2009 AAN Convention Comes to a Desert Destination Resort in Tucson

By tradition, the AAN Board of Directors meet every fall in the hotel that will host the association’s annual convention the following summer. When they arrived in Tucson at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa for this year’s fall meeting, board members were smitten.

“This is one of the nicest places AAN has ever used for a convention,” says San Francisco Bay Guardian executive editor and First Amendment chair Tim Redmond. “It sits on the side of a hill overlooking the entire valley; the rooms are great, the facilities are great, the outdoor bars are great …. [AAN members] will have a blast.”

But given the state of the economy, isn’t meeting in a luxurious resort the wrong way to go? Not when the room rate is a very affordable $139 and the rooms are big enough to house most alt-weekly advertising departments!

AAN’s 32nd Annual Convention is scheduled for June 25-27, 2009, and will be generously hosted by Tucson Weekly. Since AAN was forced to cancel the Web Publishing Conference this year, the convention will feature a special focus on web publishing, which will have its own track, along with business, advertising, editorial and design & production.

The lush Starr Pass resort has activities for everyone, whether you’re into golf, hiking, geocaching, swimming, hiking, or just being pampered with spa treatments and fresh and flavorful cuisine. The resort also runs a daily children’s recreation program if you want to bring the kids.

“The hotel is absolutely invigorating. It provides a perfect solution for the stresses and daily distractions that keep us from doing our most inspired work,” says East Bay Express publisher Jody Colley. “I plan on spending a few extra days with my management team to focus on long-term planning.”

The Starr Pass is 95 percent food-sustainable through a partnership with the Tohono O’odham Nation, located 15 miles from the resort. The Tohono O’odham grow, feed and produce sustainable items for the resort’s restaurants and catering operations, reducing its overall carbon footprint.

The hotel has been committed to respecting the environment since construction and continues to promote and participate in various conservation and sustainability initiatives, ranging from corn cups to a sustainably irrigated golf course.

If you like to hit the links, the newly redesigned Starr Pass Tucson Golf Club, a 27-hole Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Facility, offers stunning views of Tucson and surrounding Arizona mountain ranges, teaching facilities and a driving range.

The resort also has a variety of water activities which go way beyond your generic hotel pool. The Water Collection includes the Starr Canyon River, the Monsoon Falls Water Slide, Reflection Pools, and Dancing Springs.

Last, but certainly not least at any AAN confab, there are great bars, including one featuring more than 100 varieties of tequila with an outdoor terrace and firepits that look out at the lights of Tucson.

You can make reservations by calling the hotel at 888-527-8989 and asking for the AAN Annual Convention, or by booking online.

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