luxury

A New Experience In London

New girl to the Top Venues team, Laura Maguire, tells us about her first real trip into London doing site visits:

Vine Tree Hotels & Venues promotes a collection of luxury, high quality venues in the UK and Europe so last week Top Venues took a trip to London to go and see four of these venues to help update our own venue knowledge and establish new working relationships to help our clients.

Merchant Taylors’ Hall

Firstly, this venue is stunning!

Located on Threadneedle Street and not far from Bank Tube Station, this venue is very easily accessible. The Merchant Taylors’ Hall has 9 spaces available for events. The largest space is the Great Hall that can hold up to 380 delegates. Looking down onto the Great Hall is The Kings Gallery that can hold up to 30 theatre style. Story has it that this room was made for a king who didn’t like to eat in front of people because he had a rather long tongue which caused him spit a bit when he ate. So he had this room made so he could still look into the Great Hall but eat alone. Across from The Kings Gallery is The Drawing Room, these two rooms can be easily used together. There is a stunning courtyard in the centre of the building allowing an easy flow around the venue. There is onsite catering and a head chef who is happy to cater in any style. The kitchen here is actually the oldest working kitchen in London. The venue treats every event enquiry on its own and creates a bespoke price package that fits in your requirements.


The Landmark London Hotel

Next up we took a taxi to The Landmark Hotel, which is by far the fanciest place I have ever been so far.

The Landmark has 11 event rooms, the largest holding up to 512 delegates theatre style. The Landmark Suites are perfect for small meetings but unfortunately they don’t have natural lighting, which could be a draw back. The hotel has around 300 bedrooms that can also be used for small meetings. It has 4 restaurants and bars for guests to dine at or relax with a drink or two. The Landmark is easily accessible as it is located opposite Marylebone rail and underground station. Although this is a beautiful 5* hotel personally I wouldn’t pick it for a stay as it’s not my style but for an event it is perfect.

 

Lord’s Cricket Ground

Lord’s Cricket Ground has a mix of very traditional event spaces and modern space. The Pavilion is very traditional and has a strict dress code of suit trousers and jacket, which is not negotiable. Across the pitch from the Pavilion you find the Media Suite that can seat 75 delegates. This space is very modern and would be perfect for events where there is a trainer teaching the delegates. Lord’s also has various spaces that can be used for conferences and meetings. However, there will be some disruption to when events can take place over the coming year due to the rebuild of The Warner Stand. The venue also has a museum on site, which is home to the world famous ashes. It’s an odd feeling when you are at Lord’s because you are in the middle of London and yet feel like you aren’t in a city at all.

 

The Arch

The Arch, my personal favourite of the 4 venues.

This venue is 7 townhouses converted into one hotel, which gives the hotel some lovely quirks. For example, there are hidden staircases to nowhere and if you look down the corridor through the houses, it’s not straight because of when it used to be separate houses and all the rooms are different shapes and sizes. Another reason I fell in love with The Arch, besides it’s beautiful rooms, suites and bar/ restaurant area is the hotel is opposite Madonna’s house. This sent me into a bit of Madonna frenzy that resulted in me taking multiple photos of her house (I can assure you I’m not a stalker!). The hotel has a few beautiful areas for events, including the quirky and luxurious Martini Library. This space can hold 14 in a boardroom for meetings or is perfect for welcome drinks and/ or a sit down meal. Everything about The Arch has been carefully thought about by the owner. He has taken all the things he dislikes from his experiences of staying at hotels around the world and done something so that his hotel doesn’t have that. For instance, apparently he hates the little cartons of milk you get in most hotels as part of the tea/coffee offering in the rooms and instead has a small bottle of fresh milk in the mini fridge for guests to use.

 

Whilst only being in London for only a day I can certainly say it’s been a great experience and opened my eyes to venues I wasn’t aware of and can use moving forward for our clients. Being able to view them first hand makes it much easier to understand what the venues can offer in real terms and realistically explain to our clients details on why they work for their events if they fit the bill.

If you’re interested in any of the venues above or want to find out more on how we can help, get in touch! You can email myself or the rest of the team at theteam@top-venues.co.uk or give us a ring on 0844 8709963. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Blogspot August

So, throughout the month of August we thought it would be a good idea to allow others to write a few guest blogs for us.

While we know you avidly sit on tenter-hooks waiting for our next blog (we can but hope), we thought you wouldn’t mind others having a bit of a say about their thoughts on the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to venues and events.

It’s always good to hear what others have to say on a topic and while we try to write our blogs on a regular basis, as we’ve been pretty hectic here in the office over the last few months, we’ve been unable to write as often as we’d like.

So, over the next few weeks we’ll be posting the odd guest blog here and there, with a few of our very own in between, here on our blog.

If you fancy having a say yourself or know someone who might fancy writing a few words about their experiences of events, booking venues, or simply what’s happening in the events industry, get in touch with us, we’d be happy to have you onboard.

Happy reading!

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A Little Bit of Christmas Cheer

Ok, ok, so we’re supposed to be into the height of the summer months…and as I look out of the window to the rain, I have to say I’m not particularly feeling it.

What I am hearing is the call for Christmas events. Yup. You heard right. C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S. There. I said it.

It doesn’t feel too long ago when I was discussing Christmas events last year on the blog but time does seem to fly and it’s important that you think about these things before they creep up on you and it’s too late.

For those of you thinking “You’ve got to be serious – Christmas thoughts in July” – well I forgive you. It does sound a bit ludicrous and almost feels like we’re wishing the year away.

I can assure you we’re not.

We’ve been receiving Christmas brochures in the office since the last Christmas party finished in January! I kid you not.

We’ve also been receiving Christmas party enquiries since February. I kid you not again.

While Christmas parties have changed somewhat over the last few years (namely down to a certain something happening with the economy – ssshh!) it’s still important to make your staff or work colleagues feel a bit of love from the office. While not everyone has the luxury of spending lots of money to reward staff throughout the year, it’s important that staff morale is kept high in order to keep the work flow going.

Royal Courts of Justice, London

So why not spend a little bit of money, put a bit of thought into the gathering and you’ll probably get a happier member of staff that wants to continue working hard so they can do it all again next year. It doesn’t need to be expensive to make someone feel special.

Prices range from £25.00 per head up to £150.00 per head depending on whether you want an all inclusive, drinks, food, theme and everything or just a meal. The average price for a party package in London for instance will cost between £50 – 80 per head whereas in Manchester you’re looking at more £30 – 50 per head. Obviously the price goes up or down depending on venue, date and what’s included.

If you really don’t have a budget for an external event, have it in the office. It’s not completely wrong to be sat at your desk with a glass of wine in hand – is it?!?

Alternatively, head to a local pub or restaurant and have a meal.

For those wanting to make it a little bit more formal or more of a party, there really is something for everyone. Think about joiner parties. If you don’t have a large group to accommodate, lots of venues offer joiner-parties where you can (as it says) Join A Party. Costs per head are lower and you still get the theming, entertainment and meal with novelties.

Alternatively, for something a bit more lavish, consider having a theme created just for you – while a bit more expensive, it will be exclusive and you can have it tailored to suit your needs.

Of course, there’s still the top venues that offer a themed private party and these can be fabulous and cost less than if you were to devise and dress a venue in your own theme. You could try somewhere like the Great Hall at the Royal Courts of Justice in London for a more formal event. Or the Bloomsbury Ballroom, again in London. Alternatively, somewhere like the National Football Museum in Manchester may be more your style.

National Football Museum, Manchester

In all honesty, most venues will offer you different packages for different prices depending on what date and day of the week you want to hold it. The options are endless…with more and more venues making a bit more of an effort to draw in business, you can expect good rates, more for your money and more exciting ideas.

 

But I warn those of you with large groups – you need to be booking now. Dates are filling up for private parties and once they’re gone, they’re truly gone, leaving you with limited options.

So go ahead…have a look around and see what you can find for your Christmas party.

Or, if you really don’t have the time, let us know and we can do it all for you – big or small we’re here to help!

Merry Christmas Everyone! 🙂

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Confec Green 2011

Having been to numerous forums where suppliers (i.e. venues and companies who supply to the industry) and buyers (i.e. those who buy into the venues etc) meet together to create new contacts. I was pleasantly surprised with the format for this forum.

For once, I was sat at the table and suppliers had to move to come and see me rather than the other way round.

It was a relatively small group of both suppliers and buyers but that meant you were able to get to know more of the attendees and people mixed equally rather than gathering into little groups as is often the case with these events.

The attendees spent around a day and half at the 5 star Andaz Hotel in London, situated right next to Liverpool St Station.

After what seemed to be a relatively short day we were whisked away to the newly opened 5 star Corinthia London Hotel. What a fantastic hotel! Having made the quick show-round before dinner I was extremely impressed with the quality of everything from the entrance hallway to the suites and the two different restaurants the hotel offered.

The Corinthia London Hotel has every right to make its claim on being the flagship of the group. It should also make claim to being one of the best five star hotels in London at the moment.

The Andaz Hotel is another lovely five star hotel but has a completely different feel and style to it. A mix of old and new, traditional and modern, it really is a bit of everything. With the different buildings that have been collaborated over the years I’m not sure if it’s a little bit like a maze, although after a while you do get your bearings.

One of its’ little secret’s (although not for too much longer) is the Masonic Temple that was discovered after years of being hidden. A wonderful space for small events that really want to show off.

Both the Corinthia Hotel and Andaz Hotel have their own quirky features and would certainly cater for many different events for any kind of client.

Back to Confec Green, I certainly found the event to be useful with some really valuable contacts and would definitely consider attending the next event.

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St Pancras Renaissance Hotel – The New Kid on the Block

I was recently in London around the Kings Cross area meeting with a venue that can offer Conference and meeting spaces.

Whilst there I remembered that I was extremely close to the brand new 5 star hotel – the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.

The ‘all singing all dancing’ hotel has had a lot of press and is the newest addition to the Marriott Family of Hotels here in the UK.

Known to some of those not in the events and conference industry as having ‘the stairs’ that Spice Girls filmed their ‘Wannabe’ song.

The hotel is now a five star luxury hotel with direct access to St Pancras train station and have a number of conference and meeting rooms available onsite.

Unfortunately, I was unable to meet with anyone to show me the rooms but I had a sneaky peak around the hotel myself anyway.

On my arrival outside of the hotel I was greeted by doormen with bowler hats on – looking rather nice! Normally I would feel a little intimidated by such greetings but the doormen welcomed me into the hotel with warm smiles and hellos.

The lobby area of the hotel is a fantastic, light and airy space covered by a glass ceiling that links both sides of the hotel together. One side with the bedrooms and conference spaces, the other with the restaurant leading onto St Pancras Train Station.

With a modern touch the hotel still retains its character and charm and feels very comfortable to be around.

Despite not being able to see the conference rooms I had a sneaky peak down the corridor they were based and was pleasantly surprised to come across ‘The Stairs’. It actually felt almost like they shouldn’t be there as they look like they should open up into a large and grand hallway. Instead, they just split the corridor to the conference rooms up a little. Still impressive even if they were a little hidden.

With 9 meeting rooms and up to 7 breakout rooms, the hotel can accommodate up to 550 for an event. It also has been filled with tall ceiling heights, plenty of original features and a mix of modern and traditional decoration, this hotel feels every bit like the lap of luxury it claims to be. Certainly not for everyone with the prices, this venue is perfect if you want to impress your clients and one place I’ll certainly be putting forward in the future!

Watch the video to find out more…

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