by Lisa A. Grimaldi | August 01, 2015
Why here?
The Empire State offers a wealth of unique destinations and settings for meetings, conventions and incentives. One of the newest visitor attractions in the state is One World Trade Center, which now occupies a prominent setting in Manhattan's iconic skyline (pictured).  

Upstate News
 The 362-room Rochester Plaza and Conference Center is now the Holiday Inn Downtown Rochester. The hotel has 30,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 10,000-square-foot ballroom.

 The 92-room landmark Northwoods Inn in Lake Placid has completed a multimillion-dollar renovation and been renamed the Hotel North Woods. The property has six meeting rooms.

Floating Holiday
Enjoy the flavors of star chef Masaharu Morimoto on a sunset sushi cruise in New York Harbor on Monday nights through October. Classic Harbor Line ( offers other group sailing options year-round.

Rolling Out a Bike Program
The 60-room High Line Hotel has launched a complimentary program that lets guests obtain a Shinola bike to tour and explore the city by wheel.
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Local Update

 The 873-room Westin New York at Times Square has completed a three-year, $33 million facelift. The hotel's more than 34,000 square feet of meeting and prefunction space has been completely renovated and features new LED lighting fixtures.     

 The New York Palace Hotel has been purchased by the Lotte Group, a South Korean corporation, for $805 million. The 1,909-room property recently opened up three function rooms in its Villard Mansion to groups for private events.

 The 273-room New York Edition has debuted within the landmark Met Life Tower on Manhattan's Madison Square. The hotel has 2,100 square feet of meeting and event space.

 The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center has launched free wireless service -- up to 256K of bandwidth -- for all customers and visitors. The system serves up to 70,000 wireless devices at a time. Those who prefer greater connectivity for larger data downloads will be charged at set rates per day.
 New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has unveiled plans for creating an elevated AirTrain that would connect LaGuardia Airport with Queens' Willets Point train station, which sits opposite the Citi Field ballpark and serves both the Long Island Rail Road commuter rail and the city's No. 7 subway line.

 The 114-room Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York has opened in midtown Manhattan with one 1,000-square-foot meeting room. The property, which occupies 12 floors of a 550-foot tower, features the Chevalier Restaurant, a 60-foot bar, the Spa de la Mer and an outdoor terrace overlooking the Museum of Modern Art.

 The 1,413-room Waldorf Astoria has been sold to Chinese firm Anbang Insuranc Group for a reported $1.95 billion. Anbang plans to renovate the landmark Park Avenue property, which opened in 1931. Former owner Hilton Worldwide Holdings will continue to operate the hotel under a 100-year management contract with Anbang.

 The Rainbow Room, the iconic res­taurant and event space atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Rockefeller Center, has reopened with a new bar and lounge.

 The 194-room Cambria Suites Times Square has opened with one meeting room, a rooftop lounge, a restaurant, business and fitness centers, and complimentary Wi-Fi.

 Brooklyn's largest hotel, the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, has unveiled the first phase of a $43 million renovation, which includes a redesign of the lobby and debut of the M Club Lounge. A revamp of the hotel's ballroom and 30 meeting rooms will be finished next month, and an updating of all 667 guest rooms will be completed in 2016.

 The 128-room aloft Hotel Financial District is set to open this fall. The 18-story hotel will have a Bliss Spa outpost, a bar and lounge, a gym, free Wi-Fi and one meeting room.

• The 150-room Sheraton JFK Airport Hotel in Queens has completed a head-to-toe renovation, which included upgrades to guest rooms, the restaurant, the lobby and more. The property has 2,300 square feet of meeting space.