Ditch that beige ballroom! Cannon Beach rebrands the off-season executive retreat.
If the term “corporate retreat” conjures visions of creaky folding chairs and windowless, beige-hued ballrooms, it might be time for your team to hit the beach.
Cannon Beach, that is: this North Coast enclave bustles with summertime visitors, but the pace of life slows considerably when temperatures cool, transforming the town into a prime spot for pulling off an extraordinary (and extraordinarily affordable) executive retreat.
From beer-and-burger planning huddles to large multi-day meetings, there’s a venue for every gathering type, says Cannon Beach Chamber Destination Marketing Lead Matt Weintraub. Come in the off-season, and you’ll benefit from personalized attention and a uniquely synergistic spirit.
“Almost everyone knows each other, and that allows different service providers to easily collaborate and make the experience top-notch,” he says.
There’s no better backdrop than the ocean for fostering focus and creativity, Weintraub adds: “It allows you to cast away traditional ideas and norms and get into an entirely new and productive headspace.
A low-key retreat space in the heart of the action.
The setup: This family-owned oceanfront lodging sits downtown, making it easy to migrate your meeting to a restaurant or even the beach. Its four large rental units are endlessly reconfigurable, accommodating everything from desk pods to couch-and-coffee-table setups.
Best for: Small groups (under 20) looking to gather in a setting that puts the surrounding natural panorama front and center. These spacious rooms are ideal for spreading out and getting down to work in a casual, beautiful environment, without a U-shaped conference table in sight.
“It’s a relaxing, retreat-and-brainstorming-type setup,” says third-generation owner Greg Swedenborg. “It’s great for groups that want a communal setup — sitting around a couch doing some lecturing, thinking or writing.”
Your team will love: The touch of Zen. Settle into an environment more home than hotel, says Swedenborg, and watch your productivity soar: “There’s definitely that quiet. You get a lot more out of your visit … you’re away from your office, away from phones, away from interruptions.”
All the bells and whistles at town’s quiet south end.
The setup: This oceanfront Tolovana Park hotel can handle just about any type of gathering. The lodge’s entire top floor is dedicated to 2,500 square feet of formal meeting space, with on-site catering available.
Best for: Bigger groups (up to 160) seeking versatility. The main conference room features a state-of-the-art sound and audio-visual system, and additional spaces include a foyer, lobby and three breakout rooms. Around here, says Director of Sales and Marketing Dané Murphy, friendliness abides: “When you step into the lobby, the fireplace is going, the people are genuine. It’s calm. This is not a corridor hotel.”
Your team will love: Easy access to a quieter stretch of beach, where sunset bonfires await. And in the off-season, says Murphy, you’ll have he place practically to yourself: “You don’t have the traffic and the congestion that you normally do in high season. It’s easier to get around and visit local shops and attractions.”
A converted greenhouse reborn as a rustic gathering space.
The setup: This 1700-square-foot retrofitted greenhouse, flanked by two small side-buildings, sits among the trees in peaceful Tolovana Park. Enjoy a catered-in meal at the low-key grange tables or wander gardens lovingly tended over three decades by owners Beth Holland and Mike Morgan.
Best for: Small- to medium-sized groups (under 40) seeking an out-of-the-box setting. This cedar-shingled beauty shines during the mild shoulder seasons (late fall and late spring), when visitors can explore the surroundings, says Holland: “Being closer to nature makes people more comfortable with each other and themselves, whatever they are doing. People are pretty happy when they’re here.”
Your team will love: The no-fuss ambiance, which fosters instant community. From its stringed lights to its recycled windows, this unpretentious space encourages relaxed, honest conversation. And with the ocean three long blocks away, adds Holland, who needs breakout rooms?
“A walk on the beach or in the woods is probably as good as it gets,” she says.
PUBLIC COAST BREWING AND HAYSTACK GARDENS
Scenic sister properties showcase coastal culture.
The setup: Possibilities abound at these recently revamped Martin Hospitality spaces. Haystack Gardens is an indoor-to-outdoor gathering venue with rambling gardens accessible nine months a year; start there, then head to Public Coast Brewing for a brewery tour. You can also rent the private dining room or the entire facility and sample 13 local beers on tap.
Best for: Business groups of any size looking to recreate a bit. The Martin team handily tackles complex logistics and offers unforgettable food-and-drink experiences. “There are no limitations; there’s nothing we can’t do,” promises Martin Hospitality President Ryan Snyder. “If you dream it, we can make it happen.”
Your team will love: The authenticity. These long-lived local spaces highlight Cannon Beach’s intimate, inclusive spirit, right down to the (reclaimed) timbers, notes Snyder: “There’s a serenity that is naturally intrinsic to Cannon Beach. You check out of your everyday when you check in to this town.”
Considering the coast for your next executive meeting? Cannon Beach offers a dozen additional retreat-friendly facilities. For more, visit: www.cannonbeach.org