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by Michael C. Lowe and Alane Trafford | September 01, 2011
Perennial Party
Considered the oldest annual carnival in America, Mobile's Mardi Gras has been celebrated every year since 1703. For more information: mobilemardigras.com
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Mobile
Downtown, in Mobile's Historic District, the antebellum Hall-Ford Home has been restored and turned into the city's newest boutique hotel and events venue, the 10-room Fort Conde Inn. Originally built in 1836, the property welcomes group functions of up to 75 people.

The $52 million GulfQuest Maritime Museum currently is under construction and is expected to open next year, becoming the first museum dedicated to preserving the Gulf Coast's maritime culture. The building will be shaped like a sea-bound vessel and will feature 90,000 square feet of exhibition space.

Meeting Hotels
Properties in Mobile include the 405-room Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club and Spa; 373-room Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel; 251-room Marriott Mobile; 238-room Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa; 202-room Holiday Inn Downtown/Historic District; 170-room Admiral Semmes Hotel; 150-room Hampton Inn & Suites Mobile/Downtown Historic District; 131-room Mobile Bay Adventure Inn, and 100-room Wingate by Wyndham Mobile-Bellingrath Gardens.

For a more complete listing of area properties, visit mcvenues.com.

Convention Center
Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 317,000 square feet; meeting space, 52,000 square feet indoors, 45,000 square feet outdoors; (251) 208-2100

Airport Transit
Mobile Regional Airport, 14 miles west of downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $35

Taxes
Room tax, 14%; sales tax, 10%; total tax on hotel rooms, 24%

Group Venues
The Mobile Botanical Gardens provides a beautiful floral backdrop for events. An outdoor pavilion offers 2,100 square feet of reception space and can seat up to 200 guests. The facility's 1,800-square-foot Larkins Learning Center can accommodate up to 200 and features picture-window views of the gardens. (251) 342-0555

The Mobile Museum of Art features a permanent collection of more than 9,000 works, ranging from regional painting to pottery from China. The venue has several spaces for private receptions, including an outdoor gazebo that seats 50 and the lobby, which can accommodate receptions of up to 400. (251) 208-5200

Contact
Mobile Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau, (251) 208-2000