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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Work and Play at Southern Resorts

The Southeast’s temperate weather makes it a prime spot for meeting planners who want to include a round of golf or a spa visit in their conference planning. Here are five golf and spa destinations where meeting attendees can soak in natural hot springs, pamper themselves at the spa or play several rounds at championship golf courses.


Auburn Marriott Opelika Resort and Spa at Grand National

Opelika, Alabama

Auburn Marriott Opelika Resort and Spa at Grand National is off the beaten path but close enough to Auburn and Opelika to make it accessible. There are 200 guest rooms and 15,220 square feet of event space, including 13 event rooms and 12 breakout spaces. The largest space can hold 500 guests.

The resort is less than a mile from the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Grand National Golf Club, which was built around Sougahatchee Lake and boasts 54 holes of championship golf. A free shuttle takes visitors to and from the course. Meeting groups that want to set up tournaments can organize them through Grand National.

The Spa at Grand National offers massages, facials, salon services, fitness classes, and men’s and women’s lounges. There is a heated indoor pool and two outdoor pools, one with a splash pad and waterslide. The poolside Splash Bar has live music nightly, and heaters are available for when the winter weather turns colder.

Barnsley Resort

Adairsville, Georgia

Tucked away in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northwest Georgia, Barnsley Resort is situated on 3,000 acres. There are 140 guest rooms spread between the 55-room Inn at Barnsley Resort and 39 cottages in an English-inspired pedestrian village.

The 18-hole Jim Fazio golf course at Barnsley spans 378 acres and winds around a lake, forests and gardens. One of the most sought-after golf courses in Georgia, it boasts some of the fastest greens in the Southeast, elevation changes off the tee and a great collection of par-three holes.

The Spa at Barnsley Resort features 10 treatment rooms, a coed lounge, relaxation areas, a steam room and saunas. It offers 50-minute and 80-minute treatments.

The Manor House Ruins make a great backdrop for any event. The Manor House Pavilion is an outdoor venue adjacent to the ruins for 230 guests. The Georgian Hall features a wood-burning fireplace and space for up to 500. The Tenth Tee is an outdoor space with views of the resort’s golf course and 10-acre pond.

Sheraton Flowood The Refuge Hotel and Conference Center

Flowood, Mississippi

About five miles from Jackson, Mississippi, the Refuge Hotel and Conference Center is near some of the state’s most popular destinations, including the Natchez Trace Parkway, Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and LeFleur’s Bluff State Park.

The hotel has 200 luxury rooms and a 27,584-square-foot conference center with 11 event spaces. The Grand Ballroom is the largest space at 9,780 square feet. It can easily host 810 for a banquet or 1,080 theater-style. The room can be divided into three smaller rooms, and a large prefunction space can accommodate 600 for a reception. The Junior Ballroom can host 430 for a banquet or can be subdivided into four rooms. There are also two smaller meeting spaces.

The Refuge Spa offers massages, facials, nails and body treatments. The Refuge Golf Course was originally designed by Roy Case and was carved from 200 acres of wetlands.

Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Hot Springs, Arkansas, is unique in that part of its historic downtown is within the boundaries of Hot Springs National Park. The historic Bathhouse Row is part of the National Park but sits across the street from the city’s charming shops and restaurants. Visitors come from around the world to soak in the area’s thermal spring water.

The oldest structure on Bathhouse Row, built in 1892, was recently remodeled into Hotel Hale, a boutique hotel with soaking tubs in every room. The Buckstaff Bathhouse was built over natural hot springs and has been operating since 1912. Quapaw Bathhouse is a modern spa with historical touches. It has four public thermal pools set at different temperatures.

Hot Springs Country Club is the go-to place for golf. The 18-hole Park Course was built in 1898 and renovated in 2001. The Arlington Course is a challenging 18-hole championship course that was built in 1927 and recently renovated by Master’s Champion Ben Crenshaw.

The Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa is in the heart of the National Park and features nearly 500 guest rooms. The multi-use conference center can host banquets for up to 650 and classroom setups for up to 1,000.

The Resort at Glade Springs

Daniels, West Virginia

The 200-room Resort at Glade Springs is in a gated community surrounded by three golf courses. It is also just 10 minutes away from the Grandview overlook at New River Gorge National Park, one of the top attractions in West Virginia.

The resort is considered one of the top full-service conference centers in the state, with more than 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space. The Inn has several large meeting spaces that can accommodate up to 330 for a banquet and up to 425 for a reception. The Bright Terrace can accommodate 100 for a banquet, and the lawn can host 325 for a reception or 250 for a banquet.

The clubhouse has several meeting rooms that can host between 60 and 80 for a banquet and 110 for a reception. The clubhouse terrace is large enough to host 325 for a reception, and the 2,400-square-foot pavilion can host 200 for a sit-down dinner.

As part of their events, meeting groups can organize a golf outing or tournament on the resort’s championship Cobb Course. Groups can add games at two other on-site golf courses that are run by the local property owner’s association. Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be arranged from any of the resort’s four on-site restaurants. In their free time, attendees can play tennis, go bowling, or enjoy the indoor pool, arcade or escape room. Spa Orange offers a full range of spa and beauty services. The resort also offers excursions to New River Gorge National Park.