With strong demand for hotel and meeting space, venues across the state are opening, renovating or rethinking their off erings for groups and events. The following options are new or newly renovated venues for meetings and events in 2017.
The Hotel Contessa, located in downtown San Antonio, recently announced a partnership with the Briscoe Western Art Museum’s Jack Guenther Pavilion to expand its meeting and event spaces. The two buildings are adjacent to one another—a mere 57 steps apart, according to Jerry Jensen, director of sales and marketing at The Hotel Contessa.
The newly constructed Jack Guenther Pavilion sits adjacent to a sculpture garden and offers about 20,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting and event space. The Hotel Contessa offers 10,000 square feet of meeting space, with rooms that can accommodate 10-300 guests.
Both The Hotel Contessa and the Jack Guenther Pavilion are located along the San Antonio Riverwalk. The Briscoe Western Art Museum is housed in San Antonio’s first public library building and can accommodate between 350-450 people on each of its three levels.
The partnership formed late last year. Jensen says the unique design of The Hotel Contessa pairs well with the Briscoe Western Art Museum. “The design of the pavilion complements the design of the hotel in an interesting way,” he says. “The hotel, artistically, is very edgy and engaging.”
A planner can access two venues for one event, and Jensen says the process is seamless. The planner handles all arrangements through the event team at The Hotel Contessa.
As a promotion for the new partnership, through the end of the year, groups can receive 2 percent off their master account with one complimentary beer or sangria happy hour.
The Hilton Houston Post Oak by the Galleria recently completed a renovation of both its meeting spaces and guest rooms. The hotel had previously completed renovations in the lobby and hotel restaurant, The Promenade, as well. All renovation projects for the 448-room hotel were completed in April.
The hotel is located on Post Oak Boulevard, a hub for upscale dining, shopping and entertainment, says Jay Campbell, general manager of the hotel. “This is a beautiful pocket of Houston that has its own personality of the place to be and the place to meet.”
The guest room improvements include new marble floors, light fixtures and glass shower stalls in the bathrooms, a new marble entrance, enhanced lighting, new drapery, a new color palette on the walls and an upgraded bedding package.
The Hilton also installed a digital key lock system that allows Hilton Honors members to choose their rooms in advance, check in and use their phone as a digital key. Meeting spaces also received the digital key lock system. More features continue to be added through the app, Campbell says.
“It’s cutting edge for all the brands,” Campbell says. “We’re excited about the next technology phase this year.”
Improvements to the meeting room spaces include wall vinyl, draperies, digital signage, enhancements to meeting room airwalls and new carpeting with deep, rich colors and earth tones. The hotel also purchased new banquet chairs, tables, podiums and dance floors and increased Wi-Fi service for the meeting spaces and guest rooms.
The Hilton Houston Post Oak has 30,000 square feet of meeting room space. Its largest ballroom is more than 10,000 square feet and can accommodate more than 1,000 guests.
The Stella Hotel will be the first independently owned, full-service hotel in the Bryan/ College Station area. The hotel, which opened in April, anchors ATLAS, a master-planned community for companies in the health and wellness sectors. ATLAS is located less than 2 miles from Texas A&M University and 4 miles from Kyle Field, and one side of the biotech corridor is bordered by the Texas A&M Health Science Center.
The Stella opens in the heart of Lake Walk, a 180,000-square-foot town center designed for the biotech corridor. Continuing its focus on health and wellness, Lake Walk offers a trail system of more than two miles of parks, trails, ponds and the 5-acre Lake ATLAS.
The 176-room Stella Hotel includes 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. The hotel’s Backyard offers 10,000 square feet of outdoor space and can accommodate up to 500 guests. The Stella’s largest indoor space, the Celeste Ballroom, is approximately 4,300 square feet and can be divided into three separate meeting spaces, seating a total of 479 guests theater-style.
The Stella’s fine-dining restaurant, Campfire, handles catering for events. Campfire is run by Executive Chef Zachary Ladwig, who has worked in several Michelinstar restaurants and under Gordon Ramsay in New York. Campfire offers farm-to-fork cuisine; Ladwig has been working with local farmers as he crafts his menus. Peggy Trott, the general manager for The Stella, describes the cuisine as central Texas-inspired, good American food—with Ladwig’s twist.
The Stella also includes Hershel’s, the marriage of a speakeasy with Texas hospitality, and the Watershed pool bar near its two outdoor swimming pools and five cabanas.
With The Stella’s indoor and outdoor meeting spaces, plus access to a park and pavilion across the street, the hotel hosts fun, innovative meetings, Trott says.
“If you want to do team-building with lifesize Jenga, we can do that. Or, if you want an outdoor barbecue or a formal reception, we have a space for that,” she says. “People can take the afternoon off and go stand-up paddleboarding, go on a bike ride, or take cooking classes with Chef Zach.”
Trott says The Stella staff hope to make the planning process as easy as possible. “Our staff will do whatever it takes to make sure the meeting planner is happy,” she says.