Sydney Paulden visits London’s complete venue, Hotel Novotel London WestA group of event organisers think they are dreaming. They have a wide variety of events to arrange and they are in a venue that appears to have solutions to all their problems. It is alongside Hammersmith tube station with lines that link directly with Heathrow Airport, the city centre and theatreland. It has 630 guestrooms. Up to 3,000 delegates can be accommodated in the self-contained Conference Centre that boasts 32 separate meeting rooms all linked by wide corridors and escalators that can move either up or down to meet the peak demands.
There is a ground floor entrance to a large exhibition space that can be reached directly by coach from the neighbouring main roads.
Are they dreaming? No, they are in Hotel Novotel London West, a flagship of the Accor Group.
This is a one-stop venue that uses the most modern techniques to cater for all of an organiser’s needs. Adding to the dreamlike sense of being in the future are the hotel’s Virtual Concierges. These are wall panels that employ large, clear type and images to make it easy for guests to ask questions and get immediate information. They tell you, for example, the current and predicted weather, the traffic conditions to the airport and local information you might need for entertainment, shopping or eating out.
In addition, there are directional panels that are set to tell delegates what they need to know about what is happening on their programme and where and when. Delegates and other hotel guests do not impinge on each other. There are areas with black and white chequered flooring that are a kind of no-man’s-land that act as demarcations between the public and the conference facilities.
All the rooms in the Conference Centre are named after well-known wines and the centrepiece is, of course, the Champagne Suite. Divisible into three, it can cater for 1,000 theatre-style or up to 2,000 at a cocktail party. It offers its own reception area with bar, business centre, office and cloakrooms. As many as seven lifts and two dedicated escalators can move people rapidly in and out. The lighting is highly intelligent and organisers can choose to use it to represent any house or logo colours they wish.
The venue has evidence of how much thought has gone into giving large numbers of people every amenity whilst avoiding bottlenecks. There is an average of one buffet station to every 100 delegates, and each station is double-sided, offering an identical choice of foods on each side, thus halving the time it takes for delegates to serve themselves.
In addition to service for events in private rooms, there is a choice of dining facilities at the Lounge Bar, Aroma Restaurant and Artisan Grill.
There are different categories of guestroom, but they are cleverly designed to meet the needs of leisure or business travellers. There are, for example, 75 Premier Executive Rooms on the 9th floor where an extended section of the desk can be swivelled out to provide an additional working surface or slid back to give more space in the room.
All guests can use free Wi-Fi very simply and the well-equipped fitness room is accessible at any time with a guest’s electronic room key.