and business partnerships—and accompanying group bookings.
As Founding Father Benjamin Franklin
himself reminds us (see Zoom In, page 31),
“Philadelphia has always welcomed and
supported meetings and discussions which
bring people together and increase our
With 2014 representing the Philadelphia
CVB’s strongest convention booking year in
a decade and that momentum continuing
in 2015 and beyond—including hosting
the Democratic National Convention this
July—much of the UNESCO marketing
leverage will come from Philadelphia’s
For groups, that means an American treasure chest of venues and experiences from
across the ages, starting with Independence
National Historic Park. Where 18th century
delegates to the Second Continental Congress argued for and finally declared independence, today’s attendees can be inspired
by the ideas that created a nation with tours
of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
Other park attractions include the National
Constitution Center, Declaration House and
Christ Church Burial Ground, final resting
place of Franklin and four other signers of
the Declaration of Independence.
Overlooking the Schuykill River, Laurel
Hill Cemetery, final home to some 40 Civil
War-era generals, six Titanic passengers
and prominent Philadelphians, can host 40
guests indoors or hundreds outdoors.
Captivating, too, is Eastern State Penitentiary. Opened in 1829, this prison was the
first in the world designed to inspire penitence through “confinement in solitude with
labor.” Along with tours, groups of up to
1,200 can rent the entire 10-acre complex.
Two more American originals—the
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, opened
in 1805 as the nation’s first art school and
first art museum, and the Philadelphia
Zoo, from 1874—come with evocative
Opened in 1892, Reading Terminal Market ranks among the nation’s premier food
markets. Taste of Philly Food Tours offers
private tours for up to 75 people of the
landmark market, which features some 75
vendors, including original 1892 tenant Bassetts, America’s oldest ice cream company.
Available for buyouts for up to 1,000
guests, the Moshulu, built in 1904, is the
world’s oldest surviving square-rigged
sailing vessel, while 1960s heirloom Electric
Factory, famously featuring acts including
The Who and Jimi Hendrix, rocks on as a
perennial favorite for live shows and events.
Groups can meet on the 33rd floor of the
historic Philadelphia Savings Fund Society
building, now the Loews Philadelphia Hotel.
The former three-story banking room is a
banquet space with historical features, such
as the bank’s safe and Cartier clocks.
Valley Forge/Montgomery County
Broad product diversity, including some
70 hotels across all price points, combined
with a service-oriented mindset and sweeping investment in upgrades and renovations,
continue to elevate this historic destination’s
competitive position in the Northeast group
and leisure markets.
With leading properties including Valley
Forge Casino Resort and the landmark Normandy Farm Hotel and Conference Center,
offering 30,000 square feet of IACC-cer-tified space, groups also have ample free
parking, diverse dining options, neighborhood brewpubs, quaint art galleries, lively
theaters and active nightlife.
“These hospitality assets, and of course
our significant role during the Revolutionary War, will be key when we host a
➤ Following a multimillion-dollar renovation, the iconic Four Seasons is now The Logan (www.
theloganhotel.com). Part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, the 391-room hotel offers 12,700 square feet
of indoor and outdoor space, including a 500-person-capacity grand ballroom and 12 meeting and
event options ranging from rooftop venues to sunlit boardrooms.
➤ Four Seasons ( www.fourseasons.com) is relocating to the top floors of the under-construction
Comcast Innovation and Technology Center. Slated for a 2018 opening, the luxury hotel will offer
some 222 rooms, event and meeting facilities, and a restaurant with 360-degree views from atop
the $1.2 billion, 59-story tower.
➤ Targeting completion by 2017, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants ( www.kimptonhotels.com) is introducing its third Philadelphia property—the $85 million re-creation of a landmark building on Ben
Franklin Parkway—as a 199-room hotel.
➤ Targeting completion by 2017, plans have been announced for SLS Lux ( www.sbe.com), a luxurious
149-room SLS International-branded hotel within a 47-story mixed-use tower across from the
➤ Following the recent refresh of its rooms, common areas and casino floor, Valley Forge Casino
Resort ( www.vfcasino.com) invested $1 million over the past year to renovate and upgrade its convention center space and more than $600,000 to extend its nightlife outdoors with the addition
of the new Valley Beach Poolside Club.
➤ Targeting completion in August 2016, King of Prussia Mall ( www.simon.com/mall/king-of-prussia), the East Coast’s largest shopping complex, is connecting the former Court and Plaza
areas to create nearly 250,000 square feet of luxurious new space, including 50 new stores and
➤ In March 2015, Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia/Fort Washington (http://hiltongardeninn3.hilton.
com) unveiled a comprehensive $2.5 million renovation.
➤ Offering 240,000 square feet of divisible space and two on-site hotels, the Greater Philadelphia
Expo Center ( www.phillyexpocenter.com) is completing a comprehensive refresh.
LATEST & GREATEST
Reenactor at Valley Forge National Historical Park