The Carolinas’ Signature Stays


Rachel Carter
Published April 04, 2017

Though high-end properties aren’t right for every meeting, luxury hotels and resorts deliver elegant event spaces and unparalleled experiences. Attendees can take in the view from an ocean dune observation deck, take a lagoon cruise in a canopy-covered electric boat or take a stroll in the garden of a Gilded Age mansion.

Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel

Charleston, South Carolina

The seven-story, salmon-pink Mills House first opened in 1853 and served as Gen. Robert E. Lee’s field headquarters during the Civil War. When the Great Fire ravaged Charleston in December 1861, guests ran from the hotel into Meeting Street, certain the building would burn down. It didn’t.

“I think the history and the decor and the story of the hotel — people who take the extra couple minutes to learn it, appreciate it,” said Joe Kramer, director of sales and marketing for the hotel.

Mills House, which had been a Holiday Inn, became a Wyndham Grand Hotel and reopened in 2014 after undergoing a $14 million renovation that redid all 216 guest rooms, renovated the Barbadoes Room dining area and later created a bar at the rooftop pool.

The hotel itself has 5,000 square feet of function space, the largest of which is the 2,500-square-foot Signer’s Ballroom, but the Mills House is next door to Hiberian Hall and provides all the catering for the historic Greek Revival-style, 6,000-square-foot ballroom.

Sanderling Resort and Spa

Duck, North Carolina

When guests arrive at Sanderling Resort and Spa in Duck on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, they’re flanked by Currituck Sound on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other.

“There’s really not a bad spot in the entire resort because you’re just surrounded by water,” said group sales manager Alisa Hurt. “Imagine driving and seeing water on both sides and knowing you’re going to have a couple days of this beauty.”

The resort straddles the thin stretch of land, offering guests waterfront spaces and water views on both sides. Guests can watch the sun set over the sound from the pier at the 4,500-square-foot, climate-controlled Soundside Pavilion. On the ocean side, just steps from the Atlantic, the 1,500-square-foot Event House has a large deck that leads down to a fire pit. Groups of 180 can reserve the event lawn, where an observation deck perched on the dunes delivers ocean views.

The full-service Lifesaving Station restaurant, housed in a historic 1874 life-saving station, reopened in March after undergoing renovations, and the Keeper’s Loft on the station’s second floor is available for events for up to 50 persons.

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