Article by Julia M. Johnson
Most Missouri meeting professionals know their state is the location of Lake of the Ozarks, a fascinating and fundrenched body of water that’s synonymous with recreation and relaxation. What they’ll also want to know is that it’s home to Old Kinderhook, an event facility, golf course, and residential oasis worth far more than a second look.
Located in Camdenton, Old Kinderhook recently opened an exciting new lodge facility and a full-service spa, and it’s celebrating by welcoming groups of all kinds to share in its hospitality. At nearly 800 acres, the gated community is one of those
properties where nearly every guest wish and comfort can be fulfilled on-site. So you and your guests will be loath to depart at the end of your visit.
Lodging in comfort
Jasen Jones, general manager at Old Kinderhook, says he and his staff are especially proud of the property’s newly completed lodge, which debuted in spring 2015. It features 84 attractively
appointed sleeping rooms, which augment the property’s existing cottage and villa guest units. Jones says the lodge’s construction was about a $10 million project. “It’s the newest hotel at Lake of the Ozarks,” he says, adding that Old Kinderhook has been enjoying top billings on TripAdvisor.com as a result of its recent improvements.
“We have 50 lodge rooms with queen beds, and 34 with king beds plus pullout sofa beds,” Jones says. The rooms are approximately 400 square feet each, and feature up-to-date comforts and amenities.
Room to meet
Jones says the property also is known for its nearly 12,000 square feet of flexible meeting and conference space. “We have the Grand Ballroom downstairs, the Red Oak boardroom that seats up to 12 people, and the Cypress meeting room for 30,” he says.
There’s also the Creekview Conference Center, a large space with vaulted ceilings; it accommodates up to 150 people, and is just a short walk from the lodge.
“We often use the center for meetings and weddings, and can do different configurations with tables and chairs, including classroom setups, stand-up receptions, theater seating, and more,” Jones says. “We’re renovating the center to make sure it blends well with the lodge – new carpet, paint and artwork are going in soon.” Jones says Old Kinderhook’s meeting rooms also have break and prefunction areas for groups’ use.
The property features WiFi, on-site audio-visual services, laptops, and projectors, and three meeting spaces have drop-down projection screens. A lobby business center offers computers and printers for meeting attendees’ convenience, and there’s a fitness center with cardio equipment and weights. And because Old Kinderhook is a gated community with security, it offers meeting groups a safe and comfortable environment, Jones says.
The food scene
Old Kinderhook is proud of its sustainable gardens that supply a great deal of goods for guests’ dining pleasure. “A lot of our produce and vegetables come directly from our gardens,” Jones says. “We try to be as ‘green’ as possible. When people come here to eat, they really can see the difference, from our homemade sauces down to the pickles on the side of the plate.
“Cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, basil and other herbs… It’s all really fresh,” he says. “People are changing their eating habits, getting away from canned and packaged foods, and we want
to be part of that.”
The new lodge features a catering kitchen to serve groups, and guests also can enjoy Old Kinderhook’s Trophy Restaurant and The Hook Cafe. A Starbucks in the lobby serves up coffee and other beverages, and doubles as a cocktail bar for guests and groups.
Your kind of fun
There are plenty of ways to keep event guests entertained at Old Kinderhook. The new spa is a full-service facility, and there’s an outdoor ice rink that is open in season. “The rink serves a dual purpose – there’s a foot of sand under it, so we can switch it over to volleyball in warmer months,” Jones says. ” We’re even looking at building a human foosball setup for guests to enjoy.”
There’s also lake access for guests who don’t want to be parted from the water. And there are indoor and outdoor pools and a hot tub, all of which have lifts to make them accessible. Guests who want time outside can play a variety of yard games, and Old Kinderhook even throws “Funfest” carnivals during the year to celebrate Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day. The facility also partners with the Bridal Cave in Camdenton, the Ozarks Amphitheater music venue, and other properties to offer additional services for guests.
For those who feel most fulfilled on the fairways, Old Kinderhook’s 18-hole, par 72, Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course serves as the property’s scenic centerpiece. It’s known for its lovely lake setting and dramatic views.
Jones says one of Old Kinderhook’s latest recreational offerings is its partnership with Play Date Charters, a Lake Ozark company with a fleet of party boats that guests can book. “We’re working on new packages for that service,” he says. “We’ll do sunset cruises, sightseeing outings, happy hours… you even will be able to take a charter over to the annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout speedboat races. Or you can have parties or weddings out on the water. The vessels are Coast Guard certified, and hold up to 16 people.”
On the books
The list of events that can be held at Old Kinderhook is considerable, and its meeting clients have included a variety of companies and organizations such as Edward Jones, Maritz Travel Inc., and physician and police associations. Golf tournaments and other fund raisers, corporate outings, board meetings, dinners, receptions, retreats, weddings and more have found a welcoming home at the property.
Spree Hilliard, development coordinator at Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), a Camdenton-based organization that supports family members and coworkers of law enforcement officers, says her group has held its summer golf tournament at Old Kinderhook for nine years.
“Being able to play at one of the Lake’s premier golf courses is always a major benefit of hosting our tournament at Old Kinderhook,” she says. “In 2015, we held our dinner and silent auction in the new lodge. The ballroom was perfect for our meal. The silent auction was held in the ballroom entryway, which also worked well. And the location and property are beautiful.” COPS’ event serves about 140 players, plus 30 volunteers and staff.
Kathy Pabst, executive director of the Jefferson City-based Missouri Academy of Family Physicians, says her organization recently held its three-day annual conference and board meeting at Old Kinderhook with resounding success. “We used the entire banquet facility and meeting space, and held our annual award and installation dinner,” she says. “The food was excellent, and the atmosphere relaxed – just what our members look for in an event. They want to learn and enjoy themselves at the same time.
Pabst’s group included about 75 guests, who also brought spouses and children for a “family fun picnic” complete with sand volleyball, swimming pool fun, fire pits, and yard games. Pabst calls the meeting and banquet facilities “top notch,” and the lodge décor “stunning.” She is equally impressed with the staff ’s responsiveness to last-minute needs and requests. “The chef and kitchen were easy to work with on our breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and they met any special dietary needs our guests specified upon registering,” she says.
“Our next annual meeting is this June, and we’ve already booked the facility for that and for 2017,” Pabst says. “The new lodge is truly excellent. Old Kinderhook is a very good choice for us.”
“Old Kinderhook started out as a golf destination and master planned community, with about 20 cottages,” Jones says of the property’s evolution. “Now that we’ve added the lodge, there’s a whole new dynamic. We consider ourselves a destination.”