EXCLUSIVE: Seven top conference clusters in Asia-Pacific

28 Oct 2009

Today's convention centres usually form part of a multi-use development complex, providing delegates and visitors accommodation and ample diversion after the  day's work is done. Here are seven of Asia-Pacific's prime examples and their attractions.


The Centre: China National Convention Centre (CNCC)

Location: Built for Beijing's most important international event, the CNCC served as a media centre during the 2008 Olympics and sits in the middle of Olympic Green next to the architectural wonders of the Bird's Nest Stadium and Water Cube.

Hotels: Integrated into the centre is the CNCC Grand Hotel, a four-star property with 420 rooms. Also next to the centre is the InterContinental Beijing Beichen, with 337 rooms.


The Centre: Hongkong Convention and Exhibition Centre

Location: 1 Expo Drive in Wanchai. Overlooking the Victoria Harbour, this business landmark is conveniently linked by covered walkways to the MTR subway system, the airport bus, city buses and ferries. It sits next to the commercial and entertainment hub of Wanchai, an iconic Hongkong neighbourhood.

Hotels: The luxury Grand Hyatt Hongkong and the mid-scale Renaissance Harbour View Hotel are within a five-minute walking distance from the facility. The multipurpose complex has six exhibition halls, two ballroom-style convention halls, two world-class theatres, two function rooms, 52 meeting rooms of various sizes, two large foyers for pre-function gatherings and supporting amenities.


The Centre: The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre

Location: Kuala Lumpur City Centre, in the shadow of the Petronas twin towers. This is Malaysia's largest mixed use precinct, combining hotel, residential, office, retail and dining outlets in a compact area of 40 hectares. There's even the country's largest aquarium here.

Hotels: With three hotels adjacent, the Impiana KLCC Hotel and Spa (322 rooms), Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur (520 rooms) and Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur (643 guestroooms), there are almost 1,500 rooms either integrated, adjacent to or opposite the centre. Within ten minutes' walk are the Crowne Plaza, Novotel and Shangri-la properties delivering another 1,500 rooms between them. The centre boasts that within a ten-minute radius, there are over 11,000 suites, rooms and apartments to suit various budgets.


The Centre: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Location: Just opened this year, the newly built Melbourne Convention Centre is part of the fully integrated Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, which has already won a raft of accolades for its green design. The MCEC is in the Southbank area, lying on the Yarra River.

Hotels: The new convention centre was built simultaneously with the 396-room Hilton Melbourne South Wharf, which is integrated into the centre complex. Across the road is the Crown entertainment complex, housing some of Australia's finest restaurants, by names such as Nobu and Neil Perry, a casino and cinema complex and substantial meeting space of its own. The complex flagship is the Crown Towers, with 482 guestrooms and suites, connected by a skybridge is the four-and-a-half star Crown Promenade, which has 465 rooms. A third sister property, the Crown Metropol will open next year. Its rating is to be confirmed but will have 658 rooms and a Gordon Ramsay restaurant and an in-room dining menu from the fiery chef.


The Centre: Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre

Location: Marina Bay area on the edge of the Central Business District.

Hotels: Suntec offers the best concentration of purpose-built centre and five-star hotel options anywhere in Asia. There are eight deluxe hotels within a few minutes of Suntec. These include the 509-room Conrad Centennial Singapore, the 575-room Marina Mandarin Singapore, the 524-room Mandarin Oriental Singapore, the 784-room Pan Pacific Singapore and the 610-room Ritz-Carlton Millenia. At the nearby Raffle City complex, there are also large-scale meeting facilities alongside the recently rebranded Fairmont, with 800 rooms, and the Swissotel The Stamford, which has 1,263 rooms making it one of the largest five-star hotels in southeast Asia. The Suntec complex also hosts hundreds of shops and restaurants and is connected to Singapore's premier arts venue Esplanades – Theatres on the Bay.


The Centre: COEX

Location: COEX is in the heart of the South Korean capital, next to the World Trade Centre and the City Air Terminal, in the Gangnam area. The COEX mall is the largest in Korea and houses scores of shops, restaurants and cinemas.

Hotels: The COEX InterContinental Hotel Seoul is one of the country's largest with 651 rooms. It sister hotel is the 518-room Grand InterContinental Seoul. Both are in high demand during peak exhibition season and are a favourite with conference organisers. The Park Hyatt Seoul, opposite COEX, is a chic 185-room hotel with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Kenny Coyle

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