Transport attendees to a locale that swims in 299 days of sunshine per year
Although it's technically considered spring, by mid-March much of the Northern Hemisphere is in a steady state of thaw--with periods of sunshine suddenly (and quite jarringly) intermixed with sleet, rain and snow. Not so for Scottsdale, Arizona, a Southwest city that averages a 77-degree high throughout the month of March and experiences 299 days of pure sunshine per year. With those kinds of stats, it's no wonder the self-proclaimed "Most Western Town in the West" draws thousands of visitors in the springtime for sun-soaked MLB spring training matches, pre-summer pool parties, picturesque hiking and soothing spa days (there are more spas per capita here than any other city in the U.S., FYI).
Scottsdale's premier Marriott properties boast accommodations, dining and adventures that leverage the surrounding Sonoran Desert theme, and there's no reason why you can't bring the rustic magic associated with this Southwest gem to your own event. Here, we offer seven ideas.
Take Design Cues from Local Landmarks
When quintessential Arizona vegetation comes to mind, it's common to picture prickly cactus or rolling, dry tumbleweed. But the state is also home to a bounty of colorful wildflowers that grow in droves in the springtime--several of which can be found alongside the state's most famous highway, U.S. Route 66. Source golden-hued desert marigolds and purple alkali marsh asters to re-create this fresh-picked assortment in a rustic Mason jar.
Spice Up Your Cocktail Selection
Arizona food is no stranger to tongue-tingling spicy food, and its tangy margaritas and bloody mary beverages are no exception to that rule. Give yours a twist by incorporating one of the state's most unique ingredients, prickly pear, into the mix. Fun fact: It'll also turn your drink (or food!) hot pink.
Tap into the Local Brew Community
Although the state might be more associated with spicy alcoholic beverages, the Scottsdale area is also known for having some of the tastiest local brews in the country. Some of the most popular: Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. in Gilbert, Mother Bunch Brewing in Phoenix, SanTan Brewing Company in Chandler and Four Peaks in Tempe.
Soak Up the Sonoran Scenery
Bar none, the best thing about traveling to Scottsdale during the spring months is the crisply dry, warm location, which comes with breathtaking desert backdrops. The JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in particular, situated at the base of red-rock Camelback Mountain, provides the perfect setting for a midday outdoor picnic.
Mimic Desert Vegetation
If there's one piece of vegetation Arizona is synonymous with, it's the curiously prickly but water-filled cactus that's grown in multiple sizes and shapes. Conversely, if there's one dessert that the desert is synonymous with, it's chilled, flavorful ice cream, which is an especially tasty (and cold) refuge on a 120-degree summer day. Combine the two into these inverted cactus-inspired cones, as seen here from the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa.
Break out the Steel Guitar and Banjo
Scottsdale wouldn't be the most "Western Town in the West" without a healthy dose of honky-tonk, country rock and folk music. Should your event destination take you to Arizona, you'll have no problem booking a ten-gallon-hat-toting band. Bonus tip: Hire a two-stepping dance teacher to show attendees how to swing.
Cowboys and Clubbing
Although the country music scene throughout Scottsdale is sizable, the New York Times once described the city's downtown scene as a "desert version of Miami's South Beach" with "plenty of late night partying." Keep that festive nature (safely) contained by bringing the party to your guests, complete with poolside cocktails, neon lighting and pulsing club music.
Put Some Pep in Their Step
Nestled alongside Mexico, it's no wonder that Arizona and Scottsdale cuisine is most noted for its south-of-the-border-inspired entrees and ingredients--with the chili pepper the most (in)famous of all. Take cues from the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa by holding a (semi)educational pepper-themed break where attendees can identify pepper types and taste them afterward. Word to the wise: Have a pitcher or two of ice-cold milk on hand for stinging tongues.
Looking to hold your next event in a host city and venue soaked in sunshine? Consider booking one of Marriott's four Scottsdale-based properties, the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, Courtyard Scottsdale Salt River and Scottsdale Marriott Suites Old Town.