The Carolinas

Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Myrtle Beach International Airport is undergoing a $130 million passenger terminal expansion, set to be completed in 2013. The project will add five additional passenger gates for a total of 12. Plans call for new dining options as well, such as Bubba's Fish Shack, serving coastal Carolina cuisine.

The 102-room Grande Shores Oceanfront Resort recently updated its guest rooms and common areas, including the lobby and oceanfront pool decks. The hotel offers 1,598 square feet of meeting space.

In April, the Embassy Suites at Kingston Plantation completed a multimillion-dollar renovation of all 255 guest rooms. The oceanfront property also revamped its food-and-beverage outlets and added Vintage Twelve, an upscale 44-seat restaurant offering scenic Atlantic Ocean views. The property has 70,000 square feet of meeting space.

The 491-room Springmaid Beach Resort & Conference Center has finished a $6 million revamp of its guest rooms, adding iPod docking stations, wireless Internet and full-size refrigerators. Also renovated were the property's 35,000-square-foot oceanfront conference center and surrounding landscape.

Meeting Hotel
 Properties include the 1,600-room Sands Resorts (comprising seven hotels), 1,560-room Kingston Plantation Resorts (four hotels), 816-room Sea Mist Oceanfront Resort, 620-room The Breakers, 600-room Litchfield Beach & Golf Resort, 570-room Landmark Resort, 540-room Caravelle Resort, 514-room Crown Reef Resort & Conference Center and 491-room Springmaid Beach Resort & Conference Center.

Convention Center
Myrtle Beach Convention Center; exhibit space, 100,800 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 17; (843) 918-1225

Airport Transit
Myrtle Beach International Airport, three miles from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $13-$15. Many hotels offer free shuttle service.

Taxes
Room tax, 2.5%; sales tax, 5%; local taxes, 4.5% or 5.5%; total tax on hotel rooms within city limits, 13%; total tax on hotel rooms outside the city, 12%

Group Venue
Founded in 1931, Brookgreen Gardens offers a look into the native flora and fauna of Myrtle Beach. From majestic oak-lined trails to manicured gardens dotted with sculptures, the facility offers planners a variety of backdrops, including the Holliday Cottage, an intimate indoor space that can seat 12 for a board meeting or 32 for dinner, with the option of adding a tent to accommodate up to 150. (843) 235-6017

Group Activity
 The Myrtle Beach Speedway recently launched a new NASCAR racing experience program that offers classroom training and track-driving experiences. Those who prefer not to take the wheel can ride along in stock cars reaching up to 170 mph. (704) 886-2400

Contact
Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, (800) 488-8998

FYI
In July, the Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center began an overhaul that includes enhanced wired and wireless Internet capabilities, improved cell phone connectivity and updated network cabling.

Last December, the Wilmington (N.C.) Convention Center was awarded LEED Silver certification. Among cool features: a sophisticated sand-filtration system that prevents pollutants from entering the nearby Cape Fear River.

Raleigh Convention Center solar panels
The Raleigh (N.C.) Convention Center is adding a 500-kilowatt solar energy system, which will reduce the facility's carbon dioxide emissions by about 500 tons annually.

Other Cities, Other Sites
ASHEVILLE, N.C. The Grove Park Inn will celebrate its 100th birthday with a $25 million renovation of its public areas, 512 guest rooms, dining outlets, meeting spaces and spa. The work will be completed in three phases, with the first to be finished in March 2013. The 161-acre property offers 55,000 square feet of meeting space.
Contact: (800) 438-5800

SHELBY, N.C. The 44,000-square-foot LeGrand Center is expected to open later this month on the campus of Cleveland Community College. The $19 million venue, which is expected to be LEED Silver certified, will be able to accommodate 1,700 attendees.
Contact: (704) 964-7745

CHARLESTON, S.C. The Courtyard Charleston Historic District, a Courtyard by Marriott property, recently opened with 176 guest rooms and more than 7,700 square feet of meeting space.
Contact: (843) 805-7900

HILTON HEAD. S.C. The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa currently is undergoing a $30 million renovation of its 412 guest rooms, main lobby, meeting spaces, restaurants and bars. The work is set for completion next March. The property offers more than 30,000 square feet of meeting space.
Contact: (843) 681-4000

Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront ResortThe 323-room Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort is spending approximately $18 million to revamp its pool area, lobby entrance, courtyard, meeting space and guest rooms. Work is expected to be completed early 2014. The resort has 25,000 square feet for meetings.
Contact: (843) 842-8000

COLUMBIA, S.C. The 285-room Columbia Marriott Downtown will began a renovation this winter that will touch upon all guest rooms, all 27,000 square feet of meeting space and the lobby. The project is expected to wrap up by the end of the year.
Contact: (803) 771-7000