APR 2014

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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Page 31 of 51

⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ A P R I L 2 0 1 4 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 32 Panama City Beach offers a total of more than 160,000 square feet of flex- ible meeting space many with views of the Gulf of Mexico or St. Andrew Bay. In addition to 1,800 rooms at four conference resorts, the destination offers meeting planners 20,000 additional rooms at hotels and condomini- ums throughout the area. Ann Gager, director of sales with the Panama City Beach CVB, noted that the city's award-winning, sugar-white beaches are the greatest draw for groups. "When you're done with the meeting, you're right at the beach," she said. "People enjoy the laid back atmosphere of Panama City Beach, in terms of coastal destinations. It is a great location to take care of business, but have fun and relax at the same time." A hub for entertain- ment and dining in the city, Pier Park will be home to a number of new retail and dining options by summer, according to Gager. New restaurants include such names as French Fry Heaven, Chick Salad Chick, Dave & Buster's, Bud and Ally's, Boat Yard Restau- rant Runaway Island and Coconuts Restaurants. Dick's Sporting Goods also recently joined the more than 120 retail stores housed in the multi-purpose complex. The Wyndham Bay Point Resort is located on a 1,100 acre wildlife sanctuary and offers two championship golf courses, including the Nicklaus Course, boasting more than 7,000 yards. Offering condo- style accommodations, meeting groups have access to more than 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space. Kim Robinson, director of sales at the resort, noted that meeting space is flexible and can comfortably accommodate groups as small as 10 to groups as large as 1,500. Meeting space to accommodate larger groups can also be found at the Edgewater Beach and Golf Resort and the Boardwalk Beach Resort Hotel and Convention Center. ■ It's Very Laid-Back In PANAMA CITY BEACH Attendees Can Really Recharge In South Walton N O R T H W E S T F L O R I D A South Walton is a destination that is completely in sync with the nat- ural environment that surrounds it, according to Carley McMillian with Visit South Walton. Home to approximately 40,000 acres of preserved land, the region boasts four state parks, a state forest and miles of hiking and biking trails. "South Walton's 26 miles of picturesque beaches will leave an everlasting memory of the time you came and were able to truly relax, even on a business trip," McMillian said. The region is home to a wide range of accommodations from full-service resorts and boutique hotels to beach front cottages. More than 132,260 square feet of meeting space is available through 85 meeting room options, and 12,500 sleeping rooms are available. WaterColor Resort offers multi- ple indoor and outdoor venues for meetings and can accommodate groups of up to 400. "Our newest venue, the LakeHouse, is the largest indoor meeting space on Hwy. 30A with almost 4,000 square feet of meeting space and a dedicated catering kitchen," said Sales and Marketing Coordinator Elisabeth Stone. Amenities in- clude six pools on property, InnSpa, Fish Out of Water, three golf courses, tennis and paddle boarding. Serving as the kick off to a year-long celebration of the prop- erty's 30-year anniversary, the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Re- sort and Spa just unveiled a $12.5 million transformation, which is phase two of a multi-phase plan, according to Vice President of Sales and Marketing Richard Ross. "New to the property this year are 200 completely reno- vated spa tower guest rooms, an expanded and completely new sense of arrival for guests- includ- ing a new porte cochere, ex- panded front drive, added valet parking capacity and all-new lobby décor," he said, adding that three newly-expanded and re- designed restaurants just debuted and the spa has been refreshed. Sandestin Golf and Beach Re- sort provides the largest concen- tration of meeting space in Northwest Florida and is gearing up for a $1.1 million renovation effort at it Baytowne Conference Center, according to Dan Keyser, executive director of resort sales. Sandestin is a 2,400-acre resort offering a full array of amenities like beach, golf, a tennis club, water sports and a marina. ■ The Edgewater Beach and Golf Resort along Panama City Beach is a gated resort with large condo and townhome accommodations, heated pools, on-site golf and a detached conference facility for focused business meetings and private event functions. ■ Marlane Bundock The relaxing meeting spots along the beaches of South Walton include the Four-Diamond Water- Color Resort in Santa Rosa Beach. WaterColor Resort 23-52 CS April 2014_Layout 1 3/27/14 4:18 PM Page 32

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