by Michael J. Shapiro | September 01, 2017
• The 206-room Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland, is in the midst of a major renovation project. All guest rooms will be updated, the lobby will be reconfigured and a larger, redesigned fitness area will debut. The hotel could not confirm a completion date at press time. 

• Management firm SMG, which handles operations for the Global Center for Health Innovation and the adjacent Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland, signed on as a partner for the Cleveland 2030 District -- part of a broader national movement to create vital urban building districts while reducing the environmental impact of construction and operations. Cleveland's LEED Gold convention facilities recycled more than 55.6 percent of trash last year, and the on-site F&B provider donated more than 12,500 meals from leftover food to the Cleveland Food Bank. There is a working farm on-site, just outside the Grand Ballroom, that helps to produce food for catering purposes. The facilities are now part of 41 million square feet of space dedicated to Cleveland 2030. 

• Among the improvements Cleveland Metroparks has made to lakeside Edgewater Park this season is the new multimillion-dollar Edgewater Beach House. The facility's open-air second story has a fireplace, a bar and food service with seating for up to 250 people. A plaza and trails also were added to the park, a popular location for outdoor concerts and other events.

• A 243-room hotel is slated to open at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, a little more than an hour's drive south from Cleveland. Scheduled to begin hosting guests in May 2018, the new property is part of a $500 million mega-project that also will include an indoor and outdoor NFL activity center; assorted youth sports fields; an assisted living center; an athletic training and educational complex; and retail, restaurant and office space. 

Meeting Hotels: Among the many meetings-friendly properties downtown are the 600-room Hilton Cleveland Downtown; 491-room Renaissance Cleveland Hotel; 484-room Westin Cleveland Downtown; 400-room Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center; 379-room DoubleTree by Hilton Cleveland Downtown-Lakeside; 269-room Hyatt Regency Cleveland at the Arcade; 240-room Hilton Garden Inn Cleveland Downtown; 206-room Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland; 205-room Crowne Plaza Cleveland at Playhouse Square, and 189-room Drury Plaza Hotel.

To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit mcvenues.com.

Convention Center: Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland; exhibit space, 225,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 35; (216) 928-1600; clevelandconventions.com

Airport Transit: Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, about nine miles southwest of the downtown area; transfer cost by taxi, approximately $16-
$20 to downtown

Taxes: Room tax, 8.5%; sales tax, 8%; total tax on hotel rooms, 16.5%

Group Venue: You can party (or just hold a meeting) every day at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which has become a Cleveland institution. This past spring the hall upped the ante for food lovers: Cleveland rock-star chefs Michael Symon and Jonathon Sawyer now provide menu items for special events at the venue. Among the temptations: Michael Symon's Mac & Cheese (with goat cheese, rosemary and roasted chicken) or pig roast (with slow-roasted suckling pig and smoked sausage), and Jonathon Sawyer's Tabasco fried chicken or slow-roasted beef shin. Groups can rent the Meet to the Beat Conference Room, which seats 21 people; the Foster Theater, for up to 163; various levels of the hall; or the whole museum, which can host up to 2,000 for an event. (216) 515-8420

Contact: Destination Cleveland, (800) 321-1001