While the world’s event organizers may be temporarily pausing their face-to-face conferences amidst the COVID-19 health crisis, when they are able to once again meet in person, organizers will find that Kelowna, British Columbia’s fastest-growing city, provides plenty of new options in which to host their events.
“Kelowna is undergoing a growth surge,” says Tourism Kelowna’s Jennifer Horsnell, Director of Destination and Business Development, noting that over the last year, the city has welcomed new hotel brands, has rebranded existing hotels, and added plenty of restaurants and offsite venues for planners to consider. Here’s a 2020 roundup of what’s new and notable around the greater Kelowna area:
(Hyatt Place Hotel, Kelowna, slated to open summer 2020)
Scheduled to open in summer, 2020, Hyatt Place, is a short drive from Okanagan Lake’s waterfront boardwalk, 19 area golf courses, and some 40+ wineries for your delegates to explore before, after, and in-between meeting sessions. Offering 161 guest rooms and suites and 1,980 square feet of flexible meeting space, Hyatt Place is within walking distance to shops and restaurants and the 48-kilometre Okanagan Rail Trail which connects conference-goers to a network of cycling/hiking/running trails spanning the city and the valley beyond. Onsite: planners will find a full fitness facility, 24/7 dining options, a pool and more.
(Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton conveniently located by UBCO and Kelowna International Airport)
Situated amongst the rolling hills of Kelowna’s Monashee mountain range, adjacent to the University of British Columbia, the newly opened Hampton Inn and Suites by Hilton offers instant access to Kelowna International Airport. Here, planners will find over 3,000 square feet of meeting space in eight unique conference rooms, 140 spacious guest rooms and a range of amenities including fitness facility, indoor pool, free breakfast and complimentary airport shuttle.
Photo by: Shawn Talbot Photography (Eldorado Resort lakeside dining, two hotels within one property, marina and more)
Kelowna’s Manteo Resort and Hotel Eldorado have rebranded as the Eldorado Resort. The side-by-side waterfront resorts now operate as one property where planners can choose to host their events at the Manteo at Eldorado Resort or the Hotel Eldorado at Eldorado Resort. Lakeside since 1926, the combined resort offers 155 guestrooms and 9,067 sq.ft. meeting space, and unique amenities including a waterfront boardwalk, marina, lakefront dining and a rooftop special events venue that offers an unparalleled lake, mountain and sunset views.
Wine & Dine
Photo by: Nic Collar Film (Home Block Restaurant at CedarCreek Winery)
The landmark CedarCreek Winery, part of the Iconic Wineries of British Columbia collection, reopened in 2019 after undergoing a massive transformation into a stunning collection of stone buildings reminiscent of a European Village along Kelowna’s Lakeside Wine Trail. Whether it's hosting your group to private events in their modern tasting room, the adjacent patio, or the new Home Block Restaurant, each unique space “connects you with a remarkable sense of place, paired with unique vintages and wine-forward dining,” says Clee Varon, Director of Business Development for Iconic Wineries of British Columbia.
Planners often choose to showcase Kelowna’s abundant farm-to-table culinary scene on Dine Arounds. When they return with their meetings and events, they will definitely want to include Home Block at CedarCreek Winery where executive chef Neil Taylor mans wood-fired grills, serving up elevated yet approachable fare paired perfectly with Cedar Creek wines.
Fresh, Local, Plant-Based
Photo by: Frankie We Salute You!
Planners who want to offer their delegates fresh, local, and plant-based menus have two new choices in Kelowna. Frankie we Salute You! opened in a former VW dealership in the District Market in 2019. The 60-seat, light and airy restaurant is helmed by acclaimed Vancouver chef, Brian Skinner (formerly of The Acorn) and serves up comfortable and elevated plant-based fare. Renegade Kitchen & Craft Bar in downtown Kelowna also serves up soulful, comfort food from 100 per cent plant-based ingredients.
Photo by: Rustic Reel Brewing Co.
Kelowna’s craft beverage scene continues to expand beyond the downtown core - think Rustic Reel Craft Brewery in the city’s north end Packing District for private tastings and corporate events. Upside Cider, an organic cidery and lounge offers a comfortable space for casual corporate gatherings of 10 to 150 people near the Scenic Sip Wine Trail. Looking for a late-night experience? Check out Friends of Dorothy at the corner of Water and Lawrence in downtown Kelowna where everyone is welcome in the Okanagan’s first LGTBQ lounge.
When the time comes to meet in person again we hope you’ll consider supporting the entrepreneurs, hoteliers, and restaurateurs that make Kelowna such an incredible location to host your event. Connect with us for more information on these, or any of Kelowna’s unique meeting locations.