And though the concept of family-friendly meetings is not
something conference hotels and resorts openly promote, meeting
planners looking for this option can now negotiate multiple activities with the right properties well in advance.
Leading the pack in the family-friendly teambuilding activities
segment in the West are some of following properties.
Great Wolf Lodge, Garden Grove, Calif.
Great Wolf Resorts opened the 603-suite Great Wolf Lodge Southern California in March 2016, the company’s 13th U.S. property. It
features 21,226 square feet of separate and configurable meeting
rooms and is located near the Anaheim Convention Center. It is
also the home to a 100,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, featuring water slides and attractions, including the six-story Howlin’
Tornado, a multi-level interactive tree house and the body surfing
experience Wolf Rider Wipeout.
“While the indoor waterpark primarily attracts our leisure
clients, it is a brand differential for us,” said Taren Rathman,
corporate manager of group sales of Great Wolf Resorts, based in
Madison, Wis. “Planners often look to us not only because they
know we deliver on exceptional service and support for meetings,
but also because we are a destination for families, which allows
meeting attendees to potentially bring their family and combine
work with pleasure.”
Rathman said though the lodge’s waterpark can be a com-
plement to a meeting client or it can just as easily have no role
or involvement at all, teambuilding activities available include
culinary events inspired by popular cooking competitions on TV,
challenges on some of the leisure attractions such as bowling, and
private parties hosted after hours in the waterpark.
Noting that the lodge is a “full-service resort,” Rathman said
there are several suite styles to accommodate the needs of a conference attendee who prefers separate work space from sleeping
space, on up to families that travel with children and grandparents
at the same time. “We have several on-site dining outlets to appeal
to guests who prefer grab-and-go meals to buffets with a wide
array of options to full-service restaurants,” she said. “Our catering
and banquet teams have also evolved and we create unique and
memorable menus to meet the desires and dreams of our clients.”
JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass, Tucson, Ariz.
The JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort and Spa, located 12
miles from Tucson International Airport, features 575 guest rooms,
88,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, six dining
experiences, the 20,000-square-foot Hashani Spa, a fitness center,
a collection of outdoor water features (including the meandering
Starr Canyon River and Monsoon Falls waterslide), the Blur Teen
Lounge and Rising Starr Kid’s Club, two tennis courts, access to
multiple hiking and biking trails on property, and the Starr Pass
Golf Club, which features 27 holes of championship golf designed
by Arnold Palmer.
BY ROBERT CARLSEN
JW MARRIOTT TUCSON STARR PASS
GREAT WOLF LODGE
While the concept of “bleisure”—combining business trips with leisure getaways—is getting more
and more popular in the world of travel,
not all properties in the Western U.S.
have the tools, personnel and attractions
to pull off a bleisure trip that includes