The Carolinas

Carolinas fall mountain

beer spoken here
The famed Sierra Nevada Brewery, born in Northern California, now has an outpost in Fletcher, N.C., just outside of Asheville. Features include the Mills River Taproom and Restaurant, where groups of up to 60 can gather after a tour of the brewery. More  than 20 beers are on tap.


Local Update
 When Omni Hotels & Resorts purchased what's now the Omni Grove Park Inn in 2013, the 513-room property was in the midst of a $25 million renovation. Furnished with arts-and-crafts pieces by Stickley and Roycroft, the hillside hotel offers 10 dining areas and lounges; a new entry is Edison Craft Ales + Kitchen, serving inventive Southern comfort food in an open-air setting. The 25 meeting rooms and two ballrooms combine for 55,000 square feet of space, and the 43,000-square-foot subterranean spa features a wide range of treatments.

 The 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate will open the 209-room Village Hotel on Dec. 14. The property also offers the 201-room Inn on Biltmore Estate and a two-bedroom cottage. The estate offers its own winery, plus activities like biking and fly-fishing.

Meeting Hotels: Group properties in the area include the 513-room Omni Grove Park Inn, 410-room Biltmore Estate, 277-room Renaissance Asheville Hotel, 274-room Crowne Plaza Tennis and Golf Resort, 197-room DoubleTree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore and 165-room Hilton at Biltmore Park.

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

Convention Center: U.S. Cellular Center; exhibit space, approximately 25,000 square feet; arenas, two; number of meeting rooms, nine. (828) 259-5743

Airport Transit: Asheville Regional Airport, about 10 miles from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, about $35. Many hotels offer free shuttle service.

Taxes: Room tax, 4%; local taxes, 7%; total tax on hotel rooms within city limits, 11%

Group Venue: The latest way to fly above the Blue Ridge Mountains allows participants to touch the treetops as they go. The Navitat attraction features three side-by-side ziplines, allowing friends to step off together for a ride that runs about two-thirds of a mile. Groups of eight to 10 people take the journey every 20 minutes; larger groups can book several tours back-to-back. (828) 626-3700

Contact: Explore Asheville, (828) 258-6101

Add an element of the cosmos to an event at the South Carolina State Museum by inviting guests to peer through the observatory's telescope or to enjoy a show in the new planetarium.


Local Update
 A 107-room Aloft hotel is under construction, set to open in fall 2016 with a fitness center and a boardroom for up to 30. The property will be in the trendy Vista district.

Meeting Hotels: Properties include the 300-room Columbia Marriott Hotel, 222-room Hilton Columbia Center and 135-room Sheraton Columbia Downtown Hotel.

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

Convention Center: Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, exhibit space, 23,744 square feet; number of meeting rooms, eight. (803) 545-0001

Airport Transit: Columbia Metropolitan Airport, about six miles from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, about $20; by shuttle, $10

Taxes: Room tax, 2%; sales tax, 5%; total tax on rooms, 7%

Group Venue: While City Roots sells its fresh produce to myriad area restaurants, the "in-town sustainable farm" also welcomes groups for outdoor events. Up to 150 people can be hosted for dinner in the greenhouse or out in the field, or up to 3,000 can take over the facility. (828) 301-2328

Contact: Columbia Convention & Visitors Bureau, (803) 545-0000 or (800) 264-4884


Local Update

 The 100-room Homewood Suites Oceanfront Resort & Conference Center will open in 2017, the first waterside property in the portfolio. The $25 million property will have a 300-seat conference center, three pools, a fire pit, a fitness center and a bistro.

 At the 385-room Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort, part of the Kingston Plantation, a renovation of the casual fine-dining restaurant, Café Amalfi, has been completed. The café area/Shores Marketplace gift shop also has been revamped and now offers a grab-and-go menu.

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 and 514-room Crown Reef Resort & Conference Center.

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, about $15. Many hotels offer free shuttle service.

Taxes: Room tax, 2.5%; sales tax, 5%; various local taxes, 4.5%; total tax on rooms, 12%

Myrtle Beach's 2nd Avenue Pier
features the Pier House Restaurant.
Myrtle Beach's 2nd Avenue Pier features the Pier House Restaurant.

 Group Venue: Storms may come and go, but this local staple keeps rebuilding and renovating. The 2nd Avenue Pier on Myrtle Beach's Grand Strand has been standing since 1936, and the same family has run the establishments sitting upon it since the 1960s. The site's Pier House Restaurant and Pier View open-air bar host receptions of up to 175 and 225, respectively; only one of these venues can be rented at a time. (843) 445-7437

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