N.J. mall features opportunities for planners

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SHORT HILLS, N.J. -- Coffee breaks at Godiva. Cocktail parties at Bloomingdale's. Make-up demonstrations at Frederic Fekkai.

The Mall at Short Hills, located about 20 miles west of Manhattan, is trying to get meeting planners to think outside the box when planning their next event.

The luxury shopping center partners with area hotels, including the Hilton Short Hills (see sidebar) and the Madison Hotel, and looks for ways to entice corporate travelers and meetings attendees to use the mall's facilities.

Traditional meetings functions can be held at the hotels, while meeting planners can spice up the proceedings with a variety of mall activities. The Hilton is located across from the mall and provides shuttle service for guests. The Madison is about a 15-minute drive.

The Short Hills mall said it can work with the travel trade to set up small events, create goodie bags or arrange activities for spouses, including fashion shows.

According to Sheelagh Wylie, tourism marketing specialist for the Mall at Short Hills, the venue courts business from the New York metropolitan area.

She said the mall recently played host to a group from Goldman Sachs in New York. Because they had a limited schedule, the group had a set lunch menu at Papa Razzi, one of the mall's restaurants. The mall also has hosted groups from Lexus and Schering-Plough.

There are eight full-service eateries at the Short Hills mall, including La Provence restaurant in Bloomingdale's, Houlihan's and Joe's American Bar & Grill. Saks Fifth Avenue, Nieman Marcus, Tiffany & Co., Versace and Gucci are some of the mall's high-end retailers.

The mall can put meeting planners and travel agents in touch with individual stores to arrange events.

Esther Ambrogio, special events manager for the AT&T Learning Center in Basking Ridge, N.J., gives her groups savings booklets for the mall, especially for clients staying during the weekend and clients traveling with spouses.

Taubman Centers, which manages the Mall at Short Hills and 30 additional upscale centers in the U.S., routinely sponsors shopping university fam trips for the travel trade.

For more information about the Mall at Short Hills, call (973) 376-7350 or visit www.shopshorthills.com.

For information about the other Taubman centers, call (248) 258-6800 or visit www.taubman.com.

Area Hilton eyes market

SHORT HILLS, N.J. -- The 304-room Hilton Short Hills here caters to the meetings market.

Mark Swetman, director of sales and marketing, said about 60% to 65% of the hotel's business is corporate and meetings, with leisure rounding out the rest.

The property contains a 5,000-square-foot ballroom and 10 regular meeting rooms. The Dining Room restaurant seats 66, and within the eatery is a private room that can seat up to 16.

Also on-site are a top-of-the-line spa with a full range of services, an indoor and outdoor pool, three tennis courts and a dedicated fitness center. Weekly rack rates range from $279 to $349.

For details, call (800) Hiltons or visit www.hiltonatshorthills.com.

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