Big Little Meetings in Santa Cruz County

Small to mid-size venues bring out the best in small groups

A handful of small to mid-size hotels have redefined the art of hospitality for small meetings in Santa Cruz County, California. Combining a sense of place with exclusivity, personalization, and intimacy, properties such as the Hyatt Place Santa Cruz, Four Points by Sheraton Santa Cruz Scotts Valley, and Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Santa Cruz—Capitola inevitably exceed the expectations of meeting planners and attendees alike.

Most small meetings and retreats—which the hotel industry commonly defines as under 100 guest rooms or attendees—travel to off-sites for the No. 1 purpose of turning aspirations for their businesses into strategies for success. The content of a small meeting is virtually never of small importance—and may even be crucial for the group in attendance. If you doubt it, picture a board meeting set to shape a company’s long-term direction or a sales meeting for a blockbuster new client.

Take the Hyatt Place Santa Cruz, for instance, with its 106 guest rooms, pool, gym, limited catering services, and state-of-the-art audiovisual facilities. It blends functionality with comfort in 2,500 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space for up to 50 attendees—all combining local surf-culture charisma and contemporary design. Whether hosting a board meeting or a grand reception, the Hyatt Place Santa Cruz sets the stage for unforgettable events at the heart of the City of Santa Cruz, two blocks from downtown and six blocks from the beach. For inquiries, Director of Sales Sean Woodruff (sean.woodruff@hyatt.com) stands ready to assist, ensuring a seamless planning process from start to finish.

Equally enticing, the Four Points by Sheraton Santa Cruz Scotts Valley tailors every aspect of an event to perfection. With 128 guest rooms and, for events, five spaces totaling 9,210 square feet for groups of 5 to 150 people, the hotel combines modern amenities with a touch of big-city sophistication and the small-town vibe of Scotts Valley. Its 5030 Restaurant & Lounge celebrates the surrounding fields, vineyards, and wineries with menus of farm to table, locally infused food and beverage. General Manager Angelica Jeffrey (fourpointssv@lotusmgmtinc.com) serves as the point person for visiting planners.

Another example, the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Santa Cruz—Capitola offers a cozy setting of 84 suites and one versatile 1,766-square-foot conference room for up to 70 guests. Whether for a corporate retreat or a training seminar, the Mediterranean-style property—complete with a subtle underwater ocean theme just steps from the national marine sanctuary of Monterey Bay—provides a welcoming environment conducive to productivity and collaboration—plus a free hot breakfast buffet, bar and lounge, heated pool, spa, exercise room, bocce court, and business center. Assistant Manager Giovanti Biafora (sales@fairfieldinncapitola.com) helps planners transform their vision into reality.

What sets these small hotels apart is more than just their business-friendly form and state-of-the-art function. It’s also the personalized attention and authentic experiences they offer. From locally sourced cuisine, signature craft beer, and wines to unique event spaces that capture the essence of Santa Cruz County, each hotel exudes its own distinct charm. Moreover, their prime locations provide easy access to local attractions, inviting attendees to seamlessly blend business and a wide choice of free-time pursuits.

The advantages of a smaller hotel may not spring first to mind for meetings—but the benefits are abundant and unmistakable. Bigger isn’t always better. From their intimate atmospheres and personalized service to their picturesque surroundings, these venues reinvent the meeting experience for every group, every time out. Why settle for ordinary when the right hotel can elevate a meeting to newfound heights? Consider the intimacy, elegance, and authenticity of Santa Cruz County’s small-scale properties and prepare to see your company’s aspirations turn into strategies, how a staff’s creativity can inspire innovation, and how shared local experiences sustain camaraderie long after your group’s gone home.

By Annette Burden