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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O C T O B E R 2 0 1 6 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 35 NEW & RENOVATED Sites In The South! Sponsored Content See Ad On Page 60 rkansas's capital city, Little Rock is a breath of fresh air. At its core, it is home to numerous attractions that are enjoyed by tourists and meeting-goers alike. Recently honored by Trivago.com as its top 10 "US Best Value Cities of 2016," Little Rock continues to garner national and international acclaim for its quality of life, tourism amenities and economic climate. A catalyst for the city's renaissance has been the William J. Clinton Presidential Center, propelling Little Rock as a true tourist and meetings destination. Little Rock has produced new attractions, award-winning restaurants and entertainment venues, and a number of new hotels and meeting spaces. Additionally, our downtown is very pedestrian-friendly, and is served by Rock Region METRO's electric streetcar system. The Statehouse Convention Center, with its 220,000 square feet of public, meeting, and exhibit space, features state-of-the-art amenities, scenic Arkansas River views and is adjacent to downtown's River Market Entertainment District. Connected to the Center, is the Little Rock Marriott, the state's only full-service Marriott, which recently completed a $16 million top-to- bottom renovation, providing a sleek, urban, contemporary feel. Arkansas's premier performing arts facility, the Robinson Center, is undergoing a $70 million re-imagining and expansion that will provide significant improvements to its performance hall, lobby and back of house amenities. One of its most dramatic features will be a new conference center addition and 5,800-square-foot terrace overlooking the Arkansas River and the city's beautiful LED-illuminated bridges. Its ballroom will accommodate up to 500 people for a seated banquet, with flexible meeting space on an upper level. Re-opening November 2016, the center is now booking events. Next door, the Doubletree Hotel has a top- to-bottom, multi-million dollar renovation occurring concurrently with the Robinson project. Renovations will be designed to enhance the overall visitor experience, and to attract meeting and convention goers and individual tourists. Cosmetic upgrades will be made to the building's exterior and interior spaces including the lobby, restaurant and bar areas, guest and meeting rooms and elevator systems. Sleek, contemporary designs will beautifully complement the adjoining Robinson Center. Opened September 2016, the Four Points by Sheraton Little Rock Midtown has 263 rooms and 13,000 square feet of event and meeting space. The Hilton Garden Inn – Downtown will include 135 rooms and 4,000 square feet of meeting space. Plans are to include a full- service restaurant & bar on the ground floor, and a venue on the top floor. The property is scheduled to open Spring 2017. Staybridge Hotel, also in Midtown, will be a 117–room extended stay property, with meeting space. It is scheduled to open in 2017. Another development in the city's renaissance is renovation of the former Legacy Hotel. This 102-year-old hotel on the National Register of Historic Places has been a downtown Little Rock staple. Under new ownership, it will become a boutique property. Completion is expected in late 2017. Little Rock is also home to a burgeoning culinary scene – one that is garnering acclaim and truly putting Little Rock on the map as a foodie destination. In fact, in 2014, Forbes Travel Guide named Little Rock as one of "Five Secret Foodie Cities." James Beard Foundation award winners, semi-finalists and other top culinary school alumni, along with a variety of artisanal food producers create their magic here every day. With respect to its beverage scene, Little Rock has a number of microbreweries and brew pubs, two wineries, and an award- winning distillery. For beer, wine and spirit enthusiasts, the best way to explore Little Rock's adult beverage scene is to pick up a "Locally Labeled" passport and guide—use it to plan your tours and tastings, and score some great Little Rock swag by having your passport validated at participating venues. Groups can also rent the Toddy Trolley (www.toddytrolley.com), to drive them to downtown breweries and the distillery. The Little Rock metro area boasts approx- imately 9,500 hotel rooms, accommodating a variety of groups, including an Arkansas-based international association's annual convention drawing 7,000 domestic and international visitors. Getting to Little Rock is also convenient. The Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport is served by six airlines that offer more than 50 daily flights to major hubs, and you can reach 334 unique destinations around the world with only one stop. In 2013, the airport completed a $70 million renovation that included a new ticket lobby, an in-line baggage handling system, enlarged security checkpoint and a remodeled baggage claim area, and a $20.6 million concourse renovation is scheduled to be completed later this year. The airport is located just minutes from downtown, making transportation a breeze. Little Rock is a city on the move, and renowned for its charming hospitality, history and culture. Discover the pleasant surprise of Little Rock, and see why "Meetings Are Better With a Southern Accent. sm " For more information, visit www.littlerock. com and follow Little Rock at www.facebook. com/experienceLR, www.twitter.com/ littlerockCVB and www.instagram.com/ littlerockCVB. ■ Little Rock – Meetings Are Better With A Southern Accent A Alan Sims, Vice President of Sales & Services Alan is a veteran of the hospitality industry, with more than 25 years of experience in airline, hotel and destination management. Little Rock CVB firstname.lastname@example.org (501) 370-3251 or (800) 844-4781 www.littlerock.com sm