If you want to choose a meeting hotel where you know the F&B offerings will be top notch, choose one where the general manager is a chef. For example, Vancouver’s Westin Bayshore Hotel, where GM Jean-Luc Barone is not only a chef but the former director of food & beverage for all of Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Canada.

Combine that with a city that prides itself on the bounty of its fresh and local food and you can take menu planning off your meeting planning worry list.

Vancouver and the 511-room Westin Bayshore also make going green simple. Download practical steps for greening your meeting at the Westin’s Web site (for example, use dry-erase boards instead of flipcharts and choose living plants as centerpieces and donate them to local senior centers).

Variety in Meeting Space

Sparkling from a 2009 renovation, the property is a lovely seawall-walk away from the Vancouver Convention Centre. Of course, it’s also a self-contained conference center with 40 meeting rooms totaling more than 71,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space. That includes the 6,000-square-foot Stanley Ballroom (divisible into three sections) and the nearly 16,000-square-foot Bayshore Grand Ballroom (divisible into six sections)—the largest hotel ballroom in Western Canada. With a ballroom and breakout rooms on each of two floors, the hotel can accommodate two groups and give each a separate experience.

For receptions, groups of up to 500 people can wander throughout the gardens and patio area, while you keep the buffet inside, through the glass wall that leads to Currents, the hotel’s breezy breakfast restaurant. The Vida Spa has 12 treatment rooms and is available for group events. And attendees who prefer the great outdoors to the hotel’s well-equipped fitness center will be glad to hear about the running concierge program: Tie up your running shoes and head out with a local without having to worry about finding your own route.

Other highlights include the Marine Room, with its natural light and harbor views, and the Westin’s floating option—the Sunset Bay Yacht. Docked steps from the hotel, accommodates 275 guests on three levels, and can be used for receptions or additional breakout space.