by Sarah J.F. Braley | September 01, 2015
Why here?
From the gorgeous mountains, turning beautiful colors soon, to the 60 miles of sand that comprise Myrtle Beach, the Carolinas have a lot to offer groups. Historic battlefields draw history buffs, outdoor activities are plentiful and the weather stays great for golf well into November.

 The 135-room Aloft Raleigh opens Sept. 22, across from North Carolina State University. The property will feature the WXYZ Bar, an outdoor pool and about 1,600 square feet of meeting space.

 NCSU is building a $28 million, 155-room hotel and 9,000-square-foot conference facility at its Centennial Campus. Opening in summer 2016, the property will be part of the Marriott Autograph Collection.

Finger-pickin' good
PineCone, the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, based in Raleigh, N.C., can help planners find musicians for banjo demonstrations or to perform lively Bluegrass or Irish music.
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Local Update

 When Omni Hotels & Resorts purchased what's now the Omni Grove Park Inn in 2013, the 513-room property was in the midst of a $25 million renovation. Furnished with arts-and-crafts pieces by Stickley and Roycroft, the hillside hotel offers 10 dining areas and lounges; a new entry is Edison Craft Ales + Kitchen, serving inventive Southern comfort food in an open-air setting. The 25 meeting rooms and two ballrooms combine for 55,000 square feet of space, and the 43,000-square-foot subterranean spa features a wide range of treatments.

 The 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate will open the 209-room Village Hotel on Dec. 14. The property also offers the 201-room Inn on Biltmore Estate and a two-bedroom cottage. The estate offers its own winery, plus activities like biking and fly-fishing.

Meeting Hotels: Group properties in the area include the 513-room Omni Grove Park Inn, 410-room Biltmore Estate, 277-room Renaissance Asheville Hotel, 274-room Crowne Plaza Tennis and Golf Resort, 197-room DoubleTree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore and 165-room Hilton at Biltmore Park.

To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, go to

Convention Center: U.S. Cellular Center; exhibit space, approximately 25,000 square feet; arenas, two; number of meeting rooms, nine. (828) 259-5743

Airport Transit: Asheville Regional Airport, about 10 miles from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, about $35. Many hotels offer free shuttle service.

Taxes: Room tax, 4%; local taxes, 7%; total tax on hotel rooms within city limits, 11%

Group Venue: The latest way to fly above the Blue Ridge Mountains allows participants to touch the treetops as they go. The Navitat attraction features three side-by-side ziplines, allowing friends to step off together for a ride that runs about two-thirds of a mile. Groups of eight to 10 people take the journey every 20 minutes; larger groups can book several tours back-to-back. (828) 626-3700

Contact: Explore Asheville, (828) 258-6101