ConventionSouth

JUN 2012

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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2012 Sneak Peek Directory Subscribe Advertise Contact FEATURE ARTICLE: VIP ATTENDEES 6 Exclusive Yet Affordable Hotels Dazzle Your VIPs By Geoffrey Williams So you gotta impress your VIP attendees for your next event but your budget is bleak. No sweat, because the South is filled with grand choices that won't cost you a lot of green. Here are six exclusive yet affordable hotels that each have a distinct personality. A Vibrant Downtown & Bricktown Hotel Oklahoma City is one of the country's most walkable cities, according to a 2011 study by Walk Score and located in the heart of downtown and next to the Cox Convention Center is the Sheraton Oklahoma City Hotel. This puts VIPs just steps from one-of-a-kind attractions like the Myriad Botanical Gardens and Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory; and the Bricktown entertainment district, home to 30-some restaurants, bars and clubs. Nicole Cotton, director of sales and marketing, recom- mends her VIP guests ride on a Bricktown Water Taxi to explore the area exclusively. An Elegantly Casual Mountain & Lake Retreat Some resorts are situated on lakes. Others are nestled in the mountains. Only one—in Geor- gia—can claim both desirable locations: The Ridges Resort and Marina in Hiawassee, Ga. Construction is underway to add a floating events pavilion on the lake, said Ginny Izy- dore, regional sales manager. "No one else in Georgia's got what we've got: big stone fire- places, bonfire pits, beamed ceilings, a 400- slip marina, patios with views of the lake and mountains. Plus, we've got a one-acre private is- land." VIP guests can ferry on a 30-passenger cruiser over to the island for special events. A Golfers Getaway Along The Grand Strand If golf is your game, then Myr- tle Beach, S.C., is undoubtably your town as it's called the "Golf Capital of the World." www.con v entionsouth.com JUNE 2012 ConventionSouth 15 Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand of neigh- boring beach towns are home to about 120 courses, two of which are located within the 2,200-acre Grande Dunes resort. Here, VIP guests at the 200-room Marina Inn at Grande Dunes receive access to both courses. A Gulf Coast Grand Gaming Dame Vegas-styled gaming and entertainment is what MGM Resorts International does best, and at their 1,740-room Beau Rivage Resort and Casino along the Mississippi Gulf Coast in Biloxi, they do it grand. Along with being the largest Four-Diamond resort in the Southeast, the property is said to adhere to the gold stan- dard. "Nothing comes close to it," said Mary Cracchiolo, regional director of public rela- tions for MGM. "You can pull up to the resort, park and never have to leave." Among the of- ferings, the property has 10 restaurants; four nightclubs and bars; a spa and salon recently named one of the Top 20 U.S. Hotel Spas by Travel + Leisure; a Tom Fazio-designed golf course; and a retail promenade. A Historic Gem In Eclectic Shenandoah Valley Built in 1924 and a member of the Historic Hotels of America, the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center stands tall with its Colonial Revivalist architecture, one-of-a- kind Wurlitzer organ and iconic neon-red rooftop sign. The hotel anchors Staunton, Virginia's downtown district and is within walking distance of the Woodrow Wilson Pres- idential Library, museums, art galleries and antique shops. Staunton has a "very cool, eclectic vibe," said Carol Norris, a hotel spokesperson. And, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Virginia wine country are within a short drive of this scenic Shenandoah Valley gem. A Beachside Tower In The Center Of It All At 38 stories high, the Four-Star Westin Vir- ginia Beach (Va.) Town Center, is the "tallest building between Raleigh, N.C., and Philadel- phia," said Robert Dorr, director of sales and marketing. Even cooler, it's situated within the Virginia Beach Town Center with restaurants, stores and the Sandler Center for the Perform- ing Arts. As an added perk, Westin's guests are provided complimentary rickshaw rides throughout the Town Center. ■ Westin Virginia Beach (Va.) Town Center The Ridges Resort & Marina in North Georgia ✴ ✴ ✴ ✴ ✴ ✴

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