From The Woodlands to Downtown Houston

The seventh year of Anime Matsuri will be hosted at The Hyatt Regency, Downtown Houston on March 29-31, 2013.

We have made it a point to keep our attendees in the loop with how this convention is put together so I will explain the decision behind the move.

First, let me say the Woodlands is a nice place. It has become almost like home. Deneice and I have even hosted our wedding reception at the Waterway Marriott several years ago. The facility is great and the hotel staff have become our friends. We recommend this facility to anyone who is looking to host any kind of event and have nothing but good things to say about it.

I’m sure by now, the questions you’re asking are, “Why the move then? Why now? Why Downtown Houston?”

There are a few reasons for the move, but the one that outweighs all the others is simple: size.

The Woodlands Waterway Marriott has a total of 341 sleeping rooms and 70,000 sq ft of convention space. That facility is designed to handle about 5,000 people.  50 sleeping rooms are always reserved for our guests and staff, leaving less than 300 for our attendees. The closest hotels which we used for overflow are even smaller.

We knew eventually we would outgrow this venue and we planned to stay here at least one more year. But when over 10,000 showed up for our 2012 event, we knew we had to start looking.

My job as Director at Anime Matsuri comes with a lot of responsibility. It is not easy moving a convention this size in any circumstance. We have to make sure our attendees have fun, are comfortable, safe and enjoy the experience Anime Matsuri is known to bring. I also have to accommodate for growth and make sure there’s always room for new attendees to enjoy the con with us.

I learned how the wrong venue can effect the entire convention in 2011; lesson learned. Our attendees trust us to make the best decisions for the convention, this is why we did not take the decision of location change lightly.

The Hyatt Regency was recommended by a few people we know in the industry. But even after checking the place out and falling in love with it, it still wasn’t enough. We invited a group of attendees to come and experience a tour of the hotel and give us their feedback.

The Hotel is located on Louisiana, between Polk and Dallas, the middle of Houston’s Skyline District. It has 30 stories of newly renovated sleeping rooms, convention space and exhibit halls. It also has 7 fast elevators, 4 escalators and 14 story parking structure via a sky bridge.

The pool area on the skydeck located on the 6th floor will host our outdoor theater and festival booths.

The exhibit hall which will host the Dealer Room is 28,000 sq ft, this is 10,000 sq ft more than what we had in The Woodlands.

The hotel has 947 sleeping rooms and about 72,000 sq feet of convention space. We negotiated a discounted rate of $139/night for convention attendees.

Above the hotel, on the 30th floor, is the famous Spindletop restaurant! With a 45-minute full rotation and breathtaking view of downtown.

The Grand Ballroom will host The Main Events, The J-Fashion Show, Cosplay Contests and Concerts.

Anime Matsuri is taking over this hotel for Easter Weekend. The facility is ours and will accommodate all our attendees, events, panels, photoshoots, guests and Import Reactor!

We have an amazing lineup of guests, events, contests and fan-driven material. The Skyline District is all yours to explore!

If you have not been to the Skyline District of Downtown lately, you should see it to believe it. It’s very beautiful, clean and safe. The Houston Police Department will also work the entire weekend making sure everyone is comfortable, not just in the hotel but all around it.

The companies around the hotel (Centerpoint Energy, Chase, etc) will be closed for Easter Weekend which means traffic should not be a problem.

We asked each person to summarize their thoughts. Here is what they said:

“Oh sweet merciful Jesus.. I was mind blown! Compared to the previous cons, this hotel is really big and I believe that con-goers will also enjoy it as I did!” – Kristie Tran

“The moment I walked into the The Hyatt Regency, I automatically thought that this place would be PERFECT for a convention. The hotel is absolutely gorgeous with it’s rooms, restaurants, and especially the amount of space it has to offer” – Jessica Song

“With its location of downtown, it is near a lot of convenient places that would make the stay more pleasant. The Hyatt is more than big enough to hold such a enormous event such as Anime Matsuri as the space won’t be as cluttered and there will be a lot of enjoyable breathing space. Anime Matsuri has always been an enjoyable convention and with its new location, I will be looking forward to it even more.” – Victor Le

“The amount of space that we have at the Hyatt is pretty amazing. And it’s more accessible for people being in the middle of Downtown.” – Shinji Takamine

“The Hyatt Regency is a big, nice, and convenient hotel that will cater to a lot of Anime Matsuri 2013 attendees. It’s also a great place with photoshoot locations that have gardens, water fountains, big buildings, and a nice pool area.” – Dinnerfortwo Photography

“The Hyatt Regency makes everyone feel connected with the open floors and balconies. The moment you walk out of your hotel room, you’ll already be at the party.” – Natalie Nguyen

“The place is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Spacious and stunning, it’s a wonderful place for the ever-growing con. I like how there’s a lot of open areas and space where you can just sit down and relax or chill with your friends – a plus at any convention.” – Akari Michelle

 

Room reservation are now open at $139/night here

/John Leigh