by Heather Larson
ONLY MINUTES FROM DOWNTOWN SEATTLE, YET MILES FROM DISTRACTIONS, THIS VENUE OFFERS A RETREAT-LIKE SETTING IDEAL FOR OFF-SITE MEETINGS AND EVENTS.
Entering the property from the bustling Laurelhurst neighborhood, meeting-goers encounter beauty and stillness. Flowers, trees, resident eagles, herons, squirrels and a pond filled with aquatic life surround guests on 18 acres in the north end of the Emerald City.
“For the last three years, we’ve experienced the birth of eaglets, giving everyone here the feel of rebirthing,” says Barb Rush, general manager of Talaris Conference Center, one of three Columbia Hospitality properties. “That helps make our natural areas good places for guests to sit, reflect and brain storm.”
Groups of 150 people can choose a Complete Meeting Package (CMP) that includes a continental breakfast, with a buffet or plated lunch, and sweet and savory snacks in the afternoon. Besides the healthy food that is all prepared onsite, this cost-effective combination also provides attendees with complimentary high speed WiFi, free parking, conference supplies and administrative support. The charge for the CMP is based on a per guest, per day fee.
The largest space for gatherings, the Pacific Dining Room, measures 1,431 square feet and holds 100 people seated or 150 reception-style. When weather permits, a small deck that extends over the pond can also be used.
The Cedar Room, the second largest space at 1,134 square feet, seats 140 in a theatre-style configuration or 100 for a banquet-type assembly. To accommodate a few more people, the group can spill out into the common area.
Most of the meeting rooms have an abundance of natural light because of their large floor-length windows. Even the Board Room that accommodates 8-10 individuals has two walls that are windows. Two of the spaces, the Willow and Maple rooms, also overlook the pond.
Meeting guests can take advantage of this serene outdoor setting through the “Work Hard, Play Hard” initiative common to all the Columbia Hospitality properties, although each facility adapts the idea differently. “Here guests have access to yoga, tai chi and chi gong classes, and meditation sessions are free on Mondays and Thursdays,” says Rush. “They can also have barbecues, play croquet, Frisbee and volleyball.”
Visitors don’t have far to go to enjoy post-meeting activities in the neighborhood. They can run, walk or ride (Talaris has two complimentary bicycles) the 27-mile Burke-Gilman Trail. The University of Washington rents canoes and rowboats on Union Bay. A multitude of dining and shopping options beckon from nearby University Village.
The Talaris Conference Center is located four miles from downtown Seattle, near the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital. The venue’s 31 guest rooms all have either double queen beds or one queen-size bed, private baths, complimentary high speed Internet, a flat screen TV and a refrigerator. “We bring top-quality service, food and a personal touch to all our guests,” says Rush. “So they will have a great experience.”