Top Ten Southern Venues
Written by Doug Simmons
Last issue, we profiled the top 10 Northern venues that make magical backdrops for a wedding, banquet, reunion or other special event. Now, with cruisers heading south to enjoy cooler autumn temperatures, these Southern event facilities become more attractive than ever.
Greyfield Inn, Cumberland Island, Ga.
This colonial-style plantation house is the only commercial establishment on Cumberland Island, giving guests the opportunity for an idyllic event in a timeless Lowcountry setting. The Inn offers 16 rooms to accommodate up to 32 guests and can provide a reception area for up to 50. (If more overnight space is needed, lodging can be arranged on Amelia Island or Fernandina Beach, Fla.) The inn is all-inclusive, so your meals are covered, as are guided history and nature tours and use of bicycles, kayaks, beach chairs and fishing gear and they have a floating dock for guests.
River Street Inn, Savannah, Ga.
Dating back to 1817, this Historic Hotel of America takes up an entire city block. Its five stories surround a beautiful central atrium and feature wide, arched doorways and soaring windows on the first two floors and an intricate series of balconies on the top three. The second-floor meeting rooms boast exposed brick walls and wood beams, along with splendid views of the Savannah River. These three rooms collectively offer 1,600 square feet and can accommodate up to 100 people. A canopied veranda with ceiling fans and rocking chairs makes an alluring al fresco option.
The Club at Admirals Cove, Jupiter, Fla.
Situated on the crystal blue waters of Florida’s Gold Coast, The Club at Admirals Cove is a private country club community with 900 residences, five miles of navigable waterways and some of the best golf, tennis and yachting in the area. Meeting space is comprised of the Executive Boardroom, Harbourview Ballroom and Upper Lounge in the East Clubhouse. The 32-room Inn at Admirals Cove is an intimate and luxurious option for a beach wedding, making accommodations easy for out-of-town guests. Private events at The Club at Admirals Cove must be sponsored by a club member.
Boca Raton Resort & Club, Boca Raton, Fla.
Size and substance distinguish this AAA Four Diamond Award-winner. Set on 356 acres of tropical gardens and beachfront property, the resort presents 150,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space with Mediterranean, Moorish and Gothic influences. Celebrate a milestone at a cocktail party on an ocean-facing terrace, gather for a business meeting in the luxuriant environs of the Yacht Club and Marina, or host a romantic wedding ceremony in The Cathedral room, featuring gold leaf columns, coffered ceilings and Venetian chandeliers. Two modern conference centers and in-house event planners can help facilitate any scenario and dockage is available on-site.
Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, Little Torch Key, Fla.
Midway between Marathon and Key West, and only accessible by boat or seaplane, this petite slice of paradise is as exclusive as it gets. Guests staying for three or more nights can reserve all 30 thatch-roofed suites and revel in private access to the pool, beach, great room and marina. Little Palm has hosted some of the world’s biggest names and prides itself on creating dream getaways with themed activities like casino nights, cigar rolling sessions, mixology classes and salsa dancing lessons. The resort offers a variety of wedding packages, with a personal planner to oversee every detail.
Sunset Key Cottages, Key West, Fla.
Go ahead, get the whole resort! With 40 guest cottages, Sunset Key resort can be reserved in its entirety for you and 150 of your colleagues, friends or relatives. The tropically lush and beach-fringed 27-acre island has 6,000 square feet of meeting space and a waterfront restaurant that can host groups of up to 20 in its semi-private dining room. Plus, it is only a seven-minute boat ride away from Key West and the excitement of Duval Street. Accommodations on the island include two private homes and two, three and four-bedroom cottages with pastel wood finishes and tin roofs.
The Ringling, Sarasota, Fla.
The final home of “The Greatest Show on Earth” can be the host of your next special occasion. Established by John Ringling in 1911, what is now known as The Ringling consists of the Ringling Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, Ca’ d’Zan (Venetian for “House of John”), Bayfront Gardens and more. Truly unique event settings include a manicured courtyard with replicas of ancient Greek, Roman and Baroque statuary; an outdoor tent reminiscent of the Big Top; a waterside promenade overlooking Sarasota and Longboat Key; and a wagon-wheel rose garden with sweet fragrances lling the air.
The Don Cesar, St. Pete Beach, Fla.
Last year, the legendary “Pink Palace” on Florida’s Gulf Coast introduced 70 brand-new, all-suite beach houses custom made for extended stays for small groups and families. These make the prefect home base for special events and weddings at the resort, which features an astounding variety of venues and amenities: 22,000 square feet of indoor function space; 16,000 square feet of creative outdoor space; menus and catering that capture the flavors of Florida; on-site event planning team. Highlights include the King Charles Ballroom, with floor-to-ceiling windows facing the Gulf of Mexico, and two beach pavilions with water views.
Pensacola Yacht Club, Pensacola, Fla.
Chartered in 1908 as a private hangout for boating members and their guests, the Pensacola Yacht Club rests on 17 charming acres at the mouth of Bayou Chico at Pensacola Bay. Half of the waterfront is home to a marina for boats up to 70 feet; the other half is a long stretch of whitesand beach. The clubhouse itself is well known for its breathtaking views, elegant decor, flexible party facilities and award-winning cuisine. Indoor banquet space is available to reserve for intimate gatherings or large events, along with lawn space overlooking the marina for outdoor celebrations.
Shutters On The Beach, Santa Monica, Calif.
New England seashore meets California chic at Shutters Hotel on the Beach, located just a quarter mile from the Santa Monica Pier. Along with its 186 cottage-inspired guestrooms and 12 suites, this breezy retreat offers its Grand Ballroom, showcasing a stylish wood-burning replace and Venetian chandeliers, and three private meeting rooms with outdoor terraces. The Pacific Ocean is included as well, with coffee breaks and cocktails hosted right on the sand. If it’s a wedding you’re planning, packages come with spa passes, beachfront rooms, and a variety of ceremony and reception venues.
Hotel Del Coronado, Coronado, Calif.
Located just minutes from downtown San Diego, this Victorian beach resort on the edge of the Pacific Ocean defines the word iconic. Three signature rooms — the Crown Room, the Coronet Room and the Ballroom — showcase breathtaking views from their abundant windows plus magni cent chandeliers, towering ceilings and large, versatile oor plans. Looking for something more intimate or specialized? “The Del” offers no less than two dozen other options, from executive boardrooms to luscious lawns to luncheon spaces to the Vista Walk, an outdoor space that features the resort’s historic turret and 100-year-old Dragon Tree as a backdrop.