Character Buildings



Why is it special?

Egypt, the mystical land of the Pharoahs, is home to many ancient temples. One of the best preserved of these architectural marvels is Rameses III’s (1186 to 1155 BC) mortuary temple in the modern-day city of Luxor, site of the ancient city of Thebes.

Called the Medinet Habu by local residents, it was regarded as sacred ground – long before Rameses’ time – and the spot where the Egyptian god Amun was supposed to have first appeared.

Colossal statues of Rameses III as Osiris, lord of the underworld, line part of the temple and clearly allude to the Pharoah’s preternatural relationship with the gods.  But the edifice also stands as a monument to his earthly achievements. Elaborately inscribed reliefs depict high points of Rameses III’s  reign, such as his victory over the Sea Peoples.  The fortress-like complex boasts more than 75,350sqm of richly inscribed surfaces.

The temple is enclosed by an 11-metre-thick and 18-metre-high mud brick wall. The complex also housed storerooms, workshops and the residences of officials and temple priests.

What can you do there?

It is not easy to sit still for a meal surrounded by such dazzling interiors. Gazing at the magnificent reliefs, guests will soon feel as if they were travelling back in time.

ITTA Tours can arrange a dinner event that starts with a grand welcome into the complex, torch-carrying Pharaonic guards lining the entrance, while the march from Aida thunders in the background. Spotlights will illuminate rows of hieroglyphics on the columns and walls, to heighten the atmosphere of antiquity.

The temple will be divided into two parts and guests enjoy a cocktail reception in the first hall, while the banquet takes place in the second hall.  Enjoy a gala dinner under the stars with beautifully woven carpets laid out on the ground.

Entertainment accompanying dinner or cocktails will include a light show, Pharaonic dance performance, a classical trio or quartet and a violin or Nay (oriental flute) recital.

Temple capacity is 300 and previous clients have included Discovery Channel, Sanofi Aventis and Novo Nordisk.

The weather in Luxor is fairly hot all year, with temperatures rising up to 40 degrees Celsius in the summer months. September to March would be appropriate times for events as temperatures are cooler. Outdoor heaters are provided when the weather turns cold. Avoid organising events between mid-March and the end of April as sandstorms may occur and disrupt your event. Booking is typically done two to three months in advance.


ITTA Tours




Why is it special?

The structure is considered one of the greatest architectural icons of the 20th century, with its distinct shell-like roofs covered by smooth matte cream tiles. In 2007, it was chosen as one of the 20 finalists for the New Seven Wonders of the World.

With its strategic position facing the harbour, you’ll most likely have a view of Sydney Harbour Bridge – another man-made wonder.

What can you do there?

Opera Point Events, the events arm of Sydney Opera House, will assist you with any event, from gala dinners, cocktail receptions accompanied by violin recitals to art exhibitions and movie screenings.

When Italian-based coffeemaker Lavazza launched “The Most Majestic Espresso Experience” 2008 calendar, it hosted a Marie Antoinette theme party for 80 at the Opera Point Marquee.

Waiters and guests were dressed in French aristocracy-style gowns and evening coats, complete with powdered wigs, while a harpist strummed through the night. Images from their calendar were printed on the canvas tents as décor.

Apart from the Opera Point Marquee with its attached open-air terrace that accommodates up to 450 for cocktails, the Opera Theatre’s northern foyer, with a Granite level and Lounge & Bar level, is also an ideal place for high-profile events, given its 600-guest capacity for cocktail receptions. Both offer panoramic views of Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The artsy Utzon Room, named after the landmark’s architect, Jørn Utzon, is decorated with a floor-to-ceiling woollen tapestry in a spectrum of colours and is ideal for cocktail receptions for about 250. A state-of-the-art sound system and built-in projection screen converts the party place into meeting space in a very short time.

The Concert Hall’s northern foyer, comprising the Granite level, Mural level and Lounge & Bar level, is the largest event venue with a 1,000-person capacity.

Bookings can be made just a couple of weeks prior to the event, except for the peak season toward the end of the year.


Opera Point Events




Why is it special?

Built in 1928, the crowning glory of this historic building is its neo-classical colonial architecture and Doric columns.

Well located at the mouth of the Singapore River, it has always been a prime commercial address boasting prestigious tenants such as the Singapore Club, Chamber of Commerce and General Post Office. On January 1, 2000, in a glittering event attended by former Singapore prime minister Goh Chok Tong, it made a stunning return, this time as the fully refurbished Fullerton Hotel.

What can you do there?

The Post Bar, located at the lobby, is the place to see and be seen. It was so named for the coffered ceiling and pillars that were retained from its old life as the post office’s transaction hall.

It was here that Ashley Isham, Singapore’s  fashion genius, celebrated the opening of his boutique at the hotel.

The “Summer Soiree” theme cocktail party attracted a high-profile guest list of 200. Limited edition summer collections and exclusive demi-couture pieces were hung on display in the bar. It was a night of glitz and fashion, all integrated into a historical backdrop.

The entire bar with its 200-guest threshold can only be booked for private functions outside its operating hours. For smaller groups, the glass-enclosed Music Room, separated from the main bar, is available for booking during and after operating hours. An alfresco area, furnished with contemporary rattan furniture, is also available.

It has proven to be a flexible venue for different types of private and corporate events. Contact the Post Bar one week in advance for space rental, then sit back, relax, and enjoy that Singapore Sling.


Post Bar





Why is it special?

Edinburgh Castle, known in Scotland as the “Castles of Castles”, houses the Honours of Scotland – the Crown, the Sceptre and the Sword of State. It dominates the Scottish capital’s skyline from its perch on Castle Rock, a long dormant volcano.

Edinburgh Castle is also the site of the annual Charitable Edinburgh Military Tattoo performance, an event that has taken place since 1950.  It attracts around 220,000 people over a three-week period.

What can you do there?

Historic Scotland, the Scottish Government agency that manages the castle, will ensure that you get a royal treatment. Packages for meetings and dinners will leave you spoilt for choice.

For dinner, choose from a Scottish-themed banquet or a director’s dinner package. Both include entertainment by a piper and a private viewing of the Scottish Crown Jewels. The Scottish-themed banquet has an additional grand finale of “Beating the Retreat”, where a 16-piece pipe band escorts guests out of the castle.

Banquets can be held at the Jacobite Room, a flexible event space with a dining area for 100, or at the Queen Anne Building situated in the heart of the Castle with a dining area for 120.

For conferences, the Gatehouse Suite caters to 22 guests and has a private terrace that overlooks Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile. Exclusive events can take place in outdoor areas like the Crown Square, while the Castle Battlements can accommodate up to 500 guests.

A reading of Robert Burns’ “Address To A Haggis” can be arranged as an event starter. To further immerse your delegates in the history of the castle, watch costumed performances that depict tales of the Scottish Highlands. Shows are on every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until March 31, 2009.

Most popular seasons are in summer, and in winter before Christmas. Events can be planned just two weeks in advance, but time frame varies according to venue availability and the scale of the event. Note that the castle is closed to events during the month of August except for the annual Edinburgh Military Tattoo performance.


Historic Scotland

Character Buildings



Why is it special?

Tai Miao is a 140,000sqm imperial temple dating back from 1420. Here, the emperors of the Qing and Ming dynasties were crowned, and court ceremonies – both religious and secular – were staged.

The main temple sits on top of a white marble platform embellished with carved mystical creatures similar to those in the Forbidden City. Its interiors are lined with chime bells (an instrument used to signal the emperor’s arrival) and memorial tablets of the emperor’s ancestors.

The self-contained structure recently made headlines as the venue for celebration of the “100-day countdown to Beijing Olympics”.

What can you do there?

Conservation is the priority in this architectural gem. Any equipment used for an event, be it furniture or sound systems, has to be placed at least five metres away from any the temple structures. Beyond this limitation, event companies like ETG Staging Connections can plan an event as grand as the place itself, complete with dinner, drinks and entertainment.

One of the events in its portfolio is themed “Chinese Streets – Hutong Style”, a 650-guest outdoor event highlighted by a huge map of China. Dinner is an assortment of dishes from various provinces, while entertainment comes from an er-hu (Chinese two-string fiddle) band dressed in traditional costumes. Chinese acrobats wow guests with their plate-spinning and paper-cutting skills, while local soothsayers conduct palm-reading sessions in oriental-style booths.

With the historical Tai Miao backdrop, Chinese cultural themed events are popular choices. Preparation for one can take up to seven months with the inevitable gruelling paperwork and waiting for government approval. (“This is China,” is a phrase that you will often hear when your patience is about to run out.) Autumn is the best season for events.


ETG Staging Connections


 Character Buildings



Why is it special?

Designed by Antoni Gaudi, known for his surrealist style and highly individualistic designs, the building has become an icon in Barcelona. Its trademark skeletal exterior earned it the local nickname – Casa dels Ossos (House of Bones).

Broken fragments of glass in a spectrum of colours and glazed ceramics constitute the facade, making it resemble fish bones. The interior imitates sea waves, with undulating walls, irregular oval windows and curvy doorframes. Its design concept seems to have avoided boring straight lines and right angles altogether. The top floor consists of an arched roof and an intricate mosaic-tiled chimney that serves as a monument to Gaudi’s great work.

What can you do there?

A cultural visit paired with welcome drinks and dinner will allow guests to view up close these famous interiors. Alternatively, a simple roof-top cocktail party can be whipped up. The two Jujol Rooms have a combined capacity for 250 and are big enough for speeches, exhibitions and corporate gatherings. The 300-capacity attic and terrace with chimney, known for its famous “three dimensional cross” is another choice venue.

Book the entire five-storey building for networking-cum-arts appreciation session (the whole building, in fact, is a piece of art). The Piano Nobile on the first floor has a 230sqm open-air terrace (as well as staircases leading to other areas) that’s perfect for an elegant dinner of up to 200 guests. The coach house and coal cellar, a two-storey space with a direct entrance from Passeig de Gràcia (a major thoroughfare in Barcelona) can hold 600 guests.

In 2006, Casa Batlló celebrated its centennial with a 100-person gala dinner in the coal cellar. Candles floated from the ceiling shedding eerie illumination. Guests dined on long tables that snaked through the entire hall.

The best months to book the place are April, May and June, where temperatures hover at an average of 16 degrees Celsius. Bookings are normally made six months 
in advance.


Barcelona Meeting Total Convention Bureau





Why is it special?

Opened to the public in May 23, 1911, the New York Public Library is nearly a hundred years old and is one of the Big Apple’s most recognisable icons. The building, distinct with its Beaux Arts white marble architecture, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965. The renowned Edward Clark Potter lions – regarded as the city’s unofficial city mascots – guard its front steps. The edifice holds some of the most significant documents in human history such as the Gutenberg Bible and Thomas Jefferson’s manuscript copy of the Declaration of Independence.

Its imposing facade has made frequent film outings: Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Ghostbusters (1984), The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) and more recently in this year’s Sex and the City: The Movie.

What can you do there?

Stages and tents can be set up for piano recitals, fashion shows, talks, dinners and weddings. 

Five locations in the building are available for rent: Astor Hall, Celeste Bartos Forum, Trustees Room, McGraw Rotunda and South Court Auditorium, each with a distinct character and seating capacities ranging from 80 to 375. The Trustee Room, smallest of the lot, has can take in 80 seated guests, its main draw being the marble fireplace with an inscribed quotation attributed to Thomas Jefferson.

The biggest room, Celeste Bartos Forum, is famous for a 100m-high glass and cast-iron dome inspired by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, and accommodates up to 375 seated guests.

The library hosted The American Heart Association’s  “Rhapsody in Red: Celebrating How Women Go Red” party for 300, where a model wore red silk organza whose10m-long skirt was draped over the entryway under which guests had to pass to get into the hall. It was the talk of the town for weeks afterward.

A circular stage and dome adorned with 2,500 rose buds were built. Food and décor stuck tightly to the red theme.

The library can only be rented after closing times and smoking is strictly prohibited. A downloadable PDF guide on events and space rental is available on the website. Bookings are normally made several months in advance.



New York Tourism Board





Why is it special?

The temple of Taizo-in, located in northwestern Kyoto, is a perfect place for a Zen retreat. The 600-year old structure houses one of Japan’s oldest ink paintings, the Hyonenzu (“Catching a Catfish with a Gourd”). It also features stylish fusuma  – paintings on a traditional sliding door – which have been preserved from the Muromachi period.

The temple is also renowned for its intricately sculptured landscape gardens that reflect Zen qualities. These are just a few of the historic treasures to be seen here in this centre of peace and tranquility.

What can you do there?

A trip or event here is an intimate hush-hush affair for relaxation and detoxification. The only thing your delegates will be over-indulging in is the cultural aspect ofthe temple.

Eating Shojin ryori (temple vegetarian food) while sitting on tatami (straw mats) can be a memorable experience. The preparation of the meal takes tremendous effort involving carefully selected seasonal vegetables and laborious cooking methods to ensure minimal wastage.

Event planners can arrange for a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Move into the 30-capacity tearoom to understand the “inseparable relationship” between tea and Zen, while savouring green tea and Japanese traditional sweets.

Let delegates work their hands and minds with the art of bokuseki (a form of calligraphy), where Chinese characters are written on a shikishi (square card) that serves as take-home souvenir.

Sum up the experience by participating in zazen (meditation) to calm the mind.

Sony Ericsson held a full-day event that included a daytime reception party, where delegates enjoyed a tea ceremony, calligraphy as well as a traditional Japanese strings and flute concert. A candle-lit garden landscape event capped the evening festivities.

 Visitors are assured that the priest speaks perfect English, so communication is effortless. Total capacity of the temple stands at 185.

The best times to plan an event here is during the spring months between May and August, when the Kanou-kai (cherry blossoms season), the Kangetsu-kai (harvest moon season) and the Kanpu-kai (maple trees season) take place. Bookings are generally made two months in advance, however, a six-month advance booking applies for events that are held during peak seasons.


Kyoto Convention Bureau 


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