ATTACHED TO THE Cleveland Clinic campus via skywalk is the recently opened Cleveland InterContinental Hotel and Conference Center. Its 500-seat amphitheater includes surround sound, push-to-talk microphones at each seat, a real-time voting system, and a robotic camera that can zoom in on any audience member. Amphitheater meetings can be broadcast to any room in the hotel. The conference center also houses an 8,000-square-foot ballroom featuring viewing screens that drop from the ceiling for audiovisual presentations. The ballroom can be separated into three sections and can accommodate up to 1,000 guests. The hotel has 300 guest rooms, 29 suites, and 35,000 square feet of event space. cleveland-conferencecenter.intercontinental.com
The Executive Meeting Center at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center opened last year in Alexandria, Va. Certified by the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC), the EMC has 5,000 square feet of meeting space for groups of from 10 to 60. The 496-room Hilton offers complimentary shuttle service to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. www.hilton.com
Opening this spring in Niagara Falls, N.Y., the 116,000-square-foot Conference Center Niagara Falls will have 15 purpose-built conference rooms, including an executive boardroom and a 65-seat amphitheater. There will be a 10,500-square-foot grand ballroom and a 32,200-square-foot entertainment/exhibit center that can accommodate 200 exhibit booths. The Seneca-Niagara Casino is located across the street, and the Frederick law Olmstead — designed Niagara Falls State Park is two blocks away. www.niagarafalls-cc.com
In Vancouver, Wash., a $73 million construction project has begun on a hotel and conference center. The conference center will have 30,000 square feet of meeting space. The seven-story hotel, to be managed by Hilton, will add 225 rooms to the city's current 1,500 rooms. Completion is expected in 2005. www.southwestwashington.com
Bremerton Harborside Kitsap Conference Center is under construction in Bremerton, Wash., with an opening date set for July 2004. Located on Bremerton's waterfront with Puget Sound views and walk-on access to Seattle ferries, the center will have a 6,000-square-foot divisible ballroom able to accommodate 440 for a sit-down meal, a separate 696-square-foot executive meeting room, and a 3,240-square-foot pre-function lobby. www.kitsapconferencecenter.com
Benchmark Hospitality has recently reopened the World Trade Institute Conference Center in lower Manhattan. Owned by Pace University and managed by Benchmark, the center is located on eight floors of 163 William Street and offers 20,000 square feet of dedicated meeting space with 33 meeting rooms, including a 2,000-square-foot multifunction room. The conference center will return to the World Trade Center after its completion. www.benchmarkhospitality.com
In January after a multimillion-dollar renovation, the Holiday Inn Select Atlanta Capitol Conference Center reopened in downtown Atlanta. All areas of the hotel were renovated, including its conference facilities. The hotel has 24,000 square feet of flexible meeting and function space, including an amphitheater for 600. www.hiselectatlanta.com
The Sawgrass Marriott Resort & Beach Club has expanded its conference center with the new 16,000-square-foot Champions Ballroom, which features eight breakout rooms. Located in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., between Jacksonville and St. Augustine, the resort has conference facilities that also include 8,000-square-foot and 4,000-square-foot ballrooms, and the 12,500-square-foot www.sawgrassmarriott.comHall, with exhibit space accommodating up to 60 booths. There are two executive boardrooms and five conference rooms.
In Evanston, Ill., the Omni Orrington closed in January to undergo a $20 million renovation. It will reopen in June as the independent Hotel Orrington. Included in the plan is a 19,000-square-foot conference center on the hotel's ninth floor, slated to open in September, that will meet IACC standards. www.hotelorrington.com
In November, The Harrison Conference Center at Lake Bluff (Illinois) launched a $3 million renovation of 55 guest rooms, scheduled for completion in March. Common areas will also be upgraded with new carpets, drapes, and upholstery. The conference center is a member of IACC. It offers 10,500 square feet of meeting space and 83 guest rooms. www.aramarkharrisonlodging.com
Scottsdale Resort & Conference Center (formerly the Scottsdale Conference Resort) is undergoing a $20 million refurbishment. In January, the resort completed Phase I, which included renovation of all guest rooms and suites and added high-speed Internet access to all rooms. www.scottsdale-resort.com
Last year, the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, Calif., completed a $65 million expansion, featuring a new 50,000-square-foot conference center with a 20,000-square-foot ballroom. On the lakeside of the 18th green of The Golf Resort at Indian Wells, with views of the San Jacinto Mountains, the new group facilities include a pre-function area and a 15,000-square-foot kitchen, as well as temperature-controlled outdoor terraces. The resort, one of the few in the Palm Springs area that can accommodate groups larger than 500, has 479 rooms and 54 suites. www.grandchampions.hyatt.com
The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London, overlooking Westminster Abbey, has upgraded its business center and the foyer. The Business Centre now has free Internet access and ISDN connection. Last year, around five miles of cabling was installed as part of an improvement project on the third floor. The Centre has four main auditoriums, seven conference rooms and over 20 smaller meeting rooms, catering for events for 40 to 1,000 delegates. www.qeiicc.co.uk.
Benchmark Hospitality of The Woodlands, Texas, has opened a second day-meetings conference center in Tokyo, the Tokyo Conference Center Shinagawa. It has just been accepted as a member of IACC. The center has 18,632 square feet of meeting space with 10 conference rooms, including a boardroom and a large hall that can accommodate 500. Its restaurant that can seat 250. The center is adjacent to Shinagawa Station, providing easy access to and from Tokyo's subway and JR train systems. www.benchmarkhospitality.com