May 01, 2003
Meetings & Conventions: Newsline newsline.gif (8042 bytes)International Focus Scotland

Sweeping expansion: Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre
Sweeping expansion: Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre

Known for its historic castles, strong whisky, tragic royalty and superb golf, Scotland also has a decidedly cutting-edge flair: hip restaurants, shops and art galleries line the streets of its largest cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh. And modern hotels, new golf courses and meeting facilities are popping up throughout the country.

The Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre has completed an expansion and renovation. Among improvements is the addition of two multipurpose halls that each seat 500 for banquets and about 700 theater-style. Other changes include increases in seating capacity in the main plenary hall (to 2,000) and the tiered theater (to 500). Also, the number of breakout rooms was upped to 23.

The 100-room Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, Golf & Country Club will open this spring in the scenic Scottish Borders, as the area closest to England is called. The venue will have several meeting rooms, the largest accommodating 180, along with a business center, a spa with five treatment rooms, a health club and an 18-hole, par-72 golf course.

The 153-room Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa is set for a spring opening in this eastern city on the Firth of Tay. The property will have eight meeting rooms.

Plans are under way for the expansion of the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, the city’s main convention venue. The project calls for the addition of a flexible hall with 17,280 square feet of exhibit space, 11 breakout rooms and a tiered auditorium that will seat 1,800. The project is scheduled to finish in 2007.

The 119-room Apex City Hotel has opened in a former Bank of Scotland building in the Grassmarket. The property has three meeting rooms. The Balmoral Hotel, the grand dame of the Scottish capital’s meeting and incentive properties, is refurbishing its 188 guest rooms. The property also has opened a spa and fitness center.

The 247-room Radisson SAS recently opened in the heart of the city center. In addition, the 27-room One Devonshire Gardens and the adjacent 14-room Devonshire Hotel have become one, under the One Devonshire Gardens name. Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has opened a restaurant, Amaryllis, in the newly refurbished venue.

Scheduled to open this fall are the 106-room Campanile Hotel, adjacent to the Scotland Exhibition and Conference Centre, and the 314-room Jurys Hotel on Jamaica Street.

The legendary golf property Gleneagles Hotel is adding 59 guest rooms in a new wing called Braid House, while in the main hotel, guest rooms are being renovated; work should be completed this summer. Also, an extension to Gleneagles’ gym will wrap up this fall.

St. Andrews
The legendary St. Andrews Bay Golf Resort and Spa has opened the Devlin Course, complete with a clubhouse featuring PGA training facilities, a driving and practice range and a restaurant with 3,000 square feet of function space.

• By Lisa Grimaldi IMAGE
Lisbon’s 194-room Pestana Carlton Palace Hotel, formerly the Palácio Valle Flor, opened last year. The main building, a national monument, was restored to its grand 19th-century ambience, and two wings were added to house the guest rooms. The property has 15 meeting rooms, a fitness center, formal gardens and an outdoor pool. (011) 351-291-209100; Back to Newsline
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