The Carolinas

Why Here?
Cities in the scenic Pacific Northwest are working hard to win more meetings business. Boise, Idaho (above), is doubling the size of the 50,000-square-foot Boise Center, and in Portland, Ore., progress continues on the creation of a new headquarters hotel.

Hotel News
More than $100 million is being invested to turn the Inn at Palmetto Bluff into the Inn at Palmetto Bluff, a Montage Resort. The Bluffton, S.C., property will add a spa, a fitness center, meeting facilities and 150 guest rooms to the existing 50 cottages on-site.

The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa recently completed a $30 million upgrade of its lobby, all 416 guest rooms and more than 37,000 square feet of meeting space.

100 Years Young
The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C., celebrated its 100th birthday last year with a $25 million renovation of all public areas, 514 guest rooms and 55,000 square feet of meeting space.


Local Update
The Homewood Suites Oceanfront Resort & Conference Center will open early next year as the first new hotel in Myrtle Beach in five years. The $25 million, 100-suite property will have a 300-seat conference center, three pools, a fire pit, a fitness center and a bistro. It is the only oceanfront property in the Homewood Suites chain.

The Crown Reef Resort recently finished upgrading its 514 guest rooms, which now feature new furnishings, wall coverings and kitchens. Also new on-site are a waterpark and an entertainment area with several dining outlets and a video arcade. The resort has an 11,480-square-foot ballroom that can be divided into eight sections.

Meeting Hotels: Properties include the 1,200-room Sands Resorts (comprising six resorts), 1,000-room Kingston Plantation Resorts (six resorts), 800-room Sea Mist Oceanfront Resort, 667-room The Breakers, 570-room Landmark Resort, 540-room Caravelle Resort, 514-room Crown Reef Resort & Conference Center, 491-room Springmaid Beach Resort & Conference Center, and 446-room Litchfield Beach & Golf Resort.

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

Convention Center: Myrtle Beach Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 100,800 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 17; total meeting space, 250,000 square feet; (843) 918-1225

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

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

Group Venue:
 A new 100,000-square-foot indoor sports complex is set to open adjacent to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center next February. The facility will include eight basketball courts, 16 volleyball courts, a café, a retail area and an entertainment zone with a climbing wall. The $12.4 million complex will have a telescopic bleacher system to accommodate a variety of events and activities. (843) 626-7444

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

Other Cities, Other Sites
In Cary, N.C., the 45-room boutique Mayton Inn will open next summer with a lounge, a full bar and restaurant, and more than 7,000 square feet of meeting space, including an outdoor terrace.

Also in North Carolina, the 297-room Crowne Plaza Charlotte Executive Park Hotel opened in June 2013 with about 15,000 square feet of function space. Amenities include a pool, a fully stocked fitness center and an outdoor dining terrace and bar.


Local Update
The Aloft Raleigh is slated to open in mid-2015, across the street from North Carolina State University's iconic bell tower. The 135-room property will feature the chain's signature W XYZ Bar, an outdoor pool and more than 1,000 square feet of flexible meeting space.

• North Carolina State University is planning to build a new $28 million hotel and conference facility project at its Centennial Campus. Plans call for a 155-room hotel and 7,500 square feet of meeting space, with the possibility of adding an extra 75 guest rooms and 7,500 square feet for meetings in the future. The property will operate under the Marriott Autograph Collection franchise and is expected to open in 2016.

Terminal One at Raleigh-Durham International Airport recently unveiled 10 new shops and restaurants as part of a $68 million modernization project. The terminal is home to AirTran and Southwest Airlines and features floor-to-ceiling windows for natural light, raised ceilings and numerous power outlets for passengers to charge their mobile devices.

Meeting Hotels: Properties include the 400-room Raleigh Marriott City Center, 375-room Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley, 353-room Sheraton Raleigh Hotel, 338-room Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown, 273-room Embassy Suites Raleigh-Durham, 229-room Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel, 190-room DoubleTree by Hilton Raleigh Brownstone-University and 150-room Umstead Hotel & Spa.

To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit

Convention Center: Raleigh Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 150,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 20; total meeting space, 500,000 square feet; (919) 996-8500

Airport Transit: Raleigh-Durham International Airport, about 15 miles northwest of downtown Raleigh. Transfer by taxi, about $40

Taxes: Room tax, 6%; sales tax, 6.75%; total tax on hotel rooms, 12.75%

Group Venue: The Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh offers hands-on, interactive exhibits for children, including an area to build forts and castles with blocks and a new exhibit focused on electricity and power-grid technology. The entire museum can be rented out; up to 2,000 guests can rev up their creativity and imagination roaming around the various attractions after hours. For smaller meetings and events, a classroom space seats 60 and the on-site IMAX Theater can seat 272 for presentations. (919) 834-4040

Contact: Visit Raleigh, (800) 849-8499