NOV 2015

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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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ N O V E M B E R 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 42 S O U T H C A R O L I N A growing tourism and meeting profile of this small northwest South Carolina town that's home to the major university named for it with another university only five miles away. "Clemson is a small town of about 14,000 people but we have two universities in the area that bring an additional 25,000 people here," noted Herrick, "making Clemson the perfect spot for meetings and conventions. You will find that the meeting space and lodging in the area are affordable and convenient. We don't have the issues you may find in some larger cities with traffic and overpriced space. Natu- ral beauty abounds and there is something for everyone. Whether you are an adventurist and love the outdoors or you are into arts and cul- ture, Clemson can offer it all." Clemson's attractions include the Clemson Area African American Museum and Lake Hartwell, a 56,000-acre lake on the town's outskirts. There are seven museums within 20 miles of Clemson, including ones devoted to the Cherokee, Upstate history and culture, agriculture, veterans and more. About 30 miles away, visitors can experience Wildwater Chat- tooga, which offers ziplining and whitewater rafting. The area surrounding Clemson is also blessed with nearly 40 waterfalls and plenty of hiking and biking trails. "Our two largest meeting spaces are at the universities in the area, Clemson University and Southern Wesleyan University," said Herrick. "You may be able to catch a sporting event – anything from football to diving – at Clemson University. The South Carolina Botanical Gardens are located on the campus, which also features the Bob Campbell Geology Museum, and Clemson University Outdoor Lab, located on a peninsula of Hartwell Lake, offers team-building workshops on its ropes course and challenge tower, as well as several small rustic event venues. Clemson University also has the Brooks Center, home for many theatrical and musical performances." The Madren Conference Center at Clemson University offers 17,000 square feet of meet- ing space and a 107-seat tiered auditorium. It received a renovation earlier this year that brought new air walls, carpet, wall covering and banquet chairs to the ballroom, and new carpet in the building's public areas. The James F. Martin Inn, connected to the Madren Conference Center and surrounded by the Walker Golf Course, completed extensive ren- ovations to all 89 guest rooms this year. Hilton Head Island Hilton Head Island tourism officials are calling the city's recent and current developments a renaissance. And why not? Hilton Head Island, the southernmost barrier island of the state, just three miles away from Georgia, is under- going a $400 million campaign of infrastruc- ture and resort renovations. The most significant recent renovations at the properties with the most meeting space include the $30 million renovation and renewal completed in 2013 at the 416-room Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa (30,500 square feet of meeting space); spring 2015's completion of the final phase of its $17 million renovation project at the 323-room Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort, following renovations of its meeting facilities, front entrance, lobby, fitness center, pool and spa in the past two years (14,000 square feet of meeting space); and the recently completed $12 million renovation at the 513-room Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa (46,000 square feet of meeting space). Of particular note, the 340-room Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island located in Shipyard Plantation, which has 22,500 square feet of meeting space, completed its $30 million reconstruction in 2013, a process that involved tearing the structure down to the foundation and building it anew. The property specializes in groups of 50 to 150 rooms but can accom- modate groups of up to 250 rooms. Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island was a quadruple ConventionSouth award winner for 2014 as a Readers' Choice pick and recognized by CS ➤ Charleston Area CVB Overlooking Charleston's historic harbor and named for General Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox" of the American Revolution, the iconic Francis Marion Hotel opened in 1924 as the largest and grandest hotel in the Carolinas. Over the years, the hotel hosted many notable historic and famous clientele and in 1996 an extensive restoration placed the property on the National Register for Historic Places. Today, traditional services such as doorman and bell services edure alongside modern conveniences such as wireless Internet, a business center, Spa Adagio, Starbucks™ and a well-equipped fitness center. Guests can enjoy classic Southern cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner in The Swamp Fox Restaurant & Bar, or relax with cocktails and jazz piano music in The Swamp Fox Bar. The hotel's historic ballrooms are popular sites for receptions, fundraisers, awards banquets, or gala balls, with their 24-foot ceilings and antique crystal chandeliers. Additionally, the Francis Marion offers a 4,500-square foot conference center, the Carolina Room, and eight smaller meeting rooms with high-speed Internet connections and the latest audio-visual equipment. In total the hotel has 19,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space. Francis Marion Hotel Contact: B R E A K O U T S P O T L I G H T : Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston

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