At the 301-acre town of Colonial Williamsburg near all of the many American Revolution era attractions are three area hotels, all providing gracious Southern charm, plantation-style architecture and functional meeting space. The Williamsburg Inn, Lodge and Woodlands all feature historic folk art, lantern lit hallways and warm woods throughout. Guestrooms include handmade silk fabrics and original Honduras mahogany.
We spoke with Perry Goodbar, vp of sales to learn more about meetings in the historic city.
PREVUE: How has Colonial Williamsburg changed over the past few years?
Perry Goodbar: A lot of people are pleasantly surprised that we have a great combinations of history, foundation and educational outreach with the facilities to host large and small meetings up to 1,000 people. Over the past five years we have spent over $2.5 million updating and upgrading our facilities for meetings and events.
What hotels in the area accommodate to large groups?
The Colonial Williamsburg meeting hotels include the Williamsburg Inn, the Williamsburg Lodge and the Williamsburg Woodlands. The nice thing from a conference standpoint is that we offer different price points based on our product levels. We can accommodate large groups very easily.
What hotel is the most luxurious?
The Williamsburg Inn is the most upscale hotel in the city. The bathrooms have recently been upgraded with marble from floor to ceiling. We knocked down walls, converting two guestrooms into one. They’re much larger now. In essence, we reduced the guestrooms by half, cutting down to 62. We’ve made it a high-quality experience with the luxury linens, draperies and accents.
Which hotel of the three has the largest meetings space?
The Williamsburg Lodge has 45,000 sf of flexible function space. We have an 11,000-sf ballroom and a 7,000-sf space and various breakout rooms. The Lodge is where we host most of our meetings. The nice thing with The Lodge and The Inn is that they are across the street from one another. So even if they are staying at The Lodge for their meeting, a portion of the group may upgrade to the Williamsburg Inn or to the Williamsburg Woodlands for a price point going down. There’s a shuttle system that goes from one property to another.
What recreational activities are available in the area?
The hotels border the Revolutionary City, the main attraction of the destination. It’s across the street from the hotel properties. In your spare time between meetings, you can mingle with the interpreters, visit museums or just browse through the area.
If recreation is of interest, between the inn and the lodge is the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club with two 18-hole golf courses and a 9-hole executive course. Next to that is the 20,000-sf Spa of Colonial Williamsburg with indoor/outdoor pools, fitness center and treatment rooms.
What’s the vibe like?
The vibe in Colonial Williamsburg is very personal. John D. Rockefeller Jr. who worked on the restoration and design of the Williamsburg Inn had a goal of it being a home away from home. It’s a comfortable place to stay. As the renovations continue over the years, we are still a very high-end facility. In the South, you’ll find very gracious people here that are very accommodating. We always say, “welcome home” when groups arrive, because this is that kind of casual place.
How’s the food?
Chef Travis Brust is the executive chef at the Williamsburg Inn. He just finished a contest in Las Vegas that featured acclaimed chefs and returned with the award of “World’s Best Chef.” He’s very talented and combines contemporary twists to some of our classic dishes. He’s doing a great job. At The Lodge, Chef Reese Lewis works with planners for banquets. The group F&B in our meeting space is as good as the restaurants. There are also a lot of taverns in town that serve great food.
What about teambuilding activities?
Sterling Events DMC partners with us to provide a link to outside activities in the area. In the past they have taken groups to Yorktown, Jamestown Beach and the Jamestown River. Groups love to go kayaking and canoeing on the river.
The area has a large variety of plantation homes that once belonged to ex-presidents that can be toured down the James River. Another activity includes tours of Merchants Square, which is adjacent to the Revolutionary City. Merchants Square is a shopping and dining district filled with gourmet restaurants, a pub and about 50 different boutique shops. It’s great for people to browse and wander. For groups, it provides opportunities for dine arounds.
What about CSR?
All proceeds for hospitality and meetings go back into the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation educational outreach program. It’s great to do an event here because we are a modern facility with great history and at the end of the day it all goes back into the community.
Are there any unique special event venues apart from the hotels?
The gardens of the Governors Palace is a fantastic event setting. Also, the former U.S. Capital Building is close by. A lot of the early founding fathers would hold meetings there. It’s got great history.