Battersea unveils mezzanine space

Battersea Evolution has responded to feedback and opened its new mezzanine level, a more intimate space that can host up to 700 people. Research conducted earlier in the year showed a significant number of companies (21 per cent) would be interested in booking an event at Battersea Evolution if a smaller space could be offered within the site. In response, the venue constructed the mezzanine, which accommodates both standing receptions and sit-down dinners. Commenting on the new addition to Battersea Evolution, Andrew Hodgkins, group managing director events, said: “The Mezzanine level has lifted the potential of Battersea Evolution and opened up a whole host of new opportunities for the venue. The ability to be able to offer a more versatile product to the short-lead Christmas market is appealing.”

Georgian venue opens for corporate events

The Grade II listed Wickham House, in West Berkshire, is now open to corporate events following the addition of two event spaces. The Barn and Pavilion have been added to the estate, incorporating technology and stylish interior design. Just one hour from London, Wickham is being positioned as the city's discreet outpost for business deals, directors’ meetings and strategy sessions. Owner Philippa D'Arcy said: “Wickham is a very different proposition to the plethora of hotels and venues that are available for meetings. Our intention is to be the ‘go to’ place for high level business meetings. We are all about discretion and intent on establishing an outpost where The City's influencers can take stock, brainstorm, structure deals and take decisions in privacy and comfort. We look forward to inviting businesses to experience Wickham House in 2016.”

Fort makes Dubai venue largest event space in UAE

Dubai resort Madinat Jumeirah has tripled its event space with the expansion of its 1,750sqm Fort Island event facility. Work is expected to be completed this month, bringing the total amount of event space at the resort and Madinat Jumeirah Conference Centre to 10,000 sqm, the largest hotel event space in the United Arab Emirates. The space is capable of hosting banquets, parties, exhibitions, product launches, music concerts, weddings, sports events and festivals for up to 1,400 people for cocktails, or 1,100 guests for a banquet. Fort Island can also now accommodate large marquees, while the surrounding landscape is designed to be both sustainable and preserve the fort’s traditional atmosphere.

Luxe opening in Bangalore

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has opened a third property in India, the Bengaluru Hotel. The 19-storey tower, 30 minutes from Bangalore's Kempegowda international airport, has two ballrooms and seven flexible function rooms. The 397 rooms, 30 of which are suites, have free wifi, international calling and universal plugs. There is also an airport butler service, complimentary shoeshine service and a house doctor on call, as well as a 24/7 business lounge. Other facilities include eight dining options, an outdoor swimming pool and sundeck and a fitness centre and spa.

Stoke Rochford Hall introduces Iron Lady tours

An 'Iron Lady Tour' has been introduced at Stoke Rochford Hall near Grantham, the birthplace of Margaret Thatcher. The property has introduced the tour, guiding guests to locations in Grantham beginning with the site of Thatcher's home, to her school, and a visit to the Grantham Museum where there is an exhibition about her. The Iron Lady grew up as a grocer’s daughter and went on to become Britain’s first woman Prime Minister. October 13 2015 would have been her 90th birthday. Barry Clark, general manager, said: “Margaret Thatcher remains one of the UK's most important political figures. Her connection with Grantham is evident in her biographies and in recognition of her association with Grantham, and whatever people’s views about her may be, she is one of the dominant political figures of 20th century Britain. This tour will explore her early life and the things that influenced her.” The Iron Lady tours include a two night stay, dinner and breakfast and is available for groups.

Hotel starts upgrades after 'sampling' rooms

A £1m refurbishment is underway at Wyboston Lakes Hotel to add a luxury feel and comfort to all bedrooms. The Bedfordshire hotel tested the designs in a handful of 'sample bedrooms', which received positive feedback from 138 guests. The new design, the vision of Butterscotch Designs, is now being implemented throughout the hotel. The first 20 bedrooms have been completed since renovations started in July, with a completion date set for the end of November. Director Mark Haynes said: “It was important for us to ensure the hotel bedrooms matched the overall leisure and spa experiences available for guests to enjoy. We wanted to remove the original corporate look and feel and create a bedroom around comfort and relaxation. We have selected the best designers and contractors to work with on this project to ensure we achieve the best possible finish.”

Crathorne Hall rises from the ashes

The historic Crathorne Hall Hotel has unveiled its £4m restoration and re-launched this week, one year on from a fire that badly damaged the east wing. After the intensive rebuilding and refurbishment project, which involved consultation with English Heritage and Hambleton District Council's planning and conservation department, the Yarm hotel celebrated its reopening. A team of specialist craftsmen were enlisted to restore grand architectural features, discovering gems such as a splendid archway uncovered in the County Suite corridor in the east wing. This has been restored and the detail repeated to create a grand colonnade. The hotel's 37 rooms are now all available, as are its function rooms with space of up to 90 people. Julia Hands, who runs Hand Picked Hotels collection, said: “The restoration of Crathorne Hall is magnificent and is the result of an excellent team effort by everyone involved at the hotel. We remain indebted to the fire services for saving an important part of the history and landscape of this part of North Yorkshire and are very proud that the hotel takes its place once more as a wonderful place to meet and to stay.”

Hotel room numbers on the up in Stuttgart

Stuttgart's hotel landscape continues to expand, following the opening of the new A&O Stuttgart City hotel. The 240-bedroom hotel has been established at a former dairy plant, which was completely gutted and refurbished, and opened last month. It comes after the opening of the trendy Aloft Hotel, which opened in Stuttgart's Milaneo shopping plaza complex. The new A&O Group property, a combination of hotel and hostel, is located nearby. The A&O Stuttgart City also contains multi-bed rooms that can accommodate four to eight guests.

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