Though it can be fun to host events at the same place from year to year or event to event, mixing it up comes with advantages, too. And with so many new or newly renovated event spaces across the state, it’s worth branching out to experience something different.
The JL Bar Ranch & Resort; Sonora
The JL Bar Ranch & Resort in Sonora spans a whopping 13,000 acres and was specifically designed for corporate retreats, executive hunts, culinary weekends and unique concert events. The JL boasts seven indoor and four outdoor meeting spaces for a total of more than 44,000 square feet, and can accommodate groups as small as 12 and as large as 550, so it’s perfect for just about any size group you’re looking to host. It has a private airport for easy access, no matter what your mode of transportation.
In addition to meeting and event spaces, the JL offers a shooting range, as well as hunting experiences ranging from quail to red stag, complete with professionally trained hunting dogs. Fine dining at the resort places an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients. The resort is close to area attractions, should an off-site adventure be in order, including the Sonora Old Ice House Ranch Museum, the Eaton Hill Nature Center and Preserve, and Fort McKavett State Historical Site.
Guests are able to lodge on-site, with 16 luxury cabins available, all centered around a main lodge that features fine dining, a wine cellar and meeting areas, along with an infinity pool and lovely terrace. This spring, 16 additional sleeping rooms were added, along with another indoor and outdoor meeting space. “Being a value-based business, we strive to deliver inspirational experiences to all of our guests,” says Gabe LeDoux, general manager of the JL Bar Ranch & Resort.
If you’re looking for a meeting or event space in Denton, consider the new Embassy Suites by Hilton and Denton Convention Center, which is conveniently located at the apex of Interstate 35E and Interstate 35W. The hotel, which contains 70,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, can host up to 1,600 for a theater-style event, but is especially ideal for multiday conventions with up to 500 people in attendance.
The Embassy Suites by Hilton and Denton Convention Center was the first Gold LEED certified Embassy Suites in the world and is a New Generation Embassy Suites property, complete with an indoor and outdoor pool and splash pad. Guest rooms are supplied with electronic tablets that allow guests to change the room temperature and TV, and call room service or the front desk. Bluetooth speakers are built into the bathroom mirrors.
The hotel is located in the Rayzor Ranch development in Denton, a lifestyle center that includes an Andy B’s Entertainment and Bowling Center, an Alamo Draft House, and a collection of other restaurants and shops.
It’s just 3 miles from the heart of Denton, which contains more than 25 restaurants near the historic downtown square. Alternatively, there is a Houlihan’s restaurant on-site if attendees don’t feel like venturing out of the hotel.
Seaholm Power Project; Austin
If you’re searching for a beautiful new outdooronly venue in Austin, look no further than Seaholm Power Project, which can accommodate up to 2,000 attendees for a seated event and 4,000 for a nonseated event. Located in the sophisticated southwest quadrant of downtown Austin, The Lawn at Seaholm, the name of the event space, is framed by the beautiful Seaholm Power Plant Building, which was built in a classic art deco style.
The Lawn event space can be set up completely open or can accommodate a tent, and boasts 27,000 square feet of flexible and functional space.
Native Experiential Hostels; Austin
If memorable is what you’re going for, Native Experiential Hostels may be the way to go. “We set out to create a living room for Austin’s creative class, where ideas and imagination can be shared alongside coffee, comfort and cocktails,” says Antonio Madrid, partner at Native.
Native is situated in a historic 1890s railroader hotel and adjoining midcentury warehouse in downtown Austin, creating an experiential hostel that includes a 3,500-squarefoot multipurpose event space and 12 suites containing a total of 65 custom-built beds and communal spaces. Native is truly a one-of-akind space whose aim is to be “an incubator for thinkers, makers and creatives … to break the mold of hospitality by curating a culture of accessible yet noteworthy travel,” says Madrid.
Native is located just east of Interstate 35 and is within walking distance of the Austin Convention Center, also offering easy access to the central business district and nightlife options such as Austin’s iconic 6th Street bars and the Rainey Street entertainment district.
Offering five separate rooms that can accommodate events, Native Experiential Hostels can host everything from a happy hour event to a seated dinner to a panel to a movie screening. And, with lodging on-site, groups can spend the night or a weekend comfortably, too.
Henry B. González Convention Center; San Antonio
For San Antonio-based meetings, the Henry B. González Convention Center, located in the heart of downtown San Antonio, is an ideal selection—and it’s recently been updated. In 2016 the center completed a $325 million expansion, allowing it to better meet the needs of an evolving meetings industry through innovative design, flexible and functional space, and top-notch technology.
The variety of event spaces within the convention center include two ballrooms, five exhibit halls, lobbies that can be used for beautiful events and 70 dedicated meetings rooms. It also has a space called the Cantilever Room, a 4,000-square-foot space known as “The Meeting Room of the Future” due to its ability to accommodate a variety of presentation methods.
The convention center offers three on-site dining locations, making this an easy and comfortable place to spend a day.