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Northwest: Heaping helpings of southern hospitality. (Florida).

Where the New South meets Old Florida, you'll find Pensacola--and a winning mix of sun, sand, and service. The city has several large meeting venues, from the 22,000-square-foot Pensacola Civic Center and the Bayfront Auditorium's 18,790 square feet of exhibition space to New World Landing, which can accommodate an intimate group of 25 or seminar seating for 1,000.

More than 9,200 guest rooms are available at such properties as the Crowne Plaza Pensacola Grand Hotel, the Beachside Resort & Convention Center, Holiday Inn Bay Beach, and Clarion Suites Resort and Convention Center. Pensacola's most recent addition: Springhill by Marriott, a $14 million hotel with 117 suites and 2,500 square feet of meeting space.

Heading west you'll find the aptly named Emerald Coast, a real gem for small to midsize meetings. With a mix of spaces and places, the area that's home to Destin, Fort Walton Beach, and Okaloosa Island has much to offer business travelers, and will soon be able to offer even more.

Set to open in spring 2003, the Emerald Coast Conference Center will feature 70,000 square feet of meeting space with seating capacity for more than 2,000. A total of 13 breakout rooms ranging from 10,000 square feet to 500 square feet will be available and the center will offer the latest high-tech capabilities. Nearby hotels feature a total of 18,000 guest rooms, and include the 335-room Ramada Plaza Beach Resort, with 14,000 square feet of meeting space, and the 287-room Radisson Beach Resort, with 10,000 square feet of its own.

The Beaches of South Walton aren't far away, and feature some of Florida's nicest waterfront meeting sites. Thirty-two thousand square feet of space is available at the Hilton Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, the largest of its kind on the Gulf Coast. The resort sits on 2,400 acres and accommodates up to 1,000 for meetings and events. Ballrooms, breakouts, and boardrooms alongside some of the finest golf, tennis, and swimming around make it easy on meeting planners whose participants delight in their downtime.

Business meets pleasure in Panama City Beach, featuring one of the world's most beautiful stretches of sand. The area's four conference resorts combine for more than 118,000 square feet of meeting space: Marriott Bay Point Resort (40,000 square feet), Boardwalk Beach Resort (36,000 square feet), Edgewater Beach Resort & Conference Center (32,700 square feet), and Paradise Found Resorts & Hotels (9,806 square feet). What's more, the Holiday Inn Sunspree recently completed a 2,800-square-foot state-of-the-art facility perfect for small corporate functions.
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Publication:Association Management
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2002
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