In 1959, the University of California at Los Angeles opened its first residence hall on the northwest campus. During the past five decades, they've added high-rise residence halls, plaza rooms with private bathrooms, and suite-style accommodations. Now, the northwest campus, referred to by students as “The Hill,” is a vibrant community of almost 10,000 student-residents during the academic year, but during summers, The Hill provides conference space that's especially favored by groups looking closely at the bottom line. UCLA is now building 1,525 additional bed spaces, which will vastly expand the summer conference program. Along with the additional sleeping rooms for conference guests, there will also be additional meeting spaces, a new residential restaurant with seating for 750, and a ballroom that will accommodate up to 450 with views of the UCLA campus. All of the new buildings are planned to earn the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Silver rating and are scheduled to be completed in fall 2013.
The National Conference Center in Leesburg, Va., caters to religious conferences and retreats. Certified by the International Association of Conference Centers, the center is just 12 miles from Dulles International Airport and 45 minutes from Washington, D.C. It has 265,000 square feet of meeting space, 250 meeting rooms, and 917 guest rooms. One feature of the facility is its “meeting communities,” where meeting rooms and lodging are grouped in self-contained wings, providing an intimate meeting environment.
Sundance Resort in Sundance, Utah, officially opened the Redford Conference Center, which offers 3,500 square feet of meeting space, on September 16. The conference center's opening coincides with the final stages of a multimillion-dollar lodging room renovation at the 5,000-acre destination resort founded by actor and director Robert Redford. The conference center reception areas are designed to bring the outdoors in, and the rustic, yet elegant, design is evident in the center's use of locally quarried stone hearths and reclaimed barn wood. Environmentally friendly elements include a geothermal heating and cooling system, 95 percent of lighting that is LED or fluorescent, and carpeting in the ballroom that is 100 percent PVC-free. The Redford Conference Center will host meetings and retreats, and it will be home to Sundance leadership conferences, the Sundance Author Series, and topical public policy summits.
In St. Charles, Ill., Q Center offers more than 150,000 square feet of conference space certified by the International Association of Conference Centers. There are 1,042 rooms and suites and 118 meeting rooms. Q Center offers T3 Internet bandwidth; wireless and LAN setup; and a full-service, on-site event production team.
Loyola University Chicago offers a Retreat and Ecology Campus in Woodstock, Ill., that is a peaceful, contemplative setting ideal for religious gatherings. The facility has 10 meeting rooms, a variety of economically priced sleeping accommodations, Ethernet Internet access in each room, and a campus dining hall.
In Oakland, Calif., the East Bay Community Foundation's Conference Center with a Conscience, which opened in 2003, has been used by nonprofit organizations at below-market rates, and sometimes for free. Also known as the James Irvine Foundation Conference Center, it is also now being offered to the for-profit sector. The facility can accommodate groups of up to 120. The center has been renovated over the past few months, including complete interior painting, kitchen improvements, and new audiovisual equipment. The center has recently earned certification by the Bay Area Green Business Program.
Renovations to the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza's meeting space are complete. The more than $1 million upgrade to the hotel, located in the Westside of Los Angeles, has given its Plaza Level a totally new look. It provides more than 12,000 square feet of meeting space with two junior ballrooms that can be divided into four rooms, accommodating groups ranging in size from 150 to 400. The Westside Room has been reconfigured from three tiers to two. The 9,100-square-foot Plaza Pavilion accommodates up to 600 guests. Renovation of the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza's Executive Conference Center (formerly the South Mezzanine) has also been completed. The space is dedicated to small meetings for up to 100 people. There are eight meeting rooms ranging in size from 390 square feet to 1,100 square feet, all of which have floor-to-ceiling windows. Amenities include ergonomically correct banquet chairs, personal concierge, on-site business center and audiovisual services, Wi-Fi, and high-speed Internet.
Hilton Hotels has reflagged the Rosemont Hotel at O'Hare as Hilton Rosemont/Chicago O'Hare. More than $15 million in renovations to the property included the 287 guest rooms, 12 suites, and all meeting and conference spaces. The hotel has 26 meeting rooms and more than 22,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space, including the 6,900-square-foot grand ballroom (accommodating 800 people theater-style or 500 people banquet-style), and the Executive Conference Center, offering top-of-the-line telecommunications equipment. Audiovisual systems are available in all meeting rooms, which are located on the first and second floors. There is a kosher kitchen on site. Hilton Rosemont/Chicago O'Hare is connected to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center via enclosed skybridge.