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Hotel Julien Dubuque: Avoiding Burnout In This Fall’s Meeting Season

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A stylish guest room at Hotel Julien Dubuque, in Dubuque, Iowa.

As sure as the leaves change color each October, so too does the pace of meetings and conventions here at the Hotel Julien Dubuque. Our $32-plus million renovation was completed last year, revealing a spectacular ballroom under layers of paint and plaster and smaller meeting spaces with historic interior design details still intact. Since then, we’ve been mapping out meetings and special events for businesses and associations that will have us hosting travelers from all over the country. Along with ensuring that our business clients have the right facilities, our on-site meeting planners also spend a fair amount of time talking people through suggestions for maintaining productivity, without losing balance, when away from the office.

Those suggestions start with the fact that we’re a boutique hotel located in the historic Main Street district of downtown Dubuque, which means we’re manageable when it comes to getting here and getting around town. Parking is ample and conveniently located next to the hotel, and it’s free. With 133 guest rooms, we’re a bit quieter than most hotels.

Each suite features well-thought-out workspace, as well, which means business travelers can set up their laptops on oversized desks, take advantage of the complimentary Wi-Fi Internet connection and work late, without feeling too fatigued, thanks to an ergonomic chair.

Morning coffee is right in the suite to jumpstart the day. Then, meeting-goers often head down to Caroline’s Restaurant, on the lower level of the hotel, for local favorites like the Iowa Breakfast, a hearty classic with eggs, meat, toast and potatoes, or our signature Caroline’s Banana Bread French Toast, served with caramelized bananas. There are also plenty of heart-healthy options, like Midwest oatmeal with raisins or a breakfast parfait of fruit, low-fat yogurt and granola.

Our meeting spaces, while historic in nature, are high-tech in terms of presentation equipment. That means meeting attendees can be energized by the surroundings without losing sight of the work at hand. The ballroom has majestic floor-to-ceiling windows with views to the Port of Dubuque, original wood parquet floors and stately columns, with A/V equipment tucked out of sight until needed. Not to go overboard on the acronyms, but the hotel provides DVD, CD, and LCD projectors, and Wi-Fi, along with wired and wireless microphones, an overhead projector and flat screen monitors.

Our planners also take great care to arrange custom menus for each event. The hotel can accommodate meetings and events as large as 400, however, if you’d like to tie up a few details with some fellow board members during your annual retreat, there are spaces right off the lobby’s grand staircase that are tailor-made for small, impromptu meetings. The Riverboat Lounge, with its intricate mosaic tile floor and red leather wall accents, is a nice spot for a breather at the end of the meeting day.

For your health, business travelers will want to take advantage of our indoor, sunlit pool and spacious fitness center. Until the snow flies, there’s also golf, with scenic courses like the Meadows Golf Club within minutes of the hotel. Potosa Spa, housed on the lower level, offers a full menu of treatments to help manage stress. These spa services are good for both the body and the mind.

If you’re the type of traveler who is time-stretched and finds it most convenient to tack on a day or two to a meeting and invite family to join, the options really open up. The hotel has family-friendly packages that include tickets to the Smithsonian-affiliated National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium – Iowa’s No. 1 attraction – and that favorite Midwest pastime of bowling. Dining gift certificates are included, too.

Perhaps it’s just your spouse making the trip with you. Grown-up leisure pursuits include winery tours, a Mississippi River dinner cruise, or an evening at the casino or at a show.

While teleconferencing has its place in the business world, there are times when only face-to-face meetings will do, if companies are to realize the biggest returns on investment. In fact, new research from global research firm Oxford Economics establishes the first clear link between business travel and business growth, estimating that for every one dollar invested in business travel, companies realize $12.50 in incremental revenue. The Hotel Julien Dubuque, a family-run independent boutique hotel, certainly appreciates that revenue expectation and work ethic, and has built an experience around productivity, without burnout.

The hotel’s main number is (800) 798-7098, and its Web site is HotelJulienDubuque.com. ❚

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