Hotels, meeting spaces and issues of interest in the region's top business destinations. Latin Trade magazine, one of Latin Business Traveler's sister publications, has come up with a definitive guide to the best travel experiences in Latin America in the region's top 10 business destinations.
In the first part of our multi-part series on the Best of Travel, we share some of the insights from five of those cities. Next week, we'll share insights from the other five cities, plus more.
Most Improved Hotel: Crowne Plaza Tequendama Bogotá This landmark Bogotá hotel, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2013, has invested $4.5 million in upgrades, and offers a more contemporary experience at the newer Crowne Plaza Suites Tequendama, which sits adjacent to the original property.
Best Classic Style: Charleston Casa Medina Elegant touches of Colonial-era style - including rich woodwork and suites with fireplaces - are among the reasons to check into this luxury hotel.
Best Contemporary Style: B.O.G. Hotel The first member of Design Hotels to debut in Colombia, B.O.G. is a gold-hued fashion statement, with minimalist architecture by designer Nini Andrade Silva and a heated rooftop swimming pool.
Most Functional Hotel Meeting Space: Casa Dann Carlton Hotel Spa Bogotá
Business travelers here can make use of 16 meeting rooms, as well as a tower with 237 guestrooms and a second tower with 91 apartments for long-term stays, and a business floor with a private restaurant, express check-in and check-out.
Best Hotel Value for the Price: Crowne Plaza Suites Tequendama Full service and a central location - at rates below many large internationally branded hotels - make this property worth considering.
Best Hotel Concierge/Club Floor: Hilton Bogotá Executive rooms and suites offer access to the spacious, handsomely decorated executive lounge, where guests can enjoy a hot breakfast buffet, snacks and refreshments throughout the day.
Noteworthy Convention/Event Facility: Club El Nogal This social and business complex, founded by a group of businesspeople in 1989, organizes social, cultural and business events, and has its own catering and accommodations.
Best Equipped Convention/Event Facility: Corferias With 22 pavilions, a 673,000-square-feet indoor area and 221 meeting rooms of various sizes, Corferias offers lots of options - and plans for a new convention facility on the site should be good news for business-minded folks as well.
Interesting Meeting/Event Venues: Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá Located about an hour outside of Bogotá, this unique religious complex - built deep inside a salt mine - offers memorable and surprisingly ample spaces for private meetings and events.
Big Issue for Business Travel: The renovation and expansion of El Dorado airport is a major improvement over the previous facility, and additional upgrades are in the works. In addition, economic growth and stability have attracted new hotel investment, while a new convention center will increase its attractiveness for corporate gatherings.
Cost of Doing Business: Reasonable (Maximum per diem rates per U.S. State Department - room rates $277, meal and incidental expenses $105, maximum per diem $382)
Most Improved Hotel: Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires In 2013, the Four Seasons wrapped up a $49 million renovation, introducing a new indoor-outdoor restaurant, a renovated spa and new meeting and event space.
Best Classic Style: Alvear Palace Hotel Appearing consistently at the top of reader's choice awards, the Alvear Palace exudes elegance, with Belle Époque architectural details, crystal chandeliers and attentive service.
Best Contemporary Style: Faena Hotel + Universe Designed by Philippe Starck, this Puerto Madero hotspot is both sumptuous and whimsical.
Most Functional Hotel Meeting Space: Hilton Buenos AiresAmong the property's more than 71,000 square feet of meeting space is a 2,700-person boardroom, billed as the largest in the city.
Best Hotel Value for the Price: Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel and Convention CenterWith a decidedly business-friendly attitude and lots of meeting space, the Sheraton offers a lot of amenities at competitive prices.
Best Hotel Concierge/Club Floor: Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires Guests on the seventh and eighth floors have access to the e-lounge, which is luxuriously furnished with chandeliers, burgundy designer furniture and a furnished balcony with inspiring city views.
Noteworthy Convention/Event Facility: Centro Costa SalgueroSix pavilions, capacity for more than 3,000 guests, and turnkey company party planning are among the selling points here.
Best Equipped Convention/Event Facility: La RuralMultiple pavilions and a central location have helped keep this facility on top of the meetings and events market.
Interesting Meeting/Event Venues: Señor Tango Business travelers looking to tap into a bit of tango excitement can make use of this 43,040-square-foot space.
Big Issue for Business Travel: The continued introduction of stylish boutique hotels ensures that business travelers will always have interesting alternatives to big-box chain hotels.
Cost of Doing Business: Reasonable (room rates $221, meal and incidental expenses $121, maximum per diem $342)
Best Classic Style: Gran Meliá CaracasConservative luxury is the norm at this well-placed hotel, which also features am exclusive RedLevel category of accommodations with even more amenities.
Best Contemporary Style: Renaissance Caracas La CastellanaBold colors and stylish furnishings make this one of the coolest places to stay in Venezuela's capital.
Most Functional Hotel Meeting Space: Eurobuilding Hotel & Suites CaracasWith 50,000 square feet of meeting space, as well as 617 rooms in three categories - and a "Business Woman Floor" just for female travelers - the Eurobuilding is well positioned for business gatherings.
Best Hotel Value for the Price: Embassy Suites by Hilton Caracas Rooms equipped with refrigerators, microwaves, MP3 docks - as well as the hotel's on-site meeting space - make this a good home base for budget-minded business travelers.
Best Hotel Concierge/Club Floor: JW Marriott Caracas Free continental breakfast, midday snack, afternoon tea, hors d'oeuvres, dessert and non-alcoholic beverages are among the amenities in the 24-hour executive lounge, which offers lovely views of the mountains.
Noteworthy Convention/Event Facility: World Trade Center ValenciaAttached to the Hotel Hesperia, the WTC has 38 meeting and event rooms, and lots of space for exhibits and trade shows.
Best Equipped Convention/Event Facility: Foro XXI A broad array of clients in technology, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and finance are among those that have made use of this venue, which has rooms that accommodate from five to 155.
Interesting Meeting/Event Venues: Hard Rock Café Caracas Located in the Mall of Caracas, the 12,000-square-foot, 375-seat Hard Rock has multiple areas available for private corporate gatherings.
Big Issue for Business Travel: Continued economic and government complications have slowed investment in hotels and meeting space, resulting in far fewer options than in neighboring nations.
Cost of Doing Business: Expensive (room rates $314, meal and incidental expenses $193, maximum per diem $507)
Most Improved Hotel: Presidente InterContinental Guadalajara The shimmering Presidente features an attractive lobby lounge and crisply designed superior rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and great views.
Best Classic Style: Quinta Real Guadalajara With ambiance reminiscent of México's colonial era, the Quinta Real is graced with cobblestone paths and beautifully manicured gardens.
Best Contemporary Style: Westin Guadalajara Conveniently close to Expo Guadalajara, the Westin Guadalajara serves up contemporary style with lots of amenities.
Most Functional Hotel Meeting Space: Hotel Riu Plaza Guadalajara The Riu packs in nearly 50,000 square feet of meeting space, including 16 event rooms.
Best Hotel Value for the Price: Hampton Inn by Guadalajara/Expo Close to Expo Guadalajara, the Hampton Inn offers a free hot breakfast and free transportation to the airport and other local destinations. Free Wi-Fi and business center access round out the value-added offerings.
Best Hotel Concierge/Club Floor: Hotel Riu Plaza Guadalajara Guests staying in executive rooms and suites - as well as anyone with RIU Class Gold and RIU Class Diamond cards - have access to the Crown Level Executive Lounge, which has a meeting room, free soft drinks, beer and wine and snacks. The hotel also features a women's-only floor, with 25 specially appointed rooms reserved exclusively for female travelers.
Noteworthy Convention/Event Facility: Teatro DegolladoThis neoclassical theater, which opened in 1866, hosts a variety of private meetings and events, with historic style.
Best Equipped Convention/Event Facility: Expo Guadalajara With more than 811,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space and proximity to thousands of hotel rooms, Expo Guadalajara dominates the convention market in the region.
Interesting Meeting/Event Venues: Mundo Cuervo Located in the nearby town of Tequila, this distillery offers customized corporate group events, with spirited themes.
Big Issue for Business Travel: Increased options for business travelers are key in Guadalajara, thanks to the growth of low-cost domestic carriers as well as the recent debut of large new hotel brands including Riu Plaza and Westin. Still to come is the Frida Kahlo Guadalajara, a Luxury Collection property slated to open in 2015.
Cost of Doing Business: Affordable (room rates $161, meal and incidental expenses $79, maximum per diem $240)
Most Improved Hotel: Miraflores Park Hotel by Orient-Express This luxury hotel shut its doors temporarily in December, and when it reopens in April 2014, guests will enjoy the benefits of a wide-ranging, $13.5 million upgrade on suites, bathrooms, meeting space and the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Bar.
Best Classic Style: Country Club LimaA member of Leading Hotels of the World, Country Club Lima was built in 1927 and declared a Peruvian Cultural Monument, with rooms decorated in traditional style, complemented by Peruvian art.
Best Contemporary Style: Hilton Lima Miraflores One of Lima's newest luxury hotels, the Hilton exudes handsome, contemporary style, with marble bathrooms and deluxe rooms with soundproof floor-to-ceiling windows. The king executive room has a 231-square-foot balcony overlooking the Miraflores district.
Most Functional Hotel Meeting Space: Westin Lima Hotel & Convention Center Some 17,514 square feet of meeting space and a 24-hour business center are among the draws for travelers looking to meet.
Best Hotel Value for the Price: Sheraton Lima Hotel & Convention Center A central location and 15,802 square feet as well as reasonable rates, make this a good full-service value option.
Best Hotel Concierge/Club Floor: JW Marriott Hotel Lima Executive rooms have free in-room Wi-fi and access to the executive lounge, which offers free services including hot buffet breakfast, midday snack, afternoon tea, hors d'oeuvres, dessert, non-alcoholic beverages, free pressing of two garments per stay, light dinner, and free wine and pisco tasting from 5pm to 6:30pm.
Noteworthy Convention/Event Facility: LarcomarLocated in the upscale Miraflores District, Larcomar is a retail complex with entertainment and restaurants that are ideal for group and individual business entertaining.
Interesting Meeting/Event Venues: Museo Larco This privately owned museum of pre-Columbian art, set in an 18th-century building, provides a dramatic setting for private corporate events.
Big Issue for Business Travel: The expansion and upgrade of Lima's Jorge Chávez International Airport should improve the travel experience for arriving and departing passengers, and the addition of new hotels will expand offerings in a variety of price points.
Cost of Doing Business: Reasonable (room rates $250, meal and incidental expenses $89, maximum per diem $339)
Next week, we'll share Best of Travel from Mexico City, Panama City, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago de Chile and São Paulo.
Hilton Bogota, courtesy of Hilton Worldwide; Sheraton Buenos Aires, courtesy of Starwood Hotels; JW Marriott Caracas, courtesy of Marriott International; The Westin Lima, courtesy of Starwood Hotels; Boardroom at the JW Marriott Hotel Lima, courtesy of Marriott Intenrational .