The Greater Philadelphia area has recently welcomed several new facilities, developments and renovations that amp up its meetings, conventions and events offerings, with Philadelphia proper and neighboring Valley Forge figuring large in the equation.
Two of the biggest developments in Philadelphia include a new Four Seasons hotel and the city’s new Fashion District, which offers a wealth of attendee entertainment, dining and shopping options at the foot of the city’s largest convention facility, the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
“Those are definitely two of the big developments in the last few months,” said Anthony Stipa, communications manager for the Philadelphia CVB. “The Four Seasons opened last fall, and that’s really a crown jewel for us, as the Four Seasons has a beautiful ballroom and meeting space.”
Philadelphia added another feather in its cap, too, by being named to National Geographic’s Best Trips List for 2020, one of only two U.S. destinations—joining Grand Canyon National Park—to be honored among the 25 recognized.
Following are some of the top happenings in Philadelphia and Valley Forge that will add to their allure for meetings and conventions groups.
Philadelphia New Facilities and Renovations
Four Seasons Philadelphia at Comcast Center
Located atop the tallest building in Philadelphia, the landmark 60-story Comcast Center, the 219-room Four Seasons was one of the most anticipated hotel openings in recent years, bringing high-end luxury and elite ballroom space to the market.
- Restaurants operated by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and James Beard Award-winning chef Greg Vernick.
- A 57th-floor spa with an infinity pool boasting views of Philadelphia.
- 15,602 square feet of meeting space that can accommodate up to 275 attendees.
- A 4,554-square-foot Grand Terrace Ballroom with a capacity for 500, floor-to-ceiling windows and an outside terrace overlooking the city.
Photo: Ballroom Terrace. Credit: C. Horan for Four Seasons Philadelphia Hotel at Comcast Center
This new retail corridor that includes an entertainment component is connected to the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Opened September 19 and adjacent to the East Market retail corridor, itself the benefit of $800 million in renovations, the Fashion District brings a variety of meetings-friendly businesses to the city’s convention district:
- City Winery, offering fine dining, wine and culinary classes, a full production concert venue and venue rentals for private events for up to 1,200 guests.
- Chickie’s & Pete’s, a Philadelphia-favorite sports bar and seafood restaurant available for event rental.
- Wonderspaces, the third location of this group-friendly immersive art experience, which is housed in more than 24,000 square feet of space.
- AMC Theatres, a movie theater with food service and available for events rental.
- Round 1, a hip urban bowling alley that also offers ping pong, billiards and arcade games.
W Philadelphia/Element Philadelphia
This dual-branded hotel managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts is scheduled for a June 2020 opening in Center City, soaring 52 stories above Chestnut and 15th streets.
The 295-room W will offer 37 meeting rooms and nearly 46,000 square feet of event space, with the largest, the 5,400-square-foot Great Room, able to accommodate 550 guests.
The 460-room Element is an extended-stay property that features fully equipped kitchens and Westin Heavenly Beds. The hotel offers a 416-square-foot boardroom, with additional space available at the W Philadelphia.
When open, the hotel package will offer 25,000 square feet of meeting space, a spa, fitness centers, banquet facilities, a rooftop pool and lounge, and street-level retail space along Chestnut Street.
Canopy by Hilton Philadelphia Center City
The 236-room Canopy by Hilton Philadelphia Center City will open this spring as part of the East Market development in Center City.
The hotel is designed by BLT Architects and developed as an adaptive reuse of the historic Stephen Girard Building, with a design that pays homage to the history of the city while infusing a hip, modern look and feel. Amenities include Canopy bikes, a fitness room and approximately 3,600 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space.
Philadelphia is getting into the esports game in a big way—joining destinations such as Las Vegas and Arlington, Texas—with the $50 million Fusion Arena. The esports and entertainment venue, located in the Philadelphia Sports Complex adjacent to Xfinity Live!, will be the home “field” of the Philadelphia Fusion esports franchise, which competes in the 20-team Overwatch League.
Photo: A rendering of Philadelphia’s new Fusion Arena esports complex. Credit: Fusion Arena Complex.
Besides esports, Fusion Arena will serve as a venue for live entertainment and other events. Fusion Arena will seat up to 3,500 spectators and boast a 2,000-square-foot interactive media surface that towers 30 feet above viewers. Other features include two balcony bars, club seats with USB ports and suites.
Developers claim that the facility will be the largest purpose-built esports arena in the Western Hemisphere when it opens in 2021.
Faith and Liberty Discovery Museum
Scheduled to open by the end of 2020, the Faith and Liberty Discovery Museum will celebrate and explore the role faith and liberty have in fostering core American values. The museum will be located at 5th and Market streets on Independence Mall—in the middle of what’s dubbed “America’s Most Historic Square Mile”—and will engage visitors via film, interactive media, artifacts and imagery.
The 40,000-square-foot venue will offer 25,000 square feet of exhibition space over two floors and serve as an ideal and inspiring rental option for faith-based meetings and events.
[Related: Philadelphia CVB Chief Julie Coker Leaving Bureau for San Diego Tourism Authority]
The Met Philadelphia
The historic Metropolitan Opera House reopened December 3, 2018, as The Met Philadelphia after a nearly $60 million renovation.
The neoclassical 100,000-square-foot classic opera house—originally opened in 1908—provides a stunning venue for events, with gold-flecked ceiling ornamentation, sparkling chandeliers and terrazzo floors.
The venue also offers 12 bars and a former ballroom named Grande Salle that can be used for plush gatherings. The Met holds up to 3,500 people and was the location of the closing party for Bio International Conference in June 2019.
Valley Forge New Facilities and Renovations
Valley Forge National Historical Park
Valley Forge National Historical Park is in the midst of a $14.2 million renovation of its Visitor Center that is scheduled for completion in spring 2020.
Photo: Crown Plaza Exterior
The project includes a general overhaul of the building as well as more than $2 million to create new exhibits to immerse visitors via sights, sounds, artifacts and stories detailing the 150-year-old history of the park.
The 3,500-acre park, one of the most popular visitor destinations in the Greater Philadelphia area, is the site of the 1777-1778 winter encampment of the Continental Army under Gen. George Washington.
DoubleTree by Hilton Philadelphia-Valley Forge
The 327-room DoubleTree by Hilton Philadelphia-Valley Forge embarked on a $18.5 million renovation that will bring more contemporary decor, new bedding, refrigerators, modern artwork and 55-inch smart televisions to its guest rooms. The project is scheduled to be completed by July 2020.
Enhancements to the property’s 24,000 square feet of meeting and event space are highlighted by three new conference rooms and an executive boardroom, with existing space benefitting from new carpet, wall vinyl, paint and decor.
Improvements to the hotel’s lobby and public spaces include a new lobby lounge, an outdoor patio and bar, a nursing room and a fitness center expansion and equipment upgrade.
Tru by Hilton Audubon Valley Forge
The 121-room Tru by Hilton Audubon Valley forge opened in fall 2019 in Audubon, Pennsylvania, which is adjacent to Valley Forge National Historic Park.
The mid-market, limited-service property, which doesn’t offer meeting space, is part of Hilton’s fastest-growing new brand and carries an ethos of “togetherness,” with small guest rooms and a huge, tech-forward lobby meant to bring guests together to engage in social activities such as foosball, 30-plus games and even swings.
Photo: Sunrise Arch
Major Valley Forge attractions such as Valley Forge National Historical Park, Greater Philadelphia Oaks Expo Center and the King of Prussia Mall are located within approximately 10 minutes of the property.
Homewood Suites Willow Grove
The extended-stay Homewood Suites Willow Grove opened in April 2019 in Horsham, Pennsylvania, offering a combination of studio and one-bedroom accommodations with fully equipped kitchens and separate living and sleeping areas.
Located within 20 minutes of the hotel is Parx Casino, Sesame Place and Glencarin Museum, with Center City Philadelphia about an hour’s drive away.
The 112-room hotel offers 1,421 square feet of event space over three meeting rooms, with the largest room offering 1,440 square feet of space.
Element by Westin Valley Forge
This five-story, 120-room hotel will offer an indoor pool and meeting room and is located next to the Sheraton Valley Forge Hotel.
The Element hotel will include an indoor pool, meeting room, Restore pantry that provides healthy snacks and a Rediscover the Relax area for guests to lounge in.
Residence Inn by Marriott Philadelphia/Bala Cynwynd
Marriott is opening the 124-room Residence Inn by Marriott Philadelphia/Bala Cynwyd on a riverfront location on the Philadelphia Main Line.
Scheduled for a summer 2020 opening, the extended-stay hotel will offer a combined 1,285 square feet of meeting space, including a 484-square-foot boardroom and 800-square-foot conference room.
Amenities include a salt-water lap pool, fitness center and a patio with a grill and fire pit with a view of the Schuylkill River.
Philadelphia CVB | 215.636.3300
Valley Forge CVB | 610.834.1550
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