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November 25, 2013

Europe's Top New Hotels for Upscale Events

As the year draws to a close, it's a good time to look back over notable hotel developments around the world. Here’s a look at some of the top hotels that opened throughout Europe this year, and what kind of space they offer for a truly swank event. 

The London Edition

The London Edition (above) was created in partnership between Marriott and Ian Schrager, the brand of luxury lifestyle hotels currently only has one other property in its portfolio worldwide—the Istanbul Edition.

Located on the site of the former Berners Hotel in Fitzrovia, the London Edition has 173 wood-paneled rooms, a 24/7 fitness center, a lounge dubbed the Punch Room, and a restaurant called Berner’s Tavern run by Jason Atherton, who created Maze for Gordon Ramsay Holdings.

Best suited to smaller meetings, the largest space at the Edition can accommodate 60 guests theater-style or 60 for a reeption.  A boardrooms, a banquet room and a private dining rooms are also available for smaller gatherings, and the hotel's penthouse can be booked for VIPs.

The hotel is located near the British Museum and Soho.

Café Royal, London

Café Royal London in its past was the go-to nightspot for celebrities and management aims to get that market back with its painstaking renovation and restoration of the original building and the addition of two other structures. It's just opened six historic suites which we're sure will be a big draw for A-listers.

A dedicated meeting center on the first floor of the hotel includes a range of meeting and event spaces that range from 26 square meters to 176 square meters with capacities from 14 to 230. Good to know: Entrance to the meeting center is through a welcome reception and rooms are orientated around a separate foyer at the center.

Rosewood London

The Rosewood London (above) just opened in a 1914 Edwardian Belle Epoque building in Holborn. The hotel's wrought-iron gates that lead to an intimate courtyard make an impressive welcome. The Grand Manor House Wing is accessed via a private elevator and its own street entrance, this is the only hotel suite in the world to have its own postcode. Beyond that, the suite has six bedrooms, a dressing chamber, a library, a dining room and several sitting rooms that spread out over 6,318 square feet of living space. The Garden House, meanwhile, has a garden terrace overlooking the London skyline while the Chancery House has plenty of old-fashioned grandeur.

With 11 event spaces, Rosewood London offers 11,660 square feet of indoor meeting space, including one Grand Ballroom with a foyer and three heritage boardrooms with original architectural features. We hear the 20-seat Dining Room is the only private dining space in a five-star London hotel with a show kitchen.

Coolest touch: The hotel’s Event Studio is a "visual and tactile showcase" of the property's collection of event accessories and connections with London’s top of floral decorators, designers and entertainers. Planners can arrange everything from cutlery to flowers on-site.

Ma&Ma Grand Hotel Resort, Sardinia, Italy 

What’s so unique about the Ma&Ma Grand Hotel Resort (above) is its location: inside the Archipelago of La Maddalena, a scattering of islets in the Bonifacio Strait that’s been a National Park since 1996. With the turquoise water and lush vegetation, you’d think you were in the tropics. The resort’s official website promises you’ll experience the “deep, inner and exclusive Sardinia.” Opened earlier this summer, the five-star Ma&MA Grand Hotel Resort was designed in an eco-conscious fashion to blend into the surrounding landscape.

Each of the 92 rooms comes with a verandah for taking in the sea views. The restaurant focuses on local cuisine and seasonal produce, and the spa has some cool features: a thalassotherapy Magnapool, a Finnish Bio-Sauna, a Turkish bath, aromatherapy showers, a “Float Room,” and a fitness center by Technogym.

The hotel's meeting space can accommodate 120 people and is a good fit for press conferences and presentations. The room also has Wi-Fi internet access.

Waldorf Astoria Berlin 

Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts opened the highly anticipated (and long-delayed) Waldorf Astoria Berlin (above) in January, right on the doorstep of some of the city’s most famous tourist attractions, including the historic church, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, built as a memorial to Kaiser Wilhelm I, the first man to become emperor of a united Germany. The city’s premium shopping boulevard, Kurfürstendamm, is only minutes away and is home to many designer fashion houses.

The hotel has 232 guest rooms and suites across 32 floors (as well as the highest presidential suite in the whole city on the top floor), and is part of the new Zoofenster skyscraper, designed by German architect Christoph Mäckler. The Presidential Suite has 360-degree views of Berlin’s City West—even from the bathroom.

Guests can choose from five different dining venues, the most exclusive of which is Les Solistes, where the menu was thought up by Michelin-starred Chef Pierre Gagnaire. And be sure to visit the Guerlain Beauty Spa, the only Guerlain outpost in Germany

The hotel has a 3,552 square foot ballroom that can be divided into three sections. (The room and its divisions are good picks for banquets.) Five conference rooms range from 710 square feet and 1,291 square feet for smaller board meetings, and an event terrace on the sixth floor overlooks the city. 

Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna 

The Palais Hansen Kempinski (above) opened in March. Originally built as a hotel for the World Exhibition in Vienna in 1873, the building is located in the heart of the city, not far from St. Stephen’s Cathedral. In its new life, it has two restaurants, a winter garden, a spa, and what’s expected to be happening nightlife spots. (including a Cigar Lounge). Decorated with fine fabrics and furnishings in a contemporary style, the rooms come with all the creature comforts (like a pillow menu and espresso machine).

The Ballroom Theophil can accommodate more than 260 guests for a cocktail reception or a presentation, while the Hansen room is a good pick for smaller gatherings of less than 100. During the day, the Henri Lou bar can be booked for private events.

Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg, Russia

Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg (above) is filled with history; the triangular building was originally conceived in 1817 by Auguste Montferrand as the private address of the city's elite close to the Winter Palace. During the renovation, the original concept and aesthetic was studied and many elements were maintained. Neo-classic materials were acquired from across Europe (like gilt mirrors and marble fixtures) to keep the ambiance in sync. The hotel has several dining options: In the Tea Lounge, styled as a winter garden filled with trees and flowers, guests can try traditional Russian specialities, while locals (in turn) can opt for modern interpretations of old favorites.

The hotel's Montferrand Grand Ballroom has an elegant stairway for VIPs to make a dramatic entrance, while six smaller rooms – each named for important Russian and European architects and artists – offer more intimate options. The naturally lit (and high-tech) Rastrelli Boardroom can accommodate up to 14 guests. A 24-hour business center includes workstations, a meeting room and services ranging from travel arrangements to translation and secretarial services.

InterContinental Marseille, Hotel Dieu

Housed in the centuries-old Hotel Dieu, a landmark historic monument on the Old Port, InterContinental Marseille, Hotel Dieu (right) opened as the city’s “first true five-star hotel”—and as one of the world’s hottest hotel openings in 2013.

We went on a “hard hat tour” at the end of 2012, and were impressed by the scale of the project. The historic structure—which commands incredible views over the city and port—has been meticulously renovated so that historic details—like a 12-century chapel and its gorgeous mosaic—are preserved, highlighted, and harmonized with the contemporary interior design.

There’s a light-filled fitness center; two restaurants overseen by chef Lionel Levy of Une Table au Sud fame; a beautiful and spacious spa by Clarins; and a sprawling outdoor terrace. Booking tips: 72 of the 194 rooms have panoramic views of the Old Port, and 33 have private terraces.

Event spaces at the hotel can accommodate more than 450 people across 12 rooms. For larger functions, the hotel has more than 1,000 square meters of exhibit space—the Salle des Honneurs (made by combining the Salle des Accoules and the Salle des Cordelles) is the biggest option for receptions or theater-style presentations. 


Mary Winston Nicklin, Jena Tesse Fox, Meagan Drillinger and Ruthanne Terrero contributed to this report.

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