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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N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 5 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m A L A B A M A 2,800-seat auditorium and 18,000-seat arena. The complex is connected by skywalks to the Sher- aton Birmingham and the Westin Birmingham. Scheduled to open this fall, Grand Bohemian Mountain Brook will be part of the Kessler Collection, with 100 guest rooms and 12,600 square feet of meeting space. Opening in early 2016, the Redmont is completing a $20 million renovation in preparation for rebranding as a Hilton Curio Collection hotel. In 2016, Marriott will add two properties in historic downtown buildings, the 117-room Empire Hotel and a select-service, 120-room Marriott. With repeat appearances as one of the top 500 hotels in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine and noted by Golf Digest as one of the top 75 golf resorts in the U.S., Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa has 260 guest rooms and 27,000 square feet of meeting space, ranging from executive board rooms to accommodations for more than 1,300 guests. Birmingham Meeting Space • Sheraton Birmingham: 757 guest rooms • Westin Birmingham: 295 guest rooms • DoubleTree by Hilton: 298 guest rooms; 15,000 square feet of event space • Redmont Hotel: 120 guest rooms; two ballrooms; accommodate up to 100 • Birmingham Mariott: 295 guest rooms; six event rooms with 2,443 square feet of space • Embassy Suites Birmingham: 242 guest rooms; 4,704-square-foot-ball- room for up to 320 guests • Hilton Birmingham Perimeter Park: 204 guest rooms; 10,000 square feet of function space • Cahaba Grand Conference Center: 25,000 square feet of event space • Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum: features world's largest collection of vintage autos and motorcycles; can host up to 900 for receptions • Red Mountain Park: 1,500 acres of urban green space with a variety of team-building options Huntsville Huntsville was the state capital for a short time in the early 1800s and the area's rich history is evident today in the Twickenham, Old Town, Five Points and other historic districts. The city is perhaps best known for the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, the top paid tourist attraction in the state. ➤ Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have one big attraction, said Beth Gendler, vice president of sales for Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism: the beach. "As a meeting desti- nation, the beach draws bigger attendance. Our destination in particular has an atmo- sphere conducive to bringing families to conventions and extending stays to make a vacation out of the trip. Our sales team will help you find the right meeting location to meet your needs and help you with other meeting needs, such as off-site activities and transportation solutions." The cities offer more than 15,000 "rooms with a view," according to tourism offi- cials, many with meeting space. "Perdido Beach Resort and Island House Hotel have larger meeting spaces. Other hotels, such as Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Staybridge Suites, as well as some condo properties including Caribe Resort, Turquoise Place and The Beach Club have meeting spaces as well," said Ally Dorrough, public relations coordinator at Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism. "We invite planners to contact our sales staff directly because we have so many unique properties with meeting space we'd love for them to consider." Unique attractions for groups include the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, home of the Animal Planet show "The Little Zoo that Could"; 7,000 acres of wildlife habitat with trails of various lengths at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge; fishing boat charters; the historic attraction of Fort Morgan; and Gulf State Park, with one of the largest fishing piers on the Gulf Coast, 18 miles of trails, a nature center, lake, ziplining, beach pavilion, Coastal Segway Adventures and two miles of beachfront. "Also, there are a variety of festivals taking place in the area including the Annual National Shrimp Festival, Oyster Cook-off and Craft Beer Weekend, Hangout Music Festival, Frank Brown International Song- writers Festival and many more that meeting attendees should explore if they're here while the event is taking place," Dorrough noted. Gulf Shores/Orange Beach Meeting Space • Perdido Beach Resort: 346 guest rooms; 45,000 square feet of event space • Fairfield Inn & Suites: 116 guest rooms; 1,480 square feet of event space • Hampton Inn & Suites: 3,750 square feet of function space • Island House Hotel: corporate retreat or event space for up to 250 • Holiday Inn Express & Suites: meeting room seats up to 60 Contact: www.gsobmeetings.com B R E A K O U T S P O T L I G H T : Gulf Shores and Orange Beach The Clubhouse at The Beach Club, Gulf Shores 31