Adventures in Temecula Valley

Recently, I traveled west and conducted a couple of site inspections with a client for her 2019 conference. One of the places we visited was the Pechanga Resort and Casino located in the Temecula Valley in Southern California.

The Pechanga opened in 2002 and just did a major expansion this past spring.   To their existing meeting space of over 60,000 square feet of meeting space they have now added over 40,000 additional square feet.  This combined with all their entertainment space, restaurants, and outdoor areas, provides many options to create a great flow and really wow your guests.  This addition flows right into the existing space and even though the décor is similar, the existing space is to be renovated starting in January 2019.

Having a background in the pharmaceutical meeting arena, I also appreciate how you can meet, sleep and mostly feed in this property without ever stepping foot on the casino floor.  Most of my previous clients could never go to a casino property specifically for this reason and I’m happy to see more casino resort venues making those changes to expand their availability to this clientele.  You can definitely have a meeting here without ever being tempted to drop a quarter in the slot machines.  It is also worth noting that while you can still smoke in this casino (as most casinos seem to be able to get exempt from smoking bans), there are 5 areas on the casino floor that are non-smoking.  I feel it’s important to note this for my meetings people as there are plenty of unique venues within the hotel that you could use for additional meeting space or receptions, but of course they are closer to or even located on the casino floor.  There is also an abundance of space outside and in the neighboring buildings for an event as well.  This would include their restaurant, Journey’s End, which is located in the golf club, and their newly expanded pool area, as well as their 1200-seat theater and the nightclub that offers amazing views of the Temecula Valley, just to name a few possible locations for a non-ballroom location for a reception or meal.fullsizeoutput_176c0fullsizeoutput_176bc

As I arrived at the hotel, which is on the Pechanga Indian reservation, the new all-glass atrium opened ahead of me and was unique and breath-taking.  The main lobby is gorgeous with a beautiful water feature. The front desk is on the smaller side for the number of rooms they now have, but there are plenty of places to set up a satellite check-in for groups if needed. fullsizeoutput_176b6

The Resort Tower is their new tower of sleeping rooms and flows right into the meeting space. It is also furthest away from the casino floor. The rooms are new and anyone that travels a lot will appreciate the amenities they offer.  The hotel prides itself on being energy efficient and the sleeping rooms are equipped for this efficiency.  What they didn’t tell me at the front desk when I checked in, was that for my lights to work, I had to put my key card in this slot that is located inside the room by my door.  Once I figured that out, I still didn’t realize it needed to STAY in the slot, so as I was freshening up after my long trip across the country, the lights kept going off.  While it was humorous in hindsight, I did mention it to my salesperson to ensure they are reiterating this bit of information to anyone staying at the property for the first time.  Fortunately, the agent my client had did remember so they had no issues.

The food was extraordinary – very fresh and delicious.  There are a plethora of restaurants from which to choose and they have everything from a coffee and treat shop to their steakhouse with variety of fare in between. 

Once we completed our tour of the hotel, we met with the Temecula Valley CVB rep who showed us around the area.  This area is known as a wine country in Southern California and the number and variety of wineries in the area proves that.  We did visit two wineries, with my favorite being Wilson Creek. This place is gorgeous and if you want a venue to do an off-site event, I highly recommend evaluating this site for your group.  We were there as they were setting up one of their smaller rooms for a wedding reception and the ceremony was also taking place on the property as well. They have plenty of space indoors and outside that could be the perfect location for a group.  We also had the pleasure of meeting the original owners of the venue, who are pretty much retired and have handed the reigns over to their children to manage day-to-day.  Mr. and Mrs. Wilson were there with their two rescued Golden Retrievers.  While it was awesome to meet the Wilsons and hear their stories, we were equally thrilled to sit and pet the dogs as well.  Did I mention that my client is in the Pet Services industry?? fullsizeoutput_176c6fullsizeoutput_176c8fullsizeoutput_176d4

If wineries aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other sites to see and activities to partake, including horseback riding (we passed quite a few horse farms on our site- seeing journey), hot air ballooning and shopping in Old Town Temecula.

I was pretty wowed by both the Pechanga Resort and the surrounding area.  I think anyone who has a meeting or event here will be pretty pleased.  The only downside to this area, and I only mention it because it is the reason for my client’s hesitation to book here, is the fact that the closest airport is the San Diego International Airport which is an hour away. Coming from the East Coast, as many of her attendees will also travel, I had to connect through Charlotte and that additional one-hour long drive can make for a pretty long travel day. While it was a long day, I didn’t feel the drive was bad, and the area is definitely worth the trip.  If you have a group that won’t mind the travel or maybe most of the attendees are already closer to the area, I highly suggest you consider the Pechanga Resort and Casino in the Temecula Valley. Successful adventure awaits!

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