Small Market Meetings

NOV 2016

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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November 2016 33 Q u a d C i t i e s Quad Cities Make no mistake: Davenport and Bettendorf on the Iowa side of the Quad Cities are river cities at heart, but as of this summer, all the riverboat casinos have moved off the Mississippi River and onto land. In June, the Rhythm City Casino Resort cele- brated the grand opening of its new $110 million casino, hotel and entertainment complex on 40 acres at interstates 80 and 74. The campus includes a 106-room hotel and an event center with a gam- ing floor. Groups have private dining and event options at Ruthie's Steak and Seafood, which delivers high-level views along with high-end dining, and at Draft Day Sports Lounge, which has a 360-degree television that can be used for pre- sentations. The center also has a ballroom, and "of course, you have the casino to be the entertain- ment value when the meeting is over," said Lynn Hunt, vice president of sales for the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau. Also in Davenport, a newer Holiday Inn and Suites offers 104 guest rooms and nearly 6,200 square feet of function space along with J Bar, a full-service restaurant and bar that can be rented for private functions. The Isle Casino Hotel in Bettendorf just wrapped up an $8 million renovation that moved the casino off the riverboat in June and into a new 82,000-square-foot building that sits between the resort's two hotel towers. The 512-room Isle also has 15,000 square feet of event space and connects to the Quad Cities Waterfront Convention Center, which offers 24,000 square feet of meeting space in eight separate function areas. D e s M o i n e s Des Moines When the new 330-room Hilton hotel opens in June 2018, it will be "a huge game-changer for us," said Greg Edwards, president and CEO of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau. That's because it will be the first down- town hotel to connect directly to Des Moines' largest event center. The new Hilton conference hotel will have its own function space and will adjoin one of the Iowa Events Center's three main venues: the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center, which has 21 meeting rooms and a 28,800-square-foot ballroom. Hy-Vee Hall's three exhibit halls can be combined for a total of 150,000 square feet, and a skywalk connects to the 17,000-seat Wells Fargo Arena. Downtown's largest hotel is the Des Moines Marriott Downtown with 415 rooms and about 30,000 square feet of event space. Also in the heart of downtown, the historic Renaissance Savery DIG WATERLOO FOR YOUR NEXT MEETING > TRAVELWATERLOO.COM CO N TAC T Paige Nieman, CNP Director of Convention Sales 500 Jefferson Street Waterloo, Iowa 50701 (800) 728-8431 Hotel closed its doors in August to undergo a year-and-a-half, whole-building renovation. When the 1919 red-brick hotel reopens in spring 2017, it will have a "whole new look and feel," Edwards said, with redone guest rooms, renovated meeting space and renewed func- tional components, such as plumbing and heating. A brand-new off-site option just hit the market in West Des Moines: The Ron Pearson Center at the Hy-Vee corporate headquarters opened in July. The grocery chain's 21,000-square-foot conference facility can seat up to 1,600 for banquets. I o w a C i t y Iowa City It may be surprising to some that Iowa City is the only UNESCO City of Literature in the United States. But it makes more sense when it becomes known that the University of Iowa forged creative writing education through its Iowa Writers' Workshop program. It's fitting, then, that planners can meet in a variety of venues on campus, including the recently renovated Iowa Memorial Union, which has more than 20 meeting and event spaces and is also home to the Iowa House Hotel. The Main Lounge can accommodate events of up to 1,200 people, and the second-floor ballroom can hold up to 700 guests. Also on campus, groups can reserve Danforth Chapel, the University Club, the Athletics Hall of Fame and Museum and the 70,585-seat Kinnick Stadium. Just a few blocks from both campus and the Iowa River, the Hotel Vetro has more than 15,000 square feet of flexible function space in six meeting rooms. The downtown hotel also has a 4,800-square-foot rooftop terrace overlooking the Iowa City Cultural District. About four miles northeast of campus, the 90-room Clarion Hotel Highlander Conference Center offers seven meeting rooms, the largest a 5,800-square-foot ballroom. In nearby Coralville, the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center has 286 guest rooms and nearly 60,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 30,000-square-foot exhibition hall.

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