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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J A N U A R Y 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 49 T E X A S lack for things to do, from outdoor adventures tied to our 32-mile coastline to exploring one of the largest collections of Victorian architecture in the country, museums and other venues that make great off-site venues or group experi- ences." She added, "Galveston continues to be a great meeting destination, offering planners and attendees state-of-the-art waterfront meeting facilities and beautiful hotels. With the variety of things to do and see on the island, as well as af- fordable meeting options and great partnerships, most meetings exceed their anticipated atten- dance and look forward to returning." New Developments According to Winchester, the island has plenty of new offerings to buzz about, ranging from one- of-a-kind attractions to multi-million-dollar hotel renovations. At the Galveston Island Convention Center at the San Luis Resort, technology upgrades and the addition of new villa accommodations were completed in 2015. In Summer 2016, seven miles of brand new and expanded beaches along Galveston's water- front will open. Winchester said the $48 million beach restoration project placed more than 1.8 million cubic yards of new sand along Galves- ton's beaches. Adding to the excitement, Galveston will be- come home to the world's tallest water coaster in 2016. Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark will open the new ride by Memorial Day week- end, offering thrill seekers a daring water ride standing more than 11 stories tall. Also, the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid will receive a $39 million makeover in 2016. This follows the $25 million renovation of the hotel at the Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa & Con- vention Center, completed in 2015, which gave the entire waterside four-star property a modern design, including upgrades to the 428 guest rooms. The hotel and attached convention center have 103,000 square feet of meeting and expo space, according to Sara Brown, public relations manager. Elsewhere on the island, the new Bryan Museum, which showcases the world's largest private collection of Southwestern historical artifacts, opened in mid-2015 and features unique meeting spaces for smaller groups. To help meeting participants, Galveston's Cool Tours is offering a new airport shuttle ser- vice for groups having events on the island. Historic Meeting Sites Among the meeting properties on Galveston Island, the Hotel Galvez & Spa and the Trem- ont House, both Wyndham Grand Hotels, offer modern, luxury accommodations and event facilities within historic buildings. Built in the early 20th century and known as the "Queen of the Gulf," the Galvez has 224 guest rooms, all recently renovated, and more than 13,000 square feet of meeting space. The AAA Four Diamond property has indoor and outdoor event sites that accommodate groups of up to 500. The Tremont House, located in the center of Galveston's Strand Historic District, has 119 guest rooms, more than 14,000 square feet of meeting space and features the island's only rooftop restaurant. The Grand 1894 Opera House includes a 1,040-square-foot theater and is available for pri- vate receptions and business meetings, according to Executive Director Maureen Patton. Victoria Located just two hours from Houston, San Anto- nio and Austin, Victoria is a perfect small-meet- ings destination, according to Anthony Cordo, CMP, director of Explore Victoria. "We offer the beauty and rich history of one ➤ Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa Just 16 miles northwest of San Antonio and less than two miles from SeaWorld San Antonio, Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa is set on 300 acres with a 27-hole championship golf course, five-acre pool and water playground (including an adults-only pool), several restaurants and 54,000 square feet of meeting space plus an additional 20,000 square feet of pre-function space. Ample outdoor space includes Luckenbach Pavilion, which overlooks the golf course and has a 240-person capacity. Lodging is in 500 guest rooms and suites plus the private two-story villa, Blanche's Sunday House, that has a living and dining room, fully stocked kitchen, two bedrooms and a fenced backyard with grill. Also at Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort, the recently enhanced Windflower - The Hill Country Spa has 21 treatment rooms. n