By Sara Romo, CMP
The newly expanded Manhattan Conference Center is open and accepting meeting and event bookings! Conveniently located in downtown Manhattan, this conference center has much to offer with its meeting spaces and amenities, and The Little Apple®’s centralized location makes traveling to this facility a breeze. Additionally, the Manhattan Conference Center connects to a Hilton Garden Inn, which further streamlines the sourcing process for conference space and room nights.
While downtown Manhattan has much to offer from a dining and attraction standpoint, the conference center is also a close neighbor to Kansas State University. K-State – home of the Wildcats and a member of the Big 12 conference – creates an opportunity for a unique excursion. Companies are sure to have a fun and valuable trip with all of the attractions to explore in The Little Apple®, and as these organizations conduct their meetings, The Manhattan Conference Center offers several resources to facilitate memorable business experiences.
New and Improved Meeting Space
During a period in which many projects were put on hold, the Manhattan Conference Center maximized this opportunity by expanding their property. Construction began in late 2019 and finished in September 2020, with its property add-on completely uninterrupted because of gathering restrictions. Although the pandemic posed several challenges for meeting and event facilities, this vacancy was a silver lining for The Little Apple®’s conference center.
With this expansion, the Manhattan Conference Center now boasts 32,000 total square-feet, with 23,000 square-feet comprising the meeting space. Attendees can now enjoy the much larger foyer as a pre-function space for cocktail receptions, break stations, and registration tables. Even more so, four additional meeting rooms have been added to provide additional breakout space. These rooms can be combined or used separately to create the perfect theater, classroom, banquet, or reception meeting set.
Regardless of the chosen set-up, each meeting room provides access to high-speed internet. Other amenities offered by the conference center include built-in sound systems, drop-down LCD projectors and screens, on-site catering, and electronic reader-boards, which can display logos, agendas, or photos. Meetings will be well-prepared with on-site event planners ready to assist with any needs.
When Angela Hermann, the Director of Sales for the Hilton Garden Inn & Manhattan Conference Center, was asked what she has heard planners say stands out about the conference center, she responded, “[the space] is extremely easy as far as set-up and maximizing the space because it is a rectangle and there are no pillars, or dividers within each of the meeting rooms.” The hip, modern greys and blues will allow any décor to stand out, and the windows in the foyer also give attendees relaxing views between meetings.
More Rooms to Come
On top of the conference space expansion, another 40 rooms will be added to the Hilton Garden Inn. This addition will bring the hotel up to 175 rooms, making it one of the largest hotels in The Little Apple®. The rooms and lobby will also undergo remodeling to ensure a fresh, clean look for all guests. Community pride and unsolicited friendliness abounds in the area, providing planners with top quality staff to support their events.
Currently, the hotel offers guests complimentary Wi-Fi, free parking, a fitness center, and an indoor pool. Each amenity amplifies the experience for conference guests also staying at the hotel, thus giving them convenient options during leisure time. It also caters to those guests who enjoy working out before starting their meeting day. Attendees can easily arrive at the conference center from the airport since the hotel offers a courtesy shuttle service. In turn, the Hilton Garden Inn & Manhattan Conference center fulfills the needs of all guest types.
Through Hilton’s CleanStay program, guests are reassured that all necessary measures and precautions are being taken to keep guests safe during the pandemic. Hilton’s partnership with RB has provided hotels with necessary disinfectants from brands such as Lysol, Dettol, Sagrotan, Napisan, Muse and more. Thus, every room is properly disinfected after each guest departure and sealed with the CleanStay sticker, in addition to executing the standard cleaning practices. Common areas are more frequently wiped down, and hand sanitizing stations are available to further enhance cleanliness and safety for guests.
Within the CleanStay program, Hilton also added the EventReady phase. Through this commitment of elevated sanitization practices extending to meetings, Hilton Team Members are ready to work with planners to ensure their objectives, and that proper health and environmental concerns are being addressed. Hilton has also promised to work with planners to provide flexible pricing, space options, and contract terms to confirm both supplier and event owner align in event objectives.
Manhattan’s Added Measures
Outside of corporate standards, the Manhattan Conference Center has taken additional measures to provide top-quality health and safety measures. The Vice President and Director of Visit Manhattan Kansas, Karen Hibbard, was asked what additional precautions the Conference Center is taking. She responded that the added measures include, “Social distancing – making sure that tables and chairs are 6 ft. apart, sneeze guards in place for meals if served buffet style, hand sanitizer stations in place, and masks in each of the meeting rooms.” Additional signage has also been put in place to help attendees understand new protocols.
To confirm necessary measures are in place, Manhattan’s local health department offers permits to groups more than 50 people. Hotel staff members are actively working with planners to ensure they are following measures which abide by their city’s code, and the local health department is reviewing these plans to certify all meetings are taking the mandated health precautions. No cases have been traced back to the hotel thus far. Overall, the conference center and hotel are diligently working to guarantee health and safety as the top priority for its guests.
Attractions in Manhattan
Aside from a bustling restaurant scene and boutique shops, Manhattan offers a variety of venues for guests to explore during their free time or planners to use as off-site receptions. According to Hibbard, the Flint Hills Discovery center is an ideal facility for such occasion. The 35,000 square-foot facility offers a unique sensory experience for all ages. It showcases the beauty and wonder within the nearby Flint Hills, offering a clearer understanding of the geology, ecology, and cultural history of the area.
Other top attractions in the area include beautiful golf courses, Kansas’ best zoo, the Sunset Zoo, quality hiking at either Turtle Creek or Konza Prairie, and a winery just outside the city limits. Within 25 minutes of the conference center, history enthusiasts can enjoy a trip to Fort Riley where the military museums are high-quality. Guests can also expect to learn how General George Custer, Buffalo Soldiers and the Big Red One made Fort Riley notable. Currently, the museum is also undergoing renovations, but a temporary exhibit is open to visitors in addition to tours of the Custer House. For access onto the base, email [email protected] Whichever attraction is incorporated into the event or visited by attendees, guests are sure to have a great time in The Little Apple®.
When planning an event, keep the Manhattan Kansas Conference Center in mind. Not only is this facility maintaining the highest safety and cleanliness standards, but their recent expansion further adds to the attractiveness of the facility and viability to hold future events. Furthermore, the ideal location of the conference center paired with nearby attractions, shopping, and dining will help guests see why the area altogether makes Manhattan the #1 walkable meeting destination in Kansas. Consider the Manhattan Conference Center for your next event and be one of the first to enjoy their latest expansion.
Sara Romo, CMP is a contributing writer from St. Louis and a meeting and event professional.