Destination: Arizona Meeting & Event Planning City Guide

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Destination Articles

  • Heart of the West

    By Steve Winston

    September 26, 2014

    The Old West and contemporary America co-exist nicely in Arizona’s neighboring metropolises of Phoenix and Scottsdale. The cities’ mottoes, in fact, say it all: Phoenix is “Arizona’s Urban Heart”; Scottsdale is “The West’s Most Western Town.” But each has doses of both cowboy and culture, and because of that they make for fascinating meeting destinations with plenty of amenities.

  • Put on Your Rally Caps

    By Dan Johnson

    February 26, 2014

    Each year, people from throughout the United States and beyond travel to Arizona to enjoy warm weather and an abundance of attractive options, including world-class hotels, restaurants, golf courses and spas. Come February, much of the state is transformed into a baseball lover’s paradise as 15 of the 30 major league teams set up spring training camps and participate in Cactus League games for several weeks.

  • Pooling Their Resources

    By David Vranicar

    October 28, 2013

    James Gelfand knows a thing or two about hot weather. For nearly three decades, he lived in Florida, land of 10,000 beaches, before moving last year to Arizona, where the professional basketball team is the Suns and the universities have nicknames such as Sun Devils.

    Indeed, Gelfand, now residing in Tucson, is an expert on temperature, just as someone who moved from Bordeaux to Napa Valley would be an expert on wine. He knows how to wax eloquently about different kinds of heat, and Arizona, he says, has its own distinguishable flavor.

    “It’s hot here, but there’s no humidity, and that’s the kicker,” says Gelfand, director of sales and marketing at Tucson’s Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa. “I’ve never had a bad-hair day here.”

    Besides its lack of humidity, Tucson has perfected the art of pools. Water features are event destinations unto themselves—gathering spots as well as places to break the ice while trying not to break a sweat.

    The Westin, for instance, has five pool areas. Pools are also key amenities at other event venues throughout the Tucson area, from The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, which has three pools, a 235-foot waterslide and in-the-water bar service for the adults, to Loews Ventana Canyon and its cozy pool oasis with fire pits.

    “At all the larger resorts, the focal point of the property is the pool area,” says Graeme Hughes, Visit Tucson (visittucson.org) director of convention sales. “By day, guests lounge, dine and take in the sun, and by night it’s a different story altogether. Clear away the deck chairs and umbrellas and transform the pool deck into a unique venue for a themed event or reception. Most people gravitate to water, especially in the desert, so pools and pool parties are a welcome departure from a ballroom.”

    Arizona, and especially the state capital of Tucson, appreciates a good pool. And event planners would do well to dive right in.

    It is instructive that we’re talking Tucson in November: It’s not necessarily the place to be in the summer. It’s manageable—just ask Gelfand—but venues and hotels unanimously confirm that the best times to visit are the incubator-perfect fall, winter and spring months.

    “Our peak season is when everyone else is sipping cocoa—our guests are by the pool,” says Christina VerHeul, director of public relations for Loews Ventana Canyon. “We don’t see a lot of activity in July and August. Usually that’s when a lot of locals are here, people from Arizona and New Mexico, people who are used to the heat, used to it being 110 degrees.”

    Not surprisingly, most people don’t object to a little summer reprieve in the dead of winter. And in Tucson, there are more than enough places to make December, January and February melt into summer.

    Here’s a look at Tucson’s top meeting hotels and their extraordinary pools and water features:

    Main image: The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

  • Hotter Than the Weather

    By Dan Johnson

    September 18, 2013

    Outstanding facilities and accommodations, warm weather, stunning landscapes and rich cultural traditions have lured meeting groups to Phoenix and Scottsdale for decades, but arguably the hottest current attraction is the lively, highly diverse nightlife scene in these cities just 12 miles apart.

  • Celebrate Amid the Red Rocks

    By Dan Johnson

    June 26, 2013

    Stunningly gorgeous landscapes, a plethora of attractive wellness and spiritual options, a lively music scene and a rich Native American heritage all have drawn plenty of meetings groups to Sedona, Ariz., but another feature—the city's annual festivals and events—also has played a major role.

  • Meet Well

    By Nikki Gloudeman

    March 05, 2013

    The typical Meeting agenda is densely packed with offsites, education sessions, breakouts, keynotes, receptions and group dinners, a schedule frequently consuming more than 10, or even 12, hours a day. Often lost in this dizzying shuffle is time for rejuvenation and invigoration; there’s seldom time to breathe between sessions, let alone relax.

Learn about Arizona for Event Venues, Services & Meeting Destinations

Destination Description

Arizona has long held an allure for newcomers. The state promises warm weather, vast unexplored terrain, stunning scenery and a desert life.

Just take Jamie O’Neil’s country song “There is No Arizona,” which opens with “He promised her a new and better life, out in Arizona. Underneath the blue never-ending sky…” O’Neil goes on to sing about painted deserts, Sedona and the Grand Canyon, all of which she hoped to discover.

She isn’t the only one who feels that way. According to the 2010 census, Arizona’s population has increased by 24.6% in the last decade, the second-largest increase in the nation after Nevada.

And Arizona doesn’t just attract residents, but meetings too. Not only will the state boost attendance and excitement surrounding a program, but its colorful deserts and endless blue sky will inspire your attendees and breathe new life into your event.

Outside of the scenery, weather and extra meeting offerings, the state is also known for its world-class resorts and top-rate meeting venues. These range from modern convention centers to resorts set against the backdrop of Camelback Mountain.

Plus, if you are looking for great value, Arizona should be at the top of your list. For even better rates, summer is the time to come. Contrary to what George Strait cheekily croons in his song “Oceanfront Property”—“I got some oceanfront property in Arizona. From my front porch you can see the sea”—you won’t find ocean views here, but you will find a productive meeting underneath the blue never-ending sky.