From the opulent and ornate to the sleek contemporary loaded with the latest technology, hotel ballrooms are a staple of the events industry, the venue of choice for every kind of celebration. Here are five standouts -- either new or recently renovated -- that bring their own individuality to that all-important sport of banqueting.
Built in 1929, the 454-room JW Marriott Grosvenor House London, the former home of the Duke of Gloucester in London's Mayfair district, has just this month completed an extensive multimillion renovation in time for its 90th anniversary. As part of the refurbishment, the hotel's iconic Great Room, above, the venue of choice for the British Academy of Film & Television Arts Awards for the past 68 years, got a facelift. Once an ice rink, where Queen Elizabeth II and her sister Margaret learned to ice skate, the elegant 20,454-square-foot ballroom features eight hand-cut-crystal chandeliers and seats up to 2,000 attendees.
In December 2018, a massive renovation project was wrapped up at the historic 1894 St. Regis Rome on the city's Piazza della Repubblica, beside the ruins of the Baths of Diocletian. Restored to its former glory by a team of master craftspeople was the 160-room hotel's decadent 2,971-square-foot Ritz Ballroom, outfitted with crystal chandeliers, gilded mirrors, candelabras, and stunning hand-painted ceiling frescoes, which are protected by Italy's Ministry of Culture Heritage and Activities.
A current renovation of the 388-room Langham Melbourne's Yarra Ballroom, which should be completed later this year, will increase the ballroom's capacity to accommodate up to 600 guests reception-style. The new décor for renovated venue is aiming for serene sophistication, with high ceiling, floor-to-ceiling inlaid mirrors, pendant chandeliers, cutting-edge audiovisual equipment and soft, contemporary hues.
In September 2018, the 307-room Hotel Adelon Kempinski, Berlin, opposite the city's Brandenburg Gate, wrapped up a painstaking $2.9 million renovation of its 5,300-square foot grand ballroom, which dates to 1907. No expense was spare to restore the legendary ballroom to its former glory. German interior designer Anne Maria Jagdfeld merged modernity with the timeless elegance of opulent chandeliers, giant mirrors, wooden parquet floors, Venetian handblown-glass lighting and gold and cream colors to create a setting worthy of a glittering ball.
On the southern coast of Hong Kong island, just two miles from the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, the new, US$637 million, 471-room Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel has the distinction of offering the largest pillarless ballroom in Hong Kong. The hotel's aquatic theme design carries through to the decor of the 12,961-square-foot venue, which can accommodate up to 1,200 guests for a seated event. The stunning ballroom features 23-foot high ceilings, blue carpeting designed in a wave pattern and recessed chandeliers that resemble schools of swarming fish. The ballroom is also stocked with cutting-edge technology, including an integrated audio system, five built-in projection screens, a video wall and a sophisticated lighting system for maximum flexibility.