Huge events offer at new Hotel Californian

Groups will be able to enjoy panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez from the top of the new Hotel Californian, when it opens this summer. The 121-room hotel, which is split across three buildings, will feature a rooftop pool and event deck on each of its Californian and State wings. The Californian building, which has preserved the façade of the original 1925 Hotel Californian, will boast a 127 sqm rooftop event space and pool while the State building will offer a second, huge 325 sqm of rooftop space for group events of up to 300 as well as a 280 sqm ballroom. Billing itself as Santa Barbara’s most anticipated luxury property, the hotel is located adjacent to the city's Funk Zone and steps from the Pacific Ocean. Garden events can also take place in the 390 sqm plaza lawn outside the State Building. Designer Martyn Bullard said: "The property's design is Moorish-inspired with a modern twist. I wanted to preserve the history of Hotel Californian and pay tribute to Santa Barbara while also making it relatable to the Funk Zone crowd - young, hip and fresh. Guests will find Moroccan and Spanish Colonial influences throughout the property with indigenous tiles, terra cotta and pops of colour."

Luxury spa nears opening at Rudding Park

Rudding Park Hotel's £9.5 million spa development is nearing completion, with a highly-anticipated opening on 2 May 2017. The luxury Harrogate hotel will bring a world destination spa to the heart of Yorkshire for the very first time, as well as re-capturing Harrogate’s spa town heritage by drawing natural waters from the grounds of Rudding Park. The venue will introduce a roof top spa and garden, a UK first that will offer sauna cabin, sun deck and spa bath amongst trees, shrubs and plants. Peter Banks, managing director of Rudding Park, commented: "The philosophy of the owners is to continually invest in the business to ensure that the physical products offered to guests are of the highest quality, in keeping with our exceptional standards. We are immensely proud of what the revolutionary Rudding Park Spa will bring, not only to the hotel and our guests, but to both Harrogate and Yorkshire as leading UK tourism destinations. Rudding Park Spa has been twelve years in the making and I’m delighted to see the team’s hard work come to fruition."

QHotels brings street food to conferences

QHotels has launched a new conference menu, bringing street food to conferences in the UK for the first time. The new lunch menu follows six months of research, which revealed that street food remains the biggest culinary trend to hit the UK. The new DIY street food offer allows delegates tailor dishes to their own preferences, as well as choose from cuisines including Pan-Asian, Indian, Mexican and Japanese. Julian Prosser, group executive chef at QHotels, said: “When we came to create the new QHotels menu, we focused on understanding what our customers eat when they’re not with QHotels; what they’d choose at home, in a café or a restaurant.”

Refurb work to begin to at Hardwick Hall

Hardwick Hall Hotel is to invest £350,000 for a major facelift. The Sedgefield venue – part of Ramside Estates – will refurbish its bedrooms, bars and boardrooms alongside one its leading function rooms. The four star hotel, which is set in County Durham’s Hardwick Country Park, has 51 bedrooms along with its acclaimed Rib Room Steakhouse and Grill. It plans to spend £150k on the Coleman Suite, which can take up to 400 guests, to decorate and lay new carpets, along with replacing the existing furniture. Lee Kirtland, general manager at Hardwick Hall, said: "We are very excited about this renovation which we are sure will be appreciated by our guests. It means that there will be even more reason to visit Hardwick, no matter if you’re an overnight guest, popping in for a drink or a meal or are hosting a wedding or a business conference with us." The hotel is renowned locally for its ability to host large scale balls and events, including the annual Lobster Ball which attracts more than 1000 guests. Work is set to start immediately on the refurbishment and is due to take around three months.

Hard Rock Hotel to open in Malta

Following the openings in Ibiza and Tenerife, Hard Rock Café has announced it will be opening a hotel in Malta in 2020. Nestled in the trendy hot spot of St Julian’s, the hotel is projected to feature 370 rooms, including 110 suites with balcony views over the idyllic island paradise of St George’s Bay.The hotel is set to become a gastronomic destination itself, with a host of food and beverage outlets including a signature restaurant and a rooftop lounge with a sky bar. The hotel will also include 37,000 sq ft of function space and the largest convention centre on the island. Peter Vella, Malta Tourism Authority UK director said: "Malta’s tourism industry is currently breaking all records as tourists and business travellers from across the world discover our unique blend of sunshine, culture, history, beauty and hospitality. Hard Rock Hotels are renowned for very high standards and for reflecting the culture and character of their locality. The news that Hard Rock are opening a hotel in Malta is very exciting; it will bring a new concept and experience to our Island and give travellers even more reasons to visit Malta."

Cambridge hotel finishes £80m redesign

A landmark Cambridge hotel is relaunching in autumn 2017 after a major two-year refurbishment and design collaboration. The University Arms, Cambridge, which first opened in 1834, has had a complete transformation to the tune of £80 million, with the intention to match it with the city's beauty and character. The development follows a direct investment from the hotel's owners, with the new look the result of a collaboration between the architect John Simpson and the interior designer Martin Brudnizki. Each of the hotel's 192 rooms have been redesigned to reflect the quintessentially British yet playful theme while the hotel's destination restaurant and bar, library and fitness facilities have also benefited from the project. A public art project will be unveiled in the summer on Parker's Piece, to celebrate the hotel's significance to the community.

Hall N finished at Austria Center Vienna

Austria Center Vienna has completely transformed its Hall N ready in time for European Congress of Radiology (ECR) 2017. The venue has removed the cabins and dark wooden panelling to free up additional space and give the hall a more contemporary feel. The project has increased capacity of Hall N from 237 to 370 delegates, but made it more flexible to separate into smaller conference spaces. As well, acoustic ceiling panels have been installed to optimise audio clarity, while new fabric wall coverings lighten the interior and make it appear even more spacious. Managing director Susanne Baumann-Söllner said: "As with all of our refurbishment projects, creating a functional space where people could feel at home was paramount. During a long day at a congress, daylight plays a major role in keeping people alert and able to concentrate. Opening up the facade also helps to bring home some of the international appeal of the Vienna International Centre right next door. Large windows now let more daylight into the foyer. The new lounge areas – which take their cue from the stylish Business Lounge – are perfect for visitors looking to relax and recharge their batteries between sessions."

Island convention centre nears opening

Mallorca's new convention centre and its adjoining hotel, Meliá Palma Bay, is set to open on 1 April. Managed by Meliá Hotels International, the forthcoming Palau de Congressos de Palma has been designed to offer spectacular views of Palma Bay and will use 100 per cent green energy. All units - the grand auditorium, small auditorium and exhibition area - can operate separately, ensuring energy use and maintenance costs are kept to a minimum. This is in line with the Meliá Hotels International’s SAVE programme that is focused on monitoring energy and water consumption to identify improvement opportunities and reinforce the company’s commitment to the responsible use of resources. The Grand Auditorium can host up to 1,900 and the Small Auditorium can host up to 462 people. The exhibition areas occupy a total of 2,340 sqm, or combined with the lobby areas up to 3,000 sqm. The convention centre's adjoining hotel, the 268-room Meliá Palma Bay, will include a rooftop terrace with swimming pool overlooking the bay, as well as an indoor spa and gym.

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