After years of restoration work to this 18th-century landmark, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Normandy Farm Hotel and Conference Center in Blue Bell, Pa., reopened in June 2003. The conference center, with 23,000 square feet of meeting space in two ballrooms and 17 meeting rooms, has just been approved for accreditation by the International Association of Conference Centers. There are 141 guest rooms and suites, and the on-site, award-winning Coleman Restaurant is presided over by celebrity chef Jim Coleman.


Conference Centers


Santa Cruz, Calif.

News: Benchmark Hospitality International, operator of Chaminade, was awarded “Green Business Certification” by Santa Cruz County for exceeding environmental regulatory requirements, preventing pollution, and conserving natural resources.

Specs: 156 guest rooms and 12,000 square feet of meeting space

Norris Conference Center

Fort Worth, Texas

The News: Norris Conference Centers has finalized a deal with Sundance Square to bring conference facilities to downtown Fort Worth.

Specs: After renovation of the site on Houston Street, now occupied by AMC Sundance, the 40,000-square-foot conference facility is scheduled to open this fall. The design includes six executive meeting rooms. One room will remain in a theater-seating configuration. Groups as large as 300 participants will be able to be accommodated at the center.

The Chattanoogan

Chattanooga, Tenn.

The News: Renovations to guest rooms, lobby, and Foundry Bar are complete.

Specs: 199 guest rooms all feature complimentary high-speed Internet access. The conference center has 25,000 square feet of meeting space. The center also has a spa with four treatment rooms.

Beachside Resort & Conference Center

Key West, Fla.

The News: This new five-star resort and conference center opened last fall.

Specs: With 222 rooms and suites, the resort has a 6,000-square-foot conference and meeting center with its own food-service kitchen. The Beachside Ballroom can accommodate up to 400 guests for a seated dinner.

Extra: Overlooks the Gulf of Mexico

Desert Willow Conference Center


The News: A new day conference center opened last summer in the Cotton Business Park in Phoenix, near the Tempe border.

Specs: With seven meeting rooms and two ballrooms, the center can accommodate up to 600 people. It is managed by Sodexho Conferencing, which also manages Black Canyon Conference Center in Phoenix and High Country Conference Center in Flagstaff, Ariz. (See next listing.)

High Country Conference Center

Flagstaff, Ariz.

The News: Set to open at the end of March 2008

Specs: More than 25,000 square feet of flexible meeting space; can accommodate up to 1,000 people. It is adjacent to the Drury Inn and Suites Flagstaff, with 158 guest rooms.

Specs: The conference center, owned by Northern Arizona University and managed by Sodexho, will seek IACC certification upon opening.

Skokie Banquet & Conference Center

Skokie, Ill.

The News: The $10 million Skokie Banquet & Conference Center opened adjacent to the 244-room Holiday Inn North Shore.

Specs: 15,000 square feet of meeting space and a 12,000-square-foot ballroom, the largest on Chicago's North Shore. The ballroom can be divided into eight rooms.

Time Frame: Opened February 2007

Tokyo Conference Center Shinagawa

Tokyo, Japan

The News: Benchmark Hospitality has formed a partnership with Hiromi Takagi and Kozue Honda, both of Tokyo, launching Benchmark Hospitality International Japan. The company has acquired 100 percent ownership of Benchmark Tech from Tech R&DS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Daiwa House. Benchmark Tech operated the Tokyo Conference Center Shinagawa, a member of the International Association of Conference Centers, with 20,000 square feet of meeting space.

Granlibakken Conference Center & Lodge

Tahoe City, Calif.

The News: The expansion of the executive lodge was completed last June with the addition of two new conference areas and eight lodging rooms.

Specs: 16,000 square feet of meeting space for groups of up to 400, and 188 lodge guest rooms.

Monterey Conference Center

Monterey, Calif.

The News: The center has received new furniture and carpeting, and a new heating and air-conditioning system was installed last year.

Specs: Three levels of meeting space include an exhibit hall, ballroom, theater, and boardroom that total 58,000 square feet.

News Makers

  • The Georgia World Congress Center has appointed Karen Boatright national sales manager, responsible for the medical market. Boatright comes to the GWCC from Delta Air Lines where she had worked for the past 30 years.

  • Seaview Resort and Spa, in Galloway, N.J., has hired Donna Vitale as senior account executive, responsible for business in the northern New Jersey area, with a focus on the pharmaceutical industry.