Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel
Issue: September/October 2015
Waterfront Meeting Locations For Memorable Events
By: Buck Samuels

Want your business meetings, corporate events, conventions, and other types of group gatherings to garner you lots of praise and appreciation from attendees and board members?  You might give some thought to planning your next event at a waterfront location.  Most meetings just seem better when you meet near a beach or some other large body of water.  Not only will the sounds of the tranquil waters lapping the shore set a calming tone for your gathering, but when the workday is done, or even before it starts, can you think of a better place to relax, go for an early morning jog, or enjoy a picturesque sunset?

Here are a selection of top waterfront meeting destinations with views sure to astonish, and to foster team spirit, creativity and innovation.


Virginia Beach is a meeting locale that rivals any on the East Coast. With more hotels, entertainment, shopping and dining options than ever, it's the ideal place to bring people together year-round. You'll find the perfect balance of coastal charm and big-city amenities. There's a Virginia Beach vibe that's right for your event. The city showcases venues and amenities that appeal to associations of all sizes and rival most metropolitan areas.

At the center of it all is the Virginia Beach Convention Center, the Nation's first convention center to earn LEED® Gold certification1 from the U.S. Green Building Council. It can hold any size meeting imaginable, with over 525,125 gross sq. ft., over 150,000 sq. ft. of column-free exhibit space, nearly 29,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, over 31,000 sq. ft. ballroom (one of the largest on the east coast), and 2,209 free parking spaces.

For more information call (757) 385-2000.


Originally built and utilized as a private residence, Bayview, the tower's most unique event space located on the 32nd floor of the Seaport Tower, features an expansive balcony boasting panoramic views of the San Diego Bay, Coronado Island, Point Loma and the city skyline. Bayview is able to accommodate groups of up to 150 for a reception and 90 people for dinner - ideal for intimate weddings, receptions, board meetings and social functions. The 32nd floor allows groups the added benefit of exclusivity by granting hosts the ability to contain meetings and events to their own private floor. The upgraded décor, custom furnishings, and elegant fixtures throughout the floor create a modern and luxurious ambiance inspired by the California coast.

For more information call (800) 233-1234.


Located in the heart of South Beach, the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) boasts over 1,000,000 sq. ft. of flexible space, including; over 500,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, over 100,000 sq. ft. of versatile pre-function area space and 70 meeting rooms comprised of 127,000 sq. ft.  The dynamic and international City of Miami Beach is a unique, sophisticated, urban paradise, offering world-class business amenities and cosmopolitan facilities in a laid-back tropical atmosphere.  Visitors of the Miami Beach Convention Center reap the benefits when they choose to meet in this city, where combining business with pleasure is as effortless as convening a conference on a waterfront terrace.

White sandy beaches, warm ocean waters, terrific shopping, award winning restaurants, cool cafes and exciting nightlife make Miami Beach a premier choice for your next event.  In addition, with over 2,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of the Miami Beach Convention Center and warm Atlantic Ocean, and only a brief 15 minute drive from the Miami International Airport, your group will be sure to enjoy our world famous weather and cosmopolitan lifestyle throughout their entire visit.

For more information call (786) 276-2650.


Set on 18 acres of lakefront property where Lake Huron meets Lake Michigan, lies the 239-room Mission Point Resort. Ideal for meetings and groups, the property boasts over 38,000 sq. ft. of function space including an amphitheater and 20,000 sq. ft. conference center. The property recently introduced  Sun-Up Sessions for groups, allowing them to start the day off with a with a distinctly Mackinac experience: taking in the sunrise over Lake Huron. Groups can enjoy a light hike to view the sunrise, followed by a picnic of locally sourced & house-created breakfast specialties, including: whitefish benedict, house-made croissants with artisinal lavender and Michigan Peach jam and maple-syrup glazed bacon. Optional yoga following on the Courtside Patio.

For more information call (906) 847-3000.


No matter how big or small the event, the service and amenities at the Montego Bay Convention Centre make for memorable meetings. With this venue's ocean front location and breathtaking views, the Montego Bay Convention Centre offers one of the most beautiful settings in the world. The facility offers a combined total of 142,000 sq. ft. of meeting, exhibition, ballroom, and plenary space.

World-class facilities have been combined with cutting edge design, giving you and your guest's unparalleled space, flexibility and service in this vibrant Caribbean Island. The Montego Bay Convention Centre can accommodate events that range from intimate gatherings to large-scale expos. The focus is on keeping attendees happy, which will ultimately produce an effective event. Among many options, choose from convenient exhibit space for booths and general assemblies, nine meeting rooms configured for any need, or a Grand Ballroom with a state of the art kitchen.

For more information call (876) 622-9330.


Grand Geneva Resort and Spa is an award-winning, Four-Diamond resort set on 1,200 acres of beautiful grounds in the stunning Wisconsin countryside. Grand Geneva offers two championship golf courses, a WELL Spa + Salon, an 18 run ski facility, professional amenities, renovated guest rooms and suites, and a variety of other activities for fun, relaxation, or business. Being a year round resort, Grand Geneva is the ideal setting to host conventions, business meetings, or corporate events. 

With expansive meeting rooms and grounds, Grand Geneva has a beautiful lake that sits on the magnificent Brute and Highlands golf courses, making it the perfect scenic resort for any business desires. With 35 meeting rooms and over 62,000 sq. ft. of convention and meeting space, Grand Geneva can cater to large groups, meetings, and conferences all while looking over the scenic lake on property. For guests wanting even more waterfront scenery, Lake Geneva is just a five-minute drive from the resort.

For more information call (800) 558-3417.

LONG BEACH Convention Center - LONG BEACH, CA

Whether you are planning a tradeshow, convention, corporate meeting or special event, the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center is an ideal location.

Located in the heart of downtown Long Beach, the Center is within walking distance to first-class accommodations (more than 5,000 rooms citywide, most within the downtown area), shopping, dining, attractions, sightseeing along picturesque bays and 5 1/2 miles of sandy beach.

The Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center is a spectacular multi-purpose complex - one of the few waterfront facilities nationwide, featuring more than 400,000 sq. ft. of flexible exhibit and meeting space, two theaters, an arena and 34 meeting rooms. The glass concourse and lobby offer expansive views of the scenic harbor and downtown skyline. A pedestrian promenade links hotels, shops, restaurants and attractions with the Pacific Ocean.

For more information call (562) 436-3636.


Combines team building with volunteer activities that create lasting memories for the participants by partnering with Big Cat Habitat, a nonprofit safe haven for exotic animals. Volunteering at The Big Cat Habitat provides guests a thrilling opportunity to come face-to-face with lions, tigers and bears while assisting with maintenance needs. This unique, socially responsible activity is a wonderful team-building exercise that allows guests to help protect these magnificent animals.  The rooftop at The Sunset Terrance at The Members Beach Club provides a stunning setting for meetings and events, accommodating up to 300 people. This 4,100-sq. ft. open-air patio commands panoramic views of the beach, the Gulf of Mexico, sunsets and starlit nights, all providing a memorable backdrop.  

For more information call (941) 309-2000. 

Greater FORT Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center - Fort Lauderdale, FL

Fort Lauderdale's conference facilities provide a great venue to host your conference, meeting or event. The location of the Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention Center is irresistible. This Florida convention center is nestled on the Intracoastal Waterway, and surrounded by all that South Florida has to offer. The Fort Lauderdale Convention Center will help you through each step, from event booking and planning to exhibitor setup, ensuring a great conference, trade show, company meeting or event.

The high-tech 600,000 sq ft three level meeting and exhibit conference facilities feature state-of-the-art technological services, including teleconference facilities, high speed wireless internet access, digital phone lines and business grade telephonic services. The conference venue technical service team is able to provide you with the latest in technology to ensure your conference or event runs as smoothly as possible.

Close by conference attendees have many options of outdoor fun in the sun activities.

For more information call (954) 765-5900.


The iconic 1926 Hamptons institution situated on Montauk's most pristine stretch of oceanfront real estate, Gurney's Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, is the ideal location to host premiere meetings year-round. In partnership with Gurney's, LDV Hospitality has the experience and expertise to create a tailored experience from start to finish, with creative and fun experiences like beachside BBQ's or a lobster and clam bake  dinners or lunches. For those looking to host more intimate gatherings, LDV Hospitality also offers customized group menus and packages, with options to have Scarpetta, or one of LDV's other brands, cater the affair. In addition, Gurney's boasts beautiful oceanfront views from seven conference rooms and nearly 7,000 sq. ft. of elegant, flexible venue space for business conferences, seminars, banquets and retreats for up to 300 people. The resort offers all-inclusive meetings packages, world-class catering, state-of-the-art audiovisual services, complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi and professional event planner support.

For more information call (631) 668-2345.

Norfolk Waterside Convention Center - Norfolk, VA

The Waterside Convention Center is located in the downtown waterfront area and is attached on three floors to the Waterside Marriott Hotel. The center contains 36,365 sq. ft. of function space, 19 meeting rooms and is elegantly decorated with fine furnishings and antiques. The largest exhibit hall is 14,400 sq. ft. and can accommodate 2,400 guests in a reception, 2,000 in a theater set-up and 1,400 for a banquet.

Located on the picturesque Elizabeth River waterfront, the Waterside Marriott Hotel provides ample lodging for conference attendees in Norfolk. From its convenient connection to the Waterside Convention Center to the nearby Children's Museum of Virginia, Norfolk Naval Station or the Virginia Zoo, this Marriott location is ideal for business or leisure guests.

For more information call  (757) 628-6501.


Regent Palms Turks and Caicos, the 72-suite resort just steps away from the flawless white sands of Grace Bay Beach, offers peace and tranquility along with world-class amenities ideal for meetings and events. Uniquely designed meeting spaces fit between 15 and 150 guests and offer a tailor-made backdrop for any event, while a variety of gourmet catering options ensure that all menu requirements are meticulously executed. Meetings can be held beachside and the Regent Palms staff will help coordinate every last detail, from business services and entertainment to setup and catering, allowing guests to concentrate on holding a successful event. Groups can enjoy "moonbathing" a night time activity in which guests enjoy mini spa-treatments and after-dinner drinks right on the beach and under the stars.  Guests can also enjoy complimentary amenities include paddle boarding, kayaking, wind-surfing and snorkeling. Additionally, lessons are provided using the resorts two 'Hobie Cats Waves,' an easy-to-sail, easy-to-rig speedster that will quickly have you smiling.  

For more information call (866) 877-7256.


Half Moon, a 400-acre luxury resort located on Jamaica's North Coast, featuring two miles of private, white-sand beach, has been the destination of choice for those seeking an incomparable and eclectic group, meeting or incentive experience. Just 15 minutes from Montego Bay International Airport and nestled within Half Moon's 400 impeccably landscaped acres is over 27,000 square feet of flexible meeting space with stylish venues that can be as formal or informal as desired together with a delightful choice of alfresco options that take full advantage of the breathtaking location. Whether seeking a private Board of Directors retreat, rewarding high-achieving employees with an action-packed program of unique diversions or an exclusive location to host an international conference, Half Moon offers a legacy and pedigree dating back to 1954. Its professional team of planners is unrivalled for their experience, perfectly attuned to the requirements of each client and focused on delivering an event that surpasses all expectations.

For more information call (888) 830-5974.


Paresa Resort, is a hideaway-style luxury pool villa and pool suite resort perched on the cliffs of Kamala amongst a lush tropical forest in Phuket Thailand. Paresa boasts breathtaking views of the dramatic indigo Andaman sea, embracing the exclusivity of its natural surroundings. The meeting room at Paresa is perfect to accommodate any type of meeting or work session, offers multiple layout solutions up to a capacity of 40 guests and it is wired with the most modern technology and audio-visual equipment. Altogether paired with breathtaking views of the Andaman Sea. Catering can be provided by the resort's culinary team and every detail will receive impeccable attentions.

For more information call 66 (0)76 302 000.


Situated right on the Sea of Cortés, Marquis Los Cabos is an all-suite, all-inclusive property offering beach-front access to Mexico's warm waters.  With ocean views from nearly every room of the resort, the adults-only property has 203 Deluxe Suites, 26 one-bedroom Casitas each with a private pool, 5 Master Suites offering a plunge pool and a deluxe two-bedroom Presidential Suite also offering a private pool. In addition, the property offers 3 pools, two with infinity-edge; 4 high-end dining experiences with everything from regional Mexican, to seafood, to Italian cuisines; specially curated Latin American sculptures and artworks throughout the  resort  and a variety of activities for guests to partake in. For meetings & conferences, the property boasts over 12,000 sq. ft. of event space, able to accommodate groups up to 1,200 people. Marquis Los Cabos' event spaces  include  the 6,350-sq. ft. ballroom, a private boardroom, nine breakout areas, foyer and terrace, and can all be personalized to fit the needs of each group. Groups can also partake in water activities like deep sea fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, water aerobics, and beach volleyball, tennis and soccer as a breakout option.

For more information call (800) 745 8883.