Missouri offers a variety of experiences for groups, from metropolitan St. Louis and its iconic Arch to the slow-cooked BBQ of Kansas City. In the state's southwest, Chateau on the Lake in Branson (pictured) offers scenic views and newly renovated guest rooms.
• The Hotel Vandivort recently opened in downtown Springfield. The stylish boutique property has 50 guest rooms, two high-tech meeting spaces and a ballroom that can accommodate up to 200 guests.
• In Joplin, the Joplin Holiday Inn is undergoing a $6 million rebranding effort and will become a DoubleTree by Hilton next summer, offering 185 guest rooms, 15,000 square feet of function space and a restaurant.
The St. Charles Convention Center celebrated its 10th anniversary in April. The facility has 80,000 square feet of flexible function space, including exhibit space, two ballrooms and seven meeting rooms.
St. Louis hotel business has enjoyed healthy growth over the past several years. In 2014, travelers to the Gateway City booked 625,175 room nights at area properties, an increase from 553,588 in 2013 and 498,122 in 2012.
Earlier this year, the Chateau on the Lake Resort Spa & Convention Center
completed a renovation of all 301 guest rooms and suites, which now sport new furniture, including granite-top desks and bedside tables, beds and more. Among the resort's meeting-space upgrades is a new 684-square-foot executive boardroom equipped with a 54-inch touch-screen HD TV. The property now offers 43,500 square feet of function space, plus a 14,000-square-foot spa.• Branson Landing,
the colorful mixed-use complex that opened in 2006, recently welcomed several new retailers and restaurants, including a Buffalo Wild Wings and Missouri Mountain Moonshine, which offers a moonshine tasting bar and a restaurant featuring pit-smoked BBQ.• Branson Airport
(code BKG) is now accessible from several major U.S. cities via Branson Air Express, including Austin, Texas; Chicago; Cincinnati; Denver; Houston, and New Orleans. Also new is a direct connection to Cancún, Mexico.Meeting Hotels:
To find and compare hotels in the Branson Lakes area, and to send RFPs, go to mcvenues.com.Convention Center: Branson Convention Center;
exhibit space, 50,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 5; (417) 336-5401Airport Transit:
Branson Airport, 10 miles from downtown. Transfer by taxi, about $25Taxes:
State tax, 3%; education sales tax, 1%; City of Branson sales tax, 1.5%; City of Branson tourism tax, 4%; transportation district tax, 1%; plus other assorted taxes. Total tax on hotel rooms, 12%Group Venue:
The Showboat Branson Belle,
a Southern-style riverboat, can host up to 700 for banquets in its dining room or 40 in the smaller Paddle Wheel Club Room. The vessel, which is docked at the White River Landing on Table Rock Lake, can be taken for a two-hour excursion or remain docked for events. An on-site galley and audiovisual equipment are available. (800) 888-7277
Contact: Explore Branson, (417) 334-4084 or (800) 296-0463
The 875-room Marriott St. Louis Grand Hotel completed a $30 million renovation in August. The project upgraded the hotel's guest rooms and expanded the meeting space, which now totals 65,000 square feet. Also on-site are a fitness center and several dining options.