slope time in a car or shuttle. It also provides the services of a ski valet who lugs equipment and gets it ready for the next day’s runs.

In summer, Beaver Creek continues drawing groups who like to get out and explore the outdoors. Hiking, golf, fishing and horseback riding are popular pursuits. There’s a year-round buzz at Beaver Creek Village, an Alpine-styled collection of shops and restaurants. The village is anchored by the Vilar Performing Arts Center, a 550-seat venue that hosts national performers—recent headliners included singers Lyle Lovett and Trace Adkins and comedian Lisa Lampanelli—and is available for corporate meetings and group events. Groups have had dine-arounds using the village’s many restaurants and have taken over the ice skating rink in the center of the village.

Meetings At Park Hyatt

Corporate meetings make up about 75 percent of the hotel’s group business, says Tom Puntel, Park Hyatt’s director of sales and marketing. They have access to 20,000 sf of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space at Park Hyatt, which includes Gerald R. Ford Hall, named for the U.S. president who often vacationed here with his family and is still remembered fondly.      

The hall’s most impressive space may be Sawatch Ballroom, which accommodates up to 1,000 people (but can be divided into much smaller areas) and offers views of the mountain on one side and the village on the other. Several other rooms in Ford Hall are made for executive retreats, receptions and other events.

Ford Hall is just outside the Park Hyatt building, where meetings average up to 150 people, according to Puntel.

Park Hyatt also arranges off-site and between-meeting activities through DSC Events, a DMC with offices in Colorado, Nevada and Utah. Tours and other explorations are important, says Puntel. “People want to have a sense of place, to feel that they’ve really been to the place they’re meeting in. The planners who get the most fulfillment are the ones who are here to get a sense of place, to be enriched and make some memories.”

Park Hyatt also arranges off-site and between-meeting activities through DSC Events, a DMC with offices in Colorado, Nevada and Utah. Tours and other explorations are important, says Puntel. “People want to have a sense of place, to feel that they’ve really been to the place they’re meeting in. The planners who get the most fulfillment are the ones who are here to get a sense of place, to be enriched and make some memories.”

Our group made some mile-high memories on hikes and Jeep tours of the mountain, led by the expert and friendly guides of the Beaver Creek Summer Adventure Center; with energizing workouts and treatments at Park Hyatt’s spa, Allegria; and while sampling the resort’s many dining options.

Tasting It All

Food and beverage seems almost as essential to the Beaver Creek experience as skiing and hiking, and there are quite a few choices. Park Hyatt operates its own fine-dining and casual options on site, and also sends its guests and groups to Beaver Creek-operated eateries on the mountain and in the village.

We began with a convivial dinner at Park Hyatt’s 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill, where Executive Chef Christian Apetz emphasizes hand-selected ingredients from Colorado farms and other purveyors. Signature dishes at 8100 include Oak-Grilled Elk Loin and Organic Shetland Island Salmon (“which is so clean,” Apetz says, “it’s often served raw as sashimi”).

The extensive menu included two of Apetz’s favorites, made with “amazing” Colorado produce: Sweet Corn Bisque (using corn grown in Olathe, Colorado) with truffle popcorn, flavored with chives from the restaurant’s herb garden; and grilled Palisade Peaches, a local fruit that had just come into season. 

On the way to our lunch the next day, we drank in the view as we rode a chair lift to the top of the mountain, then hiked about a mile through breezy meadows to the casual Mamie’s Mountain Grill. Our second dinner was at Beano’s Cabin, where excellent American cuisine is served on white linens in an upscale lodge setting. Diners reach Beano’s by horseback or van in summer, by horse-drawn sleigh in winter.

If it had been winter, we’d have joined the après ski crowd at McCoy’s, which Park Hyatt operates at the base of the chair lift; since it was summer, we gathered at the hotel’s 8100 Bar for wine and a hearty local microbrew.

Our final night ended with a visit to the Beaver Creek Rodeo, held every Thursday during the summer rodeo season in the town of Avon just below the resort. The event draws mostly amateur cowboys, although the bulls don’t seem to know that.

Apetz and his sous chef prepared a few plates of appetizers for us to nibble — just enough to hold us until we could make it back to the hotel for s’mores.

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