by Michael C. Lowe | April 01, 2012

Richmond
After being closed for some 20 years, the former John Marshall Hotel recently completed a two-year renovation and reopened as the Residences at John Marshall. While the property is now an apartment complex, its two original ballrooms are available for events. The Virginia Room (4,930 square feet), and the Marshall Ballroom (3,400 square feet) feature 1920s design and vintage crystal chandeliers. Attendees also can gather on a 1,996-square-foot balcony.

The Hippodrome Theater in historic Jackson Ward has reopened after being shuttered for 40 years. The former vaudeville and movie venue now offers live music, a full-service dining area, a VIP club, a dance floor and a bar. The space can accommodate 672 guests.

The Residence Inn by Marriott recently completed a $1 million renovation of its 80 guest rooms, which received updated flooring, new beds, stainless-steel appliances and artwork. There is one 400-square-foot meeting room on-site.

The Richmond Slave Trail, a self-guided walking tour chronicling the history of the slave trade in the city, is now enhanced with interpretive signage and maps to vivify the experience for visitors. The trail begins at the point where slaves first arrived in the city and continues to the former marketplace where they subsequently were put on sale. Guided tours are available through the Elegba Folklore Society.

Meeting Hotels
Properties with space for groups include the 410-room Richmond Mar­riott, 372-room Shera­ton Richmond West, 361-room Omni Richmond, 298-room Crowne Plaza Richmond Down­town, 262-room The Jefferson, 250-room Hilton Garden Inn Rich­mond Downtown, 250-room Westin Richmond, 242-room Marriott Rich­mond West, 224-room Embassy Suites Richmond, 135-room Aloft Richmond West, 134-room Hyatt House Richmond West, 102-room Wingate by Wynd­ham Richmond Short Pump and 80-room Residence Inn by Marriott.

For additional information on Richmond-area hotels and meeting facilities, visit mcvenues.com.

Convention Center
Greater Richmond Con­vention Center; total exhibit space, 180,000 square feet; total meeting space, approximately 80,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 38; (804) 783-7300

Airport Transit
Richmond International Air­port, about 10 miles from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $20

Taxes
Room tax, 5%; sales tax, 8%; total tax on hotel rooms, 13%

Group Venue
In the Jackson Ward Historic District, known as "the Harlem of the South," the vintage 1907 W.L. Taylor mansion has been transformed into Mansion Five 26, an eclectic restaurant serving local specialties such as ham drop biscuits, fried oysters with Cajun remoulade, and creamy mashed potatoes described as "lethally delicious" by one reviewer. The venue also includes the Speakeasy bar, whose décor celebrates the decadent Prohibition era and features high ceilings, dark woods and dim period lighting. Groups of up to 160 people can enjoy libations along with live music offered Thursday through Saturday. (804) 308-2913

Group Tour
Real Richmond Food Tours offers groups a unique way to experience the city's food scene via nine different excursions, including a gluten-free version for those with dietary concerns. Outings take two and a half hours. Private group tours are available upon request. (804) 840-5318

Contact
Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, (800) 370-9004