Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series showcasing thoughtfully themed hotels within the ALHI portfolio that are destinations within destinations—the kinds of properties that as soon as you step foot on them, you’re transported to another time or place. These distinctly defined spaces make for the best kind of 'two-for-one' meeting experiences. They’re properties where guests can immerse themselves in the actual destination, but through artful design and creative programming, also get a feel for another destination or era. These kinds of bonus experiences are what meeting planners and attendees are clamoring for as travel makes its mighty comeback.
Here’s a traveler’s riddle: How can you visit New York City and Italy’s Lake Como region on the same day, while also witnessing a volcano and an ancient pyramid?
The answer: A trip to Las Vegas, where a slate of MGM resorts on the famed Strip go to incredible lengths to recreate other places and time periods, but do so with a unique, only-in-Vegas touch.
As we explore 'destinations within destinations,' you’d be hard-pressed to find a place with more fantastical and abundant theming than Las Vegas, which plays host to 24,000 conventions and 6.5 million attendees every year, and has earned a reputation for top-notch hospitality.
In addition to show-stopping Vegas properties, other ALHI properties featured in this second installment of 'destinations within destinations' include Hotel Crescent Court in Dallas, Texas; Jekyll Island Club Resort in Jekyll Island, Georgia; and Hotel Bennett in Charleston, South Carolina.
For some meeting magic in Vegas, New York New York Hotel and Casino, has unique group gathering spaces, including an open-air, 9,000-square foot Brooklyn Bridge venue. It’s part of the hotel’s grandiose Big Apple scene, which also includes an impressive replica of the Statue of Liberty and New York-style eateries in a setting modeled after historic Greenwich Village.
Then, over at Bellagio Resort & Casino, idyllic villages of Europe inspired the design, including a Mediterranean-blue lake with fountains that perform a magnificent ballet synced to music and lights. Specifically, Bellagio, Italy, known as the “Pearl of Lake Como,” is a muse for this iconic resort. Altogether, Bellagio boasts 200,000 square feet of meeting space, with some special places for events like the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art where receptions and cocktail parties take place among original artworks sourced from top museums and collectors around the world.
Other MGM properties in Vegas that can add an element of escapism to meetings and conferences include The Mirage, which features a volcano that “erupts” hourly at night, and Luxor Hotel & Casino, which impresses with its pyramid design.
Ahead, discover three more ALHI properties that feature a destination within a destination:
Hotel Crescent Court in Dallas: French-Renaissance Luxury
You know the expression: You can only make a first impression once. The Hotel Crescent Court delivers with a French-Renaissance façade and, in the lobby, a 2,000-year-old Roman marble statue of the god Aesculapius, which is striking and regal at seven feet.
The late Caroline Rose Hunt—a Dallas oil heiress and one of the richest women in America—dreamt up the hotel, drawing inspiration from the Royal Crescent in Bath, England, where terraced homes are arranged in a sweeping crescent shape. Design details like hand wrought-iron, slated roofs imported from England, and limestone block walls evoke images of 19th century Europe. This luxury landmark also holds 10 different types of marble from Italy and Spain. Courtyard gardens, crafted crown moldings and an impressive collection of art are a bonus.
Other surprises in store include the Crescent Club, which is located on the 17th floor of the Crescent Complex’s central office tower, and is reminiscent of a 19th-century private club, complete with a leather dance floor. Meanwhile, the hotel features 23,320 square-feet of flexible events space and views of the Dallas skyline that dazzle.
Jekyll Island Club Resort in Jekyll Island, Georgia: A Gilded-Age Escape
Conference guests who come to Jekyll Island Club Resort can gather little clues that hint at this storied property’s past with meeting rooms bearing names like Morgan, Pulitzer and the Federal Reserve Room. Once only accessible by yacht, this exclusive coastal Georgia resort hosted retreats that drew America’s titans of industry, with the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and Morgans vacationing here. In 1919, a secret meeting on Jekyll Island led to the formation of what’s now the Federal Reserve.
Today, the sprawling riverfront property offers a Gilded Age bubble, where guests can play croquet, swim in pools, enjoy an Old Fashioned, relax on the wrap-around back porch, and rent bikes to explore 20 miles of paths that tour the 5,550-acre island.
To fully immerse your team into yesteryear, groups can rent out one of the private cottages, which once served as longer-stay winter retreats for Jekyll Club members.
Hotel Bennett in Charleston, South Carolina: European Grandeur and Southern Charm
Charleston charm meets European opulence at Hotel Bennett, which draws inspiration from grand hotels of yesteryear. The hotel’s architecture is considered Palladian, a European style that pays special attention to symmetry and is influenced by 16th century Venetian architect Andrea Palladio. A rotunda practically doubles as an art gallery with murals depicting 18th-century Charleston.
Guests can pick up on design details throughout the hotel, including the mirrors on the entry foyer that take their inspiration from French trumeau. But the best way to experience this theming is to enjoy sweet treats from a classic, on-site French bakery, La Pâtisserie, or by sipping a champagne cocktail in the pretty and pink Camellias Champagne and Caviar Lounge. The space features French Art Deco and French Art Modern overtones in its furnishings and the oval shape of this space imitates a Faberge jewel box. A fun fact: The stone on the bar and table tops was sourced from the original library building that once stood on the site of the hotel and bookcases in guests rooms are a nod to the hotel’s literary past.
Meeting guests have access to 12,000-square feet of events space, including a grand ballroom that’s lit with custom-made Venetian glass chandeliers.