Need to balance work with a little play in between credentialing and breakout sessions?

According to a recent Employee Engagement Series, ninety-five percent of human resource leaders say employee burnout is eroding their workforce. If planners are not careful with their own event agendas, they could push their own attendees (and themselves!) towards empty before the last speaker has even begun.

So why not incorporate the bonding of games into your event or post-event? A growing number of meeting professionals are looking for ways to infuse even the most serious business meetings with moments of levity. You can remind clients that their employees and guests can be more engaged when work is balanced with play.

To meet this trend, many hotels are outfitting their properties with updated spaces to unplug and have fun post-event. Among those meet and play spaces are grown-up game rooms and arcades that transport guests back to when playtime was all the time.

Here are some featured properties from Fodor’s that are raising the bar with play spaces to rival their meeting spaces.


San Francisco, CA – Hotel Zeppelin

Viceroy Hotel Group’s Hotel Zeppelin describes itself as a hotel that “rebelliously celebrates the collision of San Francisco’s countercultural tradition with a mischievous approach to contemporary hospitality.”  While that’s a branding mouthful, their 1,300-square-foot, Silicon Valley inspired game room actually matches that ethos. Named Peace (for the giant peace sign prominently on one wall) it has a full-sized electronic Bingo board, a quick-shot basketball wall, skeeball, shuffleboard, and billiards. The Peace space can be combined with an adjacent meeting space to create a 2,000-square-foot event venue.


Chicago, IL – Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

A former private men’s club dating back to 1893, the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel is now one of the go-to hotels in the Windy City. The second floor houses a series of its famous rooms: the Drawing Room lounge with wood accents, leather chairs, and cavernous fireplaces; the Milk Room, a former speakeasy serving Prohibition-era cocktails; and the Game Room, a wood-paneled gaming hall. The hall features billiards, shuffleboard, foosball, cards, checkers, chess, and even bocce. Groups of 150 guests can rent out a portion for semi-private events while groups up to 250 can arrange a buyout. The hotel has 17,000 square feet of space, two ballrooms, boardrooms, and Stagg Court – a former basketball court turned into a unique event space.


Beverly Hills, CA – Hotel Palomar

Hotel Palomar completed a $12 million renovation that encompassed the whole property – the public spaces, 264 guest rooms, and a new bar and restaurant. The renovation design pays tribute to the local film industry, which is one of California’s largest employers. The highlight is entertainment by design: a new game room that includes board games, shuffleboard, billiards, skeeball, video games, darts, and 4K high-definition TVs. The space can be rented on its own or in conjunction with the adjoining bar and restaurant. The hotel houses 5,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including a ballroom for up to 200 attendees.


Coral Gables, FL – Hotel Colonnade

The Hotel Colonnade recently completed a renovation as it is now part of Marriott’s international portfolio. The $18 million project modernized the 1920s-era property and gave it an XX vibe that blends modern Latin-inspired design with historic features, including the original vaulted ceilings and grand staircase in the hotel’s lobby. The most contemporary thing about the 157-room property is the quirky game room, which showcases activities like billiards, tabletop shuffleboard, darts, and video games, as well as a bar that’s perfect for hosting your client’s events with sponsor liquor tastings. In addition, the hotel also has ample meeting space for your conferences, approximately 23,000 square feet.


Las Vegas, NV – Excalibur Hotel and MGM Grand

In Las Vegas, gaming is usually associated with gambling. Several resorts are embracing games of a different sort in dedicated game rooms. One is the MGM Grand which opened LEVEL UP, a 12,000-square-foot bar and gaming emporium that features billiards, foosball, Jenga, Ping-Pong, QuadAir Hockey, Bubble Hockey, Giant Pac-Man, and Connect Four. At the Excalibur Hotel & Casino is the Fun Dungeon, a world-famous arcade that’s home to more than 200 games. A highlight is what the resort claims is the world’s largest Pac-Man game. Private event groups can rent the entire Dungeon, or gather after a meeting in the resort’s 12,000 square feet of space.