I recently attended PCMA’s Convening Leaders at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. The Hynes is the smaller convention center of Boston’s two. It was built in 1988 and feels somewhere in between modern and dated.
The biggest draw of the Hynes is location. The Hynes is connected to a mall and the Sheraton. The Westin and the Marriott hotels in the area are also attached to the malls and walkways, meaning you can host a convention at the Hynes with many (if not all) of your guests ever having to go outside. I stayed at the Hilton which is right across the street from the Sheraton, which made it a close by choice as well. Read my thoughts on the Hilton here.
The Hynes has 193,000 square feet of space, including the auditorium which seats 3000.
I was in Boston last week for the PCMA annual meeting, Convening Leaders. I did something that I almost never do anymore – I stayed in a hotel and didn’t see any of the meeting space! All of the sessions were in the Hynes Convention Center and the Sheraton. I was in and out of sessions so much that I forgot to peek at the Hilton’s offerings! So this site report is based on sleeping rooms only, like I was a regular guest and not a crazy event planner!
If you are traveling to Boston for a meeting at the Hynes, the Hilton Boston Back Bay is a convenient alternative. While it’s not attached to the center via skywalks and the mall like many of the other hotels that are nearby (and were part of the official PCMA block), it’s actually closer to the Hynes than other hotels, such as the Westin and Marriott.
Last week I had a brief trip to Nashville for a conference. I stayed two nights at the Gaylord Opryland. You can read my thoughts on the sleeping rooms here. Since I was there for a conference I got to see a lot of the meeting space.
The Gaylord Opryland is a resort and convention center. The convention center is part of the main building – there is no need to go outside (which is good, because it was too cold to leave).
The convention center is huge – 600,000 square feet of meeting space, most of it in huge ballrooms. I would say that overall, the space was rather functional. There wasn’t anything particularly exciting about it – the hallways and pre-function space had a subtle plantation feel, but otherwise it felt very similar to the Hyatt Regency Orlando (formerly the Peabody) – just massively large!
Last week I got to go to Nashville for a conference (attending, not planning). When I originally registered I thought, January seems like an okay time to go to Nashville. Well turns out this conference coincided with the Polar Vortex and it was NINE DEGREES when I stepped off of the plane in Nashville. Nine!
The good news was that I was staying at the Gaylord Opryland Resort, which is basically a mini city, not a bad place to be if it’s way too cold to venture outside. The bad news is that since it was so cold I didn’t leave the hotel at all, so I didn’t really get a chance to see Nashville at all. Oh well, I’ll just have to go back!
I am going to divide my review of the Gaylord into at least two parts – today I’m going to focus on the sleeping rooms.
I am a big fan of the Newseum and I’ve already covered it in a site report here (and it was the inspiration for this blog post on gracefully ending an event), but I recently visited the museum as a regular person (aka not in an events capacity at all – you might call this a tourist) and I thought I would share some photos of spaces that are also available for rent, but I haven’t personally used yet.
As I’ve mentioned previously, one of the big draws for the Newseum is its view of the US Capitol. The museums have multiple terraces, including one attached to the Knight Conference Center on the 7th floor (mentioned here) but there is also a terrace on the 6th floor outside of Today’s Front Pages Gallery – that’s exactly what it sounds like, a gallery of front pages from around the nation and world updated daily. Here are some photos of the view:
If you want a good view of a skyline, sometimes you have to be outside of the city to see it. That’s what my husband always says about New York City – why live in the city when you can live in Hoboken, New Jersey and have a view OF the city?
The same goes for Washington, DC. Sure, there are some awesome views of the Capitol from within city limits (such as the Newseum or the Library of Congress), but to be able to see more of the city, you need to go across the river to Arlington, VA. There are a few venues in Arlington (and Alexandria) which boast a view of the DC skyline. I am going to be using one of these venues for a holiday party in December – Top of the Town.
In looking for venues for a holiday party, I came across a relatively new venue in Georgetown – The Powerhouse. The Powerhouse is a historic warehouse-y type building in a great location. We didn’t end up selecting the venue for this event, but I hope to be able to use it in the future, as there was a lot that I liked about it.
The venue’s location is either a benefit or a drawback, depending on how you look at it. It’s located in Georgetown, which is a swanky area that lots of people want to be – except that it isn’t easily accessible. There’s no metro nearby and parking is a pain in the you-know-what. The Powerhouse is located behind Dean and Deluca’s. If you are coming from M Street (the main drag in Georgetown), it’s easily accessible via footbridge. But the building is also located on an extremely narrow street that has zero parking and would be tricky for buses to navigate.