NOV 2016

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 6 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 44 A L A B A M A ability, tourism and economic development; can host up to 500 for receptions Alabama Gulf Coast Alabama packs a lot into its gulf coast, with 32 miles of white sand beaches, first-class hotels, resorts and meeting spaces, and a location that encourages event attendees to bring their whole family along for a holiday. The area offers year-round fishing, 15 golf courses, fine and casual beachside dining, and a plethora of op- portunities for fun team-building experiences. Big news from the region includes the opening of new hotels and plans for a new Gulf State Park Lodge and Conference Center. "According to developers, the Gulf State Park Lodge project is on track and a management company will be named in early 2017," said Beth Gendler, vice president of sales, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism. "We an- ticipate the sales team to fall into place and bookings to begin. The plan is for a late spring or early summer opening in 2018. The planned meeting space will accommodate 800 people for a banquet and will have approximately nine breakout rooms, as well as a good amount of usable outdoor space for functions." SpringHill Suites opened in Fall 2016 at The Wharf, next to the 18,000-square-foot Orange Beach Events Center, with 132 suites and 3,041 square feet of meeting space. A 98- room Hampton Inn with a small meeting room opened in Gulf Shores in Summer 2016. Also, the 161-room Island House Hotel in Orange Beach will become a DoubleTree by Hilton in 2017 with room, lobby, meeting space and Mobile's historic, colorful downtown offers convention del- egates a variety of dining, parks, shopping and sightseeing options just steps from the riverfront convention center and several convention hotels. "Typically, only one major conven- tion will be in town at any given time, so everyone's attention will be on that group," said Stacy Hamilton, vice president of marketing and communications for Visit Mobile. "That means planners and attendees can know that their needs will be taken care of and their visit to Mobile will be appreciated by the local business community." The city has more than 6,000 hotel rooms with a bustling downtown that continues to grow. "A new Hilton Garden Inn opens this winter, adding more than 90 rooms to our downtown package," Hamilton said. "More than a dozen new restaurants have opened over the past year or so with others set to open soon." Mobile also is set to debut its first craft brewery in 2017. Major convention hotels include the historic Battle House Renaissance Hotel & Spa, with 238 guest rooms and 22,000 square feet of function space, including the Crystal Ballroom where generations of Mobile Mardi Gras courts have been introduced. The Admiral Hotel, a Curio Collection by Hilton has 155 guest rooms and 6,000 square feet of event space. Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza offers 373 guest rooms and 45,000 square feet of meeting and event space. Off-site meeting venues include GulfQuest, a riverfront maritime museum with indoor and outdoor event space for groups of from 75 to 2,000; The Steeple on St. Francis, a historic downtown church turned into concert and reception venue that can host up to 300 for receptions and 150 for din- ners; The Temple Downtown, another historic venue that can accommodate up to 750 for receptions; and multiple event and meeting spaces at Spring Hill College and the University of South Alabama. Mobile Meeting Space • Mobile Civic Center - 80,000-square-foot arena with 10,000 seats and 15 meeting rooms; 1,840-seat theater; 28,000-square- foot exhibit hall • Mitchell Center - University of South Alabama, 10,000-seat multipurpose arena • Holiday Inn Downtown - 206 guest rooms; 10,000 square feet of event space • Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown - 149 guest rooms; meeting space for up to 150 • Courtyard Mobile/Daphne Eastern Shore - one event room that seats up to 40 • Hampton Inn Mobile East-Bay Daphne - meeting space for up to 50 • Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa - 550-acre resort on Mobile Bay in Point Clear; 37,000 square feet of indoor event space plus lawns, terraces and beachfront venues n B R E A K O U T S P O T L I G H T : Mobile Contact: Event space at GulfQuest

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