The Main Attractions

by Ryan Miller

The long-awaited Hilton Norfolk The Main is finally here, and it’s expected to be a game changer, helping to transform and boost Norfolk’s economy, meeting space options and overall vibrancy. “It has exceeded everything the city had hoped for,” former Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim shared at media event hosted by Bruce Thompson, CEO of Gold Key | PHR this past February, when the hotel was still under construction.

There’s much to look forward to at the 21-floor hotel in terms of restaurants (Saltine, Varia and Grain) and amenities (hip, modern décor, a rooftop lounge and garden, indoor pool, fitness center and 300 guest rooms), but for the purpose of our local business community, we’ll focus on what The Main can offer for meetings.

The IACC-approved conference center, called The Exchange at The Main, features flexible room layouts, each equipped with cutting-edge audiovisual technology, as well as state-of-the-art classrooms and 39 different meeting room spaces. Most impressive is the 18,382-square-foot Main Grand Ballroom—the largest in Virginia—a space so gargantuan that it’s nearly impossible not to say, “Wow,” upon seeing it for the first time.

There are also secure meeting rooms with soundproof walls and private phone and WiFi access. So, whether you’re hosting a board meeting or a corporate conference with 2,000 attendees, The Main can be transformed to fit these needs—and everything in between.

Along with the seemingly endless options for meeting space, business groups both local and from out of town will find The Main’s overall atmosphere to be stately but spirited, professional but comfortable—and there’s refined character throughout. Take, for instance, the crystal chandelier from the Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach hanging in the Italian restaurant, Varia; the ultra-private dining spaces (one of which is hidden behind a rotating bookshelf); and the original Decker Building façade, which has been preserved and incorporated into the hotel, now serving as an entrance to Saltine and Varia.

As the thrill of The Main’s opening transpires and groups begin planning large conferences, small sessions or perhaps after-work cocktails, it’s likely that we’ll be hearing the words, “Meet me at The Main” a lot during the months ahead.

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