by Tom Isler | September 01, 2009

Local Update
The 235-room W Boston will open in October on Stuart Street in Boston's downtown theater district. The hotel will have approximately 5,000 square feet of meeting space, a Bliss Spa and a SWEAT fitness center.

The 114-room Ames Hotel
opens next month in a restored 1893 building generally considered to be Boston's first skyscraper.

The Bayside Exposition Center, which underwent foreclosure earlier this year after floundering since the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center opened in 2004, will reopen under new management this fall. Near the UMass Boston campus in Dorchester, the center has 235,000 square feet of exhibition space.

A $45 million renovation
at the 1,216-room Sheraton Boston will wrap up this month. The North Tower's 700 guest rooms are being redesigned from top to bottom, including new bedding and work stations. The lobby also is being updated. The South Tower rooms were renovated a few years ago. The Sheraton has 70,000 square feet of meeting space and is connected to the Prudential Center and the Hynes Convention Center.

Other hotels
that have been renovated recently include the 201-room Millennium Bostonian, the 285-room Colonnade Hotel and the 551-room Omni Parker House.

A George's Bank seafood restaurant from local chefs Pat Lyons and Jasper White will open at the Hynes Convention Center later this year, part of an ongoing $18 million renovation. It will be the first restaurant to be operated out of the facility. A second restaurant, yet to be finalized as of press time, will open in the coming months.

The 225-room Jurys Hotel
changed its name to the Back Bay Hotel in May. The luxury property has 3,100 square feet of meeting space.

The Rowes Wharf Sea Grille
restaurant opened this spring at the 230-room Boston Harbor Hotel, with great views of the harbor and seasonal outdoor seating.

The House of Blues opened in February on Landsdowne Street, directly across from Fenway Park. The $14 million venue can handle special events for up to 2,500.

The 150-room Fairmont Battery Wharf Hotel
opened last December. The hotel's restaurant, Sensing, from chef Guy Martin, followed in January. In June, the hotel unveiled its 40 Fairmont Gold rooms, offering a higher level of accommodation to guests.

Meeting Hotels:
For a complete list of Boston hotels, please visit

Convention Centers:
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center; exhibit space, 516,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 82; (617) 954-2000;

John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 193,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 38; (617) 954-2000;

Airport Transit:
Lo­gan International Airport, about four miles from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $25 to $35; by Silver Line rapid transit bus, $2

Room tax, 12.45%; sales tax, 6.25%, total tax on hotel rooms, 12.45%

Group Venues:
The $10 million New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center opened in July at the New England Aquarium. Groups can have cocktails around the center's new open-air pavilion, with a 68,000-gallon pool for seals, then retire for dinner to a new tented event space providing views of Boston Harbor. The venue accommodates 225 for a seated dinner or 500 for a reception. Buyouts of the entire aquarium are available for groups of up to 1,500. (617) 720-5104;

Boston's Diablo Glass School offers classes for glass artists of all skill levels, including novices. Groups of up to 60 can rent the studio space, about a mile south of the Museum of Fine Arts and Northeastern University, for a glass-blowing tutorial or private party. The facility hosts regular wine-tasting receptions for the public with glass works on display -- a setup easy to replicate for private groups. Glass-blowing team-building packages also are available. (617) 442-7444;

CVB Services:
Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, (617) 867-8288 or (888) 733-2678;