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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RICHMOND RISING Richmond's reputation as a convention and business conference destination has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. The 700,000-square-foot Greater Richmond Convention Center has 178,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, 80,000 square feet of flexible meeting and breakout rooms, and a 30,550-square-foot ballroom. Served by an airport that offers nearly 200 non-stop flights daily, Richmond has more than 17,000 hotel rooms in the four- county area marketed by Richmond Region Tourism (RRT). Richmond, also known as The River City, has plenty of laurels in its remarkable history. But, rather than rest upon them, Richmond continues to create more. "It's an urban setting that has so much to offer: extraordinary historic elements, great museums, unique meeting spaces, lots of gardens and more than 900 restaurants in the region, just for starters," said Juliana Comer, RRT public relations coordinator. Richmond also has a growing reputation as a foodie city. In 2014, Departures magazine dubbed it "The Next Great American Food City." Internet security and lifestyle firm MyLife.com ranked it No. 3 on its list of "Best Mid-Sized Cities in America for Food Lovers." Real Richmond Food Tours popped up recently to show off Rich- mond's culinary prowess. "These are guided tours most weekends, but they can also do pri- vate tours throughout the week," said Comer. "They have one for each area of Richmond, so they have one for Church Hill, Carytown, Shockoe Slip, and so on. They're two to 2 1/2 hour walking tours that combine food and history. You pop into a restaurant or bakery along the way and you get a little history lesson about that particular part of the city." Also, the Richmond region now has a baker's dozen of breweries and an urban cidery, and has just created a beer trail. The city's Mekong Restaurant and Bar has been named "America's Number One Craft Beer Bar" by Craftbeer.com for the past three years. n ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ A P R I L 2 0 1 5 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 32 R I C H M O N D H O T E L N E W S ! A new dual Marriot-branded property, including a 135-room Courtyard by Marriot and a 75-suite Residence Inn by Marriot, o pened just a few months ago and features The First Freedom Center, a small exhibiton space with art and artfacts of the American experience of religious freedom. Located in Richmond's historic Shockoe Slip secton, it's just minutes from the Virginia State Capitol. Another new dual property, by Hilton, is coming to the Capitol neighborhood in summer 2015. A 144-room Hampton Inn & Suites and a Homewood Suites with 100 extended-stay rooms will feature about 7,000 square feet of meetng space, a full-service restaurant, and a roo op lounge with great views of downtown and the river. The Hilton Garden Inn is convertng into a full-service hotel and changing its name to Hilton Richmond Downtown. Staggered room renovatons begin in May and are expected to be completed in August, at which tme the hotel will have just under 20,000 square feet of meetng space. All these new projects will add to Richmond's existng hotel inventory, which includes the Omni Richmond Hotel, Crowne Plaza Richmond Downtown, Richmond Marrio0 Downtown, the Westn Richmond, and Jefferson Hotel, a unique historic property that has been welcoming guests since 1895. n Food and cra beer were two of the elements Frommer's noted last year when recognizing Richmond as one of the "Top Destnatons for 2014," along with the city's history and its outdoor adventures. Much of the la0er is made possible by the James River, Kanawha Canal and Belle Isle. [