Portland, Maine, is known for its beautiful landscapes and waterways, a flourishing food and beverage scene and is a haven for artists of all mediums. Planners have everything they need at their fingertips to give attendees an authentic New England experience. Here are a few places to stay, spaces to convene and things to do at your next meeting or event.
Westin Portland Harborview Hotel (pictured), built in 1927—the largest hotel in New England at the time—gives its guests the experience of Old Maine with a modern touch of elegance. Centrally located in downtown Portland’s Art District, the property offers 16,000 square feet of event space. The Eastland Grand Ballroom accommodates groups of 100-500 and features the original grand entry and balcony, ideal for breakouts, receptions or exhibit space. Executive luncheons and meetings can take place in the boardroom. For a unique experience, host a cocktail reception at the hotel’s rooftop lounge, Top of the East, where your attendees can enjoy panoramic views of the city. During your stay, take advantage of the full-service spa, fitness studio or join a guided group run through the city. The hotel has partnered with New Balance; so if you forget to pack your running shoes, just borrow a pair for a small fee. The Portland Harbor Hotel, independently owned and managed by Hart Hotels, is the only Four Diamond luxury boutique hotel in Portland. Your attendees will enjoy the newly renovated, nautical themed spacious rooms—101 rooms in total. Your group has access to three meeting spaces, ideal for small-to-midsize groups, ranging from 20-120 people. Each meeting space is audiovisual ready and boasts natural light to help keep your group productive. Take the meeting outdoors for networking receptions, luncheons or dinners in the courtyard garden. Chef Tim Labonte of, Bluefin North Atlantic Seafood, will impress your attendees with creative dishes, from the local catch of the day, using only the finest seasonal ingredients. Holiday Inn By the Bay is conveniently located downtown, steps away from Cross Insurance Arena, and offers waterfront views of Casco Bay. The property has 30,000 square feet of function space on-site, including a 12,500-sq.-ft. exhibit hall that can host up to 72 booths, the State of Maine Grand Ballroom for groups of 20-1,000, six breakout rooms and a boardroom. Attendees have access to the fitness center, saunas, indoor pool and the Port of Call Lounge for post-event cocktails and dining. The Press Hotel, of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, is a writer’s paradise. The hotel was once home to the offices of the Portland Press Herald. All 110 rooms have elements that are inspired by this former printing press. If your group size is 8-100, you have access to four unique meeting spaces, each one with the look and feel of a residential library. The Art Gallery, perfect for breaks between sessions or cocktail receptions, displays work by local artists. For an incentive trip or an executive retreat, book the Penthouse Suite. The open-space suite can host 20-40 guests for a cocktail reception with access to harbor and skyline views on the private rooftop patio.
Union Food and Drink, at The Press Hotel, has a contemporary menu with a creative flair thanks to Executive Chef Josh Berry, 2017 Chef of the Year by the Maine Restaurant Association. All ingredients are locally sourced and seasonal with the five menu changes throughout the year. Your attendees will love the local favorites like lobster rolls and chowder or the chef’s seasonal selection of cheese and charcuterie. Cross Insurance Arena is an optimal space for conventions, expos and trade shows, with 34,500-sq.-ft. to work with on the arena floor and additional space to showcase sponsors and booths on the concourse. If your group is up to 200, you can use the Landing, which offers panoramic views of Portland, while the Club Room accommodates up to 100; both can be used for private events. Additional meeting rooms are available for breakouts or a one-on-one. Entertain your group to a game or upcoming show in one of the open suites, where you are part of the action. Brick South, at Thompson’s Point, is turning an area that was a train depot and abandoned warehouses into an event mecca. The multiuse space, ideal for trade shows and corporate functions, is located only 5 minutes from the airport and 10 minutes from downtown. High ceilings, concrete floors and exposed beams give you creative freedom to transform your event. The outdoor venue of Thompson’s Point, on the bank of the Fore River, is known for outside concerts and festivals with a capacity of 2,500-5,000. Cellardoor, at The Point, is located next door to Brick South. The tasting room of this winery offers 5,000 square feet of event space for tastings, cooking classes, wine pairings and private parties. Portland Museum of Art delivers a touch of local artistry to your event with Maine inspired pieces scattered throughout the museum. The museum also has classics by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet and Winslow Homer, to name a few. The museum has a theme of connection—mixing contemporary with modern or classic with abstract to experience multiple genres at a time. Upon entry, the Great Hall is ideal for receptions and dinners, while the auditorium is available for meetings, presentations and lectures. If you have a small group, your group can venture off for a guided tour. RiRa Irish Pub serves up Irish fare with a local vibe—all ingredients are sourced locally including mussels straight from the Casco Bay. The dining room and event spaces give you a by-the-sea feel, backed up by harbor views. The restaurant has five private areas to choose from, accommodating parties of 10-200 for buffet lunches, cocktail receptions or seated dinners. Flat screen TVs, projectors, screens and charging stations will have you meeting ready.
The Maine Brew Bus will give your group (ideal for 10-20 at a time) a taste of Maine, traveling to local breweries, wineries or distilleries. Staggering tour stops, which include behind-the-scenes tours, tastings and light bites, can accommodate larger groups. You can add fun games to the mix like laser tag or bowling, and end the day with dinner at one of Portland’s many restaurants. Portland is home to over a dozen James Beard recognized restaurants with awards from best chef to outstanding restaurant, baker and beer professional. The Escape Room takes teambuilding to a new level. Groups are locked in a room and collaborate to solve problems that give clues, ultimately leading to their escape. Each room has a theme, three in total, where teams of 10 will work together. Coming soon will be the Escape Room Bar, serving up local brews for corporate events. Treat your group to gifts made only in Portland. Dean’s Sweets makes custom chocolates, truffles and candies. In fact, his chocolates are on every pillow at The Press Hotel. Sea Bags makes bags and totes from recycled sailcloth in its waterfront shop. Customize them with colors and logos for your event.