Buckinghamshire venue upgrades event spaces

De Vere Latimer Estate has finished renovating its main function spaces as part of a rolling multimillion pound investment in the portfolio. The upgrades have been designed to maximise the available space for conferences and events both inside and out, ensuring the venue continues to cater for clients’ evolving needs. The Buckinghamshire venue, part of The Principal Hotel Company, has more than 30 meeting rooms across three buildings, including its largest event space, The Cormorant Suite (up to 250 delegates). Superfast outdoor WiFi has been added for guests for as far as 100 metres away from the main building. More than half of the venue's 197 bedrooms have already been refurbished to reflect modern British heritage using accents of leather, tweed and linen. The upgrade is part of an ambitious phased overhaul that also involves a full refurbishment of the Mansion House, which is due to complete in April. The works will include the addition of a new hospitality suite, a refurbished restaurant and courtyard with theatre style kitchen, 12 additional bedrooms and a new reception. Antonio Campanile, general manager at De Vere Latimer Estate, commented: "Due to its location and facilities, De Vere Latimer Estate continues to be a very popular venue for the meetings, conferences and private events market and this exciting renovation project, which places the Mansion House back at the heart of the property, will ensure the venue continues to attract a varied range of clients, from team building and conferences to meetings and private dinners, with facilities of the very highest quality."

Mondrian Doha to open in spring 2017

Sbe will open its first hotel in the Middle East with the launch of Mondrian Doha, Qatar in spring 2017. The lavish 270-room hotel has been designed in collaboration with world-renowned Dutch designer, Marcel Wanders, along with South West Architecture, with the idea to embody Arabia through a modern lens. Mondrian Doha will feature over 500 sqm of flexible function and conference space, capable of handling events for 10-300 guests. Facilities include a boardroom, full service business centre, as well as production, wardrobe, make-up and casting rooms. High-speed wireless Internet is available throughout the hotel. On the ground floor, the expansive 2,000 sqm Jawhara ballroom lies behind grand carved wooden entrance doors and has three layers of full-length curtains to transform the atmosphere. The hotel will also feature eight restaurants and bars. Sam Nazarian, founder & CEO, sbe commented: "We are delighted to open our first hotel in the Middle East in Doha, Qatar which is one of the most dynamic cities in the region. Mondrian Doha will be an incredible destination for anyone planning an event in the city, be it a special occasion such as a wedding, or a formal business function."

Hong Kong Disneyland to open new hotel

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort is expanding with the forthcoming arrival of its third hotel, Disney Explorers Lodge. The new hotel, slated to open 30 April, features 750 hotel rooms, each featuring an open sea view or landscape view of one of four lush gardens. Each garden is themed around beloved Disney films, including Up, Finding Nemo, The Jungle Book and The Lion King. The new hotel takes the number of rooms at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort to 1,750. Samuel Lau, executive vice president and managing director, said: "Hong Kong Disneyland is committed to investing in new offerings for our guests. Disney Explorers Lodge is not only a fantastic getaway for Disney guests, it’s also a one-of-a-kind hotel experience for those visiting the cosmopolitan city of Hong Kong. We can’t wait to share all the fun found in the four gardens, all-new restaurants and themed rooms. The best part is, these exotic adventures are just a stone’s throw from downtown, making it convenient for anyone seeking high-quality accommodation with a dash of Disney magic."

Fashionable opening at Kensington Palace

The highly anticipated fashion exhibition exploring the style of Diana, Princess of Wales has opened at Kensington Palace. The venue, one of six cared for by independent charity Historic Royal Palaces, invited 260 guests to the launch event this week, allowing them a private viewing of the exhibition which traces the evolution of the Princess's style. The new exhibition can be booked as part of the Breakfast Tour package at Kensington Palace, while private viewings can also be arranged when the State Apartments and Orangery are booked for evening events. Alex Donnelly-Palmer, events and operations manager at Kensington Palace and Kew Palace, says: "It was fantastic to be able to welcome guests to ‘Diana: Her Fashion Story’, which alongside our temporary White Garden, opening later in spring, celebrates the life of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. The evening was an opportunity to showcase to clients the additional activities we have on offer when they book events at the palace, such as an exclusive viewing of the exhibition or a tour of the King’s State Apartments.” Diana: Her Fashion Story runs for two years at Kensington Palace.

Woodland Grange completes room upgrades

More than £300k has been spent refurbishing all 114 bedrooms at EEF Venues' residential conference venue, Woodland Grange in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. The refurbishment, completed in just two weeks, has seen all beds replaced and fitted with new deluxe 1,200 pocket spring mattresses while stylish mirrors, new lighting and contemporary upholstery have also been installed. Ian Chaplin, general manager of Woodland Grange, said: "The delegate experience is always a priority for us as our business thrives on its reputation for customer service excellence. This latest refurbishment follows on from a considerable investment in our public areas and café last year. Having achieved significant growth in recent years, we view this continuous investment in the venue as part of our strategic development plan. Our goal is to continue to evolve and take advantage of every opportunity to maximise comfort, affordable luxury and value for our business delegates and guests."

Milestone as steel frame erected at Farnborough

Building work on the new Hall 1 at Farnborough International’s new Exhibition and Conference Centre has reached a milestone with the laying out of the 1,300-tonne steel frame. The development by main contractor, Wates Construction, which has been appointed for the £30 million build, will see the creation of a new purpose-built exhibition and conference facility at the historic home of the world-renowned Farnborough International Airshow. The development will include a 12,480 sqm main hall as well as conference and function space, bringing the total floor area to a total of 20,000 sqm, the equivalent of 16 Olympic swimming pools. Shaun Ormrod, CEO Farnborough International, said: "Seeing the Wates team onsite constructing the steel frame for the new Hall 1 is a very exciting part of this phenomenal project. We are looking forward to providing a truly flexible year-round venue that is modern and fit for purpose for a multitude of events and conferences."

AVANI spreads to South Korea

Minor Hotels has announced it will debut its dynamic AVANI brand in South Korea with the launch of AVANI Busan Hotel. The new-build 400-key hotel represents a milestone for Minor Hotels as its first property in South Korea, and is scheduled to open 2019. AVANI Busan will be ideally situated in the East Busan Tourism Complex Zoning, a haven for both shopping and entertainment. Lotte World, a theme park scheduled for opening in 2019, and Lotte Mall, comprising over 500 international and local brands, will both be located less than 250 metres from the hotel. The new upscale hotel will offer an all-day dining restaurant, event space and meeting rooms, a rooftop specialty bar, a Korean style bathhouse and spa, a gym and swimming pool. William Heinecke, founder, chairman and CEO of Minor International PCL, said: "We are excited to announce our first property in South Korea in the dynamic city of Busan, which is the perfect fit for our upscale AVANI brand. South Korea is an important feeder market for Minor Hotels and we also see a lot of opportunity as an inbound market, both for this new AVANI and potentially for future Minor Hotels’ properties as well."

Helicopter service takes off at Borthwick

Corporate groups can arrive in style at Borthwick Castle, with the venue now offering helicopter connections and experiences to its guests. The fifteenth century Scottish castle, located 12 miles outside Edinburgh, has partnered with private helicopter specialist, Heliair to add a glamorous start to any business event. The helicopter will collect guests from Edinburgh International Airport before sweeping guests over the rolling hills to a field adjacent to the castle, where a luxury Land Rover awaits. Alternatively, a helicopter experience can be organised during the group’s stay. Ewan Grant, general manager at Borthwick Castle, says: “Guests arriving by air enjoy spectacular views as they approach the castle, and can explore the stunning Scottish countryside and nearby Edinburgh from the sky as part of their time with us. With six hundred years of history to discover here, including strong links with Mary, Queen of Scots, Sir Walter Scott and Oliver Cromwell, exploring by air offers our guests an unforgettable way to see the castle in its glorious setting and achieve a sense of place.”

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