By Heather McNeill
The best destinations have beautiful scenery and resort accommodations. They are also conveniently located near big cities, have attractions worth visiting, and hospitality that makes you want to stay a while. Missouri’s great getaway, of course, is The Lake of the Ozarks. “We’re one of the most popular destinations in mid-America,”
said Jim Divincen, executive vice president of Central Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association. Many visitors keep coming back, he said. “About 50% of all Missourians who own second homes anywhere in the world, own them here at the Lake of the Ozarks.” The Lake of the Ozarks has postcard ready scenery: Hill country, verdant forests, deep caves, and clear streams. The Lake itself is one of the country’s great man-made bodies of water, covering 54,000 acres, and 1,150 miles of shoreline – that’s longer than the coastline of California. And of course, the Lake is convenient to get to – less than a three-hour drive from both St. Louis and Kansas City, and less than an hour from Jefferson City. It has 350,000 square feet of meeting space and 7,700 total sleeping units, which include hotel/motel rooms, condominium and bed and breakfast accommodations, full-service camping, and houseboat rentals. All of these factors make the Lake ideal for government, religious and association meetings, as well as a popular spot for family reunions. Once groups are here, they’ll find plenty of activities including golf, hiking, state parks, and shopping—all at a great value, according to Lagina Fitzpatrick, director of sales at the Lake of the Ozarks Conventions and Visitors Bureau. “There is something here for every age,” she said.
ACTIVITIES FOR ALL
Boating, water-skiing, para-sailing, tubing and fishing are just a few of the popular pastimes at the Lake of the Ozarks. Because the lake is the only major one in Missouri not controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers, the lake front is accessible to anyone. With its fisheries considered some of the best in the country, the Lake’s fishing is particularly noteworthy. “The lake hosts more than 500 fishing tournaments a year,” said Divincen. Activities on land are equally worthwhile at the Lake of the Ozarks. The Lake has the largest state park in Missouri, with 17,000 total acres, 85 miles of its own shoreline, misty caverns and 22 hiking trails. The Lake is also a premier golfing destination in the Midwest and has 17 championship golf courses. The Ozarks is also famous for its premier outlet mall in Osage Beach, more than 100 restaurants (many with lake views), and family oriented festivals and events throughout the year.
RESORT ACCOMMODATIONS AND MEETING SPACE
The Lake of the Ozarks’ resorts are one of the biggest draws to the area. Currently, six major resorts are operating at the Lake. All offer plenty of meeting space, and the biggest can accommodate up to 3,500 people.
• Tan-Tar-A Resort is the Lake’s largest resort, with 820 guest rooms including 150 suites. The 93,000 square feet of indoor meeting space includes 29 meeting rooms that can accommodate groups of 10 to 3,500 people.
• The Lodge of Four Seasons has 360 guest rooms and condominium units, and a total of 66,000 square feet of meeting space, which includes the Campana exhibit hall that can accommodate about 1,000 people.
• The Resort at Port Arrowhead has 200 guest rooms, including six suites. The facility has 12 meeting rooms, including an 8,400-square-foot ballroom, divisible into four sections. The resort can accommodate up to 600 for events. • The Inn at Grand Glaize has 147 guest rooms, including several suites. The Inn has 12,340 square feet of function space, and 12 meeting rooms for groups of 10 to 700.
• Camden on the Lake offers 117 all suite accommodations and 16,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 6,600-square-foot grand ballroom, a multi-media theater, three other conference and breakout rooms, and a 6,000-square-foot banquet space that can accommodate up to 500 people.
• The Country Club Hotel and Spa is a boutique hotel retreat, with 83 guestrooms in its main complex. It offers more than 60,000 square feet of meeting space, including 26,000 square feet of contiguous banquet space, and 14 additional breakout spaces. It can accommodate 2,000, but usually hosts groups of 300 to 400.
All of these resorts provide great food, service and plenty of activities for families. The Resort at Port Arrowhead, for example, has dozens of complimentary activities for families and groups, including “dive in” movies at the pool, miniature golf, shuffleboard and bocce. All of the resorts also have distinguishing features. Among its other claims to fame, the Lodge of Four Seasons is known for its golf on three challenging championship courses. The Inn at Grand Glaize provides a lodge-type atmosphere conducive to networking, according to Barb Teer, director of sales. Tan-Tar-A has The Tropic Island Yacht, which is one of several yachts on the Lake offering scenic cruises or private functions. The Tropic Island, which accommodates about 150 passengers, is out on the water every day from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. between April and October, except on Mondays. “A narrated tour gives passengers interesting information about the lake, as well as Tan-Tar-A Resort,” said Ann Walters, director of sales. “The Tropic Island is also available for chartered events, to include brunches, lunches, receptions, dinners or dessert cruises,” she said. All of these properties have had many recent additions as well. Among these is Tan-Tar-A’s Timber Falls Indoor Waterpark, which was added in 2003. The park has 14,000 square feet with water slides, a tree house, activity pool, a huge hot tub and other water features and activities. The Country Club Hotel recently put in a 40-by-60-foot dance floor and also acquired what had been Anheuser-Busch’s dedicated meeting space on the property, said Lance Utley, director of sales. The fully A/V-equipped and functional space adds even more room to this boutique-style hotel retreat, which can host concerts and trade shows. “People often don’t realize how much meeting space we do have,” he said.
Finally, Camden on the Lake, the newest lakeside property at the Lake of the Ozarks, just refashioned a former nightclub into 6,000 square feet of event space. “It’s great for conferences, weddings and receptions, and has a lake view,” said Nicole Kever, the resort’s director of sales.
FAMILY FUN, WITHOUT TRAVELING FA R
The numerous accommodations and activities available at the lake appeal to planners. “I like that there are a variety of activities. At other locations, there just isn’t the variety. It’s wonderful to have all of the activities for participants, and spouses and families,” said Zoe Lyle, executive director of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. Liz Adams, vice president of education and training for the Missouri Credit Union Association, agreed. “When [attendees] are away from our meeting, there are so many activities and restaurants,” she said, “It’s just an all-around great location to meet the needs of the meeting, and for the social aspect, when the meeting concludes.” Both Adams and Lyle also like the Ozarks’ central location, “It’s just a nice convenient location,” Adams said. “If we have a meeting on one side of the state or the other, it may be convenient for some, but lengthy for others to travel.”
UNIQUE LAKE MEETINGS
When you arrive at the Lake, you may want to visit Willmore Lodge, which houses the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and the Bagnell Dam History Museum. At the museum, you can learn the history of the Great Osage River Project, which commenced in 1929 and created the lake as we know it today. The Adirondack-style Willmore Lodge, which was built in 1930 for the company leading the project, is also an event site, accommodating up to 80 people indoors. With a lake view, gardens and a gazebo, the lodge and its beautiful grounds also have been a popular choice for events including weddings, receptions and reunions. To find out more about unique Lake of the Ozarks event sites, attractions and accommodations, visit www.funlake.com. MM&E
(Heather McNeill is a contributor from Kansas City, Mo.)
Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau
5815 Hwy. 54
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Lagina Fitzpatrick, CMP, CHSC,
Director of Sales
Phone: (573) 348-1599, ext. 223
494 Tan Tar A Dr.
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Ann Walters, Director of Sales
Phone: (573) 348-8564
The Resort at Port Arrowhead
3080 Bagnell Dam Boulevard
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
Michele Burrow, Director of Sales
Phone: (573) 365-2334
The Country Club Hotel
301 Carol Road
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
Lance Utley, Director of Sales
Phone: (573) 964-2200
The Inn at Grand Glaize
5142 Hwy. 54
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Barb Teer, Director of Sales
Phone: (573) 348-4731
The Lodge of Four Seasons
315 Lodge of Four Seasons Dr.
Four Seasons, MO 65049
Alan D’Zurilla, Director of Sales and
Phone: (573) 365-3000
Camden on the Lake
2359 Bittersweet Rd.
Lake Ozark, Missouri 65049
Nicole Kever, Director of Sales
Phone: (573) 365-5620
1 Willmore Lane
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
Phone: (573) 964-1008