OCT 2012

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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Home ALABAMA ARKANSAS FLORIDA GEORGIA KENTUCKY LOUISIANA MISSISSIPPI NORTH CAROLINA OKLAHOMA SOUTH CAROLINA TENNESSEE TEXAS VIRGINIA WEST VIRGINIA Planning Directory Planner Resources Meeting Site Showcase INSIDER'S GUIDE By Jennifer Kornegay Montgomery I snapped this shot of Montgomery's downtown riverfront this summer. The area beckons with scenery & entertainment. Montgomery, Ala., has a new promotional tagline: Capital COOL. So you might think that sounds like a pretty big boast, and anyone who's not seen the city in a few years wouldn't be blamed for thinking it's a hollow one as well. But they'd be wrong. I live there and I can tell you first-hand that much has changed in Montgomery in the last decade—most of it in the last five years and centered in the heart of downtown. Riverfront development has created ac- cess to the Alabama River that flows right along the edge of downtown; an entertainment district is packed with restaurants, bars and...people; and a chic hotel with a state-of-the-art convention center and perform- ing arts center attached is anchoring it all. But according to Jina Clark, TMP, marketing di- rector for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Com- merce/CVB, the excitement being generated in Montgomery is less about any one aspect and more about the whole vibe. "The resurgence of downtown puts forth a dynamic new image for Montgomery, conveying a bright, high-energy capital city that's on the move to not only visitors, but residents alike," she said. Attendees we'll feel the Capital COOL when they see the glowing, jewel-toned lights forming a halo around the top of the Renaissance Hotel. Or, when they're having dinner and drinks on an "old school" riverboat. And, when they're meeting within the flexible meeting spaces, including unique venues like historic and cultural attractions. ■ Capital COOL HOT Spots Montgomeryʼs downtown entertainment district is practically vibrating with life and energy. First, encourage attendees to explore the Riverfront area, which is now home to Sand- BAR at the Silos, an open-air joint that has cool drinks and stellar river views. Then venture over to The Alley, located almost directly across from The Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Spa at the Montgomery Convention Center. This pedestrian-only entertainment area is home to the AlleyBAR with live music, the Cantina that serves up fresh, flavorful Mexican favorites and yummy margaritas, and additional eateries in or nearby The Alley. And, donʼt miss the Dauber Gallery and the Hank Williams Museum. Finally, plan an outing to The Railyard Brewing Co., which is now open across from Riverwalk Stadium in a restored hardware warehouse. Craft beer brewed onsite and a wide range of burgers made using locally sourced ingredients make up the menu here. ■ Neighboring Adventures Auburn: About 30 minutes from Montgomery, Auburn is not only the home of Auburn Univer- sity but several hot meeting op- tions like the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. Tim Ayslworth, director of sales and marketing, said the hotel has excellent customer service as it's "an auxiliary classroom for the school's students" and operated by a premier hospitality company, The Capella Hotel Group. ■ Opelika: Great golf is the standout feature at the Marriott at Grand National in Opelika, ac- cording to General Manager Jay Prater. "We sit on 54 holes of the best golf in the country at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail's Grand National course. We are also located just minutes away from Auburn University." A large pool complex opened this summer and offers a large deck area for special events. ■ 32 ConventionSouth OCTOBER 2012 Several communities surrounding Montgomery have interesting attributes and plenty to offer groups. Prattville: Approximately 13 miles north of Montgomery, the Marriott Prattville Hotel and Con- ference Center at Capitol Hill can also claim golf as a standout fea- ture, creating a nice blend of busi- ness and pleasure. "The Capitol Hill golf course, part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, located on- site at the Marriott Prattville Hotel and Conference Center is one to be recognized; it's rated the No. 1 Golf Hotel Course in the Marriott Brand, and the hotel overlooks the scenic course. Golf Magazine ranked The Judge course in the top 10 courses in America to host the US Open, and The Senator course was acknowledged as one of the top 10 new courses in the U.S. In addition, the course is the home of the Navistar LPGA Classic each year," said Darren Segura, director of sales and marketing, adding that the charming town of Prattville is another top selling point. ■ www.con v Jennifer Kornegay

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