Albuquerque is New Mexico’s big city, but the spicy mix of cultures that collide there has not been diluted by the city’s size.
Take, for example, the National Hispanic Cultural Center, recently named one of nine Must-See Museums in the World by Frommer’s Travel Guide, and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, which has become more appropriate for meetings with the opening of a 20,000-square-foot addition that expanded its dining areas and added four new meeting spaces. The two centers are among 19 museums in the city, and all offer off-site event options.
“I work with journalists, and when they come in for a visit, about 95 percent of the time they say, ‘I wish I had two or three more days here,’” said Megan Mayo, the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau’s communications and tourism manager. “Once you dig in, you realize there is much more here than you expected.”
The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is the logical place to dig into Native American culture, especially for those short of free time.
|By Kim Ashley
“A visitor can come there and learn about the 19 pueblos in New Mexico within one short afternoon,” said Larry Atchison, vice president of convention sales. “If you were going out to see the pueblos, you would want to spend three hours at one of them. At the center, you can get a better understanding of the pueblos all in one place.”
At the center, learning about the Pueblo people can be a multisensory experience. Meeting planners can arrange for Native American flutists, dancers or storytellers to perform; blue corn muffins, cheese enchiladas, buffalo burgers and elk sausage can add Pueblo dishes to catered meals.
Another place that preserves the past is also becoming a popular place for small meetings. The Andaluz, formerly the La Posada de Albuquerque, was closed for four years while $30 million was spent to not only renovate it but add green elements. Near the convention center, the 107-room hotel is so green it heats all its water with solar energy and waters its plants with collected rainwater and is so hot on preserving history that it has its own mini history museum.
The hotel’s 6,000 square feet of meeting space appeals to groups of 150.
As a large city, Albuquerque has also become home to most all of the major hotel chains, and many have upgraded or are in the middle of making improvements.
Among the projects is a $30 million renovation at the Radisson Hotel Albuquerque, formerly the Park Plaza Hotel and Conference Center, which included the state’s first indoor water park; a $25 million renovation at the 295-room Sheraton Uptown, where 17,000 square feet of meeting space was upgraded; a $14 million green project at the Hilton Albuquerque; and an upgrade of guest rooms at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Marriott.
The Albuquerque Convention Center, by far the largest in the state at 600,000 square feet, has also made improvements. New wall coverings, paint and additional lighting has brightened much of the interior, a requirement for televising the USA Indoor Track and Field Competitions that will be held there for the next three years. Mosaics that add color to the adobe building’s exterior are courtesy of a summer arts program that has youth adding more mosaics and murals each year to tell the city’s story.