The Metropolitan at the 9 got on top of local corporate events scene in 2015 — literally — when it opened the Azure, its 8,000-square-foot rooftop lounge. Corporate event planners quickly showed interest in the open-air space and panoramic view of Downtown Cleveland as well customized gobo logos. “We light up company logos onto our building, and they can be seen not just at Azure but all over Cleveland,” Events Manager Brittany Pontuti said. “It helps the larger company but also the smaller company that is trying to establish name recognition.” But what happens when Cleveland’s inclement weather strikes? “That’s our biggest obstacle,” Director of Sales and Marketing Sandra Keneven said. “We’ve done our best to mitigate rain, heat, and cold by dropping down panels, adding air conditioning and heaters, but when the weather just will not cooperate and it becomes uncomfortable to our guests or a safety issue to be up there, that’s when our challenge begins. For every event that we book at Azure, we always have to have a contingency space, too, just in case. And that room has to be set up and ready to go as well as Azure each and every time.” These contingency spaces include the Alex Theater, Vaults, Mint Ballroom, Cleveland Trust Rotunda, Ledger Bar, Adega’s Private Dining Rooms, and Art Gallery.
A national sports broadcast network (unnamed because of confidentiality terms) booked the entire lower level of The 9 during the 2015 NBA championship series. The 5,122-square-foot Mint Ballroom and 8,000-square-foot Vault Lounge were transformed into meeting rooms and offices, where the network’s staffers streamed live coverage to the world. They held meetings there and received every possible accommodation they requested. Computer hook-ups and cable lines crisscrossed the now-unrecognizable space where brides once tossed bouquets. “It was changed into a war room,” Keneven said. “The network’s staff members were like newborn babies who got their days and nights mixed up. They were up working around the clock, and that meant our staff was also. It was crazy.”
General Electric, which every four years holds its annual global conference in Cleveland, did so for the first time at The 9. “Prior to our event at The 9, our attendees told us it was their least favorite city to host the conference, and no one was ever very excited to arrive back in Cleveland,” GE’s global events coordinator (unnamed upon request) said. “However, this year, the conventioneers were quite surprised when they arrived at The 9. They had no idea they were coming here, and you could see on their faces how happy they were the moment they stepped into the grand lobby. Not only were they in awe of the upscale hotel and unparalleled meeting accommodations, they also told us how impressed they were with Cleveland and how much it had changed in four years.”
Runner-ups: Hilton Garden Inn Mayfield East/700 Beta Banquet and Conference Center; Sawmill Creek; Westin Cleveland Downtown.
2015 — Metropolitan at the 9
2014 — Renaissance Cleveland Hotel
2013 — Wyndham Cleveland at Playhouse Square
2012 — Wyndham Cleveland at Playhouse Square
2011 — Wyndham Cleveland at Playhouse Square
2010 — Wyndham Cleveland at Playhouse Square
2009 — (“traditional” venue) Corporate College East
2008 — (“traditional” venue) Corporate College East
2007 — (“traditional” venue) Executive Caterers at Landerhaven