May 01, 2002
Meetings & Conventions: Newsline

newsline.gif (8042 bytes)INTERNATIONAL FOCUS
SPAIN Barcelona
Under construction is a new, as-yet-unnamed Barcelona convention center that will be completed in time for the opening of the Universal Forum of Cultures, which will be held here in April 2004. The facility, being built alongside the Mediterranean Sea, will contain 210,000 square feet of exhibit space and 90,000 square feet of divisible meeting space but will not be available to conventions until 2005. Five new hotels with a combined total of 2,000 guest rooms will host attendees.

The new Forum Building also is slated to open in 2004. Standing at one end of the Avinguda Diagonal, Barcelona’s main thoroughfare, the venue will contain a 3,200-seat auditorium.

Two meeting rooms for 120 people each are now available at the Nou Camp Stadium, home to the city’s famed soccer club. The rooms, however, can be rented only on non-match days.

Canary Islands
Starwood Hotels & Resorts will soon begin construction on the Sheraton Salobre Hotel & Golf Resort, scheduled to open in late 2003. On the Southern coast of the island of Grand Canary, the 310-room resort will offer three meeting rooms and 27 holes of golf.

In late March, a new upscale hotel broke ground on the island of Tenerife. The $50 million, 365-room La Gaceta, slated to open at the end of 2004, was designed by Austrian Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who died in 2000. Expect the odd, for the architect was known to shun conventional ideas such as straight lines and flat floors; in addition, any grass or trees are likely to be found on the venue’s roof rather than on the ground. Also planned for the hotel is a museum devoted to Hundertwasser’s work.

April 5 saw the opening of the Warner Bros. Movie World theme park in San Martín de la Vega, 15 miles north of Madrid. This is the third such park in the world the other two are in Australia and Germany. The Madrid park features amusement rides, movie-related entertainment, restaurants, and meeting and function space. Among the attractions are Hollywood Boulevard, The Wild West and DC Comics Super Heroes World.

Two exhibit halls and 18 divisible meeting rooms have been built adjacent to the 1.5 million-square-foot Juan Carlos I Convention Center. Opened last August, the halls measure 210,000 square feet each and will be joined this September by a 100,000-square-foot hall. The new meeting rooms accommodate 2,150 people.

Radisson SAS Hotels & Resorts is entering the Spanish market with the scheduled spring 2003 opening of the Radisson SAS Resort Mijas. In a small hillside Costa del Sol village about 11 miles west of mega-resort Torremolinos, the 95-suite resort will resemble a whitewashed Andalusian village; a beach is just a short drive away.

The 500-room Hotel Port Aventura, which offers meeting and function space for up to 2,000 people, opened on April 1 at Universal Studio’s Mediterranea destination resort, 60 miles south of Barcelona. On the Costa Dorada, the hotel is part of the Port Aventura theme park, which soon will also contain a second 500-room hotel, the El Paso, and a new water park called Costa Caribe. Two completed parts of the attraction La Cantina, a faux Mexican village, and the Gran Teatro Imperial theater accommodate more than 1,000 people each.

Compiled by Terence Baker

In January, the NH Hoteles Group opened its first property in Burgos (130 miles north of Madrid) in the province of Castile-León. Built in the 16th century, the 110-room Palacio de la Merced contains Gothic touches, an ornate cloister and views of a magnificent cathedral, plus nine meeting rooms. A 15th-century church stands next door. (34) 9474-79900;

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