Article By Julia M. Johson
At Tan-Tar-A Resort, Golf Club, Marina and Indoor Waterpark in Osage Beach, there’s hardly a corner that remains untouched by the property’s recent renovation, which began in 2014.
Its fresh appearance and atmosphere are bringing a new wave of notoriety to the picturesque Lake of the Ozarks destination – and plenty of second looks from event planners.
The 420-acre resort complex is operated by Florida-based Driftwood Hospitality Management LLC. Located less than three hours from Kansas City and St. Louis, Tan-Tar-A brings you as close to the water as you can be. And once your guests take a gander at all there is to do and see, they’ll be in no hurry to return home.
The property’s amenities are many, and its range of spaces and services is comprehensive. “There are meeting and dining rooms in sizes to accommodate a small board meeting or our several hundred attendees,” says Joyce Wagner, executive director of the Missouri Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems in Jefferson City. Her organization plans a 500-person conference at the property each year. “Tan-Tar-A has renovated throughout the resort, most recently the main building, and it is beautiful. I would certainly recommend it as an event planner’s resort of choice on many levels.”
Update at the lake
Ann Walters, sales director for Tan-Tar-A, says the facility’s multi-million-dollar “reawakening” is nearing completion, and the improvements are easy to appreciate. “The first thing you notice is the main lobby, completely renovated,” she says. “It’s fantastic. The front desk used to be in a large ‘U’ shape, but it’s been converted to pods that are more engaging for guests. We’ve found people like it.”
The lobby bar, Mr. D’s, has been completely reimagined as well. “It’s now out in the open, and very inviting,” Walters says. “There are TVs, and a coffee area for mornings. There are great places for people to get together.” The lobby also now features a large conference table with hookups for guests’ electronic devices, and a floor-to-ceiling fireplace fixture to draw their attention.
Tan-Tar-A’s guest rooms have received the royal treatment as well. According to Walters, all 144 rooms in Building A, the main lodging facility, now feature king size beds and sofa sleepers. And the color scheme has been modernized to include soothing and comfortable earth tones.
Some of the resort’s meeting spaces are still undergoing updates at this writing, but Walters says the property’s 30,000-square-foot Windgate exhibit hall is now complete, with new paint, carpet and updated ceilings. The 23,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom is being renovated this year, and should be finished in 2016. Work on other spaces such as the property’s “60s and 70s series” numbered meeting rooms is under way as well. A former gift shop space has been reconfigured into the Sycamore Room, bringing the property’s total to 31 meeting rooms.
Convenience and enjoyment
Walters says planners and guests alike are happy to learn of the property’s new fiber-optic Internet technology, which has significantly improved bandwidth and loading times. Powers Entertainment has an office on-site for the scheduling of equipment and services for bands and shows, and there’s a business center for guests’ use.
The property’s look may be new, but Tan-Tar-A’s menu of fun remains as enticing as ever. It includes the year-round indoor Timber Falls waterpark; Windjammer Spa and Salon; bowling alley; specialty shops; indoor and outdoor pools; 27 holes of championship golf; miniature golf; horseback riding; game room; gift shop; fitness center; full-service marina; watercraft rental; fishing excursions, and more.
After you meet, when it’s time to eat, your guests can relax at the Black Bear Lodge Restaurant and Lounge or the Windrose Restaurant on the water. Walters says there is a new executive chef, David Prody, and Paul Bashinski is now food and beverage director. “They’re always coming up with fresh new ideas for meetings and events,” she says.
Happy planners, happy guests
Tan-Tar-A’s size and versatility make the property flexible enough to host a near-endless variety of group events. Many Missouri nonprofits, businesses, government agencies and professional societies rely on the facility’s manifold attractions to help them boost attendance and provide a spectacular experience for guests.
“We have been using Tan-Tar-A for more than 10 years,” says Donna Sharpe, Missouri FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) adviser for the Missouri Office of College and Career Readiness in Jefferson City. Sharpe plans the organization’s annual Fall Leadership Conference for students and advisers from across the state. “We love the service we receive in support of our event,” she says. “Staff members do whatever they can to make it successful with service before, during and after the conference.”
The event includes a lunch buffet, use of conference rooms, and a variety of guest activities, Sharpe says. “We never have a problem getting all participants through the buffet quickly, and we always have plenty of food. And our meeting rooms are large, but can be split for smaller sessions.” She says the facility’s responsiveness is top-notch as well: “We once had to turn a room around in about 10 minutes, but the staff didn’t hesitate, and made it happen.”
“Tan-Tar-A’s staff makes things work for us with the space we need, within our budget,” Sharpe says. “It is also nice to have our entire delegation in one location. When you are working with more than 1,500 teenagers, things can get a little hectic. But the staff members are wonderful. It feels like they are family.”
Partners in event success
The Missouri Music Educators Association, with chapters all over the state, also has a long-standing relationship with Tan-Tar-A according to Rob Nichols, past president. The organization has held its Music Educators Conference at the resort for more than 35 years, accommodating 120 exhibitors and thousands of attendees.
“Tan-Tar-A offers a variety of options,” Nichols says. “We use most of the meeting rooms and event spaces, which accommodate everything from a small business meeting to a concert for close to 1,500 people.
“Options for food and beverage are many, and include everything from excellent catered choices for event functions, to fast food, to fine dining at the Windrose Restaurant,” he says. “And one of the most impressive qualities of the resort is the outstanding service from staff. We are constantly amazed at the high level of professionalism and customer service displayed by all Tan-Tar-A staff, from housekeeping to front desk and guest services. The ownership and pride that are evident in all areas are absolutely amazing.”
Marrying physical improvements with attentive service creates a winning environment for all, according to Walters, and the resort is always strengthening its commitment in that regard. “We’re updating everything here at Tan-Tar-A,” she says. “It’s a continuing culture of excellence.”
Ann Walters, director of sales
494 Tan-Tar-A Drive
P.O. Box 188TT
Osage Beach MO 65065
Julia M. Johnson is a contributing editor and writer from St. Louis.