Monterey County Meeting Spaces: Get a Fresh New Look
From Monterey to Salinas, Multimillion Dollar Renovations Bring New Life to the Meetings Scene
EXTROARDINARY UPGRADES- The upgraded Monterey Conference Center will be the West Coasts premier meeting space for inspired new thinking and break-out innovation. The first floor of the rejuvenated center is planned to open by late summer 2016 and the grand opening of the entire center will take place in early 2017. This modernization will infuse up to $45 million in physical and technological improvements where you can now imagine your inspired attendees strolling by the all-glass, limestone accented exterior, into 41k sq. ft. of flexible meeting space. Once complete, the Silver LEED-certified building will offer the ability to host multiple meetings simultaneously, all in the heart of downtown Monterey, just steps away from Custom House Plaza and historic Fisherman’s Wharf. The re-design is led by the firm, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, one of the largest and most influential architecture firms in the world with award-winning projects including convention and conference centers in Hong Kong, Seoul, Virginia Beach, Chicago and San Francisco's Moscone Center among others.
This spring marked the much anticipated debut of the new Bernardus Lodge & Spa following a four-month, multi-million dollar transformation. Set on 28 sweeping acres of lavender and vineyards, this Forbes Four Star 57-guestroom property has seen a dramatic shift in architecture and design and is poised to become one of the West Coast’s most coveted escapes. The Meritage Ballroom, adjacent to two-acres of meticulously landscaped gardens, is a 2,160-square-foot space that seats up to 150 people for weddings, receptions, cocktail parties and banquets. For more intimate confines, the Harvest Room can seat up to 50 people and now includes a demonstration kitchen, ideal for culinary and viticulture education or an exhibition dinner and wine tasting. The Magnum Room is a 288 sq. ft. meeting venue with a walnut table and plush chairs, ideal for a formal meeting or dinner for up to 12 people, and the 300 sq. ft. Estate Room is located next to the lobby and affords croquet lawn views making this intimate space an ideal retreat for high-level board meetings.
With a new name and the unveiling of an updated contemporary interior, Unscripted Monterey Bay is poised to become the most sought-after beachfront hotel on the Monterey Peninsula. Signature additions include color therapy, advanced lighting, aromatherapy, therapeutic hybrid coil and memory foam mattresses and sleep-to-wake systems that use light to simulate dawn. With over 10,000 sq. ft. of event space, including a large ballroom for up to 450 guests, each space is filled with the calming sounds of crashing waves, spectacular bay views and adjacent outdoor spaces and terraces. The Début Hotel Group has opened the property as its first location for the new Unscripted Hotel brand. The revamped property will feature 196 new guestrooms, with uninterrupted views of the ocean, in vogue Pacific decor and signature design elements that focus on creating a better live/work environment for guests.
UNIQUE SPACES- The historic Tarpy's Roadhouse, just off of Highway 68 and home to Chef Todd Fisher (aka The Bacon King and featured in The United States of Bacon on the Food Network) has recently added and updated several cozy spaces for meetings and events. The upstairs Library is a great choice for sit-down parties of up to 80 people and cocktail parties or stand-up receptions for up to 120 people, and features a fireplace, stocked bookshelves, great art and a private garden patio. Consider how successful your business meeting or seminar will be in the Shell Room, named for the whimsical shell fireplace, that looks out on the outdoor patio and can accommodates up to 22 people in a semi-private setting. The beautiful terrace is also great for a small ceremony or live DJ and dancing. The newest addition is a private room, which seats up to 32 people with large windows overlooking the flower adorned gardens and wishing well. For a more formal ambiance, look no further than the Vintner's Room which includes a display of some of the area's best wines and can be combined with an adjoining room to accommodate up to 60 people.
201 Main is the most recent addition to historic downtown Salinas, where you will also find the National Steinbeck Center and Fox Theatre. The complex offers up a variety of spectacular dining options, meeting venues and nightlife and houses seven unique event spaces all under one roof, including an outdoor Tuscan Piazza with TV and projector capabilities alongside fire pits, patio heaters and lush foliage, all set to the peaceful sounds of a glistening waterfall. The entire top floor is reserved for private events and has two separate curved balconies overlooking the Piazza. Break out of the office and set your next meeting in the old Wells Fargo Bank vault adorned with the original doors and security deposit boxes, this historic place for meeting will not soon be forgotten.
Just over the hill in downtown Carmel by-the-Sea lies Seventh & Dolores, a dedicated space that is suitable for almost any event. Seventh & Dolores is a flexible, fresh, neutral, voluminous venue with all white walls, just begging for transformation. The space features two different venues to play host: the main space has 2,300 total sq. ft., 190 capacity, and 25 foot high ceilings with a full opening for vehicles, and the secondary space features 600 sq. ft., 40 person capacity, and 20 foot high ceilings, and each space has access to a premier 700 sq. ft. commercial kitchen, enclosed outdoor seating area, and an extravagant, terraced outdoor fire area.
Imagine something different and step back into the decadent Victorian era at The Hart Mansion in Pacific Grove. The venue is available for an evening gala, club get-together, family reunion, company meeting, wedding reception or anything that calls for a memorable time. Whether it’s an evening by the fire with a champagne flute in your hand, an afternoon with friends around a pot of tea with homemade scones and clotted cream, or a company function, the mansion is where old-world elegance meets modern technology. Just a short walk from the beach at Lovers Point and adjoining with the equally historic Gosby House Inn, the White Hart is your center for vintage elegance, charm, and convenience. With room for up to 40 guests, attendees can enjoy champagne, beer, a variety of Monterey County wines, and original “mocktails.” What better place to stage your product announcement, press briefing, departmental meeting, or training than at this historic residence.
TEAM ENHANCEMENT- Take a stroll down the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail to Central Coast Events’ Monterey Beach House. This unique beachside location offers an array of activities such as Beach Olympics, Sand Castle Building, Wacky Relays and Scavenger Hunts. These lighthearted activities are designed to enhance effective teamwork and to simulate problem-solving, trust, cooperation, mutual support, commitment, open and effective communication and accountability. Whether your group consists of 2 or 2,000, you will be in great hands and the beach area will be reserved exclusively for you. The team building program can be customized, depending on your individual needs, activities selected and the size of the group.
Relax and enjoy a glass of wine or roll-up your sleeves and create your own blend – these offerings and more are available at the all new Wine Experience. Located on historic Cannery Row, just steps from the Monterey Plaza Hotel, the space is set to open its doors in July and will feature wine tasting, a diverse collection of interactive wine classes, wine blending, and even wine making where your group can create small batches (2+ cases) all the way to a full barrel (25 cases), each with your own custom label. The main tasting room is 514 sq. ft. and will hold 24 seated guests and up to 50 standing. The private party area, separated by a glass wall and door from the tasting room, is around 400 sq. ft., and small plate food like cured meat, charcuterie and cheeses are available.
A visit to Monterey County wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Expert guides will lead your group through the facilities to explore one-of-a-kind exhibits of octopi jetting in a whoosh of water, glowing jellies, leopard sharks curling around the kelp, and sea otters performing lively acrobatics - then be whisked off to an exclusive, behind the scenes glimpse into how the magic is created and find out how the Aquarium cares for its more than 35,000 plants and animals. Tours are available for groups up to 45 people where you can get out of the conference room and into the great blue Pacific! Wrap-up your time in Monterey County with a once-in-a-lifetime dinner “in” the sea – a private dining experience alongside the new Tentacles exhibit that will afford you a firsthand look into what Big Blue Live is all about.
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Jacob Shafer/Monterey County CVB
Monterey County is located 120 miles/192 km south of San Francisco and 345-miles/552 km north of Los Angeles along the classic California corridor. The region boasts 99 miles of prime Pacific Coastline, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, three historic missions, 45,000 acres of premium vineyards, 26 golf courses and over 250 lodging properties. Monterey County includes the Monterey Peninsula, Big Sur, North County and the Salinas Valley. The Monterey Peninsula Airport (MRY), just three miles from historic downtown Monterey and minutes from the area’s major attractions, is served by non-stop flights to and from Las Vegas (LAS), Phoenix (PHX), Los Angeles (LAX), San Diego (SAN) and San Francisco (SFO). Visit www.SeeMonterey.com for more information.