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Creative Group Events in Tempe

By Matt Connelly, National Sales Manager

The Tempe Tourism Office is fortunate to work with some very talented people in the hospitality and tourism industry. We are all dedicated to creating special memories of a group’s time in Tempe, which not only makes for a productive meeting, but also builds camaraderie and elevates team spirit.

In this spotlight, let’s take a look at The Showcase Room at the Culinary Dropout, an imaginative space in Downtown Tempe, and Phoenix Marriott Resort Tempe at The Buttes, a beautiful mountaintop resort. The team at both places provided us with a glimpse at how they make group events come alive in Tempe.

Recently, I spoke with Kelley Bolender, Regional Manager of Group Sales, about a recent event that was held at The Showcase Room at the Culinary Dropout. Culinary Dropout is a creative gastropub that is located in a reinvented warehouse space. Known for delicious food, handcrafted cocktails and an extra large patio, they can also host groups events at multiple private spaces, including The Showcase Room.

Kelley said they recently hosted a Fortune 500 corporate banking group in for an all-day conference and their meeting planner wanted an amazing over-the-top reception for their top producers from all over the country.

General Session Beehive

The event was highly interactive and incorporated the spirit of the regions from where the attendees were from. The “General Session” was far from ordinary.

“They went with a hive mentality theme, and even the stage was shaped like honey comb with fly projection and endless rows of theater-style seating,” Kelley said. “When they broke for lunch, they entered into our Main Dining Room, where we had a live band playing hipster tunes, an elaborate buffet with fresh seasonal ingredients, and then customized mocktails to make it extra special and to set the stage – that this was no ordinary experience.”

Next, Kelley said, “Once the session concluded, and they were ready for the real fun to begin, and the party progressed out to our fun patio area where a DJ was spinning tunes from a custom-built stage.”

Kelley and her team created a special interactive menu to reflect cuisine from the different regions where the company’s employees came from, including Texas, New York, Chicago and Miami.

Tuna Carving at Culinary Dropout

This was definitely not your run-of-the-mill reception. “We carved ahi tuna right in front of the guests. How about a hot dog stand, or a pizza truck, or home-made empanadas? Yep, we had it,” but that’s not all that Kelley’s team brought to the table. “We even had a crawfish boil, complete with logoed aprons and wooden mallets. We had a liquid nitrogen dessert station, complete with flaretenders and fireworks! The guests couldn’t decide if they wanted to eat first, or just keep taking pictures to post on social media – it was that much fun!”

She mentioned that it was quite a task designing the menus, implementing the client’s vision with the culinary team, coordinating the perfect serving vessels for all 15 menu items, working with their creative production team and then executing it all flawlessly.

“It was the coolest party we’ve ever been a part of, and we look forward to many more opportunities to bringing any client’s vision to reality,” Kelley concluded.

I also spoke with Shannon Lyman, Senior Sales Manager, from Phoenix Marriott Resort Tempe at The Buttes. The Buttes is a fantastic resort property for clients to hold their meeting and special events in style. The incredible service that the staff provides creates a memorable experience that always aims to exceed the client’s expectations.

Special Event at Phoenix Marriott Resort Tempe at The Buttes

When attending an event at the Phoenix Marriott Resort Tempe at The Buttes, you enter a hidden treasure surrounded by the traditional Arizona desert landscape but with the modern Marriott touches, state of the art technology and warm and helpful staff members. By the end of your event, you and your guests will feel like a part of the Buttes family and will want to come visit again and again.

When I asked about creative events, one really stood out to Shannon. She said, “One recent event was the Winter Wonderland Holiday Party in our Kachina Ballroom. The room transformed in to a frozen wonderland where guests enjoyed signature cocktails, a variety of seasonal chef inspired creations, and music and dancing to create a fun and lively environment.”

The Kachina Ballroom offers 9,000 square feet of flexible meeting space; offering 16-foot ceilings and the capacity to breakout into 6 separate spaces. The Kachina Ballroom is the ideal location for events such as a large general session or dinner or an intimate boardroom setting. Weddings and holiday parties look great in this space as well.

La Hacienda (photo credit Mark Skalny 1-888-658-3686 #MSP1207)

In addition to indoor spaces the Buttes can transform their outdoor venues to create a memorable event. Shannon said, “La Hacienda, an outdoor location on our property, is a fun space that lets attendees experience the natural landscape of the Buttes. One recent event here was the SPAMerican Tour and Reception. Their attendees enjoyed creative recipes, games, and beverages while celebrating all things SPAM.”

La Hacienda offers approximately 8,000 square feet of outdoor space where your guests can enjoy the majestic desert sunsets at a corporate dinner event or a rustic themed wedding reception. It brings the spirit of the Old West to the middle of Tempe.

If you are inspired by what these great partners have shared with us, reach out to The Tempe Tourism Office, and let us find the right home for your next meeting and event! Contact our sales team or call us at 800-283-6734.

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