Brocket Hall in the U.K has a sweet deal for meetings in 2020.


The year isn’t over and already deals are coming in for 2020. Great news for those planning ahead. For instance, at the English estate in London (U.K) called Brocket Hall, the 543-acre luxury venue has a Business Bloom package for a minimum of 20 attendees that is valid from Feb. 28 through Mar. 31. The offer covers all the meeting rooms, with tea, coffee and homemade treats throughout. Either a working buffet lunch or a two-course luncheon. There’s a three-course dinner in the Ballroom at The Prime Minister’s Table and a full English breakfast in the Dining room. Many more amenities than possible to list.;;  01707 368 725.

Looking to make some last minute travel plans? How about the Caribe Royale in Kissimmee, FL? Book a room between Dec. 11-25 and receive complimentary breakfast for four daily. November 28, 2019. Room rates begin at $120/night.

Caribe Royale in Kissimmee, FL has a mid-winter package.

Their fifth anniversary is a gift to golf enthusiasts. Quivira Golf Club, the Jack Nicklaus-designed course at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, Pueblo Bonito Golf & Spa Resorts and ranked No. 2 on Golfweek’s list of the “Top 50 Courses in the Caribbean and Mexico,” has a golf package to commemorate their opening on Dec. 4, 2014. The 7,085-yard, par-72 tour de force at the adults-only, all-inclusive beachfront property located within Quivira Los Cabos, includes these amenities in their ‘5th Anniversary Package.’ Golf Director Antonio Reynante and his staff will instruct on how to play the course successfully. Make an ace at the par-three ninth hole, and you’ll win a complementary seven-night VIP golf vacation for four players. Imbibe in the celebration’s specialty cocktail: Pitaya soda, vodka and Damiana infusion, mango foam with smoked morita pepper salt. There’s even a specialty dish, Platillo: braised octopus with shrimp from the Sea of Cortes, chickpea hummus, pickled kabuchi and red onion. There are many more amenities with this package, which runs from now through April 30, subject to available.;; (800) 990-8250


Montréal (Canada) competes intensely for corporate meeting business, and this coming year, with a steady influx of new and renovated hotels, the metropolitan city has opened wide its invitation to book. Here’s just some of what you can expect. The Epik Collection continues its transformation of classic buildings. This time it’s the 37-room Hôtel le Lux, due to open sometime in the Spring. www. In September, look for Hôtel Humaniti, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. Humaniti is part of Montréal’s first “smart vertical community.” Divided into hotel and condo, the $200-budget is expected to produce 193 rooms and meeting space for up to 4,000. Also that month, as part of a redevelopment of the Westbury quartier of the Côte-des-Neigesborough, the Westbury Montréal hotel (part Hilton Garden Inn and part Homewood Suites) will have 5,000 sf of event space to hold up to 350 people, including a 2,800 sf outdoor terrace. The Hilton garden Inn section will have 157 rooms and the Hilton Homewood Suites will have 133. There aren’t any functioning websites yet, but also look for the openings of the 33-room Hôtel Mile-End in the fall and the 175-room Hilton Hampton Inn Chinatown by the end of 2020. Four properties are being seriously renovated, with three due for a big reveal in 2020 and one in 2021. Hôtel Bonaventure Montréal, known for has already unveiled their redone meeting spaces, but by April, all 397 rooms will have been refurbished, a bit at a time. Marriott International has big plans. They have two hotels undergoing renovations in 2020 and one in 2021. April, look for the Hôtel le Centre Sheraton Montréal’s $50-mllion dollar budget to renovate the 825 rooms. The hotel has 31 meeting spaces. By October, the Montréal Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel’s 279-room property will have received flooring redos in the rooms and technological renovations throughout the hotel. Last, but certainly not least, the historic Marriott Château Champlain Montréal is getting an overall face lift, from the 25 meeting rooms to all 614 guest rooms. The common areas and transformation of the pool into a 3,400 sf wellness area is part of the $30-million

Rendering of Caesars Forum,which is due to open in March, 2020.

Caesars Forum, a 550,000 sf conference facility in Las Vegas (NV) isn’t expected to open until March, but already more than one million room nights and over $390 million is contracted for meetings and events. Some of the events industry leaders who’ve already selected Caesars Forum for meetings includes ConferenceDirect, Cvent, HelmsBriscoe, Meeting Professionals International and Professional Convention Management Association. The $375 million conference center will carry a LEED silver certification and will have the world’s two largest pillarless ballrooms: each allegedly the size of one football field with about 110,000 sf, two 40,000 sf ballrooms, six state of the art boardrooms, and will also be the first facility of this size built on one level. The adjacent Forum Plaza will be the first 100,000 sf dedicated outdoor event space in Las Vegas. The resort will be able to host up to 10,000 attendees in more than 100 break-out rooms.;

Asian culinary offersings will be available at EDGE Rooftop Cocktail Lounge in Tampa

New Executive Chef Jason Bamford has has altered menus and the cooking classes held in Tampa’s Epicurean Hotel in their Epicurean Theatre. Bamford has introduced an innovative “American fusion” menu at its signature restaurant, Élevage SoHo Kitchen & Bar, and Asian-inspired culinary offerings at EDGE Rooftop Cocktail Lounge. Élevage’s menu now includes such dishes as dry aged beef tartare, charred octopus and hand-pulled burrata. Vegetarian options range from grilled aubergine (eggplant) and charred avocado to whole roasted cauliflower and roasted roots. For the regulars, one foodie-favorite dish remains: the Homage to Bern’s pressed steak sandwich, a nod to their legacy, Bern’s Steak House. The new EDGE Rooftop Cocktail Lounge menu features chef-inspired small plates, such as Vietnamese Chicken Salad, falafel salad, and a fried chicken Bánh Mì . An updated cocktail program showcases well-made classics, while highlighting creative signature offerings such as the Snap Chat with sugar snap peas and A Head of Lettuce made with Reyka vodka, fresh lettuce and olive oil. Cooking classes in the Epicurean Theatre, which are open to the public, offers interactive and knowledge-based classes on wine and cooking, taught by Bramford or one of his skilled colleagues. The Theatre is also available for private bookings. The Epicurean Hotel was developed in collaboration with Mainsail Lodging & Development and the legendary Bern’s Steak House. It was the first newly constructed hotel property in the United States to join Marriott’s Autograph Collection.;  (855) U-AWAKEN (829-2536).  

Kelly Clarkson takes up residence at Zappos Theater in Las Vegas, NV.

Grammy Award-winning global superstar Kelly Clarkson is taking up a Las Vegas residency at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Clarkson and her band will offer VIP experiences that bundle with premium tickets. There will be a limited number of meet & greets possible. Zappos Theatre is a 7,000-seat state-of-the-art entertainment venue.


New direct flights make getting to Los Cabos, Mexico easier.

Los Cabos Tourism Board announces the opening of its first trade office in Los Angeles. Located at the tip of the 1,000-mile-long Baja Peninsula, Los already has nonstop flights from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and now the U.K. Four new flights just begun are from Monterrey ( Mexico); Edmonton (Canada); Winnipeg (Canada); and a direct flight from London (England). The direct flight from London will be the first route outside of North America and will be operated by TUI on the 787 Dreamliner.  


Dress up (or not) in your finest and merriest Dickens-era apparel, grab a battery-operated lantern or candle, and join in the Dickens Illuminated Procession on Dec. 12 in Fernandina Beach (FL), the newest addition to the Amelia Island’s Victorian Christmas celebration, running Dec. 13-15. Step back in time to experience Charles Dickens’ early Victorian era Britain, with themed characters and entertainers, festive lights and holiday décor, period vendors, exciting seasonal entertainment, a petting zoo with goats, and tastes of the holidays. Returning annual favorites to the free family-oriented events include photos with St. Nick, Tiny Tim’s Kids Zone, the adults-only Dickens After Dark, and the Christmas Wish booth. New events for Dickens on Centre includes the addition of the “2nd Act Stage” to complement the main Wharf Stage and a new “Legend of St. Nick” stage show. Love to dress up and compete for prizes? There’s a new period piece costume contest.

Skiing and shopping deals at Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley, CA.

Santa may be skiing on the slope next to you in Alpine Meadows/Squaw Valley (CA), but if you don’t want to wait to see what he may bring, spend $750 in the Village shops through Dec. 24 and receive a free adult lift ticket, valid for the 2019-2020 season. Just bring your receipts for all retail, online apparel store, and food and beverages in the area to the main tickets office at Squaw Valley or Alpine Meadows.

Everyone is welcome. That was a key message for “All Access Wake County (Raleigh, N.C), the first ever accessibility awareness and training summit for restaurants, hotels, attractions, retailers and event venues throughout Wake County. More than 150 hospitality industry employees participated in summit which was held at the Raleigh Convention Center. “We created ‘All Access Wake County’ to train, equip and motivate all Wake County hospitality partners to go above and beyond just being ADA compliant,” said Dennis Edwards, president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh). “The hospitality industry here lives by the motto ‘All Are Welcome’ and we want those with all types of disabilities to know that includes them. The November training summit was kicked-off with an opening keynote presentation by Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray, authors of the book “I’ll Push You.” They were the subjects of the documentary by the same title chronicling their journey to become the first to complete the 500-mile Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail in Spain by wheelchair. This summit was the kickoff for a larger initiative, which includes a new accessibility resource portal at This training resource encourages hospitality partners to provide extraordinary customer service for people with disabilities by educating them on immediate and long-term steps to providing effective service to guests with accessibility challenges. Visit Raleigh and the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA) also implemented a digital accessibility solution called AudioEye on their websites ( and  AudioEye, the leader in cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) digital content accessibility solutions, is a leading web accessibility company with technology for sustainable compliance with ADA-related requirements and enhanced user experience to make enhancements to websites.

Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries.  She is an active member of ILEA and MPI and is now serving on the 2019 – 2020 MPI Global Advisory Board for The Meeting Professional Magazine for the second consecutive year. Karen writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, she has owned magazines, written for newspapers, trade publications, radio and TV. As her alter-ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, she is a featured entertainer for corporate and social events.;; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady.

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows


Time is running out to book The Village at Squaw Valley Lodging (Olympic Village, CA) winter sale and save 25% for stays from Jan. 6 – May 31, based on availability and only for Sun-Thursday and non-holiday stays. The majority of room have private balconies, fireplaces and kitchens. Standard rooms do not have those amenities.

(800) 403-0206

The Winter Escape Package being offered by Caribe Royale Orlando isn’t the luxury resorts only promotional package being offered. There’s one for Florida and Georgia residents and if you hurry, there’s a Fall program Read the rest of this entry »


Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort

This may be the gift that keeps on giving, all the way through December 31, 2022. Bring your meeting to The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel and receive a $3 room rebate per actualized room up to $5,000. The Islands Incentive program created by the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau includes any new bookings that occur from May 1 to December 31 each year through 2022. To qualify, planners must book a meeting with a minimum of 150 room nights at one of these 14 properties. In Fort Myers: Crowne Plaza Fort Myers at Bell Tower Shops, Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport at Town Center, Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa, Drury Inn & Suites, and Luminary Hotel & Co., Autograph Collection (opening in 2020). On Fort Myers Beach: DiamondHead Beach Resort and Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina. South Seas Island Resort and ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort are both on Captiva Island. The others include Embassy Suites Hotel, Estero; Gasparilla Inn & Club, Boca Grande; Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa, Bonita Springs; The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village, Cape Coral; and Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, Sanibel Island. The offer applies to meeting groups who may be considering other destinations besides Lee County. Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_9605 Russ really lost his head over this accordianist!

Russ really lost his head over this accordionist!

In Part 5: Mozart brought music to the world, The Sound of Music rang in our heads, and the Eagle’s Nest reminded us of the destruction that greed, hatred, and supreme power can enable.

Munich is the capital of Bavaria. There are roughly one-and-a-half million people living in the city, who proudly have their own nationalistic dialect, and think of themselves as from München Bavaria, not Germany. Munich is known for its beer, Oktoberfest celebrations, museums, and international companies like the headquarters of BMW.

Where we stayed:

Eurostars Book Hotel must have been designed for people like me: readers and/or writers whose imaginations propel their lives. From the first moment we stepped inside Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_9413 This is the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born here.

In Part 4: Neither the Prince of Liechtenstein or Heidi was around so instead we visited a mountain in Innsbruck and a centuries-old museum of Tyrolean farms.


Where we stayed:

Imlauer Hotel Pitter Salzburg has been owned by the Pitter family since 2007. The hotel was renovated in 2014. It has a beer cellar and Imlauer Sky – Bar & Restaurant rooftop restaurant. The buffet was diverse and carries many regional dishes. Staff was friendly and professional.

What we saw:

One of my grandfathers was from Salzburg (which means salt fortress), so I was Read the rest of this entry »

Vineyard near Heidiland (Maienfeld) in Switzerland.


In Part 3: A toe dip into Stresa, Italy and a relaxing cruise around Lugano, Switzerland that explored many ancient and diverse communities.

Before leaving Switzerland behind and crossing into Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein, we stopped in the border town of Maienfeld, Switzerland. For such a small area, Majenfeld holds two great distinctions of world import.

It’s the birthplace of Heidi, a story written in 1881 by Johanna Spyri.  The story may have been a work of fiction, but try telling that to the international tourists who flock here to visit a theme park-like area called Heidiland to see Read the rest of this entry »

Driving through the Simplon Pass connecting Italy and Switzerland.

In Part 2: A relaxing boat ride and two cogwheel trains later, we’d risen over 10,000 feet to gape at the Matterhorn.

We took a toe dip into Italy before re-entering Switzerland, where we would be staying in Lugano for a few days. I say a toe dip because we left the mountains briefly for Stresa, Italy, an internationally acclaimed resort town snuggled up to Lake Maggiore, and because similar to a toe dip, we weren’t invested in full immersion.

Before arriving in Stresa, we took a roadside pause on the Simplon Pass, where Napoleon had constructed a road Read the rest of this entry »

View on our ferry ride to Andermatt.

In Part 1: Trains, boats, a fierce storm atop Mount Pilatus… and this was just the beginning of the tour!

On our way to a boat ride that was part of the day’s transportation to Zermatt, the alpine city from which many mountaineers venture to tackle the Matterhorn, we bussed through the small village of Vegas, where once Russian composer Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff lived. The gentle one-hour 45-minute minute journey on Lake Lucerne aboard the Flüelen ferry began in Vitznau, which also has the oldest cogwheel train still running. Lake Read the rest of this entry »

The scenic natural beauty of Switzerland.

It was the trains that did it.

The idea of trains snaking slowly up to mountain peaks 7,000 feet or higher along ancient cogwheel tracks exhilarated my any-excuse-to-take-a-train husband, Russ. My stomach roiled pondering multiple train rides chugging along steep inclines, thinking about how I got nervous even holding onto the railing on the Empire State Building’s upper floor and tried looking down. He buttered me up about taking the Odysseys Unlimited Alpine Splendor tour by painting a picture of the scenic beauty we’d encounter in five countries: Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Liechtenstein, and Germany. By then, I remembered we’ve climbed glaciers and volcanos, ridden cable cars up 5,000 feet, and never once did I pass out in fright. My fears morphed into anticipation.

Ride along with me on this soaring Alpine Adventure which concluded with an extension trip to Read the rest of this entry »

Marenas Beach Resort in Sunny Isles Beach, Miami, FL


School in Florida is back in session, but that doesn’t mean the travel deals have played hooky. In the two-and-a-half-mile white sand stretch of Sunny Isles Beach in the Miami area, a number of hotels are offering some sweet deals for getaways. For Florida residents, the Read the rest of this entry »

Brocket Hall at Christmas


The holidays are fast approaching, which means you only have until August 31 to book a vintage holiday celebration at one of the main venues at the 543-acre Brocket Hall Estate in the United Kingdom. There are special menus and amenities for each venue. Brocket Hall’s butlers cater to up to 150 guests in the ballroom, Billiard room and library. With this booking by August 31, the planner receives a complimentary bedroom in Brocket Hall on the night of the party. Book the Oak Room and the planner gets a complimentary bedroom in Melbourne Lodge on the night of the party. Or, join in with your group of Read the rest of this entry »

A painting by Paul Cezanne.

In Part 4, we saw how Vincent Van Gogh’s art was impacted by his mental issues, how mountaintop former castles and fortresses continue to “live,” and how the idyllic beauty of Southern France country landscapes inspire paintings.


It was a reality jolt to spend days roaming gentle villages of country folk living high in ancient fortresses and then to find oneself in the thriving urban city of Aix-en-Provence. We strolled along Cours Mirabeau, a wide, tree-lined thoroughfare, explored the Old Town, and took in the artistic drumbeat left by Artist Paul Cezanne, born here in 1839 and who Read the rest of this entry »

Shopping at the farmer market.

In Part 3, we cruised down the Canal du Midi in a barge, cooked a full-course meal in a 5-star French hotel’s cooking school, and learned that Vincent Van Gogh left his impressions on more than canvas.


One of the absolute delights of this Southern France trip was getting to visit (albeit too briefly) small mountainside medieval villages on day excursions. We were lodging in Aix-en-Provence. Each village brimmed with the flavors of France, from fresh bags of lavender to nutty confections of nougat, to the flower-potted window sills that crowded narrow passageways within the former fortress rock walls. The air was fresh from mountain breezes. The views of multi-hued fields Read the rest of this entry »

The locks at Canal du Midi

In Part 2, the journey took us to Figueres, Spain to explore Surrealist Salvadore Dali’s Theatre-Museum, to the seaside city of Collioure immortalized by paintings of André Derain, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, and to the quiet beauty of Perpignan.


On our way to stay in Arles and to visit Avignon, we paused for a morning excursion on the famed Canal du Midi.


The slow steady pace of cruising down the 150-mile-long 17th century-constructed Canal du Midi in a flat-bottomed barge was one of the most relaxing aspects of the two-week Odysseys Unlimited tour thus far. Originally named the Canal Royal en Languedoc in 1681 when completed by Pierre-Paul Riquet, it was renamed by French revolutionaries to Canal Read the rest of this entry »

Hollywood Oscar-like figurines repose in niches at Dali’s Theatre-Museum

In Part 1, our journey began in Albi before exploring the medieval city of Carcassonne and then the Abbaye Fontroide in Narbonne.


Where we stayed:

La Villa Duflot sits in a three-acre park with olive and palm trees. The hotel’s site says it has just 24-rooms, but it is apparent they have added many more than that. We had to walk outside the hotel’s lobby to reach our room in a first-floor wing. The hotel is styled after an Italian villa, although the décor was more Art Deco. The dining room in the evening is Read the rest of this entry »

Idyllic Southern France countryside

Art. Food. Wine.

Those were the three words that drew my husband, Russ, and I to book our two-week tour to Southern France, the Languedoc and Provence regions. Russ expected this tour would be a bit more laid back than our previous Odysseys Unlimited tours, though sometimes we still felt as if we were racing against time to cram in as many cultural experiences as we could before our weary bodies collapsed. That’s not a complaint, by the way… just the reality of not wanting to miss out Read the rest of this entry »

Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa


Summer isn’t the only time Florida Resident discount rates will be available at Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa, minutes from Naples, FL. A seven-day advance purchase is required, but the rates are available through December 31 by using the code CPFLR. The 26-acre property can host meetings up to 1500 people, has an 18-hole golf course, Camp Hyatt kids club, two firepits and is close to the airport. There is a three-acre pool area with waterslides, lazy river, adults-only pool, hot tub, and both a Read the rest of this entry »

The Met Hotel in Greece is both an art gallery and upscale hotel.

When I first began writing this column, I was working regularly for a high end travel magazine that catered to the hospitality, meetings & events industries. Over time I have realized that not all travellers visit destinations or plan events because they are part of a corporate or social group. This edition (and likely more in the future) will feature some personal travel options for adults and families.


It’s an art gallery. No, it’s a hotel. No, actually The Met Hotel in the ancient coastal city of Thessaloniki, Greece is both. While Read the rest of this entry »


A terrace of El Llorenç Parc de la Mar overlooks the Palma neighborhood in Mallorca

One of the oldest neighborhoods in the Palma area of Mallorca will be getting awakening jolt of modern sophistication when El Llorenç Parc de la Mar opens this July. The 33-room boutique hotel will have a three-tiered rooftop terrace providing 360-degree views of the city, as well as two restaurants, a lobby bar, and a wellness center called Natura Bissé. Renowned island chef Santi Taura’s culinary offerings will reflect traditional cuisine, with ingredients sourced locally, such as signature black pork from an island producer. El Llorenç Parc de la Mar is located within the ancient quarter known as La Calatrava, an area once inhabited by Jews, Muslims and Christians. Highlights include the Arab baths, the Church of Santa Fe and the Church of Monti-Sion and the Convent of Santa Clara, where the nuns of the Order have lived and prayed for more than 750 years. The quarter is located just a short distance from some of the city’s major landmarks, including the Palma Cathedral, Almudaina Palace, Cort Square or the S’Hort del Rei Gardens. Swedish designer, Magnus Ehrland. Incorporates geometric motifs reflective of the local history and Moorish influence on the island. Read the rest of this entry »

Hotel ICON in Hong Kong


Book a suite or Above & Beyond Club room directly with Hotel ICON and enjoy a complimentary one-way private chauffeur ride in a Tesla Model S from Hong Kong International Airport to the hotel in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui East. Together with two electric shuttle buses and a BMW i3, Hotel ICON aims to lead the industry in switching to 100% electric transportation. Bookings made through other booking channels or an online travel agent would have to pay HK $800 one way. Multiple bookings on consecutive nights will also get a 20% discount on the departure airport transfer by Tesla. Bookings Read the rest of this entry »

Russ wearing the MP Magic Premium Socks

I have reviewed Magic Socks when the company has come out with a new style. Sometimes the socks are more feminine and in the case of this latest MP Magic Premium Socks, more masculine. The company doesn’t pay me to write about their socks. They ask if I’d test them out and review them, good or bad.

So far, their various socks have been tested by me (for dance and fitness classes), by my grandson for football practice in Florida’s summer sun, and this latest pair by my husband.

The company’s philosophy is that you should be able to wear their socks for up to six days without them becoming smelly. They are woven of fast moisture wicking to keep your feet dry and have special silver, Read the rest of this entry »


Eiffel Tower Lights shine across the sky on the Las Vegas, NV Strip.


It’s amazing how the new light show at Paris Las Vegas can illuminate even the neon-drenched Nevada skyline and add more than a little sparkle to a 541-foot gem originally erected on the Las Vegas Strip in 1999. Inspired by the Eiffel Tower’s illuminations in France, the $1.7 million light show will offer a free, recurring show featuring synchronized and choreographed twinkling and colored lights for visitors to enjoy nightly on The Strip. In partnership with Vision Sign Inc., Paris Las Vegas installed approximately 300 color washing light fixtures and more than 800 white strobe lights on the tower’s exterior. Guests can enjoy the nightly light show every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour from sunset to midnight. By May, the hotel’s Read the rest of this entry »

Swimming with a whale shark


Corporate and leisure-travel readers across the world read my blog, so it shouldn’t come as any great surprise that I am often asked if I know about out-of-the-box trips or exotic destinations of which they may not be aware. This new package just being offered by Montana-based Austin Adventures sounds exactly like it would fit the bill for any adventurous group to undertake. Of course, individuals can sign on for any scheduled trips, but think of the experiences a like-minded, seaworthy group could share by swimming alongside 25-40- Read the rest of this entry »

I was threatened today by email. Third time this particular threat has arrived in the past few weeks. Each time the message is roughly the same: send me bitcoins or I will expose you to your friends, family, and all email contacts.

The return addresses are always different. Sometimes the threat is that they have one of my passwords and in good faith, they reveal it. I immediately called my computer guru, Joseph Boy of Your Computer Solutions, who said he gets these messages also. Just delete them. He explained how the hacking trolls obtained that one password, but they haven’t actually wormed their way into my system.

Today’s email heading actually bore one of my own email address, which I didn’t notice until after I began reading the threatening email. That is part of the scare tactic: I can spoof your email and everyone will open this insidious note because they will think I am sending it. I’ve gotten many phone calls that spoofed a business name and even twice our home number said it was us calling, but this email got right to the point of trying to instill fear instead of just scamming me into buying their services.

This troll alleged he had remoted into my webcam and caught me watching porn. Send a $1000 in bitcoin or the world would see my scandalous activities. It was a much more detailed, longer message than ones I’ve gotten before, but still cautioning me against calling the police or trying to track the extortionist.

Sad news for them. I don’t watch porn and I don’t have a webcam.

I haven’t gotten the phone calls about family members in dire straits (send $$ immediately) or that the IRS was after me for not paying taxes and I needed to contact this number immediately or I’d go to jail. I haven’t gotten those calls, but I do personally know people who have.

The scare tactics work on many people. They are more unsettling than some Nigerian Prince has a fortune to leave me, or XYZ company in (usually) China is looking for a representative and even though I do not have any experience with what they’re seeking, I am the chosen recipient of what promises to be great business wealth.

I’m likely older than many of you reading this. I remember when this insistent pursuit of money at the expense of anxious victims-to-be didn’t initiate on the telephone or internet, or on unsuspecting innocents.

I want it to stop.

No one I’ve asked has answers except to delete the messages, hang up the phone, or just don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize. The latter works with our home phone but not my business number because I don’t know from where my next client will emerge.

I don’t get the greed, animosity, mind games, and scare tactics. A couple days ago I discovered a troll had given me a nasty review that appeared on a search site next to my website name ( I’ve never heard of this person, let alone read him. I have other business friends who have had this occur and the unwarranted negative comments nearly ruined their respective businesses. I’ve read that people are paid to write, stalk or troll businesses by a competitor who must not otherwise be able to obtain a steady clientele on their own merits.

I don’t have answers. Just questions on why people go out of their way to do harm. I don’t want to believe this is the new normal, so maybe they are just people with morally-bankrupt souls. Either way. I want it to stop.

We all must want this to stop.


Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries.  She is an active member of ILEA and MPI and is now serving on the 2016 – 2020 MPI Global Advisory Board for The Meeting Professional Magazine for the third consecutive year. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Karen writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, she has owned magazines, written for newspapers, trade publications, radio and TV. As her alter-ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, she is a featured entertainer for corporate and social events.;; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady.

SoundWaves brings music to Gaylord Opryland swimmers.


The party possibilities just got hotter at Gaylord Opryland with SoundWaves, the nation’s first upscale indoor and outdoor resort water attraction. The four-acre park on three-levels, kept at a comfortably warm 84 degrees year-round, has 111,000 sf of indoor attractions, dining and amenities, as well as 106,000 sf of outdoor water attractions. The natural setting of nine acres of garden atriums in the hole are enhanced by rides intertwined with living walls and plant beds. Book your corporate function Read the rest of this entry »

I am always looking for new adventures. Cooking, travelling, and exploring what makes others smile. Here I am on a farm in Hungary, rolling out strudel dough just like my relatives taught me.

Welcome to the New Year. No matter where you are in the world, change is going to be the most overused word of the year. Even those of you who choose to ignore political news stories or who prefer to see the glass as always half full will realize how nothing remains as it has been, is, or will be. So welcome to the Year of Change. What will remain consistent is that I intend to provide you with the latest in destination deals, informational entertaining stories of my travels, reviews of products. Food and wine, and to know that I listen to you. I pledge to honor your diligence and faithful reading of my blogs Read the rest of this entry »

Sports socks kept my feet fresh smelling.

My feet don’t stink and I don’t think I have ever worn a pair of socks a second day after working out in them the day before, but I was willing to test MP Magic Socks’ latest innovation, the sports sock.

Full disclosure. I do not work for MP Socks, nor was I paid to write this review. In September 2017, the then new company sent me socks and asked if I would review them. The premise of what made these socks “stink-less” was intriguing, so I agreed.

In that article,, I let my husband and a teenage boy wear two of the three pairs sent and I wore a pair of anklets to my exercise class. Surprisingly, even the pairs worn by the men remained odor-free. One wore them to football practice. The other for gardening and walking.

Like the aforementioned socks, this new pair is infused with three metals: silver, copper and zinc. The combination of these materials, along with some other undisclosed ingredients, are to make the socks antibacterial, durable, and the mesh structure is supposed to enhance air flow and permeable. Unlike the anklets I tested the first time, this pair of socks extends three inches above my ankle bone.

While I thought this pair more stylish in design, with sporty red and white pinstripes running the length of the black socks, what I absolutely enjoyed has been the sheer comfort. My feet felt padded without the socks being thick and my feet didn’t get sweaty or hot as I went through three strong workout classes over two days and then wore them with a different pair of sneakers to run errands for many more hours.

Best of all, after two full days of wearing these socks, they remain as fresh smelling as when I first donned them.

Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries.  She is an active member of ILEA and MPI and is now serving on the 2018 – 2019 MPI Global Advisory Board for The Meeting Professional Magazine for the third consecutive year. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Karen writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, she has owned magazines, written for newspapers, trade publications, radio and TV. As her alter-ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, she is a featured entertainer for corporate and social events.;; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady.


Pickering House Inn in New Hampshire is ready for winter


You won’t want to pass this off as a place for just sports fans, even if NFL legend and Hall of Famer Terrell Owens did join Caesars Entertainment CEO and President Mark Frissora for the grand opening of The Book, an Experiential & Technologically Savvy Sports Bar & Event Venue connected to The LINQ Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV. So what makes this 220-seat, 11,000 sf venue so exceptional? Maybe the 87 TVs, some as large as 98 inches. Maybe it’s Vegas’ Read the rest of this entry »

Caesar’s Entertainment and Saleforce members build wheelchairs for veterans


Caesars Entertainment, the world’s most geographically-diverse U.S casino-entertainment company, and Salesforce, the global leader in CRM, have given more than “Thank you for your service” appreciation to veterans in Las Vegas, NV. Forty team members of the two companies joined forces to build and donate eight wheelchairs to the veterans through Veterans Village. The build-a-wheelchair event was hosted at the High Roller, the world’s tallest observation wheel at The LINQ Promenade, adjacent to Caesars Forum, which opens in 2020. This is not Caesar’s Entertainment first give-back to Veterans program. Since 2013 when they launched the Enlisting Heroes program, more than 280 activities have been produced and more than $1 million has been donated. Salesforce created their Vetforce program, which is the internal employee resource Read the rest of this entry »

Even the lemurs like the pumpkin giveaway at Safari Wilderness in Florida.


Book three-nights at Paradisus Cancún by October 31 and stay before December 22 to get 35% off the stay, plus added amenities for taking advantage of other promotional offers, such as booking a Royal service room and getting a $100 in MeliáRewards points that you can exchange for services at Cocos Beach Club, fine & prime cut, exclusive brand bottles.

ME Cabo

Book and stay at ME by Melia Cabo by December 22 and receive $500 in US credits that can be used to pay portion of goods and services during your stay including Yhi Spa Services, room upgrade, dinners at BMI Restaurant and Read the rest of this entry »

A Memorial column.

Part 6 was Tourists Invade Prague, The City of Concerts, Castles and Korunas



While our two-week Odysseys Unlimited Discovering Eastern Europe tour focused on cities from which my ancestors had originated, our tour company’s arranged non-guided extension trip to Berlin, Germany at least landed us in the same country from which many of Russ’ family had dwelled. Seven of our tour group faced one another on a four-hour train ride from Read the rest of this entry »

Ballroom in the Grand Bohemia Praha, where the Mozart dinner concert is held.

Part 5 was Slovakia, Once Again!



Where we stayed:

The 78-room Grand Bohemia Praha is tucked neatly onto a side street within walking distance of famous attractions such as the Old Town Square, Old Town Hall, and Wenceslas Square.

Our room was a triangle, which seemed to make it feel larger. One thing did surprise me. I was startled while in the restroom to hear voices so loud I thought someone had entered our cute but efficient guestroom. Turns out there are speakers from the TV in the restroom so you never have to miss a single word! Breakfast was wonderful, an endless buffet of fresh breads, fruits, and prepared dishes, plus bottles of bubbly wine and a selection of juices to mix or drink separate. Russ and I did not attend Read the rest of this entry »

Looking at the UFO Restaurant across from Hotel Devin in Bratislava.

Part 4 was The Music and Muses of Vibrant Vienna

SLOVAKIA, once again!


Yes, I have spoken about Slovakia, but only when our intrepid group of travelers paused for lunch on our way from Poland to Hungary in Part 3-EASTERN EUROPE: STRUDEL, SCHNITZEL AND STRAUSS, A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE THINGS;

Breakfast in Poland, Lunch in Slovakia and Dinner in Hungary. This time we departed Austria and headed for the Czech Republic, stopping for the night in Bratislava, the world’s only capital to share borders Read the rest of this entry »

A stately building in Vienna.

Part 3 was Breakfast in Poland, Lunch in Slovakia and Dinner in Hungary



Where we stayed:

The Hilton Vienna Plaza didn’t have the same startling views of the Danube River as our Hilton Budapest did, but it did have Alpine tap water so crystal clear that we forewent drinking bottled. Our room was quite lovely, with marble streaks of two-toned greys, a workable desk with a comfortable study desk chair and a divan instead of a lounge chair. Location Read the rest of this entry »

Our welcoming sight to Budapest, Hungary is the House of Parliament Building


Part 2 was From Concentration Camps to Trendy Kraków

Only one road connects Poland with Hungary, and you have to drive through Slovakia to do it. The narrow, exceedingly bumpy road was under reconstruction so traffic barely crawled. It did give us time to peruse the beauty of the Tatra Mountains, popular for winter sports. What I noticed is that the Slovakian houses we passed all have sloped, peaked roofs to prevent snow from mounting.  Flower boxes hang from balconies and even with a typically brief summer season (though not true this year Read the rest of this entry »


Part 1 was The Razing and Rebuilding of Warsaw

I grew up with the horror stories of the Holocaust, from family whispers to the stacks of books I devoured. (I can’t count how many versions of The Diary of Anne Frank I have read or seen acted.) Just knowing our Odysseys Unlimited tour included a visit to Auschwitz (known in German as Oswiecim) and its nearby sub-camp, Birkenau, made me edgy. We were travelling to Kraków, but the visit to the camps were scheduled for the earlier part of the day. Could I handle seeing the reality which has heretofore only been personal stories or movies?

Trainloads of prisoners would arrive here at Birkenau

I propelled myself forward and listened attentively to the statistics of how many were killed, how many survived, and why it has been a Polish government project to preserve the camps and their wretched history. I shuddered when we passed by a gas chamber, held my breath when we entered barracks that still echoes the misery of their cramped, emaciated inhabitants, and Read the rest of this entry »

Spinach strudel, boiled potatoes, sausages and more at Café Museum in Vienna, Austria

Strudel, Schnitzel and Strauss weren’t all that grabbed our attention about Eastern Europe, but they were certainly components of the rich cultural influences food, wine, music, arts, and architecture played during our recent Odysseys Unlimited Discovering Eastern Europe tour. The trip evoked memories of our ancestry.

Yiddish was the language my grandparents, aunts and uncles spoke when they didn’t want me to understand the conversation. English was the rule otherwise. How often did I hear them say, “We are now Americans. We speak English.”

My parents were first-born Americans from parents who fled Poland, Romania and the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the early 1900s. Even as the eldest of my parent’s three children, I didn’t know to ask why they fled their native countries or how Read the rest of this entry »


Mare and foal, just two of the thoroughbreds residing at Hermitage Farm

When you think of Kentucky, do you immediately think bourbon and horses? Add culinary innovation to the mix and you will understand why Hermitage Farm is transforming a horse farm into an agritourism destination. Located just 25 minutes from downtown Louisville, owner Steve Wilson says his desire to showcase the best of Kentucky was the motivation to convert the horse farm into a farm-to-fork restaurant featuring menu items grown in the onsite five-acre garden, country store stocked with local farm products and picnic lunches, and specialty bourbon retail and tasting rooms. Groups will enjoy an art walk instillation and hayloft event space for approximately 200 guests. Planned to be open by Kentucky Derby Day 2019 will be the unique ability to dine inside renovated horse stalls, offering both communal and private dining opportunities. The 700-acre homestead, which Read the rest of this entry »

Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort


WalletHub, a company that surveys and analyses how people live, travel and spend, knows that across the U.S, summer is a time for road trips. But, all road trips are not equal. According to WalletHub’s latest survey, California has the highest number of scenic byways, 66, which is 22 times higher than in Delaware, the state with the lowest at three. Wyoming has the lowest daily price for camping, $32, which is 2.1 times lower than in Connecticut, the state with the highest at $68. Arizona has the lowest price for a three-star hotel room, $64, which is 3.4 times lower than in Hawaii, the state with the highest at Read the rest of this entry »

St. Mark’s Square and colorful buildings line Venice’s Grand Canal


In Part 5 – The Classical Beauty Of Tuscany, The Elegance Of Florence And San Gimignano’s Tall Towers


Where we stayed:

The Carnival Palace Hotel, opened in 2012, overlooks the Cannaregio Canal in the heart of historic downtown Venice. The modern 67 room hotel is not in the midst of tourist traffic, so if you want to venture to St Marks, museums and art galleries, you either have a very long walk or you can easily take a water bus from a station just a short distance away. The hotel buffet was diverse, with a vegan brioche I mistakenly took for a wheat croissant until I bit down into its soft, buttery texture. These were so amazing I ate them every morning for four days. Russ and I and several Read the rest of this entry »

View from Villa San Fillippo


Part 4 was Medieval City Faced Chemical Warfare And Peace Makers Wage War Against Poverty In Orvieto And Assisi


Where we stayed:

Villa San Filippo is an 18th century 35-room resort in the Chianti hills, in Barberino Val D’Elsa. Russ and I stayed in a magnificent suite that opened up to a dining and kitchen area, tiled floors, and a step down to the bathroom and luxuriously appointed bedroom. A comfy chair positioned in front of a large window and balcony in the living room afforded spectacular views of the lush Tuscan landscape Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to the medieval town of Orvieto


Part 3 was The Power Of Prayer And Governments Ruled Montecassino And Rome


Where we stayed:

You couldn’t ask for a better central location to unpack your bags than the Grand Hotel Italia when staying in Orvieto, a medieval city built atop a volcanic butte that lies between Florence and Rome. There were inconsistencies in the water pressure, the WIFI drifted in and out, but the staff of the 46-room property did their best to make us comfortable, even to turning on the hotel-wide AC earlier than they’re used to in the season. The morning buffet was just ok, but one of the first lessons to be learned Read the rest of this entry »

Michelangelo’s Pieta in St. Peter’s Basiilica


Part 2 was the Sex, Lives And Jewelry Of Pompeii And Sorrento


Where we stayed:

I never tire of staying in former palaces converted to hotels. One such converted palace to hotel is the 110-room Empire Palace Hotel in Rome, originally built in 1879. Room sizes vary a lot. The floor and walls in our room and bathroom were marble. The shower wonderfully easy to operate, an appreciation you won’t understand unless you have used showers that require a pilot’s license for all the buttons and controls. The pillows were flat and hard. Downstairs, the onsite Blue Bar is a cozy venue with live music in the evening. Warning: when hotel signs indicate breakfast ends at 10:30, they do not mean a minute longer. The hotel is Read the rest of this entry »

Seated man frozen in ash at Pompeii


Part 1 was The Magnificent Sights And Sounds Of Amalfi And Ravello


Watching one of many fictionalized movies about the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius erupted does not adequately impart the swift horror that befall the populace. Vesuvius has since erupted nearly 30 more times, the last being March 17, 1944. Considered one of the most dangerously active volcanos in the world, it’s scary to know it sits only about 20 miles from the city of Naples. Estimates are that as many as 30,000 residents may have been “frozen in place” under ash in 79 AD. An eruption today might cause as many as Read the rest of this entry »

St Mark’s Square & the Doge’s Palace on Venice’s Grand Canal


Pizza, pasta and gelato. Wines that never reach America. Mythological gods and goddesses. Warring religious and political leaders. Artists, sculptors and architects whose works still breathe life into a people, country and tourism-driven economy.

Stunning landscapes of contrasting colors, from the foam-tipped whites of the sea crushing against jagged rocks of the Amalfi Coast to the neon yellow of the lemon tree-studded mountains of Ravello; from

Boar’s head sits in oaken bucket. Otherwise, a typical wine and food shop within stone walls of medieval town


Read the rest of this entry »


Vineyard Tower is a $120 million expansion to Gaylord Texas Resort & Convention Center


Orlando, FL area restaurants and the Central Florida chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) are partnering to make the Summer of Dreams come true for homeless Central Florida youths. The annual “Round Up For Kids” fundraiser for the Orlando After-School All-Stars initiative will provide meals, academic enrichment, tutoring, mentoring, and a backpack filled with school supplies for the upcoming school term. Last year, the Summer of Dreams program served 1,151 Central Florida homeless students. Diners can help just by letting participating restaurants know you want to support the cause by Read the rest of this entry »

Zebras are just one of the many 55 species of animals you might see on Safari Wilderness’ Sunset Safari’s this summer.

It’s the season for summertime travel if you’re based in North America, and if you are one of 72 million Americans expected to travel abroad, WalletHub has some interesting statistics about foreign transaction fees you may want to consider. According to surveys done by WalletHub, 51% of Americans worry more about foreign transaction fees on credit cards than tariffs on Chinese imports. Two-thirds of those surveyed think credit cards should charge lower foreign transaction fees in countries allied with the U.S. Are you aware that 96% of credit cards offer rental car insurance, while 86% offer travel accident Read the rest of this entry »

Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach’s guitar-shaped pool. photo by Architectural Photography Inc


April is World Autism Month. In honor of the month, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort, which already offers entertainment for children with a wide range of physical and cognitive disabilities, as well as food allergies and other dietary restrictions, has their carousel alight in blue. The theme park’s Guide for Guests with Disabilitie, available in printable PDF form, lists ride-by-ride safety requirements, including LEGOLAND Water Park, Read the rest of this entry »

Cliff House Maine in Neddick, ME is offering promotional discounts

Breathe in Spring by taking a long weekend to relax and rejuvenate at Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, FL Enjoy 20% off plus $25 daily hotel credit for your weekend stay for travel through May 31. Just minutes from Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort, the resort’s $25 credit per night can be used at on-site restaurants, in-room dining or at Relâche Spa. Use promotional code P91 in the Corporate/Promotional code box when making Read the rest of this entry »

Paradisus Punta Cana has promotional discounts and gorgeous settings


Pamper yourself or your group with new promotions by Paradisus, renowned for its top all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and Punta Cana. Receive up to $1,500 USD in resort credit, free golf rounds, and complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport. Resorts include Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla, Paradisus Punta Cana, Paradisus Cancún, Paradisus Los Cabos, and Paradisus Palma Real.

See the world from the deck of a Seabourn cruise liner during their Signature Savings Event and receive incentives such as a complimentary upgrade when Read the rest of this entry »

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