- Function Rooms: 8
- Max Meeting: 0
- Max Dinner: 0
- Max Reception: 0
Upper River Room
The recently refurbished Mermaid Conference & Events Centre impresses with flexible facilities for both work and play...
Some venues have great meeting facilities. Others make a great setting for a party. Further still are notable for their capacity or location. The Mermaid has it all – and to top it all off it’s just been given a complete make-over to create a fresh, modern feel.
What was once the Mermaid Theatre has now been re-launched as the Mermaid Conference & Events Centre, with a wide variety of rooms available for corporate hire, but it is still the Auditorium that takes centre stage. And rightly so. Few meeting rooms can seat so many so comfortably, with ample legroom and unobstructed views from every last seat.
‘We’ve done some wonderful stuff in there. It’s such a versatile space and everyone utilises it in different ways,’ says events director Carol Anderson, whose favourite events are those where the organisers use the Auditorium for a meeting or conference before ‘revealing’ the stage area and inviting guests up for drinks and canapes. ‘The Stage is an events space in its own right and it’s got some really sexy lighting so it looks great,’ she explains.
The Stage and Auditorium come with all the equipment you’d expect from a former theatre – sound and lighting are particularly impressive and the in-house technician is a lighting designer – making it possible to create a distinctive atmosphere for each event. ‘Those who have a big budget or sponsorship can really turn this into something quite spectacular,’ says Anderson.
Arthur Somerset, director of MASK Event Design & Production, who has thrown glitzy Christmas parties at the Mermaid for the last five years would tend to agree: ‘It’s a fantastic place to work and access to all the different areas is very easy,’ he confirms.
The central Auditorium can be used in conjunction a range of other areas. Guests can, for example, start with drinks in the recently spruced-up Foyer, or have coffee breaks in the adjacent Bridge Bar and Gallery, which continue the feel of the Auditorium with bare bricks and modern fittings. There are also three new meeting rooms (the Bailey, Wright, and Board Rooms), catering to small and mid-sized groups, in the office building next door – all with natural daylight and permanent A/V equipment.
The shift from work to play is most easily achieved by ending conferences with a knees-up in the River and Blackfriars Rooms – perhaps with a chill-out area in the nearby Studio – where floor-to-ceiling views of the Thames, built-in bars, permanent disco light fittings and atmosphere-enhancing hardwood floors make a great backdrop for a party.
‘It’s nice to be able to go from two extremes and have a hard-working, dynamic atmosphere in the Auditorium during the day and then take people through to a whole other venue for evening drinks,’ says Anderson, naming Redwood Publishing as one of the many companies who have staged very successful events this way.
That’s not to say you have to go large to have a nice time at the Mermaid. Professionally run by a dedicated team of project managers, this is a place that goes the extra mile for any client. Joanna Nurse from GT Communications, who has organised monthly meetings at the Mermaid since January 2002 explains: ‘The staff are just wonderful. They are all so polite and helpful and nothing seems to be too much trouble’.
The late, great Arthur Somerset was an equally dedicated customer: ‘We have worked with the team for five years and you really feel that they want to make your event a success,’ he enthuses. What else does he like about the Mermaid? ‘The location is brilliant,’ he said. ‘It’s actually very near the West End and South Bank, as well as being at the gateway to the City. With the tube, rail link and taxi cabs right outside, it has the best transport links.’ Well that’s the last box in the organiser’s book ticked, then.
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