As part of my job for CDISC, I am privileged to work with the European CDISC Coordinating Committee (E3C) on the Interchange in Europe. This has a few wonderful perks. Firstly, I get to see the hotel and the evening event location before all of the attendees and most of the CDISC staff and secondly I spend a day with Dominik Ruisinger (who many of you will know), thrashing out the details of the event.
This year, of course, we are in London my home town and for the first time ever, I know the streets and the surroundings better than Dominik. However, whilst I know the area, Dominik, as ever, knows the hotel inside out and upside down! He could not have picked a better location than the Lancaster London Hotel. Situated at Lancaster Gate, it is an iconic hotel sitting on the edge of Hyde Park (many of the rooms overlook the park) and even better it is less than a 5 minute walk from Paddington Station. The access for all our participants is wonderfully simple. If you arrive at Heathrow, take the Heathrow Express and you are at Paddington in 20 minutes and in the hotel 5 minutes later ... in fact by my reckoning it would be quicker to walk than to take a London Taxi!
The hotel has a dedicated conference entrance on the ground floor, named, ‘The Nine Kings Suite’ which will take you straight to the registration desk. You will then see our wonderful poster exhibition, the exhibit area, and the conference room. It couldn’t be simpler! There are also the rooms for our new concept at the Interchange: The Discussion Groups (you can read more here). The workshops and training all take place on the first floor in the Forest Suite, where the rooms are bright, airy and have a wonderful view of Hyde Park. . The hotel has fantastic electronic signage so that you can see exactly where to go, directly from the main reception.
Last year’s evening event at the traditional Hungarian restaurant was a lovely insight into traditional food and beer. This year, however, we have something less traditional and with a real ‘wow’ factor. You are going to be in for a genuine treat, as we are delighted to be taking you to Madame Tussauds.
I have fond memories of Madame Tussauds. As a child I remember going there with my school and thinking that the famous faces and the history were pretty amazing. However, now it’s an interactive venue with the most brilliant attention to detail and the wax work figures are stunning. Of course, if you have been before, like me, you will have had to negotiate hoards of school children and excited tourists. The E3C would not allow such a thing and have negotiated the most wonderful exclusive package for you without the tourists, where you might just feel like a celebrity yourself.
Arriving by coach, you will enter the venue via the red carpet and be whisked off in a ‘Taxi’ around a brief history tour of London, where you can see some of its most famous sons and daughters. It’s quite the talking point (actually I think rather bored Dominik with my insider knowledge of the historical figures!). Then you walk into the first area, ‘The A-list Party’. Here you will be greeted by the paparazzi (and I am not joking!) who will photograph you with the stars. It’s fantastic fun and a lovely atmosphere, certainly conducive to networking with old and new friends.
You continue on your journey past the film stars and sports stars into the final area where there will be mixed seating arrangements, 3 buffet areas and a chance to enjoy some good food and excellent company. You’ll be surrounded by presidents, prime ministers and some surprises! Of course we have to thank our fantastic sponsors of the evening event, Roche Diagnostics and SAS whose generous support has ensured we are able to run such a unique occasion.
If you haven’t registered yet, make sure you do as this year is looking very popular. All the details of the programme are on the website, including links to registration, information for exhibitors and if you would like to sponsor any aspect of the Interchange, details of that are there too.
I look forward to meeting you all in London at the end of April.
AJ de Montjoie
CDISC Director Media and Communications