Site Visit: The Grand America Hotel

By Kelsey Ogletree, April 2, 2015

When meeting near the majestic Rocky Mountains, you don’t expect anything less than grandeur when it comes to scenery. One classic property in Salt Lake City carries that theme through to meetings.

As one of the city’s finest luxury hotels, The Grand America Hotel’s regal name and decor may cause faith-based planners to think it’s out of reach. But debunking that myth is Cariann Layton, director of catering and convention services, who’s been with the hotel more than 13 years. “We have a lot of flexibility depending on the month,” Layton notes. There’s also much flexibility when it comes to group size, as Layton says the 775-room hotel hosts many board meetings, all the way up to fundraising events for as many as 1,500. The hotel has a total of 75,000 square feet of meeting space, including a nearly 23,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, and can also host overflow in its sister property, The Little America Hotel, across the street.

One focus of the hotel is making each event held there completely unique. For example, one faith-based group who met at The Grand America in 2013 transformed several of the property’s 20 meeting rooms into chapels so members could continue their worship routine on-site. Layton says they’ve also hosted less-common religious events such as a consecration ceremony for an Episcopal church.

An outdoor courtyard makes a scenic setting for alfresco meals in warmer months and can accommodate up to 1,500 people, as well as entertainment like a live band. It even hosted a carnival once, says Layton. Another popular activity at the hotel is the English-style tea service in the lobby lounge. One group requested the service as the grand finale to a conference there, and the staff accommodated all 500 guests for tea in a meeting space.

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