vations and there are a variety of new
properties slated for next year, including
the 194-room Virgin Hotels San Francisco
and Hyatt Place in Mission Bay, scheduled
to open in late January with 230 rooms.
Also in the news are headline culinary
accolades, with two new Michelin three-star restaurants, bringing the region’s
three-star total to eight restaurants, more
than any other region in North America.
Not all headlines have been positive. The
long-anticipated Salesforce Transit Center
and its Salesforce Park remain closed after
a brief heralded debut. The Transit Center
is marred by structural issues that have
kept that and the park closed, though recent problems are not as significant as originally feared, according to D’Alessandro.
Last year also saw the cancelation of a
major Chicago-based medical association
convention due to safety concerns for attendees. Though homelessness and mental
health issues on the streets are still major
challenges, D’Alessandro has room for optimism with new Mayor London Breed.
“We’re feeling pretty encouraged with all
the steps Mayor Breed has taken,” he said.
“She’s only been in office a few months and
she’s really prioritized making the street
experience in San Francisco better.”
Outside San Francisco, Oakland is an East
Bay repository of art, culture, food and
nightlife. The city is also ramping up its
meeting offerings, according to Rhanee
Palma, vice president of sales and services
for Visit Oakland.
“Right now, a lot of hotels are going
through renovations, including the Wa-
terfront Hotel, a boutique hotel with 156
rooms, good for smaller, regional meet-
ings,” she said. “Target date is early 2019.”
A couple of other new hotels coming in
will help with overflow, according to Pal-
ma: SpringHill Suites Oakland Airport with
136 rooms; and Hampton Inn Downtown
Oakland with nearly 100 rooms slated for
“In the past two years, there has been a
drastic change in markets coming to Oak-
land,” Palma said. “Two years ago, it was a
lot of SMERF and a year ago considerable
California associations and corporate.
This year we’re getting a lot more national
Located in the Berkeley/Oakland Hills,
Claremont Club & Spa, one of the East Bay’s
mainstay properties, is undergoing renova-
tions, including a refresh of its 20,000 square
feet of meeting space. It is also promoting its
Adventures and Experiences teambuilding
activities and events, including cooking
classes and wellness activities.
Berkeley is also an East Bay draw for
groups and will see its downtown hotel
room rate boom in spring 2020 with the
slated opening of a Residence Inn by Mar-
riott with 334 rooms and 14,500 square feet
of meeting space.
“It will be the first new hotel in more
than 20 years in downtown Berkeley,” said
Dan Marengo, communications director
for Visit Berkeley.
The Double Tree by Hilton Berkeley Ma-
rina also added to Berkeley’s group options
with a new 2,700-square-foot ballroom.
In Contra Costa County, Concord has a
vibrant international cuisine and craft beer
scene, according to Elaine Schroth, executive director of Visit Concord. Its Residual
Sugar location at the new Veranda mixed-used development welcomes groups, as
does the ice-skating rink there.
Meanwhile, the Tri-Valley region is
enjoying record occupancy, ADR and
RevPAR, according to Todd Dibs, director
of sports development at Visit Tri-Valley.
“With the re-opening of Moscone Center,
we anticipate a slight impact in demand
(during larger convention weeks) due to our
proximity to the BART public transit (
especially in Pleasanton and Dublin),” Dibs said.
New properties include a proposed
Autograph Marriott property in downtown
The Moscone Center addition will also be
a boon to South San Francisco and Silicon
Valley, according to Anne LeClair, president and CEO of the San Mateo County,
Silicon Valley CVB.
“During the Moscone reconstruction,
San Francisco was focused on self-contained meetings. Now those will look
increasingly at us,” she said.
New properties include the Grand Hyatt,
coming to San Francisco International Airport in July 2019 with 351 rooms and 17,500
square feet of meeting space. Meanwhile,
Residence Inn San Carlos-Redwood City
opened in summer 2018 with 204 rooms
and 1,500 square feet of meeting space.
Across the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin
County is a haven for outdoor adventure
and artsy enclaves. The Marin CVB sees
the Moscone Center opening as a potential
boost for business, according to Christine
M. Bohlke, sales and marketing director for
the Marin CVB.
Hotels being updated include the Embassy
Suites Hotel San Rafael, undergoing a multimillion-dollar upgrade; Courtyard by Marriott Novato, which recently completed a guest
room renovation; and Courtyard by Marriott
in Larkspur, which is undergoing a renovation slated for completion next May.
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