Alabama Destinatioin Guide

Other Cities
• The Embassy Suites Tuscaloosa Downtown broke ground in May and is scheduled to be completed near the end of 2014. The 154-suite property will have 5,300 square feet of meeting space and an in-house restaurant/lounge.

• The 88-suite SpringHill Suites by Marriott recently opened in Huntsville, offering complimentary daily breakfast, an outdoor swimming pool and meeting space for up to 30 people.

• The DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Huntsville South opened last September with 149 rooms and 5,000 square feet of meeting space.

Birmingham

The Wynfrey Hotel is now the Hyatt Regency Birmingham-The Wynfrey, after a $20 million renovation. The 329-room property now offers a Merk's Tavern & Kitchen, which serves Southern fare. Other amenities include a pool, a fitness center, the exclusive Regency Club lounge and 32,000 square feet of meeting space.

The 100-room Grand Bohemian Hotel in the Lane Park neighborhood is set to open in 2014 as part of the Kessler Collection. The property also will have 276 upscale apartments and 185,000 square feet of retail and office space.

The 294-room Westin Birmingham Hotel opened adjacent to the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex this past February with approximately 7,000 square feet of meeting space and an additional 2,500 square feet of prefunction space. The $50 million property also has a gym, an outdoor pool and the Todd English P.U.B. restaurant.

Regions Field, the new $64 million home of the Birmingham Barons, a minor league affiliate of baseball's Chicago White Sox, opened in April with 8,500 seats and 23 luxury suites.

Meeting Hotels
Major properties with meeting space in the city include the 757-room Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, 329-room Hyatt Regency Birmingham-The Wynfrey, 298-room DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Birmingham, 295-room Birmingham Marriott, 259-room Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa, 242-room Embassy Suites Birmingham and 205-room Hilton Birmingham Perimeter Park. To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, go to mcvenues.com.

Convention Center
The Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex; exhibition space, 220,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 74; (205) 458-8400; bjcc.org

Airport Transit
Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Interna­tional Airport, about five miles northeast of downtown Birmingham. Transfer cost by taxi, $17

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

Group Venue
Now a National Historic Landmark, the Sloss Furnaces were once the site of major iron production in Birmingham. The 32-acre plant was in operation from 1882 to 1971 and is now available for tours, metal arts classes and group rentals. The Furnace Apron space can accommodate up to 100 guests among the factory's historic infrastructure and equipment, while the venue's largest area, which includes a stage and unobstructed views of the plant's blast furnace, can host up to 900 people. (205) 324-1911; slossfurnaces.com

Dining Out
A semifinalist for best new restaurant in this year's James Beard Awards, Ollie Irene offers a fresh take on seasonal homegrown cooking, using ingredients and flavors associated with the heritage of Southern farming. Menu items range from catfish dusted in cornmeal and sautéed with sweet corn, Cajun ham and lemon butter, to fresh tagliatelle pasta in a braised chicken and pancetta ragu. (205) 769-6034; ollieirene.com

Contact
Greater Birmingham Convention & Visi­tors Bureau, (205) 458-8000; birminghamal.org

Flower Power
The Conservatory at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens is undergoing a $1.4 million renovation and is expected to reopen later this year for the first time since its closing in April 2011. bbgardens.org

Center approved: In May, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed a bill clearing the way for a $58 million hotel and conference center in Gulf State Park, near Mobile Bay. The project is still in the early planning stages.

Click here: For Mobile, Ala.-related information, visit mobile.org

Montgomery
The 131-room DoubleTree by Hilton Montgomery, Downtown,  completed a 16-month, $13 million renovation in April. Amenities include a restaurant, a lounge and more than 6,200 square feet of meeting space.

Meeting Hotels
Properties include the 342-room Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center, 237-room Embassy Suites Montgomery-Hotel & Conference Center, 146-room Courtyard Montgomery, 97-room Hilton Garden Inn Montgomery East and 86-room Hampton Inn & Suites Montgomery-Downtown. Go to mcvenues.com to find hotels and send RFPs.

Convention Center
Montgomery Convention Center; exhibition space, approximately 72,520 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 24; (334) 481-5000; visitmontgomery.com/meet/convention-center

Airport Transit
Montgomery Regional Airport, about nine miles southwest of downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $20

Taxes
Sales tax, 10%; room tax, 12.5% plus $1; total tax on hotel rooms, 22.5% plus $1

Group Venue
Dating to 1915, the historic Hillcrest Manor can sleep up to 60 guests, while its outdoor pavilion space, among gardens and 100-year-old trees, can host up to 200. (334) 264-8253; hillcrestmanorbedandbreakfast.com

Contact
Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitors Bur­eau, (334) 261-1100; visitmontgomery.com