Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel
Issue: February/March 2008
Classic Hotels For Spectacular Meetings
By: Norman Mayers

Sure you can have your next meeting at a convention center or the newest, glossiest convention hotel. But why not choose a hotel that people will talk about for years to come? Classic hotels have the distinct advantage of being unique properties with a prestigious name or iconic history that lends a certain credibility of image to your event. What a difference it will make to hold your event in fabulous newly restored 100-year-old ballroom as opposed to the standard convention center ballroom.

What makes a classic hotel so appealing is its uniqueness. These are one-of-a-kind properties built more than half a century ago that have often retained the architectural details that brought them to prominence in their heyday. These hotels contain intricate lobbies, ornate chandeliers, hand painted murals, and vintage furniture that help to create an overall experience for guests. The meeting spaces are often the sites of famous meetings and usually contain brilliant pieces of art no longer seen today. But even though these hotels can be over a century old, they have embraced the technological age. At today’s classic hotels modern conveniences intermingle with old fashioned glamour allowing you the opportunity to create an event that will stand the test of time.


The famed Biltmore Hotel first opened in 1923 as the largest and grandest hotel west of Chicago. Designed by New York architects Scultze & Weaver in the style of the Spanish Italian Renaissance, the property was designated a Historical Cultural Landmark in 1969. The Biltmore is located at the corner of Fifth and Grand, in the financial and cultural heart of downtown Los Angeles within close proximity to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Staples Center, and more. The hotel offers 683 elegant, renovated Classic and Club guestrooms, of which, 34 are specialty rooms that offer modern amenities for the physically challenged. Fifty-six luxury suites ranging from one to three bedrooms are available.

But it’s the Biltmore’s exquisite meeting space that is truly legendary. The Biltmore features 70,000 sq. ft. of meeting, banquet and exhibit space that includes 17 meeting rooms to accommodate groups up to 200. The hotel’s banquet areas including the recently renovated Biltmore Bowl are among Los Angeles’ most beautiful, featuring hand-oiled wood paneling, fine moldings and mill work, ornate carvings, stately columns and pilasters, vivid frescoes and crystal chandeliers. Among the momentous events held at the Biltmore was the founding banquet for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences where the concept for the “Oscar” was conceived.

(866) 866-8086


A landmark in America’s oldest city, St. Augustine, Florida, the Four-Diamond Casa Monica Hotel radiates Spanish charm and romance and provides exceptional comfort and world-class amenities. Opened in January 1888 by architect Franklin W. Smith, Casa Monica was sold to railroad pioneer Henry Flagler and renamed Hotel Cordova just three months after opening. It lay dormant for many years transforming into St. Johns County Courthouse before Richard Kessler purchased it in 1997. The multi-million dollar renovation has restored the Casa Monica to its original 1888 grandeur and further enhances the property with rare wood appointments, detailing and classic art.  

This breathtaking 138-room boutique hotel boasting “Spanish Moorish” design and Victorian touches with velvet and tapestry fabrics in cobalt blue, deep red, and gold, resembles a medieval European castle. The Lobby is an elegant showcase with handmade chandeliers, gilded iron tables and chairs, Moorish columns and arches, and a welcoming fountain. Five towers distinguish the property, and a three-story particularly luxurious corner tower penthouse featuring two spacious bedrooms has panoramic views of the ancient town, beautiful Matanzas Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The hotel features more than 12,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space to accommodate banquets and receptions for up to 250 people.

(800) 648-1888


Originally opened in 1852, the historic RSA Battle House Hotel is located in Mobile, Alabama. Over its history, such notables as Jefferson Davis, Admiral Raphael Semmes, and Generals Bragg, Beauregard and Taylor visited the Battle House. The hotel was closed in 1974 and then eventually restored in 2007. With the Battle House reopening, Mobile has re-entered the game of luxury travel, welcoming dignitaries, local socialites and business people. The 238-room hotel is within walking distance of the Mobile Convention Center and numerous downtown shopping and dining options.

The Battle House Hotel is a Renaissance hotel, which ties it into an international reservation system and collection of first-class properties worldwide. It emanates quality and high-level service standards in all operational areas. The connecting RSA Tower puts the hotel in touch with a 39-story structure of first-class office space and a 6-story parking structure. The RSA Battle House Hotel features over 37,000 sq. ft. of unique and flexible meeting space. The ornate Crystal Ballroom is the showpiece of the hotel, with its grand staircase entryway and cathedral ceilings located just off the 5,600-sq. ft. fully restored lobby.

(251) 338-2000


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