Euro News

  • With views of the Mediterranean, The Columbus Monaco opened last April on the site of the former Abela Hotel Monaco. A $10 million renovation has transformed the property into what developer Ken McCulloch, founder of Malmaison Hotels, hopes to be the first in a series. The hotel offers 153 rooms and 23 suites, all with Internet access via the television, dual-line phones, CD players, and other amenities, as well as a meeting room for up to 20 people that features ISDN/ASDL service. An auditorium seating 99 people is nearing completion.

  • Now the largest hotel in Britain, the Hilton London Metropole opened an addition late last year bringing its room count to 1,073. A new conference center has 44,000 square feet, room enough for 600 people.

  • Event planners looking at Portugal have two new facilities to consider. Located seaside, just west of Lisbon, the Centro de Congressos do Estoril opened in October with a 600-room auditorium, almost 70,000 square feet of exhibition space, and 20 meeting rooms, all wired for videoconferencing. In the capital city, the Lisbon Congress Center is expected to complete an expansion and refurbishment by spring. The facility will have nine auditoriums, two large halls, and 15 smaller meeting rooms. The complex will also include a 200-room hotel and parking for 1,500 cars.

  • In November, Hyatt International opens its first hotel in Poland. The 250-room Hyatt Regency Warsaw is in the tree-lined diplomatic district, offering 13 meeting rooms and a ballroom seating 300 banquet-style. A business center provides high-speed Internet access, workstations, translation, and secretarial support.

  • Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts opened two European properties earlier this year. On February 1, the Toronto-based company cut the ribbon on the Four Seasons Hotel Prague with 162 guest rooms and 6,000 square feet of meeting space. The hotel sits in a historic neighborhood called Stare Mesto, not far from the central business district. Just a couple of weeks after the opening in the Czech Republic, an Irish property came on line. Four Seasons Hotel Dublin has 259 guest rooms, including 67 suites, all with two-line speaker phones and high-speed Internet access. The property is on the grounds of the Royal Dublin Society in the residential Ballsbridge neighborhood. It offers a 6,000-square-foot ballroom and another ballroom about half that size. Four Seasons has two more European properties in development: Four Seasons Hotel Florence, Italy, has a tentative 2004 opening date, and the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire is expected to open in 2003, about an hour's drive from central London.

  • Dolce International has also decided on Hampshire, England. The Montvale, N.J.-based company, which runs such conference centers as Hamilton Park in Florham, N.J., and Lakeway Inn in Austin, Texas, has acquired the 64-room Norton Manor Training and Conference Center. An expansion will bring the room count to about 100 rooms by early next year.

  • London Gatwick Airport is wooing events with a new 8,000-square-foot airport conference and business center, which opened this year. The Gatwick Center offers 18 meeting rooms as well as a lounge for use between meetings or flights. Videoconferencing, catering, and administrative support are among the range of services offered by the center.

Southern California

  • In picturesque La Jolla, Calif., The Lodge at Torrey Pines will open in early 2002 on the 18th hole of the Torrey Pines Golf Course. Designed in the California Craftsman style of architecture, the Lodge will feature 175 guest rooms, 13,000 square feet of meeting space, and a full-service spa.

  • Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa in Huntington Beach, Calif., is scheduled to open in October 2002. The resort will have 519 rooms and 59,000 square feet of meeting space.

  • Marriott's Desert Springs Resort & Spa, Palm Desert, Calif., is putting the finishing touches on a multimillion-dollar refurbishment to its 884 guest rooms. The resort features 51,300 square feet of conference space, two championship golf courses, 20 tennis courts, and a 30,000-square-foot, European-style spa and fitness center.

  • The Hyatt Regency San Diego is expanding, adding a 33-story, 750-room tower that will feature 86,000 square feet of meeting space. Expected to be completed in summer 2003, the expansion will connect to the existing 40-story, 875-room Hyatt. The enlarged property will be renamed the Manchester Grand Hyatt and will offer more than 120,000 square feet of meeting space and 1,625 sleeping rooms, including 90 suites. The expanded Hyatt will complement the nearby San Diego Convention Center. The expansion will also add a 34,000-square-foot exhibit hall, a 30,000-square-foot ballroom, and a 72-seat lounge.

  • Under construction at the 159-room Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach, Calif., is a meeting facility expected to open in January 2003 with a 7,505-square-foot ballroom, eight meeting rooms, and a board room.

  • Opened this spring, the new wing of the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park adds 90,000 square feet of space to the institution, bringing the total square footage to 150,000. The museum, with its new, light-filled, soaring atrium, can host groups of up to 1,500 for a stand-up reception or 300 for a seated dinner. The rooftop deck, with stunning views of the park, can host 100 for a dinner. A new boardroom can accommodate 35, and a new theater seats 300. Both have teleconferencing capabilities.

  • The Hyatt Newporter in Newport Beach has a new boardroom and 24-hour business center.

  • The Westin Mission Hills Resort in Rancho Mirage, Calif., is completing a renovation of all 472 guest rooms this fall. The resort's 40 suites were renovated last year.

  • Carlsbad, Calif.'s Legoland theme park has opened a new space for events. The Lego Grand Pavilion can host up to 600. Event guests can participate in a number of Lego model-building activities.

European Meetings Resources

Hard Days Night

Your high achievers may connect more with Bono than the Beatles, but who wouldn't want a night's stay at the Hard Day's Night, a new hotel under construction in Liverpool, England. Each of its 120 rooms will be themed to an event, place, or song associated with the Fab Four. The hotel is slated to open in 2003, next door to a faithful reconstruction of the Cavern Club, where John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr began their careers in the 1960s.

New Sensation

The first luxury resort to be built in Orange County in 16 years, the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa, has all eyes on Dana Point, Calif. The Mediterranean-style resort offers ocean views from almost all of its 400 guest rooms and 74 suites, as well as an 18-hole golf course, access to a private beach club, and the third location of Chef Michael Mina's exclusive seafood restaurant — and the only one in Southern California. For meetings, the St. Regis Monarch offers 30,000 square feet of space, including a 12,000-square-foot ballroom.

Southern California Resources