Beautiful coastal scenery, a wealth of resorts and genuine Southern hospitality — meeting attendees can experience the best of South Carolina during an event in Myrtle Beach.
That’s what 13 meeting planner readers of Small Market Meetings discovered on a site inspection tour as guests of Visit Myrtle Beach in November. Over the course of four days, they got to know the Grand Strand area, a 60-mile stretch of the South Carolina coast that includes Myrtle Beach and surrounding communities such as North Myrtle Beach and Murrell’s Inlet. They toured the convention center and numerous hotel and resort properties in the area. Along the way, they also enjoyed some of Myrtle Beach’s most distinctive dining and activity options.
Home to only about 37,000 permanent residents, Myrtle Beach is among the most popular vacation destinations in the Southeast, welcoming some 19 million visitors a year. Though most of those are leisure travelers, the area’s many meeting hotels stay busy hosting events year-round. The Myrtle Beach International Airport features 59 nonstop flights each day, and the Myrtle Beach Convention Center is capable of hosting large trade shows and exhibitions.
There are hundreds of hotels in Myrtle Beach, offering well over 10,000 guest rooms total. Meeting planners will find a variety of full-service properties up and down the coast that have on-site meeting space, catering and other meetings services.
Finally, Myrtle Beach offers meeting attendees an endless menu of dining and activity options. From quick service to fine dining, restaurants in the area showcase fresh local seafood. And the many museums, amusement attractions and shopping developments will give them plenty to do when not in session.
Follow along with the site-inspection group in the coming pages to discover the opportunities Myrtle Beach offers for your meetings.
Myrtle Beach Convention Center
Situated just blocks from the ocean in the heart of the city, the Myrtle Beach Convention Center is ideally situated for bringing full-service meeting capabilities within easy access of dozens of area hotels. Meeting planners will find all the space they need, as well as professional catering and audiovisual and other events services on site.
Meeting Spaces: Planners have a variety of options for events, large or small, at the convention center. The main exhibit hall offers just over 100,000 square feet of column-free exhibit space, which can be broken into three separate rooms seating up to 2,500 people each. There are 11 loading docks and drive-in access to facilitate complex, large-scale exhibitor setups.
Just around the corner from the main exhibit hall on the same level, the Grand Ballroom features 17,000 square feet of newly renovated space for up to 1,000 attendees. The space is ideal for meal functions, general sessions or smaller trade shows. Also adjacent to the ballroom are 17 smaller meeting spaces that can be used for breakout rooms, event staff, storage or other applications.
To take advantage of Myrtle Beach’s ocean breezes, planners can arrange for events in the convention center’s 30,000-square-foot outdoor plaza. The center’s catering team can arrange for oyster roasts, barbecues and other fun events in the outdoor space.
Dining: Catering at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center is provided exclusively by the food and beverage staff at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Hotel, which is located adjacent to the convention center. In addition to standard banquet fare, the catering menu can include classic Southern dishes or low–country cuisine. Meeting planners can alternately choose to have food and beverage available from concession outlets at the convention center, with options ranging from sandwiches and wraps to pizza, nachos and even breakfast foods.
Other Services: The Myrtle Beach Convention Center allows meeting planners to use their choice of vendors for audiovisual services. The staff can also recommend professional A/V companies that work there frequently. Complimentary internet service is available to meeting planners and promoters, and the center’s technicians can arrange for Wi-Fi to be provided to attendees as well.
With two hotels, two condominium towers, a conference center, 135 acres and three-quarters of a mile of oceanfront, Kingston Resorts presents a wide range of opportunities for meeting planners. The complex includes a Hilton and an Embassy Suites, each with its own meeting space, as well as more than 100,000 square feet of combined meeting space.
Rooms: The Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort has 387 guest rooms with ocean-view balconies. Embassy Suites offers 255 suites with separate sitting areas. Additionally, organizations hosting large meetings have access to 137 units in the Royal Palms condominium tower at the resort complex.
Meeting Spaces: Each of the hotels at the Kingston Resorts has its own meeting space, as well as a conference center situated between the two hotels. The Hilton has 28,800 square feet of meeting space in the hotel, including a 6,500-square-foot ballroom that can accommodate up to 800 guests. At the Embassy Suites, there’s more than 25,000 square feet of additional space. The Kensington Ballroom can accommodate up to 2,000 guests in 4,520 square feet of space. Both hotels have smaller ballrooms and breakout space as well.
Dining: Each of the hotels at Kingston Resorts offers its own dining program. The Embassy Suites offers the brand’s signature made-to-order hot breakfast in the mornings and complementary reception in the evenings. Between the two hotels, there are numerous dining concepts, including Southern fare at Coastal Grill and Bar; Mediterranean fare at Café Amalfi, and al fresco drinks and dining at Beachcombers. Coming soon to Kingston Plantations is Black Drum Brewing, which will feature fresh local seafood, house-smoked meats and a selection of 40 craft beers from the Carolinas.
Recreation: Both the Hilton and Embassy Suites have impressive pool complexes. The hotels share access to a three-quarter mile stretch of beach, as well as a recreation complex with a huge fitness center, a spa and indoor golf simulators. Other outdoor experiences include a putting green, tennis courts and bike rentals.
DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Myrtle Beach Oceanfront
Located at the southern end of Myrtle Beach a short drive from the airport, the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton sits on 27 acres adjacent to Myrtle Beach State Park. This location gives guests unobstructed views of the Atlantic, coupled with easy access to the park, Springmaid Pier, the Market Common and a variety of other attractions.
Rooms: 452 ocean view guest rooms
Meeting Spaces: The DoubleTree’s on-site conference center offers nearly 30,000 square feet of indoor events space. Its 22 meeting rooms include three ballrooms of 8,532 square feet each, accommodating up to 750 attendees theater-style. Each of those ballrooms can be divided into smaller spaces, and some other salons are available for breakouts. Some of the meeting rooms at the hotel feature floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the Atlantic.
Dining: The hotel’s primary restaurant, Ocean Blue, is open year round for all-day dining. Another restaurant, Southern Tides Bar and Grill, is open during the spring and summer. There’s also a pool bar during warm-weather months.
Recreation: The hotel’s 27 acres offer plenty of beachfront, popular for relaxation. Guests can rent private cabanas at the beach or on the pool deck.
Marina Inn at Grande Dunes
Situated on the Intracoastal Waterway, the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes offers an elegant alternative to the bustle of a beachfront resort. It opened in 2007 and has earned a four-diamond rating from AAA.
Rooms: 185 guest rooms
Meeting Spaces: The facilities at Marina Inn are ideally situated for small-to-midsize events. Its 10 meeting spaces include a 5,000-square-foot ballroom with a capacity of 450 theater-style. Also available are several breakout rooms and a finely appointed boardroom surrounded by windows. An event lawn offers space for outdoor functions overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.
Dining: Helmed by executive chef Byron Bundoc, the restaurants at Marina Inn put an emphasis on fresh, sustainable ingredients. WaterScapes is a fine-dining restaurant, while Anchor Café offers more casual experiences overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway. There is also a lobby bar and a coffee shop.
Recreation: Although it is not situated directly on the beach, Marina Inn offers shuttle service to a private beach with included chair and umbrella service. The hotel also has a golf course, tennis courts and access to the Grande Dunes Marina.
Marriott Myrtle Beach Resort and Spa at Grande Dunes
Located in the somewhat secluded Grande Dunes area of town, the Marriot Myrtle Beach Resort and Spa brings Marriott’s signature level of luxury and sophistication to the beach. Elegant guest rooms, extensive meeting space, an impressive pool deck and easy beach access are among the attributes that attract meeting planners to this full-service property.
Rooms: 405 guest rooms in various configurations
Meeting Spaces: The hotel is equipped to handle sizeable meetings in its 45,000 square feet of events space. Its largest ballroom is 15,000 square feet and can seat up to 1,665 people theater-style. That ballroom can break down into eight smaller rooms. There’s also a junior ballroom and four other smaller conference rooms.
Dining: Guests at the Marriott Myrtle Beach have a variety of dining options, depending on the timing of their visit. The primary restaurant, Ocean’s on 82, is open for three meals a day year round and features ocean views and international cuisine. Open during the high season is the Cove, a beachfront restaurant serving American fare.
Recreation: The hotel has a large beach and extensive pool deck. Guests can also take advantage of a large fitness center or book a treatment at Hibiscus Spa.
Sheraton Myrtle Beach
Owned by the city of Myrtle Beach and connected to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, the Sheraton Myrtle Beach is the primary host property for large meetings and conferences at the convention center. The hotel is located two blocks from Myrtle Beach’s coastal boardwalk, a bustling area full of activities, retail and dining opportunities.
Rooms: 400 guest rooms, including 19 suites
Meeting Spaces: Since the Sheraton Myrtle Beach is connected to the convention center, it doesn’t have any separate meeting space of its own. The convention center is immediately adjacent to the hotel’s lobby, and the two facilities work together closely to create seamless experiences for meeting attendees.
Dining: The Sheraton’s primary restaurant, Vidalia’s serves three meals daily from an open kitchen specializing in Southern fare. Also on site are Coffee and Cream, serving Starbucks coffee and pastries in the morning; Kilwins Myrtle Beach, an ice cream and chocolate shop; and the M Bar.
Recreation: The hotel features a fitness center and indoor pool. It is also an easy walk to the beach and boardwalk attractions.
Island Vista Resort
Situated beachfront near the center of the Grand Strand, Island Vista Resort is an ideal fit for groups seeking to maximize family fun and minimize the amount of time spent in meeting sessions. Its variety of one-, two- and three-bedroom condominiums afford the comforts of home for families, making it a great destination for an extended stay built around a day or two of business events.
Rooms: 249 units in one-, two- and three-bedroom configurations with full kitchens, dining areas and living rooms
Meeting Spaces: The Island Vista offers just enough meeting space for small groups to congregate between romps in the pool or waves. The hotel has two meeting spaces of 2,300 square feet, which can accommodate 88 guests for banquets or 125 theater-style.
Dining: The Island Vista Resort’s primary restaurant, the Cypress Room, is open daily for breakfast (featuring its signature sweet potato pancakes) and dinner. There’s also an adjacent lounge with indoor and outdoor seating. Vista Pizza offers take-out or in-room delivery for lunch, and a poolside tiki hut is open during the summer months.
Recreation: The hotel has a large indoor and outdoor pool complex, as well as a lazy river and a lawn overlooking the ocean.
With more than 60 miles of beaches, the Grand Strand area beckons meeting attendees to stick their toes in the sand and surf in their free time. But there’s much more to do in town. Myrtle Beach features some distinctive activity options meeting planners will want to consider.
• Broadway at the Beach — The most visited development in the Grand Strand, Broadway at the Beach is a 360-acre complex built around a man-made lake. It features 80 shops; dozens of restaurants, including Hard Rock Café, Margaritaville, and Dave and Busters; and landmark attractions such as WonderWorks and Ripley’s Aquarium.
• Brookgreen Gardens — With more than 9,000 acres, Brookgreen Gardens is the largest garden in the country. It features thousands of varieties of plants native to the Carolinas. In addition to impressive floral displays, the garden is filled with more than 3,000 sculptures, many by artist Anna Hyatt Huntington. During the holidays, the Nights of a Thousand Candles event fills the gardens with music, festivities and millions of sparkling lights.
• Myrtle Beach Art Museum — Located in a quaint villa built in 1924, the Myrtle Beach Art Museum is the only arts institution on the Grand Strand. It specializes in collecting and exhibiting Southern and coastal art, with a special emphasis on work by area artists. Meeting planners can arrange for groups to have a Gullah Geechee cultural demonstration and low–country boil at the museum.
• Sunset and Sealife Eco-Tour — In Murrel’s Inlet, a fishing village at the South end of the Grand Strand, the Sunset and Sealife Eco-Tour offers visitors the chance to explore the area’s saltwater marshes aboard a 54-foot pontoon boat. Cruises are led by naturalist guides, who showcase the diverse flora and fauna of the biologically rich area.
As a popular leisure travel destination, Myrtle Beach has hundreds of restaurants, ranging from casual to upscale. Meeting attendees can choose locally owned establishments, national chains, fresh seafood, foreign fare and much more. Here are four standout restaurants meeting planners enjoyed during their site inspection.
• The Hangout — At Broadway at the Beach, the Hangout is a recently opened casual restaurant with an emphasis on music and fun. A sister restaurant to the original Hangout in Gulf Shores, Alabama, the 40,000-square-foot restaurant features hundreds of seats on two levels, plus ample outdoor space and a huge gift shop. Highlights include inventive tropical cocktails and staff-led dance breaks.
• Crooked Hammock Brewery — In the Barefoot Landing development, Crooked Hammock is an all-in-one attraction featuring a microbrewery, a restaurant and fun outdoor recreation areas. Groups can tour the brewery, sample some of the dozen or so beers brewed on-site, and enjoy a menu of classic American fare.
• Hook and Barrel — Centrally located on North Kings Highway, Hook and Barrel is an eclectic locally owned eatery serving a combination of fresh seafood and modern twists on Southern classics. Adjacent to the restaurant and operated by the same company is Croissants Bistro and Bakery, which serves wonderful homemade pastries, has a full breakfast menu and roasts its own coffee.
• 21 Main Prime Steakhouse — In Myrtle Beach’s North Beach neighborhood, 21 Main offers one of the area’s most distinguished fine dining experiences. Elegant and modern decor is fitting for an upscale restaurant featuring fresh takes on classic steakhouse dishes, as well as an array of fresh seafood and sushi. The bar features hand-crafted cocktails, as well as sommelier-selected pairings from the on-site wine cellar.
For more information on planning a meeting in Myrtle Beach, contact:
Visit Myrtle Beach
If you are interested in hosting a FAM for readers of Small Market Meetings, call Kyle Anderson at 1-859-356-5128, or email him at email@example.com.