Journalist Barbara Walters famously dubbed Coeur d’Alene “a little slice of heaven.” After falling in love with its charm and beauty, she put it on her list of the five most fascinating places to visit. Smart move.
Postcard-perfect and located in the north Idaho panhandle, Coeur d’Alene combines a drop-dead gorgeous lake with hills and trails as far as the eye can see. With just over 50,000 residents, the city packs a punch, making Mark Robitaille’s job of marketing it easy. The executive director of Coeur d’Alene’s Convention & Visitor Bureau notes that event planners have a plethora of options, “from world-class accommodations with significant meeting space to a vibrant downtown with delectable dining options, unique art galleries, year-round activities, and the Northwest’s largest theme park just up the road,” says Robitaille.
Where to Meet
Located on the north shore of the lake, The Coeur d’Alene Resort features world-class accommodations, conference and business facilities, golf, spa, recreational activities, shopping, dining and nightlife. And its talented team excels at staging well-executed events.
The resort staff handles every moment with a smile—from gourmet food and beverage to sound, seating and logistics. “We provide professional destination management services, a full menu of activities and adventures, as well as award-winning dining, golf and spa escapes for all to enjoy. Here at The Coeur d’Alene Resort, it’s your meeting—let us handle the details,” says Jamie Cornell, director of sales and marketing.
With more than 32,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space in 25 separate rooms, The Coeur d’Alene Resort allows the meeting planner maximum flexibility. The 15,000-square-foot ballroom comes with its own dedicated catering kitchen, while the executive boardrooms, as well as Hagadone Event Center, overlook the lake. Planners can even make use of the resort’s cruise boats for serene, uninterruptible floating meetings.
Speaking of floating: The resort’s worldfamous golf course also features the world’s only recently renovated floating green. Other amenities include a high-end spa, convention facilities, a marina with boat rentals, a fitness center, pools (as in plural), shops, restaurants and nightlife within walking distance. All feature excellent service and frameable views. “We’re located on the shore of one of the world’s most beautiful lakes, so we truly offer an incredible guest experience for leisure and business travelers alike,” says Cornell.
Elsewhere in town, Coeur d’Alene Cellars can host groups from as small as five to as large as 300 people in an upscale, festive state-of-the-art facility with a beautiful winery garden. Taste its 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon—it received a 91 from Wine Enthusiast. Art Spirit Gallery can provide 4,000 square feet of space for group buyouts in a vibrant environment featuring Native American and contemporary art. Likewise, the North Idaho Museum gives groups the chance to meet in a space filled with the most extensive collection of local history and artifacts. Coeur d’Alene also abounds in collective mixed-use spaces, and Elk Point (accommodating up to 175), Innovation Den (accommodating up to 225) and the Kroc Center (a theater with 400 seats) each offers something different for planners.
For a sure bet, book rooms at Coeur d’Alene Casino. The 300-room resort is located 30 minutes south of the city, giving groups the chance to focus while also enjoying the tables and nearby city life. What happens at Coeur d’Alene Casino, stays at Coeur d’Alene Casino.
What to Do
When it’s time to go outside and play, Timberline Adventures offers guests a safe and exhilarating way to zip line through the local forests. Or take the whitewater rafting trip of a lifetime with Row Adventures. Silverwood Theme Park is the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest and boasts more than 70 thrill rides and a water park during the summer. Silver Mountain Resort provides 12 months of adrenaline with skiing and snowboarding in winter and epic mountain biking trails during the warmer months.
For something genuinely different, visit the Oasis Bordello Museum, housed in a building that served as the “offices” of the world’s oldest profession until 1988.
Coeur d’Alene’s art scene is as kaleidoscopic as its natural environs. With such a desirable location, the city has attracted nationally renowned artists, musicians, filmmakers, painters and writers for decades. Groups can enjoy music festivals, live music, theater, museums, art galleries and more on a scale to rival larger cities.
Natural beauty and lively attractions pull groups to Coeur d’Alene in the first place, but what keeps them coming back are the locals. “People are very friendly and always willing to lend a hand and help a neighbor or an organization in need,” says Robitaille. “While there is an abundance of things to do and see all year long in Coeur d’Alene, I think the people are what truly make it special.”