Whether it's a historic building of timeless grace or a contemporary space with a modern sensibility, the right site is vital to special events. Readers and staff of Special Events Magazine share some of their favorite event venues.
THE BANQUETING HOUSE AT WHITEHALL PALACE, LONDON Recommended by Martin Van Keken, MVKA, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Classic International, Fleet, England
Designed in 1619 by Inigo Jones for King James I, The Banqueting House at Whitehall Palace in London is one of England's earliest buildings in the new classical style, built for occasions of state, plays and masque balls. King Charles I, James' son, commissioned master Peter Paul Rubens to paint the ceiling in 1635. Fifteen years later, Charles I was executed here. Today, the Main Hall seats up to 380 dinner guests, while the Undercroft has room for 180 people for a candlelight supper or 350 guests for a stand-up reception.
THE BANQUETING HOUSE Whitehall Palace
Whitehall, London SW1A 2ER, England; +011 44 (0)171 839 8919
ELLIS ISLAND AND THE STATUE OF LIBERTY, NEW YORK HARBOR Recommended by Trey Moynihan, Great Spaces, New York
Millions of immigrants entered the New World by way of this tiny island off Manhattan. Its main building now houses the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and the Registry Room, where many immigrants once underwent medical and legal progressing. Today, the Registry Room is a distinctive venue for special events of up to 750 guests for a sit-down dinner. Besides dining under the vaulted ceiling of this historic landmark, guests can explore the museum and catch vistas of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline.
Prefer the outdoors? As many as 750 guests can enjoy a tented event on the island.
"Next door" to Ellis Island is the Statue of Liberty, another hostess to special events. Most are held in tents on the lawn, which can accommodate up to 250 guests for dinner and 350 for receptions. The interior of the Statue of Liberty is available for private viewing.
ELLIS ISLAND IMMIGRATION MUSEM AND STATUE OF LIBERTY NATIONAL MONUMENT National Park Service
New York, NY 10004; 212/363-7775
CITY MUSEUM, ST. LOUIS Recommended by Richard Aaron, CSEP, Mallory Factor, New York
City Museum in St. Louis has been around less than two years, but it has already appeared in People magazine and The Wall Street Journal and has received more than a dozen awards. The 100,000-square-foot nonprofit museum houses interactive exhibits in the arts, sciences, history and environmental issues-in fact, the museum is made primarily of recycled items. Guests can explore a 52-foot whale and 4,000 feet of caves and view a giant aquarium. In the Museum of Mirth, Mystery & Mayhem on the third floor, event attendees may find themselves face to face with the world's largest pair of underwear or marvel at something equally eclectic from the ever-changing exhibits. The museum can host events for groups ranging from 50 to more than 1,000.
CITY MUSEUM 701 N. 15th St. St. Louis, MO 63103 314/231-2489
e-mail: [email protected]
Web site: www.citymuseum.org
PARK PLAZA HOTEL, LOS ANGELES Recommended by Tanja Mushenko, Special Events Magazine, Malibu, Calif.
This historic monument in Los Angeles, built in 1925 as an Elk's Club Lodge, is so rich with the elegance and charm of a bygone era, it's almost eerie. Its design was inspired by Greek and Syrian architecture, and the interior boasts early Renaissance-style murals, imported crystal chandeliers, hand-woven tapestries and marble floors. Many movies-such as The Mask, The Fisher King and Wild At Heart-were filmed here. Four separate ballrooms and an outdoor patio can accommodate up to 2,500 guests. The hotel recently re-opened for special events and is still undergoing renovation in sections.
PARK PLAZA HOTEL 607 S. Park View St.
Los Angeles, CA 90057-3335 213/384-5281