The biggest challenge to planning an event in Troy might be decision fatigue. The city’s abundant venue choices make it hard to go wrong in this upscale city. The Oakland County destination offers high-end shopping, numerous hotels and an easy drive to area attractions, including Cranbrook Educational Community.
“When you come to Troy, you’ve got a nice overall package,” says Bill Bohde, senior vice president of sales and marketing at the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. “You’re right off the highway, only 25 minutes from downtown Detroit [and Windsor, Canada]; in a 15-minute drive, you’re at the Detroit Zoo. You go a little bit north, you’ve got Great Lakes Crossing outlet mall and the Palace of Auburn Hills. It’s a wonderful opportunity.”
“One of the things that makes us unique is that we’re dedicated to just business conferences and meetings,” says Tom Freed, MEC director. “You’re not going to have a social function going on in the room next door.” That means tailored amenities. “I think we’re probably right at the forefront of technology,” Freed says, noting that the center’s Internet service is on a fiberoptic loop with top-notch capacity and speed. It also offers webcasting (popular for global companies) and video conferencing. “You won’t find that everywhere,” Freed says.
Among Troy’s major draws is the Somerset Collection, a high-end shopping mall with 180 stores including luxury retailers like Tiffany and Co. and Louis Vuitton, as well as major department stores. Nestled next to the Somerset Collection is the Somerset Inn, a boutique-style hotel with flexible event space that can host affairs from intimate weddings to automotive events with vehicles on exhibit.
The Somerset Inn can accommodate groups up to 500 in its 17 meeting rooms comprising 2,100 square feet of meeting space, a 4,000-square-foot prefunction foyer and a 7,200-square-foot ballroom. The facility also has a secluded landscaped patio for outdoor events in the spring and summer.
“We’re not a chain, so that’s what gives it a boutique-y feel,” says Pam Holland, the inn’s director of sales. “You can walk out the front door of the hotel and walk into the side door of Neiman Marcus. You go out the back door and there are lots of trees and sidewalks—you feel like you’re in a neighborhood.”
The Somerset Inn prides itself on its food and its quality service, with longtime staff paying close attention to detail. “Our meeting planners like the fact that they can call us, and likely they are going to get the same people they talked to two years ago,” Holland says.
Another popular Troy hotel is the Embassy Suites. With convenient packages and ample event space, it’s a repeat go-to for many planners, according to sales manager Linda Rubarth. The Embassy Suites has seven meeting rooms and event space that can accommodate groups of up to 150. “Most of our meeting rooms have windows, which meeting planners and participants enjoy immensely,” Rubarth says. “Our second-floor terrace is a private but open space—great for receptions.” Complimentary centerpieces and black or white linens come with event space rentals, and the hotel’s Meetings Simplified package takes care of all the meeting details. “All you need to bring is an agenda,” Rubarth says.
For the environmentally minded, there’s the Detroit Marriott Troy. The hotel, a certified Michigan Green Lodging Facility, offers 21 meeting rooms comprising a total 16,881 square feet of meeting space. The hotel’s biggest room, the Peninsula Grand Ballroom, accommodates up to 1,000 guests. The Marriott also offers an on-site upscale bistro, 200 west, and is a short walk from the Troy Community Center, which offers wooded nature trails.
For smaller meetings and events on a budget, the Drury Inn and Suites, Troy offers two meeting rooms totaling 1,050 square feet with capacity for 50 guests. The hotel has 217 guest rooms and perks for groups of 10 or more, plus inclusive break packages for all meetings.
Michigan State University’s Management Education Center (MEC) is the business-meeting space mecca of Southeast Michigan. The center has 25,000 square feet of meeting space, nine conference rooms, including two large amphitheaters, a 400-person capacity auditorium and a soaring, recently renovated dining room and reception space.
“One of the things that makes us unique is that we’re dedicated to just business conferences and meetings,” says Tom Freed, MEC director. “You’re not going to have a social function going on in the room next door.”
That means tailored amenities. “I think we’re probably right at the forefront of technology,” Freed says, noting that the center’s Internet service is on a fiberoptic loop with top-notch capacity and speed. It also offers webcasting (popular for global companies) and video conferencing. “You won’t find that everywhere,” Freed says.
Space rental comes with in-house program coordinators, A/V tech assistance and menu planning at no extra charge. Plus, with access to a wide range of experts in the MSU faculty, the MEC can offer content assistance for meetings and conferences.
Even for the locals, Troy is a popular dining destination.
Ocean Prime, which bills itself as a modern American supper club, sits across the street from the Somerset Collection. Its four private rooms offer capacities ranging from 15-30 (two of the rooms can be combined to seat 52), while its spacious lounge can host up to 70 for a strolling event.
“It’s a throwback to the ‘50s, kind of Mad Menesque,” says Sue Simich, sales and marketing manager, of Ocean Prime’s atmosphere. “It’s that sophistication, that light, airy and modern feel.”
If you’re looking for a specialty steak, Morton’s The Steakhouse serves up some of the region’s best. For private functions, choose one of Morton’s three boardrooms, which can accommodate up to 88 guests combined, or its 135-seat dining room. Each Morton’s has a dedicated sales and marketing manager for groups, and offers Wi-Fi and sophisticated A/V.
And, of course, everyone loves Mon Jin Lau, a Troy mainstay for decades. That’s why it’s featured in this issue’s Meet & Eat (page 30).