The Gherkin set for Christmas sparkle

The Gherkin, part of the Searcys collection of venues, has revealed its much anticipated Christmas theme for corporate events and parties taking place on the 39th and 40th floors, with a focus on diamonds and the night sky. The diamond theme will be available for events taking place between 27th November and 1st January. The theme will see guests journey through a glittering landscape of heaped snow; scattered diamonds; frosted, silver and glass ornaments; giant diamond towers; sparkling furniture and glittering trees. Inspiration for the theme was taken from the nursery rhyme Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, in particular the lines: “Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.”

Cotswolds meeting venue to fire up delegates

The home of firefighter training in the UK, The Fire Service College (FSC) in The Cotswolds has made its facilities available for corporate events and team building. As a provider of training and conferencing facilities for the fire and other emergency services, the FSC has accommodation from two-star to four-star for up to 400 delegates plus 60 purpose-built meeting and recreational facilities, firefighter experience team building events and film location opportunities. The venue’s tiered lecture theatre can accommodate up to 150, while the Appliance Bay can take up to 600 in theatre-style. Other rooms include the 160 capacity Connections 2, or the Muster Bay, with natural daylight and room for 300 for a reception.

Cheers to that: gin bar opens at Kents Hill

Kents Hill Park Training and Conference Centre has set up a dedicated gin corner as the demand for the drink rises. The venue says it has launched the space in preparation for what it hopes will be a hot summer, giving guests more options on cooling down with a refreshing drink. Sarah Glossop, head of sales and marketing at Kents Hill Park Training and Conference Centre, said: “There is definitely a Gin boom at the moment. This is being led by the 18-34 age bracket and the diverse abundance of quality products in the marketplace. They have become so popular we have created a Gin Corner in our lounge bar." The initiative is being led by drinks expert Paul Mott, who last year won best cocktail and service champion in the Conference Centres of Excellence Chef’s Challenge. Glossop added: "We gave Paul the challenge of selecting a range of outstanding Gins and he really has come up trumps.”

Meetings with balls at Hotel Indigo York

Working lunches at Hotel Indigo York have suddenly got a whole lot tastier thanks to an offer with partner restaurant, The Yorkshire Meatball Co., Walmgate, York. The hotel is offering its private dining room free of charge for conference planners who book ahead for two or more people for a brainstorming, planning, training session or board meeting. The space can accommodate up to 10 people. The meeting room also benefits from natural daylight, ground floor accessibility, screen, flipchart, free Wi-Fi and AV support. Lunch is chosen from The Yorkshire Meatball Co.'s menu featuring a choice of hand rolled meat, fish and veggie Balls, smothered in a warming sauce and served with a hearty side order of their choice. Diners can wash this down with a selection of Yorkshire craft beers, wines or soft drink. The Yorkshire Meatball Co. at Hotel Indigo York is open seven days a week from 12 noon until 10pm for the enjoyment of both local residents and hotel guests.

Literary icons celebrated in Bloomsbury venue

An anticipated 1920s-themed venue, The Bloomsbury Club Bar, is set to open in London in June 2016. The bar, set within The Bloomsbury Hotel, is furnished with plush leather armchairs, atmospheric lighting and wall-to-wall bookshelves, and is available for private hire. The golden age of cocktails will be celebrated in its menu, which offers a mix of forgotten classics and new creations. Some cocktails have been named after literary icons, such as the Virginia Woolf, a tart and fruity drink, and Vanessa Bell, a daring mix of gin, Cochi Americano, elderflower cordial and lime juice. The bar is split into two areas, the main bar and the outer terrace bar. The walls in the main bar area are adorned with artwork and books synonymous with the Bloomsbury Set, with an English colonial influence. It has a traditional member’s club feel allowing guests to relax and enjoy their evening in style. The secluded outside bar resembles a relaxed bohemian space with booths lining the exposed brickwork and a canvas of fairy lights covering the ceiling.

From gate to plate at Kings Place

King’s Cross based venue Kings Place has launched a unique dining experience, showcasing the provenance of the beef and lamb used in the menus from its own farm in Northumberland. The Meat the Butcher dinner package is hosted in the venue’s newest space the Gallery Room, which opened last year and can hold up to 40 guests for a private dinner. Meat the Butcher gives guests a unique insight into the gate to plate ethos that Kings Place Events embodies in its catering offering and is a great way to entertain clients or as a team incentive. The chef and butcher will join guests to talk through the evening’s menu, discuss the cuts of meat, cooking process and to tell the story of the meat’s journey from the venue’s very own Corneyside Farm in Northumberland, where animals are grass fed and hand reared, to the hanging room, in-house butcher, kitchen and then finally the fork. Guests will also be treated to a private tour of the hanging room at Kings Place and all packages include a glass of Prosecco on arrival and a choice of a three or four course dinner.

Wembley hotel finishes £12.5m refresh

A large meeting space in London has almost doubled its capacity following an extensive £12.5 million refurbishment of the hotel. The striking Empire Suite at the Holiday Inn London – Wembley has undergone a complete refresh as part of a larger refurbishment of the hotel. It now offers a 43 per cent increase in capacity, able of holding 500 banqueting style, while further enhancements include four new chandeliers and upgraded facilities. Maria Mavlappas, MICE manager at the Holiday Inn London – Wembley, said: “We have seen a 30% increase in bookings following the makeover. It is fantastic to see the Empire Suite restored to its full glory. The sheer size of the Empire Suite makes it equally well suited to residential meetings, AGMs, exhibitions, private parties and weddings.” The hotel has also introduced a new 24-hour meeting package starting from just £165 per person. Room hire, a buffet lunch, three course dinner and overnight B&B stay are all included.

Four Seasons to open in Kyoto

Four Seasons will open its second Japanese property later this year, the Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto. The 123-room hotel will be located in the temple district of the city, and features a 366 sqm2 ballroom and a chapel. Also featured will be a spa with indoor swimming pool and four dining options, including an exclusive sushi restaurant. Reservations are being taken from 15 October. The property joins the existing Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo, at Marunouchi.

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