Whether or not your event is black-tie, host it at the Detroit Zoo’s Polk Penguin Conservation Center and at least 80 guests will be wearing tuxedos.

The King Penguins, Gentoo Penguins, Macaroni Penguins and Rockhopper Penguins, to be exact. The stunning new center for the four species, designed by Jones and Jones and Albert Kahn Associates, resembles a gigantic Arctic glacier.

“It’s the largest penguin facility in the world, and features an incredible 325,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic area with an underwater viewing gallery and two acrylic tunnels that provide spectacular views of the birds,” says Jennie Miller, the zoo’s communications manager. The interior is meant to evoke Arctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, and the display even includes blasts of icy air and salty seawater mist.

The $30 million facility, which opened in April, is available for evening event rentals, granting your guests VIP access to close-up views of the penguins. Your crowd will be delighted as the charming birds provide the entertainment by sliding down the snow and diving into their deep-blue tank, twirling, flipping and trailing bubbles along the way.

The space can accommodate 60 guests for a seated meal or 170 for a strolling reception. The $5,000 rental fee includes tables, linens, chairs and parking. Catering is provided through Detroit Zoo Catering and full bar service is available, along with menu options ranging from plated meals to a hot buffet or elegant passed hors d’oeuvres. And since both food and drink are managed in-house by

For more than 300 years, ranching has been a way of life—and business—in Texas. The uniquely Texan ranch experience has captured the imagination of the world, and ranches have served as uncredited “stars” for some of Hollywood’s most iconic productions: from Reata, the fictitious ranch depicted in the classic movie “Giant,” to the glamorous Southfork Ranch, home of the primetime soap opera “Dallas.” Longhorns, horses, cowboys, rodeos, 10-gallon hats and cowboy boots: There is an alluring mystique surrounding Texas ranches.

 

In November, Dallas-based Todd Interests opened Thompson Dallas, part of hospitality brand Thompson Hotels. Thompson Dallas features 219 rooms, including 52 suites, two penthouse suites, and two culinary destinations.

 

After a year filled with uncertainty and countless projects and proposals put on hold, growth in any sector of the hospitality industry is always welcome news. But a statewide slew of brand-new hotels? That’s something to celebrate. Here, we spotlight just a few of the new properties offering planners and guests new spots to meet, refresh and recharge.