The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre both operate in two of the world's most exciting cities that happen to be blessed with spectacular harbours. And guess what, these facilities happen also to be located along the waterfront. Naturally, a hotel in the area is a desirable thing – imagine the view from your window being one that accompanies you on the way to the trade show. Here are some addresses to consider when next you swing into town for a conference or exhibition.
HONG KONG CONVENTION AND EXHIBITION CENTRE (HKCEC)
• Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
The Residence boardroom
What is it like? It provided the template for countless Grand Hyatts in the upper tier of this renowned corporate chain and has been the preferred address of numerous visiting heads of states including Bill Clinton and Hu Jintao. Last refurbished in 2000, it is again embarking on another round of enhancement (see news).
How near is it to the HKCEC? Located adjacent to the facility, which is reached in minutes using an exit on the mezzanine level.
Any onsite meeting facilities? A total of 23 flexible event venues, including the Grand Ballroom, which can take up to 950 guests theatre style, are located in the lobby or mezzanine level.
• Renaissance Harbour View Hotel Hong Kong
What is it like? Well-known to habitués of trade shows at HKCEC, it has served as their regular temporary address year in and year out. Despite having 857 guestrooms and suites – two thirds of which command views of Victoria Harbour – and a perennially busy lobby, the hotel still manages to create a cosy feel that colours its operations.
How near is it to the HKCEC? It enjoys direct access to the facility through the upper lobby.
Any onsite meeting facilities? These occupy over 1,400 square metres in the lower lobby, mezzanine and eighth floor. Newly renovated are the Concord and Oasis rooms, which can be divided into four separate sections to cater to everything from intimate to larger events of up to 600 people in a banquet setting.
OPENING THIS YEAR
• Hotel Indigo Hong Kong Island
Hotel Indigo, Wanchai's latest landmark
What is it like? Opening in May, this fast-growing brand under the IHG group, will be setting trends in a precinct known for its colour and spirit. The 29-storey tower, containing 138 rooms, is expected to stand out with its golden dragon facade that also serves as an "eco-screen" counteracting hot spots and solar gain. Sure to catch attention as well will be the Skybar and the infinity glass bottomed pool, which can be seen by passers by below.
How near is it to the HKCEC? About a brisk 15 minute walk to the facility.
Any onsite meeting facilities? An eight-seater boardroom comes with high-speed internet access, LED TV, Blu-Ray with other meeting amenities upon request.
• Mira Moon Hotel
A future guestroom in the Half Moon category
What is it like? This 91-room lifestyle-tinted property, under the Mira brand portfolio, is set for a July launch. Inspired by the Chinese legend of the Moon Goddess of Immortality, the interiors and furnishings blend traditional and modern elements resulting in an eye-catching and welcoming product. Technology in the rooms include HD IPTV, iPad multi-media connectivity and free wifi or wired internet access.
How near is it to the HKCEC? From its location on Jaffe Road, it is a short walk through mostly covered walkway to the facility.
Any onsite meeting facilities? None, given its boutique nature. But the F&B options, which will include an open-air terrace invite post-meeting socialising.
• OZO Wesley Hong Kong
Rendering of OZO Wesley lobby
What is it like? The reincarnation of the Wesley in the Admiralty district will be the 250-room OZO Wesley, debuting in the second quarter of this year. The selected service brand of the ONYX Hospitality Group will showcase carefully thought out features such as a central multi-functional hub with self check-in pods and orientation touch pads for tech-savvy guests.
How near is it to the HKCEC? About a brisk 15-minute walk to the facility.
Any onsite meeting facilities? The meeting room space is called "Talk" and has capacity for up to 50 persons.
SYDNEY CONVENTION AND EXHIBITION CENTRE (SCEC)
• Fraser Suites Sydney
Classroom set up in Kent Room 1 and 2
What's it like? The portfolio of 201 stylish units are housed in a 42-level tower, featuring only seven units per storey. The categories range from studios to one-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom loft penthouses that are fully furnished.
How near is it to the SCEC? Located west of the property, the facility is about a 10-minute walk.
Any onsite meeting facilities? The Kent Rooms on level 12 comes with a pre-function area and can be sectioned to accommodate gatherings of 10 to up to 140 for cocktails. There are also more meeting venues on level 10 at The Mezzanine and on level 11.
• Holiday Inn Darling Harbour
A former wool store, now Holiday Inn
What is it like? The building, occupied by 360 rooms of this popular mid-range chain, was a former 1890s wool store. In 2006, it enforced a strict ban on smoking, a year before the state introduced similar regulation for all enclosed areas of restaurants and licensed clubs and pubs.
How near is it to the SCEC? Heading northwest from the property, it is a five to seven-minute walk to the facility.
Any onsite meeting facilities? Meeting spaces on the ground floor – Pritchard Room, Dickson Room and John Bridge Room – accommodate up to 80 people and are equipped with wifi internet access, data projectors and flipcharts.
For more information, contact +61 2 9935 8175 or visit www.ihg.com
• Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour
Little Pier meeting room
What is it like? This is one of a trio of Accor-affiliated properties, including Novotel Sydney Darling Harbour and Novotel Sydney Central (formerly Citigate Sydney), close to the SCEC. It has 230 guestrooms and among its F&B offerings is the heritage-listed Pumphouse specialising in imported and boutique beers and pizza among others.
How near is it to the SCEC? It is nearer the Exhibition Centre side.
Any onsite meeting facilities? Five meeting rooms with a maximum capacity of 110 delegates in a theatre style set up.
• Park Royal Darling Harbour
Lobby of Park Royal Darling Harbour
What is it like? Boasts 340 recently refurbished guestrooms outfitted with the latest technology.
How near is it to the SCEC? A brisk five-minute walk to the facility going westward from the property.
Any onsite meeting facilities? Eight function venues catering to up to 230 participants theatre style and 160 banquet style.
• Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney
What is it like? Occupying a heritage-listed building are 362 guestrooms and suites, called "Spa Suites", that have been made even more indulgent with an additional lounge area and extra deep spa bath.
How near is it to the SCEC? A 20-minute walk to the facility.
Any onsite meeting facilities? Eight conference venues, two of which are "heritage listed", and another two which enjoy natural light.
Margie T Logarta