The state's capital city of Boise keeps getting more group friendly. An influx of splashy new hotels and enticing dining venues over the past few years, as well as a much-heralded expansion of the convention center, are proving potent draws for meetings business.
In August, soft upgrades were completed at the Boise Centre's original West building. New carpets now grace the 24,426-square-foot Grand Ballroom, which also received a paint job and had new acoustic panels added. Four restrooms were revamped to match the new East building, which opened in summer 2017. The facility features a grand total of 80,000 square feet of space.
Improvements to the lobby level of the 252-room Grove Hotel were completed in November, where the bar was expanded and the welcome area was redone. The property's restaurant has been renamed Trillium and now serves a New American menu from its open kitchen.
Almost finished is JUMP Park (aka Jack's Urban Meeting Place), which will offer outdoor gathering spots such as an amphitheater, a plaza, a lawn and an eight-person slide.
Phase two of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation Whitewater Park began in September, adding a second controllable wave and additional whitewater features using boulders and rocks for surfers and kayakers.
Properties with meeting space include the 303-room Riverside Hotel, 252-room Grove Hotel, 180-room Residence Inn Boise Downtown City Center, 112-room Hotel 43 and 110-room Inn at 500 Capitol.
To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit Northstar Meetings Group's new venue finder.
Closed for four years and $17 million worth of renovations, the Idaho State Museum reopened Oct. 12 with 18,000 square feet of space for displays such as the Abraham Lincoln exhibit (Honest Abe signed the act creating the Idaho Territory in March 1863). The facility holds up to 210 for an event.
Outside of Town
The 32,000-square-foot conference center and all 325 guest rooms at the Coeur d'Alene Resort
have been refurbished. Group activities include a ropes course, golf and river rafting.
The ski mecca of Sun Valley
has been undergoing a number of upgrades for the past year. Phase two of a Sun Valley Inn revamp was scheduled to finish this month, as 80 guest rooms were redone and the total number reduced to 97. New runs are being carved out of Cold Springs Canyon, ready for skiers for the 2019-2020 season.
Once the "home" of Lyda Southard, who used arsenic to kill four of her seven husbands for the insurance money, the Old Idaho Territorial Penitentiary is now a favorite spot for events. Built in 1870 in what was then the Idaho Territory, the site was in service until as recently as 1973. The four-acre "Old Pen" welcomes outdoor events for groups of up to 1,200 people in the main yard and grounds, as well as smaller groups in the former women's yard and the "dormitory."
As the Idaho Territory was initially populated, immigrants from the tiny Basque region on the border between France and Spain found their way to Boise. The Basque Museum and Cultural Center celebrates that migration and can help set up a block party for 200, with music, dancers and giant pans of paella.
Getting Here and There
Boise Airport, approximately six miles from the city's downtown; transfer cost by taxi, $15; many area hotels offer complimentary shuttle service