Hotel ballrooms: Bigger is better

30 Nov 2018 by Craig Bright
Grand Hyatt Hong Kong ballroom entrance

When you first walk into a hotel ballroom as a conference delegate or banquet guest, there are plenty of things that can grab your attention, from wall-to-wall LED screens showcasing exciting video to grand chandeliers hanging majestically from the ceiling, or unparalleled panoramic views through expansive windows.

Yet none of these quite evoke the sense of wonder that hits you when you enter a huge, capacious grand hall for the first time. With multistorey ceilings and walls that stretch what seem to be the entire length of the hotel, these spaces are impressive for their scope and audacity.

Given the huge number of new hotel developments across Asia-Pacific, such titanic rooms are becoming all the more numerous. We look at some of the largest – and most impressive – hotel ballrooms around the region.

Grand Hyatt, Hong Kong

The Grand Hyatt, Hong Kong has long been a mainstay of the city’s business events scene, having first opened in 1989 on the opposite side of Victoria Harbour to the Kerry Hotel, in the city’s Wan Chai district. The property has since been joined by the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, which stands adjacent to the hotel and offers its own array of huge event spaces.

There are still plenty of event venues within the Grand Hyatt, though – 22 to be exact. The largest of these is the 730 sqm (7,858sq ft) Grand Ballroom which, when combined with the Grand Rooms and foyer, are capable of accommodating up to 30 automobiles. The ballroom itself is also impressive for a number of its features, namely a nine-metre by four-metre LED wall, marble pillars, mirrored walls and a massive 2,800kg elliptical bronze chandelier featuring more than 63,000 pieces of crystal. hyatt.com

Kerry Hotel, Hong Kong

One of the most recent properties to open on Hong Kong’s iconic waterfront, the Kerry Hotel, Hong Kong burst onto the scene in April last year as the Shangri-La
Group’s fourth property in the city. Located in the Hung Hom district and designed by Andre Fu – the same architect behind Swire Hotels’ the Upper House in Admiralty district – the Kerry Hotel is a sizeable property in its own right, occupying 16 storeys in a broad, curved building with 546 rooms and ample outdoor spaces.

However, it’s the hotel’s massive Grand Ballroom that truly makes it stand out. Encompassing a whopping 1,756 sqm (18,900sq ft), and with ceilings that stretch 6.5 metres high, the ballroom has been proclaimed the largest meeting space in Hong Kong. At its greatest extent, the venue can accommodate 2,016 people in a theatre-style setting, though a more common setup may be banquet style, which allows for 1,248 guests. shangri-la.com

China World Summit Wing Beijing

Marina Bay Sands

This list really couldn’t be complete without the inclusion of Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands. The huge mixed-use development comprises not only a hotel but also a shopping mall, exhibition hall and even a museum. The exhibition halls provide access to more than 30,000 sqm of corporate event space, however it’s the 7,672 sqm (82,580sq ft) Sands Grand Ballroom – proudly proclaimed by the hotel as the largest ballroom in Southeast Asia – that truly stands out. This whopping space can provide seating for more than 6,000 guests in a banquet-style setup, with this figure rising to 8,000 for a standing reception, and its ceiling height of 11 metres does little to lessen the vastness that one feels when stepping inside. marinabaysands.com

Fairmont Singapore

While the largest ballroom at the Fairmont Singapore may be dwarfed in the city by that offered at Marina Bay Sands, the property’s 2,256 sqm (24,294sq ft) Fairmont Ballroom is nothing to be sneered at. Able to accommodate up to 1,800 people for a banquet and up to 3,000 in theatre-style configuration, the ballroom is undeniably a big venue and its six-metre-high ceilings provide plenty of headroom. Even if you’re not looking for something quite this size, the hotel has 27 meeting rooms covering a total of 6,503 sqm (70,000sq ft). fairmont.com

China World Summit Wing Beijing

Situated between the 64th and 80th floors of the China World Trade Center in the city’s Chaoyang central business district, the China World Summit Wing Beijing not only has one of the larger ballrooms in the Chinese capital but also offers delegates incredible views out over the city when an event finishes and they head up to its 80th floor bar, the suitably named Atmosphere.

The hotel’s event spaces are not in such a lofty position, sadly, being located between the sixth floor and the basement level. However, that doesn’t take away from the impressiveness of the main Summit Ballroom, located on level three. Spanning some 2,262 sqm (24,348sq ft) and with ceilings that stand at a lofty ten metres high, the ballroom can seat a maximum of 1,800 guests using a theatre-style setup, though a still impressive 1,200 people can be seated in banquet format. shangri-la.com

Sheraton Grand Macau Hotel

Kerry Hotel Pudong, Shanghai

Much like its newer Hong Kong sister, 2011’s Kerry Hotel Pudong, Shanghai is geared towards business events, with 26 function rooms and two large-scale pillarless ballrooms. The larger of the two, the 2,230 sqm (24,000sq ft) Grand Shanghai Ballroom is able to accommodate up to 2,200 people in a theatre-style setup, while the smaller 1,018 sqm (10,958sq ft) Pudong Ballroom can host up to 840.

The hotel’s pièce de resistance, however, is the fact that these two venues can actually be combined via the eight-metre-wide walkway that connects the two spaces to create an even larger space. shangri-la.com

Hilton Sydney

The Hilton Sydney may not be Hilton Worldwide’s newest property in the New South Wales capital, but it’s certainly one of its best for event spaces. Situated in the heart of the city’s CBD, the Hilton Sydney has four floors of venues, most notably the 806 sqm (8,675sq ft) Grand Ballroom located on the third floor. Featuring six-metre-high ceilings, the ballroom alone is capable of holding 1,100 guests theatre style, while the associated pre-function space doubles this figure for a cocktail event. hilton.com

Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel

Macau’s hotels are made for big events, and perhaps none more so than the gargantuan 4,001-room Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel, the biggest hotel in Macau. Overall, the hotel’s event spaces cover more than 14,000 sqm (152,000sq ft), with a further 5,000 sqm (55,000sq ft) available within the wider Sands Cotai Central complex. Together, this results in 166 individual event spaces within the development.

The hotel’s largest venue, however, is the pillarless Kashgar Grand Ballroom, which can be divided into 16 different meeting rooms if so desired. The ballroom alone accounts for nearly one-third of all the event space available at the hotel, covering 4,891 sqm (52,645sq ft) and able to accommodate up to 5,000 guests. marriott.com

The Okura Tokyo

The Okura Tokyo is unique on this list for being the only hotel that isn’t technically operating yet. Come September 12, 2019, the city’s landmark Hotel Okura Tokyo will reopen as the rebranded The Okura Tokyo, including the opening of a new ballroom that will far exceed the current property’s largest facility, the 1,036 sqm (11,151sq ft) Ascot Ballroom. In fact, The Okura Tokyo’s Heian Room is expected to be almost twice this size, at 1,968 sqm (21,184sq ft) and able to host events of up to 2,300 people theatre style, making it one of the largest ballrooms in the city.

While the hotel is yet to officially complete its rebrand, as of early September this year it has accepted reservations for corporate events. hotelokura.co.jp

Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park

Some 6,410 sqm (69,007sq ft) of event space is available at the Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park, which stands next to Benjasiri Park on the edge of the city’s Khlong Toei and Watthana districts. Much of this is spread across the hotel’s 35 event spaces – many of which comprise sizeable ballrooms and halls – however some 1,260 sqm (13,573sq ft) of this is taken up solely by the largest ballroom on site, the Thai Chitlada Grand Ballroom, making it among the biggest in the city.

Able to accommodate up to 1,300 people in its most high-density theatre-style setup, the ballroom also seats approximately 900 guests when set up for a banquet. marriott.com

Intercontinental Grand Seoul Parnas

While Lotte Hotels and Resorts’ newest property, Signiel Seoul, took the crown for the highest hotel ballroom in the South Korean capital when it opened in the 555-metre-tall Lotte World Tower in April 2017, at just 550 sqm (5,920sq ft) it’s certainly not the largest. Rather it is the Grand Ballroom of the Intercontinental Grand Seoul Parnas in the city’s Gangnam business district that vies for this position – the hotel proudly proclaims that its ballroom is the largest banquet hall in the country. At 1,494 sqm (16,081sq ft) and with ceilings seven metres high, the ballroom is capable of holding a maximum of 1,600 people. And if that’s not enough, the city’s mixed-use COEX Convention and Exhibition Center and shopping mall are right next door. ihg.com

Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur’s largest hotel ballroom can be found on the first floor of the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur. Not only is the venue pillarless with eight-metre-high ceilings, it also features large glass panels that flood it with natural light and provide lovely views overlooking a green park. While the space can be divided in two to form separate ballrooms – Emerald and Sapphire – the Grand Ballroom is at its most impressive when taken as a single whole, offering 2,025 sqm (21,797sq ft) – enough to house a Boeing 747 aircraft – and capable of accommodating up to 2,400 guests. mandarinoriental.com

Manila Marriott Hotel

Much like the Sheraton Grand Macao, the Manila Marriott Hotel benefits from being part of a larger mixed-use development, in this case Resorts World Manila. The hotel has access to a number of different event spaces – 43 meeting rooms covering 8,779 sqm
(94,496sq ft) – with its 2,897 sqm (31,179sq ft) Marriott Grand Ballroom taking top spot as the Philippine capital’s largest. Designed by interior design firm Gettys, the ballroom is able to provide space for 4,000 guests for a cocktail event or 2,500 for banquets. marriott.com

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