MAY 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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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ M A Y 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 70 square feet of meeting space; 24 meeting rooms; LEED Gold certification • The Founders Inn Conference Center: 25,000 square feet of meeting space; 12 meeting rooms, including an amphitheater; 240 guest rooms; located halfway between the Virginia Beach coastline and Norfolk • Virginia Beach Resort Hotel & Confer- ence Center: 16,000 square feet of meeting space; 295 guest rooms Chesapeake Just seven miles south of Norfolk, Chesapeake offers about 40,000 square feet of meeting space in its Chesapeake Conference Center, 17 meeting facilities and 4,000 hotel rooms. The 226-room Delta Hotel Chesapeake, on the Greenbrier campus near the conference center, is the city's only full-service hotel and has 12,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 7,000-square-foot ballroom and 10 meeting rooms. There are also several smaller, unique meeting facilities in Chesapeake including the 7,784-square-foot NOAH's Event Center, which opened last spring. The venue has four conference rooms, a game room, a prep kitchen and state-of-the-art A/V. A rustic rural environment for modest- ly-sized groups, Triple R Ranch has seven meeting rooms in the Ponderosa Retreat Center that can accommodate up to 500. The ranch's 60-bed Virginia City Hotel is an old-fashioned two-story western bunk house and the 75-seat Caribou Café can serve as a meeting room. There are also two one-room cottages that can sleep up to 12 each. Activities ranging from horseback riding to canoeing, archery to climbing walls. The Chesapeake area has an enticing land- and waterscape as well as several commem- orative patriotic spots like the Chesapeake Veterans' Memorial, Chesapeake 9/11 Memo- rial and Battlefield Park. And the Chesapeake foodscape is sure to get your mouth watering with its eateries running the gamut - exceptional seafood, excellent steak houses, wine and small-plate places, Japanese, Chinese and Thai, sandwich shops and sweet-tooth bakeries. Norfolk Norfolk's Chesapeake Bay/Elizabeth River locale makes it an appealing option for meeting planners, as do its meeting facilities, hotels and entertainment options. The city's hotel inventory continues to be upgraded and expanded. The gleaming, glassy, 26-story, 300-room Hilton Norfolk The Main opened just about a year ago and a new Marriott Autograph Collection boutique hotel is scheduled to open next spring. Renovations, meanwhile, are taking place at two of the city's primary hotels. The Sher- aton Norfolk Waterside Hotel has new wall coverings, carpets, drapes, furniture, mattresses and bathrooms. The hotel's exterior has been repainted, the elevators and HVAC have been upgraded, and the lobby and meeting spaces have been refurbished. The downtown Norfolk Waterside Marri- ott will also complete renovations by the end of the year, reportedly between $15 and $20 million to upgrade the meeting spaces, rooms, lobby and rooftop pool. Norfolk's Waterside District continues to shine. The new Harbor Club at Waterside – a small but striking event space – offers 9,500 square feet of Elizabeth River-side event space, including an outdoor deck. And SkyStar at Waterside, a 137-foot, 36-gondola Ferris wheel begins operations this month. "Groups have great meeting venues and with our hotels, restaurants and attractions close to each other, the ability to easily access and maneuver about the city," said Donna Allen, vice president of sales and marketing for Visit- Norfolk. (See Breakout Spotlight on this page.) Norfolk Venues • Decker Half Moone Center: 80,000-square-foot facility with the 13,500-square-foot Vista, a banquet and special event space; 350-seat theater with presentation screen; the Grand Rotunda, with a Promenade Deck overlooking the Elizabeth River; and the 9,600-square-foot Lido Deck, the larger of the two outdoor decks • Norfolk Waterside Marriott Hotel: 60,000 square feet of event space; 23 meeting Think you know Norfolk? Think again. "First-time visitors think of Norfolk as a traditional military town but we are much more than that, evolving into a great place to visit and live over the last several years," said Donna Allen, vice president of sales and marketing for VisitNorfolk. "Embracing our public art and creativity, the city uniquely com- bines the Southern touch with a healthy dose of edginess and surprising interna- tional vibe." Norfolk's artistic vibe is evident in all the colorful mermaids visitors find along the wa- terfront and elsewhere. The NEON District also offers an example of the city's artistic vibe. Filled with art studios and colorful art murals, a focal point of the NEON District is the Chrysler Museum of Art and Glass Studio. In addition to its world-class glass collection, expansive art and artifact collec- tions, and revolving special exhibitions, The Chrysler also features elegant rental spaces: Huber Court can seat 220 for dinner or hold 720 for a standing reception while The George M. and Linda H. Kaufman Theatre can seat 375 and offers great acoustics and high-tech A/V equipment. All of these elements have helped raise Norfolk's stature, according to Allen. "In a hometown survey, readers of Travel + Leisure voted Norfolk the Favorite American City for 2018 and Norfolk was selected as one of the Top 50 Places to Travel in 2017," she said. n Contact: V I R G I N I A Courtesy Visit Norfolk Norfolk Waterside B R E A K O U T S P O T L I G H T : Norfolk

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