Northern California

Plugged In
The city of San Jose once again lives up to its title as the capital of Silicon Valley by launching free Wi-Fi service throughout the downtown area beginning this month.

The Monterey Marriott completed a renovation of its 319 guest rooms, plus all hallways and corridors, in February. The property, which includes more than 50,000 square feet of meeting space, also is in the process of installing wireless Internet access in all guest rooms and meeting rooms.

This past February, the 550-room Hyatt Regency Monterey finished construction on an 8,000-square-foot courtyard that will be available for use as function space. In addition, the property soon will begin a renovation of its 40,000 square feet of meeting space, to be finished in early 2013.

All 379 guest rooms at the Portola Hotel & Spa Monterey Bay are now equipped with wireless Internet access. The property offers more than 50,000 square feet of flexible indoor event space, including the 19,600-square-foot Serra Ballroom and 11,000-square-foot De Anza Ballroom, plus approximately 60,000 square feet of outdoor event space, which includes the 500-seat Steinbeck Forum amphitheater.

The Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove has installed free Wi-Fi in all 312 guest rooms and completed a renovation of its 8,147-square-foot Hearst Social Hall. In all, the complex has 30,000 square feet of meeting space.

Meeting Hotels
Among the many properties with meeting space in Monterey are the 550-room Hyatt Regency Monterey, 379-room Portola Hotel & Spa Monterey Bay, 319-room Monterey Marriott, 290-room Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, 208-room Clement Monterey, 204-room Hilton Garden Inn Monterey, 196-room Best Western Plus Beach Resort Monterey, 171-room Casa Munras Hotel & Spa, 105-room Hotel Pacific and 103-room Travelodge Monterey Carmel.

Convention Center
Monterey Conference Center; exhibit space, 19,600 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 12; (831) 646-3770

Airport Transit
Monterey Airport, 3.5 miles east of downtown Monterey. Transfer cost by taxi, $15

San Jose International Airport, 75 miles north of Monterey. Transfer cost by Monterey Airbus, $40

San Francisco International Airport, approximately 105 miles north of Monterey. Transfer cost by Monterey Airbus, $50

Room tax, 10%; California Tourism Assessment, .065%; county tax, $2 per night at full service hotels and $1 per night at limited service properties. Total tax on hotel rooms, 10.065% plus $1-$2 per night

Group Venue
The iconic 18-hole, par-72 Pebble Beach Golf Links has been the site of some of the sport's most storied tournaments since it opened back in 1919, including five U.S. Open Championships (a sixth will be held during the course's centennial year). In addition to challenging golf, the course offers three on-site hotels, among them the 161-room Lodge at Pebble Beach, which overlooks the 18th hole and features more than 10,000 square feet of meeting space. (800) 654-9300

Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau, (877) 666-8373

Terminal Bliss
San Francisco Airport has opened a yoga room in its renovated Terminal 2.

San Francisco
Moscone Center recently completed a $56 million renovation. Improvements include a $4.5 million Wi-Fi system that can support up to 60,000 devices at once. (For more details, see "Cutting-Edge Convention Centers.")

The 22-room Inn at the Presidio opened in April as the first guest accommodations in the landmark 1,491-acre Presidio, a national park site and former U.S. Army outpost that dates back to the arrival of Spanish forces here in 1776. The property has two meeting rooms that can accommodate a total of up to 25 people, as well as an outdoor deck with a fire pit and views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Construction is under way on the new $60 million SFJAZZ Center, which is expected to open in January 2013. The 35,000-square-foot structure will feature a 700-seat performance hall and a restaurant.

The 158-room Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco, is celebrating its 25th anniversary with new renovations of its guest rooms, lobby and 5,145 square feet of meeting space (the property currently is creating an additional 1,200 square feet for events). The renovation is expected to be completed this month, while a new spa should debut this fall.

The 1,908-room Hilton San Francisco Union Square recently completed a $51 million renovation of 550 guest rooms, which now feature new furniture and Wi-Fi. The property has a total of 134,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 20,000-square-foot ballroom that soon will be expanded and updated with new design features.

Last October, the 277-room Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco finished a renovation of its meeting facilities. The 15,000 square feet of space received new audiovisual technology and furnishings, as well as an overall new color scheme and redesign.

The 659-room Grand Hyatt San Francisco is in the midst of a $70 million renovation that will revamp its lobby and add a new open-kitchen restaurant and an upscale bar. Set to be completed in the fall, this is the last in a multiphase project that included an upgrade of the property's 659 guest rooms and 27,000 square feet of meeting space in 2011.

Meeting Hotels
Among the largest properties with meeting space in the Union Square area are the 1,908-room Hilton San Francisco Union Square, 1,496-room Marriott Marquis San Francisco, 1,195-room Westin St. Francis, 1,010-room Parc 55 Wyndham San Francisco-Union Square, 685-room Grand Hyatt San Francisco, 552-room Palace Hotel, 550-room InterContinental San Francisco and 533-room Hotel Nikko San Francisco.

Other hotels in the city include the 802-room Hyatt Regency San Francisco, 591-room Fairmont San Francisco, 549-room Hilton San Francisco Financial District and 529-room Sheraton at Fisherman's Wharf.

For a more complete list of properties, visit

Convention Centers
Moscone Center; exhibit space, 442,000 square feet in Moscone North/South combined; number of meeting rooms, 68. Moscone West; exhibit space, 3,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 38. (415) 974-4000

Fort Mason Center; exhibit space, approximately 130,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 11. (415) 441-3400

Concourse Exhibition Center at the San Fran­cisco Design Center; exhibit space, 125,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, none. (415) 490-5800

South San Francisco Conference Center; exhibit space, approximately 20,500 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 12. (650) 877-8787

Room tax, 14%; Tourism Improvements District Assessment, 1% or 1.5%; total tax on hotel rooms, 15% or 15.5%

Group Venue
In March, the downtown Metreon shopping district opened the new City View, which offers approximately 12,000 square feet of outdoor event space and 18,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, the latter highlighted by 20-foot floor-to-ceiling windows allowing panoramic views of the San Francisco skyline. (415) 369-6003

San Francisco Travel Association, (415) 974-6900