by Andrea Doyle | January 01, 2019
Old West charm meets vibrant modern life in Tucson, a destination with plenty of appeal for groups. For one thing, the city is a foodie paradise, so much so that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's Creative Cities program named it the first City of Gastronomy in the United States in 2015. For another, the New York Times has raved about the city's extensive bike paths, which wind through downtown and scenic park areas. And Tucson's resorts are renowned for their golf courses, horseback-riding trails, spas, pools and luxurious rooms.
Planners looking to hold a unique event will find ways to make that happen here, says Brent DeRaad, president and CEO of Visit Tucson: "If your attendees will be thrilled by something new that breaks out of the ballroom experience, Tucson might be for you."

The 575-room JW Marriott Starr Pass, with its 88,000 square feet of meeting space, "was the perfect choice for our group," says Ami Fogle, president-elect of the SNUG software national users' group, which met there this past October. "We received great personal attention from all of the staff. Unique offerings included a morning blessing, a tequila toast and guided hikes."


Recent Additions
The 287-room DoubleTree by Hilton Tucson--Reid Park, which was acquired by NOR Hotel Properties in December 2017, is in the midst of an $18 million renovation, tackling the lobby, bar and two restaurants. All 25,000 square feet of meeting space and courtyards will be redone next summer, and the rooms will be done by fall 2019.

The Hilton Tucson East in midtown celebrated its 30th anniversary with an $8 million makeover unveiled this past April. The renovation encompassed all 232 guest rooms, and upgrades to the 10,623 square feet of meeting space and the pool area. A new restaurant and bar were added.

The 74-room Tanque Verde Ranch, overlooking the Saguaro National Forest, plans to add a 20,000-square-foot Event Barn; completion is set for fall 2019.