OCT 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 41 of 59

⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ O C T O B E R 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 42 S O U T H T E X A S & H O U S T O N The fast-growing city of Laredo, Texas, located 150 miles south of San Antonio, is welcoming several new hotels, open now or set to open in the coming year, said Aileen Ramos, marketing director for the Laredo Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). "We have a new TownePlace by Marriott, located near the Laredo International Airport, the Laredo Energy Arena, Uni-Trade Stadium and Texas A&M International University. We also have a new Motel 6 Laredo Airport that will beat your expectations." Lodging near down- town, along San Bernardo Avenue and near the I-35 corridor, includes a new full-service Ramada Plaza and the historic La Posada Hotel, which recently completed a $17 million renovation, according to the CVB. La Posada features more than 15,000 square feet of event space with fourteen meeting and banquet rooms that can accommodate up to 400 for receptions. Restaurants at La Posada include the Zaragoza Grill, with upscale bistro dining, and the Tack Room steak house. Planners looking for space will find it in Laredo. The 178,000 square foot Laredo Energy Arena has six meeting rooms. Event rooms at Texas A&M International Univer- sity can accommodate between 25 and 800 guests. The Center for Fine and Performing Arts Recital Hall seats 819. "Laredo lends itself to a perfect blend of culture, language, culinary influences, and ambience that can only be found deep in the heart of South Texas," Ramos said. "Our city is the beginning of the Lone Star state, and offers a travel experience that is American, Texan and Mexican, all in one." With three full-service hotels, the city specializes in small to medium-sized events, Ramos noted. "From the food to the heritage, Laredo makes for an exciting and unique destination. The CVB customizes products and services for qualifying groups to ensure a great experience for both the planner and the attendees." ■ What do a new performing arts center and prize-winning cupcakes have in common? They are just two of the reasons to bring an event to McAllen, Texas, according to Nancy S. Millar, president and director, McAllen CVB. "The McAllen Performing Arts Center is a $44.9 million facility that should open in fall 2016. It will comple- ment the existing McAllen Convention Center, and the soon-to-open Embassy Suites hotel, making our City of Palms a one-stop location for travel, conferences and entertainment. We also have a new Hawthorne Suites." The prize-winning cupcakes are from RGV Cupcake Factory, which took home the grand prize on the Food Networkʼs Cupcake Wars in 2012. "And donʼt leave McAllen before getting a taste of our extremely popular and authentic Mexican food," Millar said. McAllenʼs subtropical climate means itʼs perfect for outdoor activities almost all year. "Weʼre known as a birding paradise, but we have ideal weather for all types of outdoor recreational activities like golfing, fishing, camp- ing and hunting. If indoor activities like shopping are of more interest, McAllen has more than 40 retail cen- ters to choose from. We rank number one in the nation for retail sales per capita." Convention facilities in McAllen include the 18.5 acre McAllen Convention Center complex, with 26,000 square feet of meeting space and a 60,000-square-foot exhibit hall, and the Quinta Mazat- lan World Birding Center, which can seat up to 350 for dinners. Casa de Palmas Renaissance is an updated, historic hotel located in the heart of the city, within walking distance of the entertainment and downtown shopping districts. It has 6,500 square feet of event space, with a ballroom and eight meeting rooms. ■ Hot New Happenings In 'Viva la Laredo' Savor Cupcake Wars-winning cupcakes in McAllen. Find the Arts (& Cupcakes) In McAllen! YUM! A new restaurant, SALT—New American Table, located in McAllen's Arts District, features cultural cuisine with regional sourcing. Bask in the sun at the recently reno- vated La Posada his- toric hotel in Laredo.

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