Meeting Sites-Tucson

REAGAN was president, BERLIN divided, and MADONNA was singing "Like a Virgin" the last time Tucson touted a major new hotel resort. That drought ended in late January, with the opening of the JW Marriott Starr
Pass Resort & Spa. And as groups in general are drawn to Arizona’s balmy climate, easy and AFFORDABLE ACCESS through two major airports, and a wealth of meeting-friendly resorts and venues, Tucson is on the rise with its new range of accommodations and space, day-trip proximity to Mexico, historic Old West attractions, and the Southwest's traditional “great outdoors” activities of golf, tennis, hiking, BARBECUES, teambuilding, and
DESERT jeep tours.

Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa features three swimming pools, seven restaurants/bars, the Hashani Spa, 88,000 sf of flexible meeting space (including the 20,000 sf Arizona ballroom and 15,000 sf Tucson ballroom), and the newly renovated 27-hole Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Facility.

--Following renovations, the Rio Rico Golf Resort, 45 minutes south of Tucson, is now the 180-room Esplendor at Rio Rico.

GROUPS SHOULD CONSIDER these recommendations from the Successful Meetings Home Team experts. Top choices include the 398-room Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, the 428-room Hilton El Conquistador, the 487-room Westin La Paloma, the 224-room Westward Look Resort, the 575-room JW Marriott at Starr Pass, and the 295-room Doubletree Tucson at Reid Park.

Restaurants with group facilities that are listed in the Zagat Survey of Tucson ( are Grill at the del Sol and Ventana (American); Janos and Gold Room (Southwestern); Vivace (Italian); Le Rendez-Vous (French); and Cafe Poca Cosa (Mexican).

Our subscribers gave Pinnacle
Awards to the following:
Metropolitan Tucson CVB
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
Hilton Tucson El Conquistador
Golf & Tennis Resort
Westin LaPaloma Resort & Spa
For complete facilities listings visit Planner Resources at

Contributors to this section include Home Team
members Maureen Andersen; Joan Buser; Jim
Fausel; Theresa Garza, CMP; Judith Joy; Brent E.
Lancaster, CMM, CMP; and Cara Tracy, CMP.
CMM. Contact them at siteseditor@successful


Alive—and Well—in the Desert

I guess it was just my good fortune to have landed at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport this past March, on the heels of the rainiest season that area has seen in the past 50 years. And that my destination was the 428-room Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort in Tucson was also good luck. Why? Because the 90-minute drive from that airport to the resort was a sightseeing bonanza.

In the foreground, we would occasionally pass an arti-fact from the recent past—an abandoned amusement park that’s been transformed into a stark sculpture park; a commercial-air-liner parking lot, with hundreds of planes lined up as if waiting for a salesman to walk buyers through to kick the tires; or an ostrich farm. And beyond such roadside attractions were rugged mountains, sporting not only hundreds of cacti but also expanses of wildflowers and green brush. Regarding the latter, some locals could not even recall seeing that phenomenon even once before.

It’s shocking how quickly the transition comes between the unforgiving desert and the height of civi-lization, in the form of the Hilton El Conquistador. With its rooms completely remodeled in September 2002, the upscale-Southwestern feel of this AAA Four Diamond property is carried through the public spaces as well as two of the three restaurants; the third is a family-style steakhouse that transports guests to the old-time American West. Nearly 53,000 sf of indoor meeting space is complemented by 40,000 sf of lawns for outdoor events in the dry--but never overwhelmingly hot—climate. Guests can get also their fill of the desert while in search of wayward shots on the two 18-hole golf courses just off property and one nine-hole course on property. Golfers can also soak up the abundance of magnificent vistas; the mountains immediately behind the resort dominate the background in one direction, while the valley that holds Tucson spreads out in the other direction. -Robert Carey

Essential Tool Box

Convention Centers: Tucson
Convention Center, 205,000-sf of meet-ing
space, 9 meeting rooms, largest
holds 9,275

For complete listings, visit Planner
Resources at

Designated Headquarters Hotel: The
307-room Radisson

Total Hotel Rooms: 16,000
(1,000 rooms are one mile from
convention center)

Average Daily Business Travel
Hotel $154.22
F&B $67.30 Car
Rental $68.70

From Airport to Center: 11 miles from
Tucson International

For More Information:
Metropolitan Tucson Convention &
Visitors Bureau

*Business Travel News 2005 Corporate Travel