ConventionSouth

JUN 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 ⎜ J U N E 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 42 The Robinson Center, a WPA-built struc- ture, recently completed a $70 million reno- vation. The LEED Gold-certified facility is now one of a small number of structures on the National Register of Historic Places to be LEED certified. The center features a new 2,214-seat multipurpose performance hall and new 25,000-square-foot, two-story, glass-and- steel conference center addition that has a low- er-floor ballroom that will seat up to 500 for banquets and four flexible meeting rooms up- stairs with access to a 5,500-square-foot terrace that overlooks the Arkansas River. The center is connected to the 288-room DoubleTree by Hilton, which has an additional 14,000 square feet of meeting and event space. The Statehouse Convention Center features the 82,900-square-foot Governor's Hall and 16 meeting rooms and an 18,000-square-foot ballroom. Expected to be complete by year's end are a new conference room and two addi- tional meeting spaces. The convention center is connected to the 418-room Little Rock Marriott that has another 40,000 square feet of meeting and function space. It is the gateway to the city's River Market District that includes the 7,500-ca- pacity First Security Amphitheater, open-air River Market pavilions, the 1,500-square-foot Ottenheimer Market Hall, Heifer International, with a 3,000-square-foot meeting room and out- door garden venues, and the Clinton Presidential Center that has three meeting rooms and can seat up to 250 for dinners. "One of our greatest assets is that because the Little Rock CVB manages the Statehouse Convention Center, Robinson Center and River Market, it serves as a full-service agency, al- lowing for a seamless planning process from beginning to end," noted Gemberling. Other hotels with meeting and event space include Four Points by Sheraton Midtown, with 263 guest rooms and 13,000 square feet of event space; Holiday Inn Airport Confer- ence Center, with 201 guest rooms and 22,000 square feet of meeting and function space; Embassy Suites by Hilton West, with 251 guest rooms and 23,668 square feet of event space. (See the Breakout Spotlight on page 44.) North Little Rock Located just across the Arkansas River from the state capital, North Little Rock offers planners small-town charm with convenient access to points of interest in the cities on both sides of the river, said Bob Major, president and CEO of the North Little Rock CVB. "The METRO Streetcar connects the downtown entertainment districts of both Little Rock and North Little Rock, where we offer a unique and fun location: the Argenta Arts District has a variety of brew pubs, restaurants, coffee shops and entertainment venues." Set for completion in early 2019, the $4 million Argenta Plaza will be the new "front A R K A N S A S Centrally located to much of the country, Arkansas offers affordable accommodations, beautiful scenery and a variety of both urban venues and natural settings to choose from, said Brant Collins, Arkansas group travel manager with the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. "Consider Little Rock, the state's capital, with the backdrop of six bridges spanning the Arkansas River; or Hot Springs National Park, which is rich in culture and history, with meeting facilities, shops, galleries, restaurants and lodging in downtown within walking distance to spas on historic Bathhouse Row; or Bentonville, where Crystal Bridges Museum of Ameri- can Art is an architectural masterpiece that combines the beauty of nature and the power of art." Two newly renovated spaces, Little Rock's Robinson Center and The Murphy Arts District in El Dorado, offer premier perform- ing arts and event spaces. And in northwest Arkansas, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has a variety of group spaces including the Great Hall and outdoor venues. "Plus, the museum is a short distance from the Bentonville Square, 21C Museum Hotel and other area lodging and dining opportuni- ties," Collins said. n B R E A K O U T S P O T L I G H T : Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism Contact: www.arkansasgrouptravel.com Arkansas Dept of Parks & Tourism Hot Springs National Park Bathhouse Row Among the food-related activities offered at state parks in Arkansas is the Cast Iron Pie Pan Workshop at the Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area. At the Visitor Center Amphitheater, park interpreters help groups enjoy a fun day of cooking with cast iron Dutch ovens. Participants learn about the history and techniques of Dutch oven cooking, making entrees and desserts. Foodie Fun!

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