BIG­GER IS BET­TER

Few things trum­pet a ho­tel’s event cre­den­tials as loudly as an im­pres­sively large ball­room. Here are some of the most no­table in Asia-Pa­cific

Business Traveller (Middle East) - - Contents - WORDS CRAIG BRIGHT

Spot­light on the grand­est ball­rooms in Asia-Pa­cific

When you first walk into a ho­tel ball­room as a con­fer­ence del­e­gate or ban­quet guest, there are plenty of things that can grab your at­ten­tion, from wall-towall LED screens show­cas­ing ex­cit­ing video to grand chan­de­liers hang­ing ma­jes­ti­cally from the ceil­ing, or un­par­al­leled panoramic views through ex­pan­sive win­dows. Yet none of these quite evoke the sense of won­der that hits you when you en­ter a huge, ca­pa­cious grand hall for the first time. With mul­ti­storey ceil­ings and walls that stretch what seem to be the en­tire length of the ho­tel, these spa­ces are im­pres­sive for their scope and au­dac­ity.

Given the huge num­ber of new ho­tel de­vel­op­ments across Asia-Pa­cific, such ti­tanic rooms are be­com­ing all the more nu­mer­ous. We look at some of the largest – and most im­pres­sive – ho­tel ball­rooms around the re­gion.

GRAND HY­ATT, HONG KONG

The Grand Hy­att, Hong Kong has long been a main­stay of the city’s busi­ness events scene, hav­ing first opened in 1989 on the op­po­site side of Vic­to­ria Har­bour to the Kerry Ho­tel, in the city’s Wan Chai dis­trict. The prop­erty has since been joined by the Hong Kong Con­ven­tion and Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre, which stands ad­ja­cent to the ho­tel and of­fers its own ar­ray of huge event spa­ces.

There are still plenty of event venues within the Grand Hy­att, though – 22 to be ex­act. The largest of these is the 730 sqm (7,858sq ft) Grand Ball­room which, when com­bined with the Grand Rooms and foyer, are ca­pa­ble of ac­com­mo­dat­ing up to 30 au­to­mo­biles. The ball­room it­self is also im­pres­sive for a num­ber of its fea­tures, namely a nineme­tre by four-me­tre LED wall, mar­ble pil­lars, mir­rored walls and a mas­sive 2,800kg el­lip­ti­cal bronze chan­de­lier fea­tur­ing more than 63,000 pieces of crys­tal. hy­att.com

KERRY HO­TEL, HONG KONG

One of the most re­cent prop­er­ties to open on Hong Kong’s iconic water­front, the Kerry Ho­tel, Hong Kong burst onto the scene in April last year as the Shangri-La Group’s fourth prop­erty in the city. Lo­cated in the Hung Hom dis­trict and de­signed by An­dre Fu – the same ar­chi­tect be­hind Swire Ho­tels’ the Up­per House in Ad­mi­ralty dis­trict – the Kerry Ho­tel is a size­able prop­erty in its own right, oc­cu­py­ing 16 storeys in a broad, curved build­ing with 546 rooms and am­ple out­door spa­ces.

How­ever, it’s the ho­tel’s mas­sive Grand Ball­room that truly makes it stand out. En­com­pass­ing a whop­ping 1,756 sqm (18,900sq ft), and with ceil­ings that stretch 6.5 me­tres high, the ball­room has been pro­claimed the largest meet­ing space in Hong Kong. At its great­est ex­tent, the venue can ac­com­mo­date 2,016 peo­ple in a theatre-style set­ting, though a more com­mon setup may be ban­quet style, which al­lows for 1,248 guests. shangri-la.com

MA­RINA BAY SANDS

This list re­ally couldn’t be com­plete with­out the in­clu­sion of Sin­ga­pore’s Ma­rina Bay Sands. The huge mixe­duse de­vel­op­ment com­prises not only a ho­tel but also a shop­ping mall, ex­hi­bi­tion hall and even a mu­seum. The ex­hi­bi­tion halls pro­vide ac­cess to more than 30,000 sqm of cor­po­rate event space, how­ever it’s the 7,672 sqm (82,580sq ft) Sands Grand Ball­room – proudly pro­claimed by the ho­tel as the largest ball­room in South­east Asia – that truly stands out. This whop­ping space can pro­vide seat­ing for more than 6,000 guests in a ban­quet-style setup, with this fig­ure ris­ing to 8,000 for a stand­ing re­cep­tion, and its ceil­ing height of 11 me­tres does lit­tle to lessen the vast­ness that one feels when step­ping in­side. marin­abaysands.com

FAIR­MONT SIN­GA­PORE

While the largest ball­room at the Fair­mont Sin­ga­pore may be dwarfed in the city by that of­fered at Ma­rina Bay Sands, the prop­erty’s 2,256 sqm (24,294sq ft) Fair­mont Ball­room

is noth­ing to be sneered at. Able to ac­com­mo­date up to 1,800 peo­ple for a ban­quet and up to 3,000 in theatre-style con­fig­u­ra­tion, the ball­room is un­de­ni­ably a big venue and its six-me­tre-high ceil­ings pro­vide plenty of head­room. Even if you’re not look­ing for some­thing quite this size, the ho­tel has 27 meet­ing rooms cover­ing a to­tal of 6,503 sqm (70,000sq ft). fair­mont.com

CHINA WORLD SUM­MIT WING BEI­JING

Sit­u­ated be­tween the 64th and 80th floors of the China World Trade Cen­ter in the city’s Chaoyang cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict, the China World Sum­mit Wing Bei­jing not only has one of the larger ball­rooms in the Chi­nese cap­i­tal but also of­fers del­e­gates in­cred­i­ble views out over the city when an event fin­ishes and they head up to its 80th floor bar, the suit­ably named At­mos­phere.

The ho­tel’s event spa­ces are not in such a lofty po­si­tion, sadly, be­ing lo­cated be­tween the sixth floor and the base­ment level. How­ever, that doesn’t take away from the im­pres­sive­ness of the main Sum­mit Ball­room, lo­cated on level three. Span­ning some 2,262 sqm (24,348sq ft) and with ceil­ings that stand at a lofty ten me­tres high, the ball­room can seat a max­i­mum of 1,800 guests us­ing a theatre-style setup, though a still im­pres­sive 1,200 peo­ple can be seated in ban­quet for­mat. shangri-la.com

KERRY HO­TEL PUDONG, SHANG­HAI

Much like its newer Hong Kong sis­ter, 2011’s Kerry Ho­tel Pudong, Shang­hai is geared to­wards busi­ness events, with 26 func­tion rooms and two large-scale pil­lar­less ball­rooms. The larger of the two, the 2,230 sqm (24,000sq ft) Grand Shang­hai Ball­room is able to ac­com­mo­date up to 2,200 peo­ple in a theatre-style setup, while the smaller 1,018 sqm (10,958sq ft) Pudong Ball­room can host up to 840.

The ho­tel’s pièce de re­sis­tance, how­ever, is the fact that these two venues can ac­tu­ally be com­bined via the eight­metre-wide walk­way that con­nects the two spa­ces to cre­ate an even larger space. shangri-la.com

HIL­TON SYD­NEY

The Hil­ton Syd­ney may not be Hil­ton World­wide’s new­est prop­erty in the New South Wales cap­i­tal, but it’s cer­tainly one of its best for event spa­ces. Sit­u­ated in the heart of the city’s CBD, the Hil­ton Syd­ney has four floors of venues, most no­tably the 806 sqm (8,675sq ft) Grand Ball­room lo­cated on the third floor. Fea­tur­ing six-me­tre-high ceil­ings, the ball­room alone is ca­pa­ble of hold­ing 1,100 guests theatre style, while the as­so­ci­ated pre-func­tion space dou­bles this fig­ure for a cock­tail event. hil­ton.com

SHER­A­TON GRAND MA­CAO HO­TEL

Ma­cau’s ho­tels are made for big events, and per­haps none more so than the gar­gan­tuan 4,001-room Sher­a­ton Grand Ma­cao Ho­tel, the big­gest ho­tel in Ma­cau. Over­all, the ho­tel’s event spa­ces cover more than 14,000 sqm (152,000sq ft), with a fur­ther 5,000 sqm (55,000sq ft) avail­able within the wider Sands Co­tai Cen­tral com­plex. To­gether, this re­sults in 166 in­di­vid­ual event spa­ces within the de­vel­op­ment.

The ho­tel’s largest venue, how­ever, is the pil­lar­less Kash­gar Grand Ball­room, which can be di­vided into 16 dif­fer­ent meet­ing rooms if so de­sired. The ball­room alone ac­counts for nearly one-third of all the event space avail­able at the ho­tel, cover­ing 4,891 sqm (52,645sq ft) and able to ac­com­mo­date up to 5,000 guests. mar­riott.com

THE OKURA TOKYO

The Okura Tokyo is unique on this list for be­ing the only ho­tel that isn’t tech­ni­cally op­er­at­ing yet. Come Septem­ber

12, 2019, the city’s land­mark Ho­tel Okura Tokyo will re­open as the re­branded The Okura Tokyo, in­clud­ing the open­ing of a new ball­room that will far ex­ceed the cur­rent prop­erty’s largest fa­cil­ity, the 1,036 sqm (11,151sq ft) As­cot Ball­room. In fact, The Okura Tokyo’s Heian Room is ex­pected to be al­most twice this size, at 1,968 sqm (21,184sq ft) and able to host events of up to 2,300 peo­ple theatre style, mak­ing it one of the largest ball­rooms in the city.

While the ho­tel is yet to of­fi­cially com­plete its re­brand, as of early Septem­ber this year it has ac­cepted reser­va­tions for cor­po­rate events. hotelokura.co.jp

BANGKOK MAR­RIOTT MAR­QUIS QUEEN’S PARK

Some 6,410 sqm (69,007sq ft) of event space is avail­able at the Bangkok Mar­riott Mar­quis Queen’s Park, which stands next to Ben­jasiri Park on the edge of the city’s Kh­long Toei and Watthana dis­tricts. Much of this is spread across the ho­tel’s 35 event spa­ces – many of which com­prise size­able ball­rooms and halls – how­ever some 1,260 sqm (13,573sq ft) of this is taken up solely by the largest ball­room on site, the Thai Chit­lada Grand Ball­room, mak­ing it among the big­gest in the city.

Able to ac­com­mo­date up to 1,300 peo­ple in its most high-den­sity theatre-style setup, the ball­room also seats ap­prox­i­mately 900 guests when set up for a ban­quet. mar­riott.com

IN­TER­CON­TI­NEN­TAL GRAND SEOUL PARNAS

While Lotte Ho­tels and Re­sorts’ new­est prop­erty, Sig­niel Seoul, took the crown for the high­est ho­tel ball­room in the South Korean cap­i­tal when it opened in the 555-me­tre-tall Lotte World Tower in April 2017, at just 550 sqm (5,920sq ft) it’s cer­tainly not the largest. Rather it is the Grand Ball­room of the In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal Grand Seoul Parnas in the city’s Gang­nam busi­ness dis­trict that vies for this po­si­tion – the ho­tel proudly pro­claims that its ball­room is the largest ban­quet hall in the coun­try. At 1,494 sqm (16,081sq ft) and with ceil­ings seven me­tres high, the ball­room is ca­pa­ble of hold­ing a max­i­mum of 1,600 peo­ple. And if that’s not enough, the city’s mixed-use COEX Con­ven­tion and Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­ter and shop­ping mall are right next door. ihg.com

MAN­DARIN ORI­EN­TAL KUALA LUMPUR

Kuala Lumpur’s largest ho­tel ball­room can be found on the first floor of the Man­darin Ori­en­tal Kuala Lumpur. Not only is the venue pil­lar­less with eight-me­tre-high ceil­ings, it also fea­tures large glass pan­els that flood it with nat­u­ral light and pro­vide lovely views over­look­ing a green park. While the space can be di­vided in two to form sep­a­rate ball­rooms – Emer­ald and Sap­phire – the Grand Ball­room is at its most im­pres­sive when taken as a sin­gle whole, of­fer­ing 2,025 sqm (21,797sq ft) – enough to house a Boe­ing 747 air­craft – and ca­pa­ble of ac­com­mo­dat­ing up to 2,400 guests. man­dari­nori­en­tal.com

MANILA MAR­RIOTT HO­TEL

Much like the Sher­a­ton Grand Ma­cao, the Manila Mar­riott Ho­tel ben­e­fits from be­ing part of a larger mixe­duse de­vel­op­ment, in this case Re­sorts World Manila. The ho­tel has ac­cess to a num­ber of dif­fer­ent event spa­ces – 43 meet­ing rooms cover­ing 8,779 sqm (94,496sq ft) – with its 2,897 sqm (31,179sq ft) Mar­riott Grand Ball­room tak­ing top spot as the Philip­pine cap­i­tal’s largest. De­signed by in­te­rior de­sign firm Get­tys, the ball­room is able to pro­vide space for 4,000 guests for a cock­tail event or 2,500 for ban­quets. mar­riott.com

LEFT: Grand Hy­att, Hong Kong

OP­PO­SITE PAGE: Kerry Ho­tel Pudong, Shang­hai; Sher­a­ton Grand Ma­cao Ho­tel; and Bangkok Mar­riott Mar­quis Queen’s Park

THIS PAGE FROM TOP: The Okura Tokyo; China World Sum­mit Wing Bei­jing

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