Prevue January/February 2015 - (Page 67)

Guadalajara Revamps add pizzazz to Mexico's centrally located meetings hub [ON LOCATION] GREG OATES G uadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico and the capital of Jalisco, which the locals promote as the "real" Mexico. The birthplace of tequila and mariachi, Guadalajara is anchored by the country's most spectacular colonial zone filled with museums, historic buildings and long promenades rimmed with colorful shops and restaurants. We visited to scope out the 423-room Presidente InterContinental Guadalajara, with the most comprehensive meetings facilities in the city and a flawless level of professional and gracious service. Planners can host dinners and receptions in the expansive lobby, the adjacent Tequila Bar and upscale Frutas y Flores restaurant, which has revolving culinary themes throughout the week. Off of the lobby, the exclusive executive business lounge has another busy bar, workspaces and a chef's table dining area for private VIP events. Our chef's table dinner of filet tournedos and fresh lobster was one of the best meals we've ever had in Mexico. The 47 expansive suites are well-suited for VIPs, with a huge desk and work area, and sophisticated modern decor. All of the newly renovated rooms in the building have floor-to-ceiling windows with great views of the city. For meeting space, a total of 18 rooms seat up to 1,500 people theater-style. The largest spaces are the 14,000-sf Astral Ballroom and the 7,700-sf Grand Salon Bellatrix. UNIQUE VENUES With 1,285,000 sf of exhibition and meeting space, 11 loading docks and all new WiFi, Expo Guadalajara is the largest convention center in Latin America, located 10 minutes from InterContinental Guadalajara. The first thing you notice at Expo Guadalajara is the enormity of the spaces, the modernity of the facilities, and all of the natural light in the public spaces streaming down from the hybrid open-air/covered roof. During our tour, we're told that the seven largest exhibitions in Mexico are hosted at Expo Guadalajara, such as the National Hardware Expo and the Guadalajara Book Fair, the second largest book fair in the world. The new Desfilia event space opened at EXPO in May for the many fashion shows taking place in the city. Designed with a modern edgy décor, the space seats up to 400 pax around a runway stage. There are all kinds of opportunities here for cool group functions and receptions, ranging from fashion shoots to product launches and CEO presentations. In an upscale northern suburb of Guadalajara, the new Palace of Culture & Communication (PALCCO) is a state-of-the-art performing arts center that will be more modern than any space in Latin America when it opens in February 2015. The shiny steel exterior is aggressively modern, rising dramatically above the surrounding neighborhood. The entrance integrates a long lobby and "Wall of Art" curving around the performance hall. The twisting lobby ends at a covered, open-air, 3,350-seat amphitheater, where Cirque du Soleil has visited to discuss designing a seasonal show. PALCCO will also house five restaurants and seven bars to create a multi-function cultural, dining and entertainment experience for local residents and international groups. The performance hall has 1,200 seats with folding tray tables in the main seating area, 700 in the balcony and 100 in the VIP balcony suites seating 14 to 16 people. Walking backstage, Carlos Linares-Urcuyo, director of sales/marketing for PALCCO, says, "The stage is 22 meters wide [72 feet], so that is really big. The stage for the Met Opera in New York is only 16 meters wide." Educational content about specific performances will be provided via email to attendees before they arrive. Linares-Urcuyo says, "I think understanding the background of any performance always enhances the experience.";; | 67 66-67_Grand Geneva_IHG.indd 67 1/8/15 7:03 AM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Prevue January/February 2015

Planner’s Pick: New Orleans
Fresh Meets: Hilton
Bureau Buzz: Raleigh
Good Business: Monaco
Sea Shores: Royal Caribbean International
The Era of Personalization
On Location: Barcelo Bavaro
On Location: Caesars Entertainment
On Location: Grand Geneva
On Location: Guadalajara

Prevue January/February 2015