City Spotlight: Savannah, Georgia

A trip to Savannah is a true Southern experience, from the Spanish moss-draped oak trees to the waterfront, the history and Lowcountry cuisine. These attributes extend to the meeting facilities, says Jeff Hewitt, vice president of business development and destination services for Visit Savannah.

Jeffrey Harvey, assistant legislative director for Georgia Farm Bureau, and his team held their group’s 2014 Legislative Conference in Savannah. “Our thought process behind choosing Savannah as the host city was, ‘If you have never been to Georgia and could visit only one place, where would you want to go?’” he explains. “In Savannah, things seem to slow down a bit. The city is rich in history, great food, tourism, and close to the beach. It was the only town we considered in making our choice.”

Savannah Marriott Riverfront served as the conference and hotel location. “I can’t say enough about how professional and accommodating the hotel staff was,” Harvey says. “We received nothing but praise from our guests, and if we had to host the conference again, we would go back to Savannah.”

Savannah International Trade & Convention Center overlooks Savannah’s riverfront and the historic district, and also earns high praise from planners. It offers a 100,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall and another 90,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, and is adjacent to The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa. Hyatt Regency Savannah and Hilton Savannah DeSoto are a quick water ferry ride away.

Kimpton’s Brice Hotel and a new Embassy Suites opened in 2014, and two additional hotel complexes are under development in the historic district, which currently has 5,000 guest rooms. Beyond chain hotels, Savannah’s accommodations also include historic inns, bed and breakfasts and stylish alternatives such as Andaz Savannah, which offers meeting space for up to 300 amid contemporary design within the Savannah Historic District.

Savannah’s city plan incorporates 22 scenic, park-like squares in a grid throughout the city, making it pedestrian-friendly. In fact, Walking Magazine recently named Savannah one of America’s best walking cities. (But encourage attendees to forego the fancy shoes for excursions, as many of the streets are cobblestone.) From historic home tours to art museums, riverside restaurants to antique stores, it’s easy to turn a Savannah meeting visit into a getaway.