Back in the 1960s, young baby boomers and their parents trekked to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to the seaside Lake Arrowhead Campground for a family getaway filled with arcade games, pool time and, of course, sunny days playing on the beach. While the campground itself no longer exists, the beloved memories of the location can be relived at what is now the 255-suite Embassy Suites Myrtle Beach-Oceanfront Resort.
Among the hotel’s 70,000 square feet of meeting space is the 9,200-sq.-ft. Palmettos Pavilion, an enclosed tent with heat, air and concrete floors overflowing into the hotel’s pool area—a popular spot for a luau and pig pickin’ meal. With 18-ft. ceilings and 14,500 square feet of meeting space, the Kensington Ballroom is the hotel’s largest meeting area and can be broken up into seven smaller rooms. An in-house activity coordinator can customize teambuilding activities for your group, like a “Survivor”-themed activity where students must build a fire using natural materials in order to survive (win the game), or arrange classics like beach Olympics or scavenger hunts.
Get the most bang for your buck by booking during the city’s off-shoulder season, November to March, says Sabena Dayton, director of sales and marketing. “We do a lot of faith-based groups that time of year because the pricing is attractive and they still get the beach environment,” she says. The only obstacle for those months is weather, she adds, which can put a damper on outdoor teambuilding activities. “It’s a bit of a gamble, but I’ve also been here when it’s been 80 degrees outside in the winter.”
During free time, the on-site waterpark is fun for all ages, groups can take a dip in the ocean, only a few steps away, or one of the hotel’s nine pools. The property has two oceanfront restaurants to choose from: Coastal Grill, serving classic American fare, and Vintage Twelve, which seats up to 80 people and dishes out small plates including tuna tartare and South Carolina favorite—shrimp and grits.
If the Embassy Suites could be summed up in one word, it would be flexibility, says Dayton. The hotel shares its seaside estate with quaint villas (known collectively as Kingston Plantation), as well as the 385-room Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort—all of which can be used by planners needing a variety of room options.
If baptisms are part of your event, gather your group on the beach for a dedication service, or head to the Intracoastal Waterway for a freshwater option, says Dayton.
Photo credit: Kingston Resorts