Meet the Winners!

  • Meet the Winners!

    Best of the best-  Our annual readers’ choice awards celebrate the industry’s cream of the crop. Our annual readers’ choice awards celebrate the industry’s cream of the crop.  

     
    FROM THE Summer 2013 ISSUE
     

The meeting and event industry conducts its business on the public stage: While few see everything that goes on behind the scenes, the results are very much on display. The winners of our Eighth Annual Readers’ Choice Best of Awards have proven themselves under pressure over and over again. Congratulations to them all!

TOP VENUES
An outstanding meeting or event can happen anywhere with the right planning, but an exceptional venue certainly helps. Fortunately for Michigan’s planners, our state is home to many top-notch venues.

The Henry Ford continues to earn readers’ love, scooping up honors for Best Meeting/Event Venue and Best Meeting/Event Venue (in Detroit Metro Area, No Hotel)-the latter for the sixth time in seven years. Planners’ main challenge is selecting from The Henry Ford’s many options Greenfield Village, Henry Ford Museum, Ford Rouge Factory or Lovett Hall-each of which offers several unique spaces and opportunities to delve into Michigan’s fascinating history. From the state’s largest Imax theater to the Driving America Car Court to the beautiful Lovett Library, The Henry Ford is Michigan’s winning venue.

For planners who want to ensure attendees have room to roam and are surrounded by natural beauty, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is this year’s top choice for Meeting/Event Venue (Outside of Detroit Metro Area, No Hotel). With 16 event spaces on 132 acres, the park blends Michigan’s greenery with art from sculptors like Auguste Rodin and inspiringly designed indoor spaces like the Victorian Greenhouse. With stunning views from all corners of the venue, even corporate meetings become visually transcendent experiences. No wonder we chose it for our first west-side Best of Awards party!


(Photo: The Henry Ford)

The Winners:
Meeting/Event Venue
The Henry Ford 
Dearborn

Runners-up
Crystal Mountain, MotorCity Casino Hotel

Meeting/Event Venue (In Detroit Metro Area, No Hotel)
The Henry Ford
Dearborn 

Runners-up
Fox Theatre, The Fillmore Detroit

Meeting/Event Venue (Outside of Detroit Metro Area, No Hotel)
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Grand Rapids

Runners-up
Hagerty Conference Center, Lansing Center

SEASONAL VENUE
We all get grumpy during Michigan winters. Fortunately, we’ve got plenty of places to go when we want to remember just how fun winter can be. Shanty Creek Resorts and Crystal Mountain are tied this year for Best Wintertime Venue. At Crystal Mountain, winter activities range from dog sledding to snowshoeing to downhill and cross-country skiing. Shanty Creek guests enjoy snowmobiling and skiing on 55 runs over two mountains. Both resorts offer a range of meeting and event space, cozy accommodations and heavenly spas.

For warm weather, our readers say Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is the Best Summertime Venue. With 132 acres of natural wetlands, woodlands, meadows and display gardens, the park offers indoor tropical, arid, carnivorous, Victorian and seasonal gardens, sculpture galleries with exhibitions by international artists, and an outdoor sculpture park, children’s garden, farm garden, amphitheater for summer concert events, nature trails and boardwalks. A great place to celebrate summer, indeed.


(Photo: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park)

The Winners:
Wintertime Venue
Crystal Mountain
Thompsonville 

Shanty Creek Resorts
Bellaire 

Runners-up
Boyne Resorts,Planterra Conservatory

Summertime Venue
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Grand Rapids 

Runners-up
Crystal Mountain, Shanty Creek Resorts
 

FOOD AND BEVERAGE
Events are memorable for their food-for better or for worse. The best caterers keep guests talking about their creative culinary offerings long after the event is over. Scroll through Forte Belanger’s trove of mouthwatering images of seasonal menu items on its website, and it’s easy to see why the company is our Best Caterer for the seventh time in eight years. Michiganders are fervid sports fans, so it’s no surprise that Hockeytown Café is our Best Restaurant with Private Dining Space. The 400-seat City Theatre, located inside, is also available for rent.

The Winners:
Caterer
Forte Belanger
Troy 

Runners-up
Grandview Catering, Zingerman’s Catering and Events

Restaurant with Private Dining Space
Hockeytown Café
Detroit 

Runners-up
Aerie Restaurant & Lounge, Thistle Pub & Grille

SERVICE
The food might be delicious and the venue stunning, but no meeting or event can truly succeed without excellent service.

Convention and visitors bureaus are key partners to the planning industry, especially in Traverse City, home to so many of our state’s top venues and events. So it’s fitting that Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau is our readers’ choice for best in the state.

Traverse City is also home to Events North, this year’s Best Events Planning Company. Founder Allison Beers has her hand in many of the region’s top events. She has worked as events manager for the Traverse City Film Festival, and is currently the president of the board of directors for the National Cherry Festival Foundation.

Art Craft Display is our Best Exhibit Trade Show Contractor, a new category this year. Based in Lansing, the company has served convention and trade shows throughout the Midwest since 1958.

Association Guidance, also from the Lansing area, is our Best Meeting Planning Company. It’s been serving the nonprofit community for 20 years and provides a broad range of management services.

From linens to lighting, flatware to furniture, a rental company provides the critical components for meetings and events. Warren-based Special Events Rental is this year’s Best Rental Company. The company has been hired by major institutions and events from ArtPrize to the Detroit Institute of Arts.

MotorCity Casino Hotel is the first organization in Detroit whose associates have been recognized as certified hospitality sales professionals-the lodging industry’s highest acknowledgement of expertise in a sales capacity within the hospitality industry. That commitment is noticed by our readers, who gave MotorCity the award for Best Service.

Traverse City-based Celtic Transport Logistics rounds out our winners in the service category, earning the Best Transportation award. Its limousines, shuttle coaches and passenger vans make sure guests get where they need to go-safely and comfortably.

The Winners:
Convention & Visitors Bureau
Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau
Traverse City 

Runners-up
Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, Experience Grand Rapids

Event Planning Company
Events North
Traverse City 

Runners-up
Special D Events, Events to Remember

Exhibit Trade Show Contractor
Art Craft Display
Lansing 

Runners-up
The Display Group, Special D Events

Meeting Planning Company
Association Guidance
East Lansing 

Runners-up
Association Management Resources, Destination Michigan

Rental Company
Special Events Rental
Warren 

Runners-up
Art Craft Display, G.J.’s Rentals

Service
MotorCity Casino Hotel
Detroit 

Runners-up
The Henry Ford, Shanty Creek Resorts

Transportation
Celtic Transport Logistics
Traverse City 

Runners-up
Dean Transportation, Golden Limousine International

MEET, STAY AND PLAY
After a long day of meeting, eating and soaking up all a venue has to offer, it’s heaven to collapse in a luxurious room for a night’s rest-preferably one that’s just an elevator ride away.

The Inn at St. John’s is our Best Hotel with Meeting/Event Space (Less Than 200 Guest Rooms) for the second year in a row. This AAA Four Diamond luxury boutique hotel, set in a historic landmark property, boasts 12-foot ceilings and lush furnishings in its guest rooms. The 48,000 square feet of meeting and event space, on-site golf course and 5ive restaurant round out the Inn at St. John’s offerings.

Select from beautifully appointed hotel rooms or spacious condos with a view at Grand Traverse Resort & Spa. The full-service resort is this year’s Best Hotel with Meeting/Event Space (More Than 200 Guest Rooms). Enjoy the five on-site restaurants and lounges, the 7,000-square-foot spa, 86,500 square feet of meeting space and an indoor water playground.


(Photo: The Inn at St. John's, Boardroom)

The Winners:
Hotel with Meeting/Event Space (Less Than 200 Guest Rooms)
The Inn at St. John’s
Plymouth 

Runners-up
Park Place Hotel, The Townsend Hotel

Hotel with Meeting/Event Space (More Than 200 Guest Rooms)
Grand Traverse Resort & Spa
Acme 

Runners-up
Crystal Mountain, MotorCity Casino Hotel
 

SOUND AND VISION
Every event needs a visionary. David McKnight’s full-service special event company, Emerald City Designs, is celebrating 20 years of delivering exceptional vision to clients. His company is a frequent favorite of our readers, who this year named it both Best Décor Provider and Best Florist.

Mike Staff Productions has provided our Best of Awards gala with master of ceremonies talent (thanks, Kurt Colone!), and our readers consistently share our enjoyment of the company’s work, naming it Best Entertainment Provider for the third time.

The National Cherry Festival comprises 150 events over eight days, drawing 500,000 visitors from around the world to Traverse City. The annual celebration of Michigan’s delicious red bounty is this year’s choice for Best Event.

Perhaps no moment causes planners to hold their breath more than when the A/V tech hits "play." A skilled, dependable A/V provider is golden. KLA Laboratories has been in the business for 83 years, and that experience is valued by our readers, who named it Best Audio/Visual Provider for the third time.

The Winners:
Audio/Visual Provider
KLA Laboratories
Dearborn 

Runners-up
MotorCity Casino Hotel, Presentation Service Audio Visuals

Décor Provider
Emerald City Designs
Farmington Hills 

Runners-up
Display Group, Special Events Rental

Entertainment Provider
Mike Staff Productions
Troy 

Runners-up
Britton.Davis.Duo, Set the mood by DJ LoKey

Event
National Cherry Festival
Traverse City 

Runners-up
Michigan Safety Conference, Traverse City Wine & Art Festival

Florist
Emerald City Designs
Farmington Hills 

Runners-up
Blumz by JRDesigns, The Floral Underground

  From industry leaders to talented up-and -comers, our 2013 hall of fame inductees inspire with their dedication to their profession and to michigan. Meet the 2013 Hall Of Fame!  

 

Best of the best-  Our annual readers’ choice awards celebrate the industry’s cream of the crop. Our annual readers’ choice awards celebrate the industry’s cream of the crop.