The Quad Cities plays host to a surprising number of international conventions and regional events. “It’s a great destination because we’re centrally located within six hours of a great population, 37 million people,” says Jessica Waytenick, public relations and marketing manager for Visit Quad Cities. “Meeting and convention planners love the ease of our area because they can get around easily, there are great, affordable activities for convention attendees. We have walkable downtown areas, and people can walk to dinner after their meetings are over. The Quad Cities is also known for craft breweries and live music venues.”
The Quad Cities also brims with the history of John Deere, a well-established blacksmith who, in the 1800s, realized that the Midwest needed blacksmiths for the expanding settlers who were there. So the Vermont native moved to Grand Debour, where he invented the steel plow, which made it easier for farmers to plow the rich Midwestern soil. “When Deere moved to Moline, he started a factory that was quite successful,” Waytenick says. “He became a wealthy entrepreneur in this area and really helped shape the Quad Cities area, bringing other businesses to the area.
“The influence of Deere’s company is longreaching. We have the John Deere Pavilion, which is the history of Deere’s company. A lot of people think he invented the tractor, but that’s not the case. He got everything started before that, and technology has moved forward from there. There are also factory tours in which guests can watch a combine being built. And at the Deere & Company World Headquarters, people can tour the lobby and see the timeline of machinery. There are historic homes that were built by John Deere’s grandson Charles Deere in the late 1800s that are available for tours.”
The following are five hotels on the Illinois side of the Quad Cities that offer meeting and event space.
When you walk into Element Moline, it has the feel of a warehouse. That is not surprising, considering the hotel, which has 96 guest rooms, is located in the old Sears-Roebuck building that was constructed in 1917. “You walk in where the loading docks used to be,” says General Manager Nick Holke. “All of the pillars are still there. You can see the exposed ceiling and the exposed brick. The floors, especially on the historic side of the building, all have the original floors, the concrete. It’s the same thing in the lobby. It gives you that feel of 1920, 1925, the 1930s.”
An outdoor patio has a depiction on the wall, a mural that is about 20 feet long and some 15 feet tall, which shows an aerial view of the downtown Moline area in 1920. “It’s got our warehouse on the one side where you can see the old John Deere factories,” Holke says. “You can see just how big John Deere industrial was in 1920 right next door.”
There are two event spaces, the largest of which can accommodate up to 80 guests seated and up to 120 standing. The other can host up to 30 guests seated and up to 40 standing. Both spaces feature floor-to-ceiling windows that provide views of downtown and the Mississippi River.
For a Wisconsin or Minnesota Northwoods feel, the Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center is for you. Located on the scenic banks of the Mississippi River, Stoney Creek doesn’t feel like the typical cookie-cutter corporate hotel. “It’s more of a relaxed atmosphere. It’s homey and has a lodge feel to it,” says General Manager Kim Bothel. “We’re casual with a fancy twist.”
Just minutes away from the many attractions the Quad Cities has to offer, the hotel has 140 guest rooms, including themed suites. There is a business center and fitness center, and there are indoor and outdoor pools and a whirlpool.
The majority of the event space is located in the conference center. The main ballroom in the conference center breaks down into three equal-sized sections. The ballroom can accommodate up to 400 guests for a seated dinner and up to 550 for a cocktail party. There are seven other event spaces.
Groups must choose from a preferred catering list.
“Groups like the convenience of how our hotel is laid out, the service and the overall feel,” Bothel says.
It’s two hotels in one.
The newest hotel on the Illinois side of the Quad Cities, the Hyatt Place Hyatt House is comprised under one roof of a Hyatt Place and a Hyatt House. The Hyatt Place has more traditional guest rooms, while the Hyatt House is more of an apartment-style setup. There is a total of 233 guest rooms—134 in the Hyatt Place and 99 in the Hyatt House—including rooms with views of the Mississippi River. “In the commons areas, all of the public spaces are shared between the two properties,” says Sales Manager Brittany Haas.
The hotel has an artistic feel. “We’ve got a lot of local inspiration for the artwork around the hotel,” Haas says. “They took different Midwest feels but also made it very modern and colorful throughout the property. Each of the floors has unique images.”
The largest event space can host up to 80 guests seated and up to 100 standing. A new event center next door is scheduled to open in June.
Favorite dishes on the in-house banquet menus are the grilled salmon and the bacon crispy Brussels sprouts.
Location, location, location.
That is the main attraction for groups at the newly renovated Holiday Inn Rock Island. “We’re located in the downtown area in the arts and entertainment district,” says Director of Sales Jamie DeRudder. “I think what’s attractive to a lot of the travelers who come to this area is that we have right out our back door within about a two-, three-block radius quite a few restaurants and shopping. We’re right along the Mississippi River where we have bike trails and walking paths.”
The hotel, which has 172 guest rooms, has seven event spaces. The largest is the grand ballroom that can accommodate up to 500 guests seated and up to 750 standing. It can be broken down into two smaller spaces. An indoor swimming pool is sandwiched between two health clubs.
Popular entrees on the in-house banquet menu are the chicken supreme, prime rib and chicken piccata.
The Axis Hotel by Hilton, Moline
The Axis Hotel by Hilton, scheduled to open its doors downtown in August, will be located in a historic building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. “We’ve preserved a lot of the original building. It has a lot of the original floors and walls from the late 1920s,” says Kelsey Sheley, The Axis Hotel brand manager. “It will have modern amenities, but the look of the structure will be very historic. There will also be a lobby skylight.”
There will be 104 guest rooms and an exercise room. There will be two event spaces of almost equal size. The larger one will be able to host up to 200 guests both seated and standing. There will also be an in-house caterer.