Whoever thinks that big convention hotels can't be stylish should take a look at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa, which opened January 31 in Hollywood, Fla. The new 1,000-room hotel and adjoining 209,000-square-foot convention center has an open-air, residential feeling that belies its size. The five-story, palm-filled atrium lobby is accented with polished woods, marble, and granite. The convention center, with 50,000 square feet of unobstructed exhibit space, four ballrooms, and 39 breakout rooms, echoes the hotel's sleek design.
Among the guest room amenities uncommon to a convention hotel are plantation shutters that open from bathroom to bedroom, so people soaking in the tub can have a view of the ocean or the intracoastal waterway. All rooms feature water views and Westin's ultra-comfy “Heavenly Bed.”
Meetings should run smoothly here, too, thanks to an impressive technology infrastructure that has a full range of capabilities, from private LAN networking to videoconferencing. High-speed Internet access is a given, with 860 data ports in the convention center alone. Another neat feature: Plasma display screens outside every meeting room, which are controlled from a central computer terminal, can be programmed as print reader boards and can be enlivened with sound and video.
On-site recreation includes an infinity-edge pool with waterfalls that cascade into a 240-foot, lagoon-style pool. The namesake spa and a championship golf course are about 10 minutes away at a sister property, the Diplomat Country Club.