Heidelberg is one of the warmest, most attractive cities in Germany; it contains one of Europe's oldest centers of education, Heidelberg University, which was formed in 1386. Much of its medieval architecture and attractive Neckar and Rhine river valley scenery remains, although it certainly has seen its fair share of sieges, stand-offs, and battles in its time. On the River Neckar, wedged below mountains and 60 miles south of Frankfurt–it also is slightly close, to its south, to the French border–it attracts some 3.5 million tourists a year, for which Heidelberg event venues are prepared.
Heidelberg has no international airport but is equidistant to Stuttgart Airport (STR), which has one-stop flights from Newark, NJ, and Frankfurt am Main Airport (FRA), which is the busiest airport in Germany and has North American service on Air Canada, Air Transat (seasonal), American, Condor, Delta, Lufthansa, Singapore, and others. Both are approximately 60 miles from Heidelberg, Frankfurt to the north and Stuttgart to the southeast.
Chief among convention venues in Heidelberg is the Kongresshaus Stadthalle Heidelberg, or Heidelberg Convention Center, a very ornate building with stately staircases, chandeliers, and domed ceilings that has 13 meeting rooms and its Great Hall ballroom able to accommodate 1,250 persons, among its facilities.
Hotel venues in Heidelberg include the riverside, 248-room Heidelberg Marriott, which has seven meeting rooms able to cater to 330 persons; the 232-room Crowne Plaza Heidelberg City Center, which also has seven meeting rooms, the largest able to host 300 persons; the 174-room nH Heidelberg, which has 16 meeting rooms for up to 100 persons; the 118-room Europaeischer Hof Heidelberg, which has 10 meeting rooms for up to 160 persons and is historical, yet modern and quirky; and quaint, artsy, cool Arthotel, which sits on its own street corner and has 16 function spaces for up to 200 persons–large considering its room count of only 24.
Heidelberg is medieval, and what medieval city worth its salt does not have a castle? Among the choices of eclectic gathering spots is Heidelberg Castle, which dominates the city with its lofty position and red stone; it has its own stop on the Heidelberger Bergbahn funicular railway, dates in parts to 1214, and contains such memorable spaces for events as the King's Hall for 620 persons and a courtyard for 1,000 (with the possibility of liveried wait staff). Other great choices include the Hotel Molkenkur, which sits just above Heidelberg Castle, dates to 1851 and was designed to resemble a Swiss cottage; it has 20 guest rooms and event space for up to 300 persons. Palais Prinz Carl has space for 390 persons throughout a building that used to be the city's grand dame hotel and which still contains the fairytale Hall of Mirrors able to host up to 180 in rarified surroundings. There is also massive Halle 02, a former train freight station that has been souped up with lights and modern gadgetry and can today fit 1,200 persons in its hangar-like halls (4,000 if its Zollhofgarten grounds are used); also featured is the futuristic, landmark Print Media Academy, which has 24 meeting rooms, 12 glass-sided, floored and ceilinged floors, and a spot opposite the city's main rail station.
Perfect restaurants in which to host groups in Heidelberg include three historical choices, 'S' Kastanie ("The Chestnut"), which is in a 1904 club house with space for 160 persons and has a German menu tinged with Mediterranean accents; Zum Roten Ochsen ("The Red Ox"), which dates to 1703 and has been owned by the same family for the last 175 years. Also, any of the three restaurants in the 37-room Hotel Zum Ritter St. Georg: the very eye-catching The Ritterstube for 60 persons and Belier and Ratsherrenstube both for 85. Two modern selections are Zum Achter ("The Roller"), which is on the riverside and is the restaurant of the Heidelberg Rowing Club; and brewery-restaurant Heidelberger Kulturbrauerei, which was built in 1998 in the ruins of a former brewery, to which were added 43 rooms and 300 seats in a main dining room.