Have an important event coming up? Need a little inspiration? Haven’t yet found the perfect venue? Not sure how to make the event an unforgettable experience? No problem. We have just the thing.
Our readers have chosen the best florists, venues, entertainers—plus everything else you might need. And we’re sharing that list with you. Here’s to the Northwest Meetings + Events Best of 2019 readers’ choice winners and runners-up—and to your next event!
BEST OF ALASKA
Easily accessed but wonderfully remote, this year’s winners represent the best in settings that celebrate the natural grandeur that is Alaska. Soaring eagles, snow-covered peaks and majestic glaciers paired with down-home service delivered with impeccable warmth. It’s an unbeatable combination.
Readers’ choice for Best Convention/ Conference Venue is the magnificent Alyeska Resort. This idyllic mountaintop venue, nestled against the Chugach Mountains, is located only 40 miles from Anchorage. The resort’s amenities include more than 24,000 square feet of event space, coupled with luxurious accommodations, fine dining, a spa and on-site shopping. After the event, access to a plethora of uniquely Alaskan wilderness adventures—such as heli-skiing, glacier cruises, fishing charters, flightseeing and guided ice-climbing—enable planners to create an unforgettable experience for inspirational meetings and events, according to Brian Napolitano, director of marketing.
For the Best Hotel with Meeting/Event Space, readers again chose the historic Hotel Captain Cook. This Preferred Hotel branded property, with 14 meeting and conference rooms, is a longtime favorite of locals, business travelers, tourists and celebrities—and with good reason. The staff is legendary for impeccable service and attention to detail. The hotel is located in the center of Anchorage, with easy access to the city’s attractions, shopping and dining. But many guests prefer to stay onsite to sample the hotel’s excellent amenities, including its famed art collection and the Crow’s Nest, a four-diamond restaurant with spectacular city and mountain views and a cellar containing 10,000 bottles of wine.
This year’s Best Meeting/Event Venue (No Hotels or Convention/Conference Centers) is Alaska Aviation Museum. Located on the world’s largest seaplane base at Lake Hood in Anchorage, the museum celebrates Alaska’s aviation heritage and provides eclectic and unique event space, according to Executive Director Phyllis Kilgore. Rentals include the control tower, the main hangar and a (grounded) 737 jet.
Located on 52 acres on Prince of Wales Island, legendary for sport fishing and accessible only by air or sea, Waterfall Resort Alaska is readers’ choice for Best Resort. Anglers from around the world—newbies as well as the highly experienced—are drawn here to catch wild king, silver salmon and halibut. A 90-minute flight from Seattle means visitors can fly in the morning and be on the water fishing by afternoon. Non-anglers and anglers alike love the resort for its warm hospitality, natural beauty, hearty Alaskan dining and laughter-filled evenings.
Best Convention/Conference Venue: Alyeska Resort
Girdwood | 907.754.2111
» Ted Ferry Civic Center
» Hotel Captain Cook
Best Hotel with Meeting/Event Space: Hotel Captain Cook
Anchorage | 907.276.6000
» Hilton Anchorage
» Cape Fox Lodge
Best Meeting/Event Venue (No Hotels or Convention/Conference Centers): Alaska Aviation Museum
Anchorage | 907.248.5325
» Alaska SeaLife Center
» Anchorage Museum
Best Resort: Waterfall Resort Alaska
Ketchikan | 800.544.5125
» Alyeska Resort
» The Lodge at Denali Park Lodge
Fairmont Chateau Whistler
BEST OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
Stunning locations, grand venues, refined service and a penchant for creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences are the hallmarks of this year’s readers’ choice award winners for British Columbia.
The Fairmont Waterfront, a five-star venue located on the water, boasts stunning harbor and mountain views and has every imaginable amenity. It’s also renowned for impeccable service, so it’s not surprising that our readers chose the hotel as the winner in two categories: Best Convention/Conference Venue and Best Hotel with Meeting/Event Space. And when it comes to location, the hotel is minutes from Vancouver Convention Centre and Cruise Ship Terminal and a short walk to beautiful Stanley Park.
BC Event Management, readers’ choice for Best Meeting & Event Planning Company, was founded in 1987 by the legendary master of event planning and production (and company president) David Clark. The company has provided services for hundreds of events—from small meetings, conventions and galas to specialized events, such as dinner for 18 heads of government, the visit of HRH Queen Elizabeth II, private events for Bill Gates, the Harley Davidson Canada annual meeting, the 2015 Pan Am Games and the 2010 Winter Olympics. Safe to say, whatever you need, they’ve got you covered.
Designated a National Historic Site of Canada, The Butchart Gardens is a B.C. treasure and is the winner for the Best Meeting/Event Venue (No Hotels or Convention/Conference Centers). Situated on 55 acres, the lush gardens, 900 bedding plant varieties and 26 greenhouses are tended by 50 full-time gardeners, who create a picture-perfect setting for visitors. Beautiful during the day, the gardens become magical on summer evenings, when lights illuminate the setting, fireworks set to music celebrate the season and live music on the Concert Lawn Stage delight the audience.
To paraphrase one event planner, “all work and no play makes for a dull day.” The perfect antidote to that possibility is a stay at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, readers’ choice for Best Resort. Boasting superb meeting venues, tons of flexible space, intimate meeting rooms, as well as all the expected amenities—including incredible skiing, luxe rooms, a world-class spa, and fabulous food and drink—places this venue near the top of any list. But it is the unexpected ways the year-round resort showcases its alpine setting that makes the resort transcendent: like an exquisite winter wedding in the rooftop chapel, a four-diamond feast at nearby Lost Lake or a gourmet picnic on a glacier.
British Columbia Winners
Best Convention/Conference Venue: Fairmont Waterfront
Vancouver | 604.691.1991
» Vancouver Convention Centre
» Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour
Best Hotel with Meeting/Event Space: Fairmont Waterfront
Vancouver | 604.691.1991
» Oak Bay Beach Hotel
» Fairmont Empress
Best Meeting & Event Planning Company: BC Event Management
Burnaby | 604.696.1234
» E=mc2 events
» BrandLive Management
Best Meeting/Event Venue (No Hotels or Convention/Conference Centers): The Butchart Gardens
Brentwood Bay (Victoria) | 250.652.4422
» Vancouver Aquarium
» The Brew Creek Centre
Best Resort: Fairmont Chateau Whistler
Whistler | 604.938.8000
» Harrison Hot Springs Resort
» Wickannish Inn (tie)
» Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa (tie)
BEST OF IDAHO
From a globally famous lakeside resort convention and conference center, to a quintessential wilderness resort and a venue reminiscent of a European chateau, our readers have chosen three incredible venues for the consideration of meeting and event planners in search of a superb venue in Idaho.
The spectacular Coeur d’Alene Resort is the Northwest’s best golf, spa, ski and meeting destination resort, according to Jamie Cornell, director of marketing, and our readers agree. They have chosen the resort the Best Convention/Conference Venue in Idaho for 2019. Guests rave about their experiences in reviews, and a former Idaho governor described the resort as a “first-rate meeting venue, exceedingly functional and incredibly beautiful.” With lovely rooms, outstanding cuisine, an incredible lakeside setting and a plethora of activities, The Coeur D’Alene Resort is always a winner.
Shore Lodge is the 2019 readers’ choice winner in two categories: Best Hotel with Meeting/ Event Space and Best Resort. According to the resort’s staff, “Idaho’s best meetings happen here”—and based on guest reviews, that’s not marketing hyperbole. Shore Lodge, situated on the majestic shore of Payette Lake, is an idyllic setting that provides the perfect backdrop for productive, inspirational meetings and unforgettable weddings. According to general manager Dan Scott, guests have been treated to an authentic and unique Idaho lodge experience here since 1948. Once events are completed, the adventures begin. Guests work hard, but play harder, with access to 500 miles of groomed backcountry trails, golf, biking, hiking and water sports. The lodge’s signature events (like the annual Culinary Festival and Old Haunts of Idaho evenings) and programs at Camp Sharlie, with fun and adventures curated just for children, make this resort truly special.
Since its opening, Chateau des Fleurs, this year’s winner for the Best Meeting/Event Venue (that is not a hotel or convention/conference center), has been the go-to location for perfect, exquisitely beautiful private celebrations with a European ambience. Gardento-table international dining at Roghani’s Restaurant, two elegantly decorated ballrooms, several charming private dining rooms and lovely European gardens are some of the amenities that characterize this special and unique venue.
Best Convention/Conference Venue: The Coeur d'Alene Resort
Coeur d’Alene | 208.209.5031
» Shore Lodge
» Sun Valley Resort
Best Hotel with Meeting/Event Space: Shore Lodge
McCall | 800.657.6464
» The Coeur d’Alene Resort
» Sun Valley Resort
Best Meeting/Event Venue (No Hotels or Convention/Conference Centers): Chateau des Fleurs
Eagle | 208.947.2844
» Basque Center
Best Resort: Shore Lodge
McCall | 800.657.6464
» The Coeur d’Alene Resort
» Sun Valley Resort
Willamette Valley Vineyards
BEST OF OREGON
From the intimate to the grand, from the historical to the whimsical, this year’s venues are reflective of the natural beauty and grandeur of the Oregon landscape—and those who provide services are independent, fiercely proud and passionate about what they do.
The Best Places
New to the “Best of Oregon” list, Wildhorse Resort & Casino is this year’s readers’ choice as Best Casino with Meeting Space. Located at the base of the Blue Mountains near Pendleton, on the Umatilla Reservation in Eastern Oregon, Wildhorse Resort & Casino has more than 17,000 square of feet of space suitable for a range of functions and events. Additionally, the property features amenities that appeal to group events, including a spectacular John Steidel-designed golf course with lakes, long fairways and deep bunkers; true Vegas-style gaming; a range of dining options; a five-screen Cineplex; and 300 well-appointed guest rooms.
Readers chose the Oregon Convention Center (OCC), as Oregon’s Best Convention/ Conference Venue. It’s a beautiful facility in the heart of Portland with more than 255,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, 52 meeting rooms and two grand ballrooms. The OCC is renowned for the expertise of its staff, its passion for sustainability and the ability to pull-off complex, large-scale events with ease. “We get it done with determination, creativity and teamwork,” says Cindy Wallace, director of sales and marketing.
In the Best Hotel with Meeting/Event Space category, readers selected two standout properties: Sunriver Resort (More than 200 Guest Rooms) and The Allison Inn and Spa (Less than 200 Guest Rooms). Beloved by both guests and event planners, both properties boast a robust list of amenities, including lux accommodations, world-class spas, fine dining, breathtaking settings, excellent meeting/ event options and outstanding overall service. Sunriver Resort, located near Bend, is a 3,300- acre all-season resort and conference center located on the Deschutes River, with four golf courses, more than 40 miles of hiking and biking trails on the property and lodging consisting of more than 500 rooms, condos and vacation homes. In contrast, the more intimate Allison Inn & Spa is located in a quaint 35-acre setting in Newberg, with sweeping views of the Willamette Wine Country and surrounding farmland. Its 85 rooms and suites are “quietly luxurious and thoughtfully appointed,” says Director of Sales Nichole Cooper.
Urban Studio takes the top honor in the Best Meeting/Event Venue (that is not a hotel or convention/conference center). This historic venue located in Portland’s Pearl District was once the home of the Denby Motor Truck Company. Now it’s a contemporary space with large windows and a garage door opening to the sidewalk and is perfect for a range of events, from a formal wedding and seated dinner to a networking event.
McMenamins Edgefield, last year’s runnerup, is now the 2019 readers’ choice for Best Resort/Lodge with Meeting/Event Space. Built originally in 1911, the historic property was once the county’s poor farm but is now a whimsical destination resort on 74 acres at the mouth of the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area in Troutdale. It’s a unique property, blending the beauty of the Oregon countryside with original buildings lovingly restored—as well as organic gardens carefully tended, great food and drink, live entertainment, a winery, vintage furnishings, porcelain sinks, an onsite glass blower and potter and Concerts on the Lawn. In a throwback to simpler times, there are no telephones, televisions or air conditioning in guest rooms.
Willamette Valley Vineyards is readers’ choice for Best Winery/Brewery/Distillery with Event Space. This award-winning winery is now considered one of the leading producers of pinot noir in the country. Discerning guests appreciate the vision and winemaking of founder Jim Bernau—who insists on environmentally sustainable farming and growing the fruit by hand on the winery’s 500 acres. Guests also take joy in attending events and receptions at the winery, especially on The Lawns, with its sweeping views of the vineyard and the rolling hills of the Willamette Valley.
Vibrant Table Catering & Events
The Best Services
These experts’ talents and eye for detail will transform your events into unforgettable experiences.
Greenlight Creative is again this year’s choice for Best Audio-Visual/Visual Presentation Provider. Readers appreciate the firm’s expertise and professionalism. “Our goal is to use lighting to create a breathtaking presentation—an unforgettable visual feast,” says Dwayne Thomas, president of the company. Based on reader feedback, Greenlight delivers.
Readers’ choice for Best Catering Company, as well as Best Event/Floral Décor, is Vibrant Table Catering & Events. It provides a wide range of services, from catering to event management and décor, and pays attention to all the little details. Its culinary style is described as inventive, and its floral designs are exquisite.
The Party Team (formerly Team Casino) is a first-time winner for Best Entertainment Provider. Owner Travis Fryback established the company in 2000 and says growth is the result of offering the best service before, during and after the party for casino nights, poker tournaments, game show parties and video horse racing parties. “Our No. 1 priority is to make sure everyone has fun,” Fryback says.
“We cater to organizations that require specialized, high-touch event consulting for meetings, conferences and retreats,” says Denise Kerr Waldron, president and CEO of Viva! Events. An event and destination management firm, Viva! was chosen as the Best Meeting & Event Planning Company in 2019.
A to Z Party Rental has been providing rental services since 1978, has a knowledgeable staff and is this year’s readers’ choice for Best Rental Service. If you need it, they’ve probably got it—from tents and canopies to BBQ propane, columns and fountains—not to mention chairs, dance floors, jump houses and water slides.
MTR Western offers a broad range of transportation services and was chosen Best Transportation Provider/Valet Services in Oregon. Staff members tailor transportation packages to meet each groups’ specialized needs for events like corporate meetings, convention management and airport meetand-greets—and strive to deliver signature VIP service to every guest, every day.
Best Casino with Meeting Space: Wild Horse Resort & Casino
Pendleton | 800.654.9453
» Spirit Mountain Casino
» Chinook Winds Casino Resort
Best Convention/Conference Venue: Oregon Convention Center
Portland | 503.235.7575
» Riverhouse on the Deschutes
» Salem Convention Center
Best Hotel with Meeting/Event Space (More Than 200 Guest Rooms): Sunriver Resort
Sunriver | 855.420.8206
» The Nines
» Hotel Monaco Portland
Best Hotel with Meeting/Event Space (Less Than 200 Guest Rooms): The Allison Inn & Spa
Newburg | 503.554.2525
» Columbia Gorge Hotel
» Pronghorn Resort
Best Meeting/Event Venue (No Hotels or Convention/Conference Centers): Urban Studio
Portland | 503.860.0203
» Exchange Ballroom
» Leftbank Annex
Best Resort/Lodge with Meeting/Event Space: McMenamins Edgefield
Troutdale | 503.669.8610
» Black Butte Ranch
Best Winery/Brewery/Distillery wtih Event Space: Willamette Valley Vineyards
Turner | 503.5889463
» Stoller Family Estate
» King Estate Winery
Best Audio-Visual/Visual Presentation Provider: Greenlight Creative
Portland | 503.970.0246
» Rose City Sound
» Allied Video Productions
Best Catering Company: Vibrant Table Catering & Events
Portland | 503.297.9635
» Wild Pear Restaurant & Catering
» Elephants Catering
Best Entertainment Provider: The Party Team
Oregon | 503.726.2121
» Portland Photo Booth
» Hit Machine
Best Event/Floral Décor: Vibrant Flowers
Portland | 503.297.9635
» Royce’s Prop Shop
» Green Thumb Flower Box
Best Meeting & Event Planning Company: Viva! Events
Portland | 971.277.6392
» Luxe Event Productions
» Cindy Thompson Events
Best Rental Service: A to Z Party Rental
Salem | 503.585.7782
» Royce’s Prop Shop
» The Party Place
Best Transportation Provider/Valet Services: MTR Western
Portland | 503.241.3778
» NW Navigator
» Lucky Limousine
Four Seasons Hotel Seattle
BEST OF WASHINGTON
Our readers’ choice winners for 2019 include an extraordinary collection of sophisticated venues and service providers renown for creativity, execution and unparalleled service.
The Best Places
Once again, our readers have chosen Tulalip Resort Casino as Best Casino with Meeting Space. Conveniently located in Quil Ceda Village off Interstate 5 and operated by the Tulalip Tribes of Washington, Tulalip Resort Casino has a four-diamond rating and more than 30,000 square feet of flexible event space. Close to Seattle, with plenty of parking, outstanding guest rooms, superior gaming, world-class entertainment, delicious dining options and the upscale Seattle Premium Outlets right next door, Tulalip Resort is one of the leading destination event venues in the Northwest.
The Greater Tacoma Convention Center (GTCC) and the Seattle-based Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) have tied as readers’ choice in 2019 for Best Convention/Conference Venue. Both venues boast outstanding locations, well-appointed meeting and event space, excellent support for event planners, superior service and serious attention to detail. The GTCC staff describe Tacoma as a walkable, artsy and authentic city where visitors can enjoy a true metropolitan Northwest experience— minus the traffic, markup and mayhem of the bigger city to the north. WSCC staff take pride in “doing ordinary things in an extraordinary manner” and look forward to the completion of the Summit Building in 2022, an additional facility one block from the existing facility that will double WSCC’s current capacity. Both of these centers are superb venues for any event—from large conventions and conferences to weddings, board meetings and executive retreats.
An elegant Italian Renaissance-style landmark built in 1924, the Fairmont Olympic Hotel Seattle is again this year’s readers’ choice for Best Hotel with Meeting/Event Space (More than 200 Rooms). Well-known for ethereal, dreamy and sophisticated weddings, this gloriously beautiful hotel provides an exquisite and productive setting for any event, including power breakfasts, board meetings, charitable balls, Christmas parties and private events. The hotel’s director of celebrations, Andrew Hoge, is a particular favorite of event planners and brides.
The Four Seasons Hotel Seattle wins Best Hotel with Meeting/Event Space (Less than 200 Rooms). The Four Seasons is an intimate and sophisticated urban hotel in an incredible location near the Emerald City’s cultural institutions, fine restaurants and upscale shopping. The Seattle Art Museum is located to the east of the hotel, iconic Pike Place Market to the north, and the waters of Elliott Bay to the west. Luxurious amenities include a rooftop pool with sweeping views of the city and the Sound, and a spa that is an urban oasis of water, basalt rock, glass tile and signature rituals inspired by the rugged natural beauty of the Northwest.
Reader’s choice for 2019 Best Meeting/ Event Venue (that is not a hotel, convention/ conference center) is once again Fremont Foundry. The venue showcases the building’s industrial character, with expansive glass windows, 20-foot skylights and a blend of metals, wood and cement accents. Views of the Seattle skyline from the rooftop terrace are breathtaking. Rentals include 11,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space on two floors—perfect for distinctive private or business events.
Salish Lodge & Spa, readers’ choice for Best Resort/Lodge with Meeting/Event Space, is just 30 minutes from Seattle, but feels like it’s worlds away. Ranked among the best small resorts in the world, the lodge overlooks the 268-foot Snoqualmie Falls and has 84 idyllic guest rooms. Highlights include flexible event space, extraordinary culinary experiences, exceptional service, and luxurious accommodations.
Historic Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery is this year’s winner for Best Winery/ Brewery/Distillery with Event Space. “From banquet rooms to intimate dining spaces, we provide versatile, unique venues with access to unparalleled wine and food—and can turn any occasion into an unforgettable experience,” says Events Manager Shannon Lochrie, whose on-site team assists in the planning of each event. Guests rave about the impeccable service and elegant surroundings.
The Best Services
The event venues may be spectacular, but no event is complete without the expert touch of service providers like these.
Crimson Haze Event Lighting joins the Best of Washington list for the first time in 2019 as readers’ choice for Best AudioVisual/Visual Presentation Provider. Dynamic lighting, professionalism, outstanding service, state-of-the-art equipment—and always being dressed appropriately for a client’s event—are the hallmarks of their success, according to owners Clayton Hibbert and Clea Hersperger.
Redmond-based chef and author, Lisa Dupar, founder of Lisa Dupar Catering, this year’s readers’ choice for Best Catering Company, is well-known for her brilliant culinary skills and inventive recipes inspired by her Southern roots, international training and life in the Northwest. According to fans, anything she serves up is a treat for the palate.
Animate Objects Physical Theater is the 2019 readers’ choice for Best Entertainment Provider. This engaging aerial group has performed internationally in more than 50 cities. “We approach each event with unwavering passion and attentiveness and tailor our performances to seamlessly integrate into each client’s event,” says owner and Creative Director Ileigh Reynolds. The group is known for its exquisite and exotic costumes and extraordinary aerial performances, which delight guests of all ages.
Fena Flowers is a repeat winner for Best Event Décor/Floral Décor. Established in 1988, the company’s experienced staff has more than 100 combined years of floraldesign experience. Fena is known for beautiful and artful arrangements, quality service and artists who care. Because of the unique and distinct image that Fena presents with its arrangements, fillers like mums, carnations and baby’s breath are never included.
SHW is our 2019 readers’ choice for Best Meeting & Event Planning Company in Washington. “You’re the expert at your business, and we know how to make events extraordinary,” says CEO and Chief Strategist Marka Waechter. “Through collaboration, we create high-impact experiences that inspire attendees and give clients a serious return on investment.” SHW’s services include incentive travel, hotel sourcing, sales conference registration, transportation management and event strategy
CORT Party Rental, readers’ choice for Best Rental Service, is a powerhouse rental company, providing a true one-stop service for event planners. CORT has been the premier event rental company in Washington state for more than 50 years and has everything imaginable for party rentals in two locations, including a design center, says Director of Sales Robin Denny.
Butler Seattle has been chosen Best Transportation Provider/Valet Service again for 2019 and has won this award every year since Best of the Northwest has included this category. Co-founders Stuart and Jeremy Butler take pride in offering top-quality transportation solutions and products at competitive prices to achieve total customer satisfaction. Clients say there is no transportation challenge they can’t handle.
Best Casino with Meeting Space: Tulalip Resort Casino
Tulalip | 888.272.1111
» Swinomish Casino and Lodge
» Angel of the Winds
» Meydenbauer Convention Center
» Spokane Convention Center
Best Hotel with Meeting/Event Space (More Than 200 Rooms): Fairmont Olympic Hotel Seattle
Seattle | 206.621.1700
» Northern Quest Resort & Casino
» Hyatt Regency Seattle
Best Hotel with Meeting/Event Space (Less Than 200 Rooms): Four Seasons Hotel Seattle
Seattle | 206.749.7099
» Salish Lodge & Spa
» The Woodmark Hotel
Best Meeting/Event Venue (No Hotels or Convention/Conference Centers): Fremont Foundry
Seattle | 206.588.6981
» JM Cellars
» Woodland Park Zoo
Best Resort/Lodge with Meeting/Event Space: Salish Lodge & Spa
Snoqualmie | 425.888.2556
» Resort at Port Ludlow
» Suncadia Resort
Best Winery/Brewery/Distillery with Event Space: Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery
Woodinville | 425.488.1133
» JM Cellars
» Chateau Lill
Best Audio-Visual/Visual Presentation Provider: Crimson Haze Event Lighting
Seattle | 425.954.5451
» Blue Danube Productions
» Audio Visual Management Solutions (AVMS)
Best Catering Company: Lisa Dupar Catering
Redmond | 425.881.3250
» Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering
» Kaspars Special Events & Catering
Best Entertainment Provider: Animate Object Physical Theater
Seattle | 206.829.9034
» Nash Fung
» Lighting the Sound
Best Event Décor/Floral Décor: Fena Flowers
Kirkland | 425.825.8181
» Tolo Events
» PJ Hummel & Co
Best Meeting & Event Planning Company: SHW
Seattle | 206.923.8600
» Tolo Events
» Solomon Events
Best Rental Service: CORT Party Rental
Everett, Fife | 877.939.73.68
» Pedersen’s Rentals
» Grand Event Rentals
Best Transportation Provider/Valet Service: Butler Seattle
Seattle | 206.233.9233
» Starline Luxury Motor Coaches
» British Motor Coach