NOV 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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Page 61 of 67

⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 8 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 62 Being home for the University of South Carolina Aiken (USC Aiken) campus is another facet of the city's offerings both in terms of meeting space and attractions. The Dupont Planetarium at the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center (RPSEC) and RPSEC Observatory at USC Aiken has regularly scheduled programs at its 30-foot-diameter dome with seating for 45. The observatory is open for telescope viewing after the planetari- um shows, weather permitting. But the thing that has the folks at the City of Aiken Tourism Division, otherwise known as Visit Aiken, beaming lately is that their community topped the list in Southern Living's "The South's Best Small Towns 2018." Aiken has about three dozen hotels, many of them smaller limited-service hotels with modest meeting space, though a couple – The Willcox Hotel and The Inn at Hound- slake – are historic upscale properties. Aiken Venues • USC Aiken Convocation Center: 97,600- square-foot facility with rentable space; re- tractable seating for up to 4,000; VIP room can accommodate up to 200 • Aiken Center for the Arts: up to 850 standing capacity throughout the center; two galleries; 22-seat conference room; up to 120 seated or 250 standing in the Brown Performance Pavilion, an enclosed theater with modern decor, large screen and surround sound • AECOM Center for the Performing Arts: accommodates 300 in the auditorium, 95 in the first-floor lobby, 134 in the second-floor lobby, 219 on stage; catering available at Newberry Hall, a catering and event center located across the street that offers food ser- vice and 4,350-square-foot ballroom • The Etherredge Center: two auditoriums with seating for up to 450 people and access to classrooms for breakout sessions; located on the USC Aiken campus • Aiken Municipal Auditorium: can accommo- date up to 150 with table seating, 200 the- ater-style or 315 for a reception Hilton Head Island/Bluffton Hilton Head Island sits just off the coast of Lowcountry South Carolina in the Intracoastal Waterway, a five-mile-wide sandy swath with 12 miles of beachfront, semi-tropical geography and weather patterns, and some noteworthy resorts. It's a favorite tourism spot in the state and a prime location for not only sand and surf but also the popular palmetto trees that give South Carolina its state name. (See breakout spotlight on page 61 for more details.) In addition to that, the island – along with Bluffton, the charming, historic riverside town on the mainland – offers more than 3,000 hotel rooms, more than 250 restaurants and nearly 200,000 square feet of meeting space. Bluffton is a pretty little historic city sitting alongside the May River on the mainland of South Carolina. Old Town Bluffton is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Heyward House Historic Center, built in 1824, serves as the district's welcome center. One of Bluffton's eight remaining antebellum houses, the timber-framed structure is of the Carolina Farm- house style and its well-preserved condition has gained it status as an official project of the Save America's Treasures Program, a public-private partnership between the White House Millennium S O U T H C A R O L I N A The Hilton Head Marri- ott Resort & Spa recently completed a renovation that updated its meeting spaces and lobby and transformed its restaurant space into a new Blue Restaurant. "Our updated lobby provides an ambiance that blends with the beautiful coastal views our guests see as soon as they step through the front doors," said Jennifer Freeman, destination sales exec- utive, Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa. "Located next to the lobby, Blue Restaurant has been transformed into an inviting space which caters to all types of travelers. Now with the completion of renovations in all our meeting rooms, as well as the entire Leam- ington Grand Ballroom, our meeting space is a fresh, inviting space for events." Not only has the meeting space been renewed but the Hilton Head Island Marri- ott Resort & Spa crew dedicated to making great meetings happen have all sorts of tools with which to do that. For instance, they can provide you with a unique complimentary Reservation Link so your guests can reserve their rooms with the greatest of ease. The link can be shared in an email or embedded in a website. It can be personalized with your group name, event dates, and other pertinent information. And if you have a list of your guests, HHI Marriott Resort & Spa can make reservations for all of them and even send you a report showing which guests have reserved rooms and when they plan to arrive. Guests can check in before their stay, re- ceive instant alerts when their room is ready, and check out without going back through the front desk processing. The property certainly has all the high-tech you need, according to Freeman. Meeting equipment runs the gamut from LCD panels, LCD projectors, overhead projectors and film projectors to portable PA systems, portable stages, video cameras, walkie-talkies and more. Also available to meeting planners and managers are a full-service business center, network/internet printing, copy and fax ser- vice, and a message service. n B R E A K O U T S P O T L I G H T : Hilton Head Island Marriott Resort & Spa Blue Restaurant Contact: www.hiltonheadmarrioƩ

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