by Sarah J.F. Braley and Kaitlin Holden | September 01, 2011

The city has booked a record number of events this year, signing the highest number of future happenings at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and the Hynes Convention Center  since 2007. In June, a state panel recommended a $2 billion expansion of the BCEC, allowing the project to clear the first of several hurdles. The expansion, which would nearly double the size of the facility, needs the backing of the city and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, as well as the approval of the state legislature. The project would include the construction of an adjacent hotel with a possible 1,200 rooms.
Boston's 294-room Charles Hotel has debuted its new Corbu Spa and Salon. The 4,000-square-foot spa offers seven treatment rooms; some products used are made by spa director Pamela Baldwin Adami, mixing in locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. The property offers more than 18,000 square feet of meeting space.

The 803 guest rooms at the Westin Copley Place have been redone at a cost of $18 million. The property, which has 54,000 square feet of meeting space in 29 rooms, is connected to the Hynes Convention Center by skybridge.

As part of a $20 million refurbishment project, a new fitness center will open in late fall at the 383-room Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel. Renovations to the guest rooms will begin in mid-November, to be completed by spring 2012, in time for the hotel's 100th anniversary. Some enhancements to the 23,000 square feet of meeting space will take place, with details to come.

The new Northern Avenue Liberty Wharf, within walking distance of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, features the 20,000-square-foot Legal Harborside restaurant, Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House, Jerry Remy's Sports Bar and Grill, and Temazcal Tequila Cantina, serving a gourmet Mexican menu.

Renovations of the public areas of the 391-room Boston Marriott Long Wharf were completed this summer. The lobby, lounge and fitness center were redone, and the Oceana restaurant was turned into the 3,600-square-foot Harborview Ballroom hosting up to 120. A new restaurant also was added, called Waterline.

At the 400-room Royal Sonesta Hotel Boston, $6 million has been spent to renovate the 200 guest rooms in the East Wing. The work involved new décor and adding several energy-saving systems.

A new $135 million wing for the Isabella Stew­art Gardner Museum, designed by Renzo Piano, opens in January 2012. In the meantime, the facility is unavailable for group events. Also in January, the refurbished Tapestry Room will reopen, and the facility once again will welcome group business.

The 235-room W Boston has been sold to the Pebblebrook Hotel Trust for a reported $89.5 million. The two-year-old hotel in the city's theater district offers approximately 5,000 square feet of meeting space.

The Capital Grille of Boston, formerly found in Newbury Street, reopened in the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in August. The fine-dining restaurant seats 315 and offers a patio and five private dining rooms.