Meeting planners will be hard-pressed to find a destination as inspiring and breathtaking as Monterey County. From conference rooms with dramatic coastal views to offsite event spaces set amongst verdant vineyards and sun-drenched mountain ranges, Monterey County’s pristine natural beauty offers meeting attendees the perfect location to innovate, collaborate and be transformed. As meeting planners consider event locations for 2020, here are 20 reasons to book a meeting in Monterey County in 2020.
Colton Hall, Monterey
1. 2020 marks the 250th anniversary for the city of Monterey. From the first California Constitutional Convention, held at Colton Hall in 1849, to the first TED Talk at the Monterey Conference Center in 1984, Monterey has a long history of transformative meetings. Planners hoping for a ground-breaking conference that leads to inspiration and the next big idea should look no further than Monterey.
2. Monterey County has a wide range of venues for all budgets and service levels, with 200 lodging properties across the region. From large hotels with conference spaces to luxury resorts, there is a facility for every meeting need. Several hotels are undergoing renovations for new looks in the new year.
3. The Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa, nestled on 22 acres along the Del Monte Golf Course, offers 550 guest rooms and 43,000 square feet of meeting space. The hotel will debut a remodeled lobby and front drive alongside refreshed guest rooms in 2020.
4. The Monterey Marriott is transforming its 341 guest rooms and bathrooms. The renovation is expected to be completed by May 2020. The downtown Monterey property offers 16,500 square feet of meeting space and an additional 40,000 square feet just steps away at the Monterey Conference Center.
Portola Hotel & Spa, Monterey
5. The Portola Hotel & Spa, adjacent to the Monterey Conference Center, will be completing an $11.2 million renovation by spring 2020. The renovation includes a complete remodel of the hotel’s 379 guest rooms and a refresh to its meeting space carpet and wall coverings. These renovations follow the hotel’s 2019 revitalization of its outdoor event space, Jacks Terrace, as well as the opening of an on-premises Peet’s Coffee.
6. The Sandpiper Inn, located in the charming seaside village of Carmel-by-the-Sea, will undergo a major renovation, rebranding and repositioning this year. Reopening this summer, guests will find exquisite new accommodations designed by famed San Francisco designer Helga Horner. Horner also redesigned the rooms at the luxurious Relais & Chateaux L'Auberge Carmel.
7. Hotel Abrego in Monterey is undergoing a guest room refresh with new carpet, furniture and paint. The 93-room property is perfect for executive meetings and board retreats with naturally lit meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 40 guests.
8. The Monterey Conference Center, which reopened in 2018 after a $60 million renovation, installed 330 solar panels in the summer of 2019. The panels produce approximately 15% of the state-of-the-art facility’s annual electrical energy needs. The completion of the solar panel project is a key step in the process for the conference center to achieve LEED Platinum Certification.
Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey
9. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is the ideal location for a transformative offsite event that wows attendees, inspires ocean conservation and exceeds corporate social responsibility. The world-famous attraction offers catering menus highlighting sustainable and organic producers and seafood options that meet its Seafood Watch guidelines, and eliminating single-use plastics such as bottles and straws.
10. Booking a meeting in Monterey County has proven to boost attendance with its picturesque location. In this ideal bleisure spot, meeting attendees can easily add a few extra days to a business trip or carve out time in-between sessions to explore all that Monterey County has to offer. Attendees can experience world-class golf, award-winning restaurants, 65 wine tasting rooms and much more.
11. Opening in the fall, Pebble Beach will debut a redesigned Par-3 course on the former site of Peter Hay Golf Course. Pebble Beach Company has partnered with Tiger Woods and his TGR Design firm to transform the Peter Hay site into a world-class short course – making it an added reason to conduct business on the greens.
12. Monterey’s neighboring coastal city Seaside has been seeing a renaissance over the last year. From new additions, including Other Brother Beer Company for beer lovers and the unique coffee shop-recording studio combo Counterpoint Coffee, Seaside is quickly becoming a trendy spot for meeting attendees to explore.
Cannery Row, Monterey
13. Noble prize-winning author John Steinbeck’s famed novel, “Cannery Row,” celebrates its 75th anniversary in January. Meeting planners should add a group meal at Steinbeck’s childhood home, The Steinbeck House, along with a visit to the National Steinbeck Center, both in Salinas, to their agenda for literary inspiration during their conference.
14. In October, Monterey’s popular tourist hub Old Fisherman’s Wharf will celebrate its 175th anniversary. Located near the Monterey Conference Center and adjacent hotels, Fisherman’s Wharf is known for its year-round whale watching adventures, fishing excursions, restaurants serving clam chowder and gift shops.
15.The Monterey Regional Airport (MRY) is located within the city of Monterey, just 10 minutes from downtown. The airport offers regular direct flights to and from major cities across the West, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Dallas and Denver. With one connection, visitors from 95 different cities worldwide can reach the Monterey Regional Airport. A new directly flight to and from Seattle starts in June.
16. The new Yanks Air Museum will open its doors in the summer of 2020 in Greenfield. The museum will feature a world-class collection of restored aircrafts that reflect the entire spectrum of American aviation, as well as an education center devoted to stimulating and educating new generations about aviation. The new museum will be the perfect spot for a unique offsite experience.
Hahn Estate Winery, Soledad
17. The freshest menu ingredients are locally sourced and served throughout Monterey County. As the "Salad Bowl of the World," the area provides a cornucopia of fresh produce from Salinas Valley and sustainable seafood from Monterey Bay. Planners can pair this fresh cuisine with wine from Monterey County’s 349 vineyards and 82 bonded wineries at their meeting or event.
18. The Barns at Cooper Molera is Monterey’s hottest offsite event venue. The historic venue dates back to the 1800s and is the ideal setting for gatherings from executive meetings to receptions with up to 600 guests. A new restaurant, Cella Restaurant, will be added to the venue this year.
The Camp at Carmel Valley, Carmel Valley
19. Meeting attendees can return to their summer camp days at a new lodging site, The Camp at Carmel Valley. The Camp offers 4,000 square feet of indoor meeting space and 19,000 square feet of outdoor gathering space. It also features 120 guest beds and iconic camp activities such as swimming, tennis, hiking, horseback riding and more.
20. The Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau (Monterey County CVB) offers a diverse range of resources to assist meeting planners. From complimentary RFP distribution, site inspection coordination, attendance promotional tools and welcome desk staffing, Monterey County CVB’s dedicated team is ready to assist from beginning to end.