MEET - Walt Disney Family Museum
With beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge, this intimate museum located in the Presidio is an ideal setting for smaller group gatherings. Housed in restored 1980s-era army barracks, it has a theater that can hold up to 114 and a lobby/porch area for up to 200. In between, guests can peruse the personal collection of Disney artifacts and Disney family heirlooms within the gallery spaces.
EAT - Liholiho Yacht Club
Named to Bon Appetit's annual list of America's Best New Restaurants for 2015, this Hawaiian restaurant in Lower Nob Hill takes traditional island staples like pork belly and tuna poke, and imbues them with tastes from around the world.
STAY - Hotel Nikko San Francisco
This upscale property offers large accommodations and a central location in San Francisco's downtown core. When attendees aren't in meetings, they can take advantage of the hotel's famed cabaret-style nightclub, Feinstein's at the Nikko.
San Francisco was the site of this year's annual Meeting Professionals International World Education Congress, held at Moscone West from Aug. 1-4, where it welcomed more than 2,500 attendees from the meetings and events industry. The convention gave planners a chance to see and explore the city, as well as experience some of its most recent hotel renovations and developments, many of which are located in the heart of the city's downtown Union Square district.
The massive 1,919-room Hilton San Francisco Union Square, for example, which hosted a number of attendees, recently completed a major redesign of its 575 guest rooms in Tower 1, as well as adding 11 additional rooms. It marked the last phase of a project that also included enhancements to all rooms, suites, and meeting space in Tower 3.
Just down the street from the Hilton, the 532-room Hotel Nikko San Francisco also hosted a number of attendees, as did the newly flagged 1,024-room Parc 55 San Francisco - a Hilton Hotel. In August, Hilton opened the new 174-room Hampton Inn by Hilton San Francisco Downtown/Convention Center, which is close to both the Moscone Center and to AT&T Park.
Also in Union Square, the former 208-room Hotel Monaco was renamed The Marker (pictured) - Union Square Nearby, the historic former Powell Hotel is set to open later this fall as the new Axiom Hotel. The 152-room property aims to be the most "tech-forward" hotel in the city, with a flexible meeting space called "The Hub," suitable for smaller meetings of up to 36 attendees.
South of San Francisco, The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, recently debuted an outdoor event space, the 7,500-square-foot Mar Vista Lawn. It includes gas-burning fire pits. Groups are encouraged to use the space for cocktail receptions and dinners, as well as wine workshops or cooking classes.
East of San Francisco, in San Ramon, a brand-new 50,000-square-foot conference center opened in July. The Roundhouse Conference Center is located at Bishop Ranch and includes a 300-person auditorium and two lecture halls that can accommodate 75 people each.
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This article appears in the October 2015 issue of Successful Meetings.