The New Hall D at Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, opened last year. With a dramatic glass wall facing the scenic North Saskatchewan River Valley, Hall D has room for 1,200 people for meals or receptions, or 2,000 theater-style. The new hall adds 26,900 square feet to the conference center, built in 1983.
The 750-guest room Millennium Broadway Hotel will complete this month a total renovation of its 37-room conference center on six floors. Located on West 44th Street, a half block from Times Square, it is the only hotel in New York with an on-site conference center approved by the International Association of Conference Centers. The Millennium Conference Center has 110,000 square feet of space on seven floors, along with a fully staffed business center. A new meeting venue has been created on the sixth floor from former office space. All six conference center floors will have been totally renovated by the end of March. In addition, planners can use the newly restored, historic Hudson Theatre, also under Millennium management, which accommodates as many as 700, theater-style. The 102-year-old theater features Tiffany chandeliers and newly uncovered and restored glass mosaics.
The Hub Cira Centre, a new Philadelphia meeting and conference center, opened last month on the second-floor mezzanine level of The Cira Centre, adjacent to Amtrak's 30th Street Station. Offering all-inclusive pricing, the Hub has 14,000 square feet of space, including a 5,000-square-foot event space and 12 conference rooms.
Last fall, the Sheraton Denver West Hotel received IACC certification for its 18,000 square feet of newly renovated conference space. The hotel can accommodate 800 attendees for conferences, and it offers 242 newly refurbished guest rooms, as well as a 10,000-square-foot health club with heated swimming pool and spa services. The hotel is eight miles west of downtown Denver, adjacent to the Denver Federal Center.
In November, the Inverness Hotel and Conference Center, near Denver, opened The Spa at the Inverness, the culmination of a 15-month, $9 million renovation. The 4,500-square-foot spa features six treatments rooms and a couple's suite. All 302 guest rooms and suites were included in the renovation. The IACC-certified conference facilities were also upgraded with new audiovisual equipment, more than 900 new ergonomic Herman Miller Aeron chairs, and new carpet and tackable wall surfaces. Inverness hosts more than 750 meetings a year in its 43 meeting rooms. Also on-property: the 18-hole Preston Maxwell-designed golf course.
A member of IACC, Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Wash., offers more than 22,000 square feet of meeting space in 23 rooms. In addition, there is more than 29,000 square feet of seasonal outdoor venue space tucked within the center's 175 acres of wooded forests.
The Hyatt Regency Bonaventure Conference Center & Spa in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., recently completed a $100 million renovation of all guest rooms, restaurants, and meeting and conference space. The 100,000-square-foot conference center has three newly designed ballrooms, an amphitheater, three executive boardrooms, and 10 breakout rooms. The 501 completely redesigned British Colonial-style guest rooms and suites all feature high-speed Internet access, dual-line portable telephones with voice mail and speakerphone, LCD television with cable/satellite, and iHome AM/FM clock radio with iPod dock. The hotel will launch a fine-dining restaurant, Ireland's Steakhouse, by the end of the year. The recently opened 48,000-square-foot Red Door Lifestyle Spa, Elizabeth Arden has 30 treatment rooms, a “Zen Garden,” Pilates studio, movement studio, fitness and weight room, sauna, and steam room.
In Other News
The Inn at Palmetto Bluff features 50 guest cottages and cottage suites in Carolina Lowcountry style with big screened porches. It is an excellent property for buyouts when an important group wants privacy. Everything is on hand: an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course, a waterfront restaurant, a wine cellar, a spa, and a 30-acre private island for team and leadership development. Its River House has meeting space for up to 150 guests in a ballroom, smaller spaces for breakouts, and boardrooms that fit eight to 14 for think-tank sessions, problem solving, and executive teeth-gnashing.
With views of the Adirondack peaks from nearly every room, Mirror Lake Inn, located in the Olympic village of Lake Placid, N.Y., is ideal for intimate brainstorming sessions orexercises. The inn features 109 guest rooms and 20 suites; six conference rooms with capacity for 110, theater-style; and a 5,000-square-foot spa. Taking advantage of the its spectacular setting, the inn offers private concierge guide service for teambuilding adventures like ice climbing, wilderness excursions, bobsledding, and ski jumping. There's wireless Internet throughout, but put your cell phones away in public areas. The inn has two new dining experiences: bistro-style Taste, and The View, with a panoramic look at Mirror Lake and the mountains.
The boutique Sofia Hotel has opened in San Diego's downtown, a few blocks from the Gaslamp District and the San Diego Convention Center. Built in 1926, the former Pickwick Hotel has undergone a $16 million renovation and now has 212 rooms and suites and 24-hour exercise and yoga studios. The flexible meeting rooms accommodate 42 auditorium-style or 30 roundtable-style; a boardroom features videoconferencing.
On the Gaming Front
Tulalip Resort Casino, 30 minutes north of Seattle on I-5 in Tulalip, Wash., offers a 227,000-square-foot casino with 50 gaming tables and 2,000 slot machines. A 370-room, four-star hotel connected to the casino is scheduled for completion in early to mid-2008. It will have a 15,000-square-foot ballroom that can be broken down into 10 meeting rooms. It will also feature a large swimming pool. The Native American-run casino features four restaurants.
The board of directors of the International Association of Conference Centers North America has created a “Board Associate” position to focus on identifying and advising the board on emerging trends from Generations X and Y (those born from 1965 to 1995). IACC expects to announce the appointment in April at its 26th annual conference. “It is imperative that we maintain a cutting-edge perspective on technological and societal trends that affect our industry,” says Neil Pompan, President of IACC, N.A.