The Wheel Thing
Organize a leisurely bicycle tour of the city's colorful neighborhoods and landmarks via Savannah Bike Tours.
The Garden City is debating a proposal to publicly fund a proposed $131 million Hilton convention center headquarters hotel on Hutchinson Island. The property would feature 500 rooms and 50,000 square feet of meeting and event space.
The city hopes to sign a contract for a $4 million renovation of the Coffee Bluff Marina, Savannah's only public boating complex, by the end of the month. Upgrades will include a fishing pier, docks, a shop and a meeting center.
The Massie Heritage Center reopened in April following an extensive renovation. Built in 1856 to serve as a public school, it closed in 1974 and was turned into a museum. Exhibits focus on local history and include a 3-D model of Savannah as well as the compass Gen. James Oglethorpe used to lay out the city. Guided tours are available for groups of 10 or more.
Last March, Ellis Square, an 18th-century park, was restored and reopened as a tourist attraction. In the heart of Savannah's Historic District, the square features interactive fountains, a life-size chessboard and a visitors' center.
Forsyth Fort, an outdoor park complex and tourist information center, reopened in spring 2010 following a $4.7 million renovation. The site now offers 7,500 square feet of event space, including a performing arts bandshell with a retractable canopy, as well as a café.
About 75 miles south of Savannah proper, the 138-room Hampton Inn and Suites Jekyll Island opened in 2010. The property was the first to open on the island in nearly 30 years. It is less than a mile from the Morgan Center, a former indoor tennis court transformed into a conference center, the ground level of which offers 4,900 square feet of flexible function space, along with a 900-square-foot mezzanine.
Also on Jekyll Island, the 200-room Westin Jekyll Island Center currently is under construction. The property will feature 5,700 square feet of meeting space and will be part of the Jekyll Island Convention Center Complex, a mixed-use development that will include a 128,000-square-foot convention facility with a 45,000-square-foot ballroom and an additional 11 breakout meeting rooms. The complex, being built to achieve LEED Silver certification, is expected to open in February 2014.
Major properties with meeting space in downtown Savannah include the 403-room Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa, 387-room Savannah Marriott Riverfront, 350-room Hyatt Regency Savannah, 253-room Inn at Ellis Square, 246-room Hilton Savannah DeSoto, 240-room Ocean Plaza Beach Resort, 174-room Quality Inn Midtown Savannah, 170-room Quail Run Lodge, 154-room Hampton Inn & Suites Savannah Downtown, 150-room Doubletree Hotel Historic Savannah and 145-room Mulberry Inn.
Among hotels in the city's Historic District are the 160-room SpringHill Suites Savannah Downtown/Historic District, 156-room Courtyard by Marriott Savannah Historic District, 151-room Avia Savannah, 144-room Hampton Inn & Suites Savannah Historic District, 127-room Four Points by Sheraton Historic Savannah and 126-room Mansion on Forsyth Park.
Hotels near Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport include the 162-room Embassy Suites Savannah-Airport, 155-room Savannah Conference Hotel and 105-room Hilton Gardens Inn Savannah Airport.
Convention CentersSavannah International Trade & Convention Center; exhibit space, 100,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 13; (912) 447-4000
Jekyll Island Convention Center; exhibit space, 78,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 12; (912) 635-4157
Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, 10 miles from the Historic District. Transfer cost by taxi to the Historic District, $28; many downtown hotels offer complimentary shuttle service
Room tax, 6%; sales tax, 6%; total tax on hotel rooms, 12%
The Davenport House Museum, a 19th-century home that now displays some 500 period pieces including furniture, ceramics and other household items, has two distinctive venues available to groups. A stately garden accommodates up to 100 guests and can be rented by the hour or day. For an indoor option, the on-site Kennedy Pharmacy beckons. Built in 1890 and restored in 2009, the interior features original marble tile and hardwood flooring, adjustable lighting and a drop-down screen for visual presentations. The pharmacy has a small kitchen area, 900 square feet of event space, and can seat 50 to 80 people. (912) 236-8097
Visit Savannah, (912) 944-0455