[ON LOCATION] LYDIA GREGORY
Aptly named, Greenville, South Carolina, is a verdant, eco-conscious small city with a big heart and, most importantly for meeting planners, a unique, varied and interesting offer when it comes to VIP MICE endeavors of the small to mid-size. “Greenville is perfect for groups ranging from 200-750 people,” says Jonathan Brashier, VP of commercial strategy for Visit Greenville, this vibrant city’s DMO and your touchpoint for everything meetings related. “We can and certainly do even larger groups, but this is our sweet spot.
“As a lifelong resident of Greenville, it has been amazing to witness the transformation of our city over the past 18-20 years,” shares Brashier. “I often say that there is a special feeling here that almost has to be experienced, not explained.
“The walkability of our tree-lined Main Street makes us the perfect spot for meetings and events of varying sizes and scopes. We have wonderful hotels, unique independent venues, an international culinary scene, performing arts, breathtaking green spaces and more. We like to think outside of the box and create memorable events that leave attendees with a WOW factor. We literally have something for everyone.”
It’s no wonder Greenville keeps appearing on “Best of” lists. We recently had a chance to experience just a taste of what should keep this charming destination top of mind for your next event.
AC Hotel by Marriott Greenville Downtown: Located on the corner of Broad and Main streets in the heart of the action, this hotel has 197 well-appointed rooms, 8,900 sf of meeting space and three special venues: Paloma, the main bar with a Spanish and Mediterranean flair; The Press Room, a speakeasy that pays homage to “The Greenville News,” which called the building home for 75 years; and the delightful Juniper rooftop gin bar and restaurant, with fire pits and cozy sofas on the terrace, and hands down the best view of the city.
Soby’s New South Cuisine: One of the city’s signature restaurants, Soby’s has a wood-paneled bar, a large dining room and an open kitchen that’s fun to peer down into from the second floor. Business is conducted over southern-inspired dishes like braised beef short rib with goat cheese grits or applewood smoked pork chops, paired with a selection from their high-end wine list.
SpringHill Suites / Residence Inn Greenville Downtown: This dual-branded hotel is owned by Auro Hotels (as is the AC Hotel), a group known for its upscale decor and innovative flair. The hotels share all the chic public spaces, including 12,311 sf of meeting space and five meeting rooms, plus The Hiveaway, a bee-themed boardroom that’s anything but boring.
The One Center: Tucked Away in the West Tower of the ONE building, this was formerly a training center for a bank and has 36,000 sf of Class A+ meeting space, a 264-seat auditorium, meeting and breakout rooms, catering kitchen and state-of-the-art audio and video tech. It has great pre-function space that’s a blank slate waiting for your branding with capacity for 250-300 attendees.
The Westin Poinsett: The only four-diamond hotel in Greenville and just one block from the Peace Center, the city’s performing arts center, this iconic property opened in 1925 and retains all of its classic charm. It has 200 rooms and nearly 10,000 sf of event space including two ballrooms and seven breakout rooms, plus Spoonbread, its award-winning restaurant that can host a plated dinner for 50.
Avenue: Trendy meets functional in this indoor/outdoor rooftop venue with capacity for 200 seated and 400 for a reception. This gracious alternative space hosts events catered by Table 301, the city’s premier restaurant group.
Fluor Field: You’d be hard-pressed to find a group that doesn’t like a function at a baseball field, and this one has the set-up to make it happen with new branded suites (16 total), the Champions Club and an ample concourse that can be enclosed and heated for events up to 1,500.
Grand Bohemian Lodge: Right on the banks of the Reedy River overlooking Falls Park and the famous Liberty Bridge (yes, indeed, a river runs right through Greenville), this year-old Autograph Collection property has 187 luxurious guest rooms and suites, 4,300 sf of art-laden meeting space and the exclusive Spirit & Bower, a lounge bar with a list of rare bourbons and whiskeys, specialty cocktails and shareable bites. Everything about this hotel is custom and unique, down to the transparent antler-shaped lighting fixtures in the ballrooms and the owner’s wife’s jaw-dropping collection of antique Native American jewelry on display.
Hotel Hartness: This newly opened property is a dream come true for groups, albeit small and very VIP ones. With only 69 suites and four Spa Suites for extra pampering, the art-filled Hotel Hartness was once the home of a prominent local family and is run with the same personalized service they required. It offers 13,000 sf of indoor/outdoor space with all the high-tech you need, plus its acclaimed Patterson restaurant and The Captain bar for fireside specialty cocktails.
BMW Performance Center: What’s team building without a little adrenaline rush and competition? Half- and full-day outings can be arranged—the center can host 30 to about 100 pp—and attendees get to zoom around in their BMW of choice on competitive time trials, maneuver around cones and ride along on hair-raising hot laps. A true bucket list experience.
The L and Larkin’s Sawmill: Owned by Larkin’s Restaurants, these two venues are both historic, yet different. The L is in the beautifully restored Greenville Gas and Electric Light Company that dates back to the 1890s and can host events for up to 225. The Sawmill, on North Main just outside of downtown, is a rustic escape built on a century-old sawmill with two rooms and ample outdoor space for up to 300. Have something custom in mind? You’ve come to the right place.
Larkin’s: Right across Camperdown Plaza from the AC Hotel, this restaurant is known for its aged steaks, eclectic wine list and top-notch catering.