Expansion and Investment Seen in the Monterey Bay Meeting Venues

May 10, 2017

Monterey Bay is upping their game with a multi-project renovation and expansion of various meeting spaces in the area.

Whether you are looking for a good conference venue, offsite meeting spaces, locations for group activities or venues for incentive trips and team building, Monterey Bay is ready to deliver.

The new Monterey Bay Conference Center: Nestled in the downtown area and only steps away from the waterfront, the Monterey Bay Conference Center is undergoing a transformation.

“We are in the final stages of our $60 million renovation to the 40,000 square feet of interior space here at the convention center,” said Nancy Williams, City of Monterey director of sales and events.

She continued, “What makes this renovation so exciting is the focus on both flexibility and sustainability. We are going for LEED certification and to make the venue adaptable for a variety of groups to help keep our venue an attractive option for years to come.”

The completion of this renovation is slated for Fall 2017 and is set to provide an incredible space for attendees.

Not your ordinary hotel meeting space: If you are looking to have breakout sessions or additional meeting space, there are several options in the Monterey Bay area.

The Marriott hotel is one of the largest hotels near the Wharf and is connected to the convention center via walkway. It has recently undergone a $3 million facelift to the lobby, bar and restaurant area under the direction of Hollywood set designer Aaron King. Its five “California rooms” are approximately 900 sq. ft. each and bring the outside in with large windows for natural light.

On the other side of the convention center and also attached via walkway, is the Portola Hotel. This hotel is also undergoing renovations and is part of the 88,000 sq. ft. available in this trio (Marriott, Monterey Bay Convention Center and Portola Hotel).

La Playa Carmel is a bit outside of this downtown Monterey district, but should also be on your short list. The views of the Pacific Ocean alone are worth the drive, and it is nestled in the residential town of Carmel-by-the-Sea providing a homey feel to the property. If you are looking for company inspiration besides the breathtaking views, there is a historical significance to the property.

“In our large meeting space, Steve Jobs unveiled his Macintosh computer,” said Jackie Shaffer, director of sales at La Playa. “I think this goes to show that you can find inspiration to greatness here!”

Incentive meeting space that stands out: There are many resorts that can provide a great location for an incentive-related meeting.

Sanctuary Beach Resort is located on 19 acres of beautiful coastline, and being nestled along California’s central coast brings a secluded feeling to the property, all while being minutes from downtown Monterey.

If you are looking to add some world-class golf to your incentive trip, look no further than the Lodge at Pebble Beach. Set to open late summer of 2017, the golf cottages and meeting facility overlook Fairway 1, providing your team with a view of a lifetime.

Even the non-golfer will find plenty to do on the property, including spa treatments, an equestrian center, hiking and biking trails and a Golf Academy for those wishing to learn golf.

For a third option for incentive trips, Carmel Valley Ranch provides 500 acres of grounds.

“Our groups can range from 10 individuals to groups buying out all 181 rooms of the property,” said Rodney Morrow, Carmel Valley Ranch director of sales.

He added, “We provide 10,000 sq. ft. of interior space and meeting rooms that have an outside component, so your team is not missing out on our beautiful weather. What’s more, our activities are designed for team building, such as archery, night golf, equine perspective and the bee experience. And we are happy to customize a group experience to fit your specific needs.”

Offsite venues with a twist: There are also many options for offsite venues that are not the typical formula.

Folktale Winery, on 182 acres, provides interesting venues spaces, such as the 10,000 sq. ft. Barrel Room, as well as wine education and wine mixing activities onsite.

If you are ready to learn how to “speak whale” with your team, the Monterey Bay Aquarium can provide just the atmosphere for an event or meeting.

“Imagine dining with an array of sea life and having a behind the scenes tour,” said Christine Russo-Robertson, national sales manager of events at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

She continued, “And because fees for the space go back to research and protection of our aquatic life, you are ‘partying for a cause.’ It is a great way to protect our coast and environment, enjoy an amazing venue experience and provide some education in the process.”

With so many options available for your next event, you will be returning to Monterey Bay again and again to try something different.

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Partner Voices

As event professionals and destinations adjust, adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters, it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing trade shows, expositions and conventions. An example is Mohegan Sun, which built an industry-leading, COVID-19 Resource Center with a combination of pictures from recently held successful events (the property reopened on May 1, 2020) along with several widely available and informative documents, such as an evolving operational framework: