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Greenville, SC “A Footprint within a Little Slice of Heaven”


Greenville, SC “A Footprint within a Little Slice of Heaven.”

by

Barbie Perkins-Cooper

Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is a jeweled ‘footprint within a little slice of heaven.’ Greenville, South Carolina is a grand city where music, wine, food, and entertainment create a tantalizing atmosphere where meeting planners and travelers may enjoy a destination that has something for everyone.

On a recent site visit to Greenville during Euphoria, I was mesmerized by the atmosphere and charm of this unique city. Some of the most incredible discoveries were the revitalization of beautiful Downtown Greenville and the beauty of Falls Park located on the Reedy River Basin. Falls Park landscapes the beautiful Liberty Bridge, a 355-foot suspension bridge overlooking the waterfalls of Downtown Greenville, SC. An easy walk-to-destination, Falls Park is located in the Historic West End, a picturesque setting for family gatherings and a delightful atmosphere to unwind while enjoying the rushing waters and bridge.

Downtown Greenville has been described as “a footprint with a little slice of heaven,” said Todd Bertka, Vice President of Sales, Greenville Convention and Visitors Bureau. Greenville has a cornucopia of amazing things to do, many within the pedestrian-friendly sidewalks of historical downtown.

Euphoria is a unique music, food, and entertainment festival held every year in September since 2006. Euphoria was founded by singer-songwriter Edwin McCain, and restaurateur Carl Sobocinski, promoting cooking demonstrations, wine seminars, live musical performances and a tantalizing selection of food tastings. Euphoria “educates, entices, enlightens, and entertains.” As a travel writer targeting hospitality, Euphoria was truly everything and more for me. I was impressed by the city, people, atmosphere and the mystical ambiance of Euphoria. The music, food, cooking demonstrations, people, celebrity chefs and so much more complimented every event at Euphoria.

Another amazing discovery in Greenville is the BMW Performance Center Ultimate Driving Machine experience. Feel the need for speed? Plan a visit to get a thrill of the BMW Ultimate Driving Experience. Looking for a place to host an unusual, thrilling meeting? The BMW Zentrum Museum has meeting and events facilities to delight and thrill your meeting audience.

A major $26-million renovation is lmost completed at the Hyatt Regency Greenville. Located on North Main Street, “Hyatt Regency Greenville has a vibrant history as a community hotel,” said Heather Meadors, Director of Community Relations, JHM Hotels. “From its inception in 1981 with the leadership of Greenville’s Mayor, Max Heller the downtown community embraced it. The public park space in the lobby was innovative and drew the community in. Today, Studio 220 does the same thing by donating the space to charities to let Greenville know that we are grateful to be a part of the community.” Studio 220 @ NOMA has 6,000-square-feet of new meeting space with beautiful hardwood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, dropped ceilings, gallery lighting, all in an inviting setting on the corner of Beattie and Main.

I met with Todd Bertka, providing me a bird’s eye view of beautiful Downtown Greenville. We stopped at Stellar Restaurant and Wine Bar while I discovered that Greenville, SC is truly a meeting planner’s paradise. “Downtown Greenville has over 100 local restaurants, and plenty of local boutiques, galleries and everything imaginable for destination getaways and meeting planners,” said Bertka. The more I learned about Greenville, the more I wanted to extend my trip.

“Downtown Greenville offers all of the amenities of a larger city without all of the hassles,” added Meadors. “Downtown Greenville and Hyatt Regency Greenville are excellent locations for planners looking for activities for their attendees, with dine-arounds in the evening, music and shopping for all. Hyatt Regency Greenville stands out amongst the competition because of the people. Our employees are dedicated to the success of each meeting and group. Each of our employees is empowered to make guests stay an exceptional experience. We generate authentic hospitality in everything we do. Our culinary team is extremely talented, and they are constantly creating fine dining experiences in our meeting space. Our Convention Service Managers are committed to our planners, making sure they have a successful meeting.”

Among the new enhancements at Hyatt Regency are an additional 13,500-square-feet of meeting space, ROOST Restaurant with a casual, inviting atmosphere, an office space, exterior curb appeal, and a beautifully refurbished hotel lobby complete with comfortable seating, improved lighting and a water feature compliment this amazing hotel. The plaza will be renamed NOMA Square and it will be more open with a built-in permanent stage and water features with a disappearing water edge. The round bar in the lobby will be ORB™ Lounge, offering coffee drinks daily and cocktails for nightlife.

Meadors adds, “Hyatt Regency Greenville has over 34,000-square-feet of flexible meeting space. Our largest ballroom is over 14,000-square-feet with several different supporting breakout rooms. With the additional space, we are able to attract larger conferences looking for great space, larger breakout rooms and a unique atmosphere. With our newly renovated meeting space, we will have a designated meeting planner office for planners to coordinate materials and have a better presence for attendees. The layout of our hotel meeting space also makes it conducive for attendees to get from their breakout space to their general session and meal function rooms in a matter of seconds. Hyatt is always coming out with new offers throughout the year, and we are happy to provide customized pricing for groups and the needs of meeting planners.” Hyatt Regency Greenville is a three-star, three-diamond property.

Another unique setting for conventions with plenty of meeting space is the TD Convention Center, located within close proximity of Downtown Greenville. TD Convention Center is “One of the largest convention centers in the United States, featuring 60,000-square-feet of meeting space including a 30,000-square-foot ballroom, 18 meeting rooms, two outdoor venues, plus 20,000-square-feet of pre-function space, three exhibit halls with a total of 280,000-square-feet of space,” said Elizabeth Lyons, Director of Sales. A $22-million renovation was completed in 2008, which enlarged the Ballroom, and pre-function space throughout the building. “Recently upgraded in September 2012 the Center provides complimentary Wi-Fi access throughout the building.”

Debbie Motz, Executive Director of Eastern Outdoor Reps Association attests to the service received since 2001 at TD Convention Center. “Eastern Outdoor Reps Association is a not-for-profit association that services the independent and non-independent sales representatives of outdoor human powered gear.” Their meetings have been held at TD Convention Center since 2001 with three shows per year, and over 1,200 attendees. “We’re in a lot of facilities throughout the year and the TD Convention Center is by far our favorite. Everybody is so helpful it always makes us feel we are amongst friends.” TD Convention Center is involved in keeping the Green in Greenville, working to expand recycling, and using Green Seal approved environmentally safe products for cleaning. During my tour of the property, the restrooms and all meeting facilities were sparkling clean with wonderful aromas. No one would have known a large event had occurred only hours before the tour.

Once considered the “Textile Center of the South,” Greenville, South Carolina is truly a city coming of age, making it a graceful state-of-the-art community filled with history, amazing culinary cuisine, music, festivals for all to enjoy, waterfalls, recreation, museums, galleries and so much more. Make time to visit the Upcountry History Museum to get a full perspective of the footprint of Greenville that provides a delightful slice of heaven. The people are so pleasant to meet. While walking along Downtown Greenville, people spoke, men nodded and children smiled. No one seemed to be in a hurry with cell phones attached to their ears. Greenville is lively with culture, with plenty of space for meetings, events and entertainment. Home to Edwin McCain, the Greenville County Art Museum, Shoeless Joe Jackson, the Children’s Museum, Fluor Field, beautiful Downtown Greenville, South Carolina could make an amazing impression to host meetings and destination events. Describing Greenville to my friends after my visit at Euphoria, I said, “Greenville is a spicy town with much to offer. In one word, Greenville is ‘Euphoric!’”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Barbie Perkins-Cooper is a freelance writer who loves the journey and exploration of hospitality, travel, and health. She works full-time as an editorial photojournalist, publishing many articles and photographs for regional health and beauty and travel publications including Convention South Magazine. Barbie resides in Charleston, SC with her husband Phil and three precious schnauzers.

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