• Big Things Are Happening in Hoboken

     
    FROM THE Spring 2015 ISSUE
     
  • Big Things Are Happening in Hoboken

     
    FROM THE Spring 2015 ISSUE
     
  • Big Things Are Happening in Hoboken

     
    FROM THE Spring 2015 ISSUE
     
  • Big Things Are Happening in Hoboken

     
    FROM THE Spring 2015 ISSUE
     

IT MAY BE JUST 1 SQUARE MILE but there’s plenty of chutzpah packed into the tiny metropolis of Hoboken. It’s been named the best walking town in America for places with a population of 50,000 (WalkScore.com), a top ten college town (Princeton Review) and No. 1 city in the country for singles (Money magazine). Of course, it is also known as the birthplace of Frank Sinatra and the hometown of everybody’s favorite baker, the Cake Boss himself, Buddy Valastro. “It’s the greatest walking town in America,” says Richard Mackiewicz Jr., president of the Hoboken Chamber of Commerce. “There are many small communities within this fabulous, most intriguing city. Hoboken isn’t really a place … it’s a state of mind. There’s a strong sense of community and a true sense of being alive.”

Where to Stay Here & Near
Hoboken’s only hotel, W Hoboken, brings a little bit of city chic to the Jersey side. This 100 percent smoke-free hotel welcomes guests to 225 guest rooms with a fresh, contemporary look and unfettered views of the Manhattan skyline. Top-notch comforts include Bliss Spa amenities (W Hoboken is home to the only outpost of Bliss Spa in the state) and the W signature bed. Outside of the accommodations, the W features a lively ambiance in its lobby lounge Living Room and chic Lulu’s, while Zylo Tuscan Steak House embraces a more laid-back vibe. The 5,740 square feet of function space and cutting-edge technology make getting down to business a breeze.

The Westin Jersey City Newport is a perfect choice for larger groups and it’s just 5 miles from Hoboken. There are 429 guest rooms, including 19 suites, with a handsome contemporary vibe. Of course, it is the views of downtown and midtown Manhattan that truly capture guests’ hearts, but the plush amenities certainly don’t hurt either. For meetings, the hotel impresses guests with 20,000 square feet of event space with 23 individual meeting rooms. In-house audio-visual and a dedicated staff of event professionals also make meetings go off without a hitch. “The Westin Jersey City offers sophisticated, flexible and rejuvenating meeting space for those looking to host events in the Hoboken area,” says Angel Cueto, general manager. “At the heart of what sets us apart is our talented team at the hotel who help to bring dynamic meetings and functions alive. Whether you are hosting an intimate group dinner or a large-scale gala, we can personalize everything tailored to your needs to set the perfect tone.”

The Sheraton Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken is another natural choice for groups visiting the Hoboken area with five meeting rooms that can accommodate from 11 to almost 250 people depending on the event. This modern hotel rests right on the Hudson and even offers access to the Manhattan-bound ferry right outside its doors. The contemporary rooms feature dazzling views, offer plenty of room to stretch out and even invite guests to bring along their furry friends. Meetings are a breeze with 11 flexible meeting rooms and a private dining space with alluring Manhattan skyline views. “The Sheraton Lincoln Harbor Hotel offers meeting professionals a great alternative to many of the higher priced hotels across the river without having to compromise on service,” says General Manager Matthes Metz. “Complemented by stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, we offer flexible event space with the signature Sheraton amenities and services that clients are looking for. The exemplary service of our associates enhances every meeting and event at the hotel, making them truly memorable.”

Where to Eat & Meet
Walk a few minutes in Hoboken and you’ll soon realize this town is all about eating and drinking. “We have over 100 bars and the restaurants represent every cuisine from all over the world,” says Mackiewicz. “In fact, five of the top 50 of the highest Zagat-rated restaurants in the state are located in Hoboken.” Anthony David’s is a Hoboken favorite for gourmet food in a casually sophisticated setting. “After 15 years in Hoboken, we’ve recently expanded Anthony David’s, taking over the space next door,” says chef/owner Anthony Pino. “Guests can choose from our seasonal Italian menu, or we can create a custom menu. As part of our renovation we built a Chef’s Counter and on Monday evenings, I’ll personally cook and serve a five-course menu for up to 10 guests. We’re happy to accommodate buyouts for the Counter ... it’s a fun foodie experience to sit with your friends, ask me about ingredients or techniques ... there’s so much interest in cooking these days, I find that people really are serious and interested. And I love doing it—it’s a lot of fun.”

Husband-and-wife owners Eugene and Joyce Flinn imbue Amanda’s with an incredible personal touch. This elegant restaurant occupies two restored brownstones and indeed feels like a sophisticated private home. Private parties can be held in the Breakfast Room (up to 10 people), the Library, where floor-to-ceiling French doors overlook a garden terrace (up to 16), the Reserve Room, with vaulted ceilings and a fireplace (up to 28), the New Front Room, which faces bustling Washington Street (up to 32), or the Ballroom, an elegant room with classic style that can be combined with the front room to handle up to 90. “Groups enjoy coming to Amanda’s because it is a very warm environment,” says Joyce Flinn.

Bin 14 opened in 2008 as the city’s first wine bar. “Rare in Hoboken, we have an enclosed, private backyard space, heated in the colder months. We get a lot of parties here,” says owner Anthony Pino. “We love to do private tastings. Our sommelier can create an event based on a client’s favorite wines ... or leave it up to us. We’ll build a tasting menu and serve that with the wine.” Bin 14’s backyard space is approximately 150 square feet and seats 20 guests.

Philadelphia was one of just two U.S. locations on National Geographic’s list of best trips for 2020. The magazine describes the city as “a scrappy underdog with a heart of gold” and uses words like “vibrant” and “creative” to describe this formerly industrial city. That’s good news for meeting planners and should certainly boost attendance at meetings. And adding to the excitement are shopping, entertainment and restaurants cropping up around the Pennsylvania Convention Center (PCC), glitzy new hotels and renovated attractions with event space.

 

Retreats and off-site meetings present wonderful opportunities for groups to collaborate, strategize and build relationships away from their normal office environments. With proper planning, these sessions can be highly effective and even pivotal in setting a new direction. However, off-sites may present some unforeseen challenges that can quickly deflate the energy in the room if not anticipated and addressed in advance.

 

The Reputation of “America’a First Resort Destination” often precedes itself, with images of the wealthy vacationing in The Palm Beaches, which consists of 39 cities in southeast Florida. But dig deeper and you’ll discover humble roots. Considered the vegetable heartland of the country, agriculture is the area’s No. 1 economic driver and responsible for connecting the southeast of the state to the west.