ConventionSouth

OCT 2018

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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O C T O B E R 2 0 1 8 ²ConventionSouth ² w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 47 Kentucky E V E N T P L A N N E R ' S G U I D E T O KY A U T U M N B E A U T Y Bright fall colors set off the Cumberland River Bridge near the 1,657-acre Cumberland Falls State Resort Park in southern Kentucky. The park's main meeting venue, the historic Dupont Lodge is perched high above the river, which rushes over a boulder-strewn gorge to form the 125-foot-wide cascade known as Cumberland Falls, or the "Niag- ara of the South." A major waterway of the South- ern United States, the 688-mile-long river drains almost 18,000 square miles, flowing west from a source in the Appalachian Mountains to its conflu- ence with the Ohio River near Paducah, Kentucky, and the mouth of the Tennessee River. D. FRAN MORLEY With five U.S. Interstates crisscrossing the state and three major airports (Louisville International, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and Lexington's Blue Grass Airport), the Com- monwealth of Kentucky provides an easy-to-access central U.S. location, with facilities for events in major metropolitan areas and smaller cities, as well as in quiet towns and rural areas. Louisville The big news in Louisville is the August 2018 reopening of the Kentucky International Convention Center (KICC) after a two-year, $207 million expansion and renovation, according to Rosanne Mastin, marketing communications manager for the Louisville CVB (www. gotolouisville.com). The KICC now features 200,125 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, a 40,000-square-foot ballroom, 52 meeting rooms and a 175-seat tiered conference theater. The city offers planners two main convention venues (in addition to the KICC, the Kentucky Exposition Center has 1.3 million square feet of exhibit space, 19,000-seat Freedom Hall and 47,000-seat Cardinal Stadium), new attractions on downtown's Whiskey Row and in the growing NuLu (New Louisville) District, and more than 20,000 hotel rooms in the metro area, including 3,000 new hotel rooms, according to the CVB. This fall, The Galt House Hotel, Louisville's only riverfront hotel, begins an $80 million renovation to be completed in 2020 that will include upgrades to all 1,310 guest rooms and 130,000 square feet of event space. (For more information, see the Breakout Spotlight on page 48.) The Omni Louisville Hotel opened in spring 2018 with 612 guest rooms, 226 apartments and VTXDUHIHHWRIÀH[LEOHPHHWLQJVSDFH plus other amenities, including a bowling alley, spa, and rooftop pool and bar. The 620-room Louisville Marriott Downtown completed a $30 million renovation in summer 2018. The hotel has 50,000 square feet of event space and is connected to the KICC. The 140-room Courtyard Louisville Downtown completed a $4 million facelift last spring, including an expanded meeting area. Also this year, according to the CVB, in the fast-growing NuLu District, the AC Hotel by Marriott at NuLu opened with 156 guest rooms. The hotel is within walking distance to numerous restaurants, bars and attractions, a craft brewery, the Louisville Slugger Stadium and several distilleries, including Old Forester, Rabbit Hole, Angel's Envy and Copper & Kings. The CVB also notes other new hotels and other expansions for later this year or early 2019. The 110-room Moxy will have a street-level restaurant and bar with a rooftop terrace and event space. The Hotel Distil, which will be DI¿OLDWHGZLWK0DUULRWW¶V$XWRJUDSK&ROOHFWLRQ Hotels, will have 205 rooms with a restaurant, rooftop bar and about 7,500 square feet of event space. The Kentucky Derby Museum will complete a major expansion this fall, adding more than 11,000 square feet of new space. The Great Hall at the museum can host up to 400 for receptions. Other major hotels include the 393-room Hyatt Regency Louisville, which is connected by skywalk to the KICC and features ballrooms, Ź kentuckytourism.com

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