Vintage Venue
Just opened in the quiet corner of Clifton, 15 minutes from Fairfax and 25 minutes from Alexandria, the Paradise Springs Winery is a small vineyard with a big mission: to prove that Virginia wines can go nose-to-nose with the competition from any state. Part of a 1,000-acre land grant from Lord Fairfax in 1716 to the ancestors of mother-son owners Jane Kincheloe and Kirk Wiles, the centerpiece of the winery is a 200-year-old log cabin, renovated in 1955 by a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright. Groups can sample any of four whites, three reds and a rosé in the cabin, which accommodates 25, or in the adjacent red barn, which can hold 50; the winery also hosts events for up to 75 on the lawn. Set to open in April is a new building with a catering kitchen and space to host groups of up to 200. (703) 830-9463;

Local Update: The Holiday Inn-South Bells Road completed a comprehensive renovation in April. The 167-room hotel now offers more than 3,500 square feet of event space.

The 254-room Hilton Richmond
Hotel & Spa/Short Pump opened last December with 22,000 square feet of meeting space.

The 135-room Aloft Richmond West opened last fall with an indoor pool, a 24-hour gym and a restaurant/lounge.

The 410-room Richmond Marriott completed a $14 million renovation last fall, which included the refurbishment of all guest rooms. The hotel now features a total of 40 meeting rooms and 26,427 square feet of meeting space.

Meeting Hotels: Richmond offers more than 16,000 hotel rooms. Properties include the 410-room Richmond Marriott, 372-room Sheraton Richmond West, 361-room Omni Richmond, 298-room Crowne Plaza Richmond Downtown, 262-room The Jefferson, 254-room Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa/Short Pump, 250-room Hilton Garden Inn Richmond Downtown, 250-room Westin Richmond, 242-room Marriott Richmond West, 224-room Embassy Suites Richmond, 167-room Holiday Inn-South Bells Road, 136-room Residence Inn Richmond Chester, 135-room Aloft Richmond West, 134-room Hotel Sierra Richmond West and 102-room Wingate by Wyndham Richmond Short Pump. For a more complete listing, visit

Convention Center: Greater Rich­mond Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 180,000 square feet; meeting space, 80,000 square feet;  number of meeting rooms, 38; (804) 783-7300;

Airport Transit: Richmond International Airport, 10 miles from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $20

Taxes: Room tax, 5%; sales tax, 8%; total tax on hotel rooms, 13%

Group Venue: Built on land once owned by American Revolution patriot Patrick Henry, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden offers a variety of meeting spaces, including the Robins Tea House, which accommodates 60 for a reception; the Bloemendaal House, with indoor and outdoor space for groups of up to 250; and the Massey Conference Center Auditorium, which can hold 250 theater-style or 325 for a reception. (804) 262-9887;

CVB Services: Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, (800) 370-9004;

Other Cities, Other Sites
Hampton A Cinébistro opened in late June at the new Peninsula Town Center in the Central Business District. Groups can enjoy high-end dining in any of eight posh movie theaters (capacities range from 44 to 120), each with leather recliners with swivel dining tables; they also can play at the state-of-the-art bowling center or enjoy movie-themed cocktails in the bar and lounge.
Contact: (757) 325-8896;

Roanoke Valley The 127-suite Cambria Suites Roanoke opened in June near downtown Roanoke. Each suite is equipped with two flat-screen LCD televisions and MP3 jacks, and free high-speed wired and wireless Internet access is available throughout the property. The hotel offers 1,000 square feet of meeting space.
Contact: (540) 400-6226;

Local Update:
The 77-room Comfort Suites Bypass opened in late June, near Colonial Williamsburg and other area attractions.

Meeting Hotels: Properties include the 405-room Great Wolf Lodge, 400-room Kingsmill Resort & Conference Center, 323-room Williamsburg Lodge, 303-room Crowne Plaza Williamsburg at Fort Magruder, 300-room Williams­burg Woodlands Hotel & Suites, 296-room Williamsburg Hospitality House, 295-room Williamsburg Marriott Hotel, 168-room Embassy Suites and 142-room Clarion Hotel Historic District.

Airport Transit: Newport News/Williamsburg International Air­port, 20 miles from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $35

Taxes: Room tax, 5%; sales tax, 5%; occupancy tax, $2 per night; total tax on hotel rooms, 10% plus $2 per night

Group Venue: On Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg's colorful historic district, the Trellis Res­taurant offers modern American cuisine (using fresh, locally sourced ingredients) and a private room that can accommodate up to 14 people. An area next to the new kitchen, which allows guests to view the culinary activity through a glass wall, holds up to 60; the entire restaurant seats 210. (757) 229-8610;

CVB Services: Greater Wil­liamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance, (800) 368-6511;