A wise woman once said to me that the best time to advertise is when the economy is down. Yes, you’re spending money you may not have, but the visibility offered may be the key to outlasting your competitors.  Hotels are finding this a perfect time to refurbish and to offer incentives to financially-weary travelers looking to maximize their vacation budgets. Here are a few of whom you may want to pay attention.

The Plantation on Crystal River

Tucked away along Florida’s Nature Coast, an easy trek just 80 miles north of Tampa, this eco-friendly resort caters to people who want to swim with the manatees in their natural surroundings or perhaps to rent a pontoon or hire a guided fishing charter. When their $3 million facelift completes by Jan. 15, the refurbished lobby will showcase updated lighting, and furniture in muted blues and greens, splashed with warm yellows and oranges. No worries about the winding wooden staircase, it’ll remain, but the new contemporary lobby bar will feature a “grab and go” coffee bar, black and white artwork showcasing the scenic river, new booths and stained concrete floors.  Included in the refurbishment  are the 196 guest rooms, eight junior suties and the 2,304-sf meeting space located above the lobby. The Plantation is surrounded by the natural springs of King’s Bay, wildlife refuges and state parks. They operate a full-service family-oriented dive and tour operation marina, 12,000 square feet of meeting and event space, 18-hole golf course, 9-hole executive course, and an Aveda spa.

Gaylord Hotels

I have seen the ICE! Show at Gaylord Palms several times and can’t wait to take young family members this year for Dreamworks’ new Shrek the Halls show (which will also be at Gaylord Texan). Dreamworks’ Merry Madagascar plays at Gaylord Opryland and Gaylord National for the holiday season, but what all four properties have in common is a 20% off discount from many room rates. These exclusive DreamWorks holiday offerings can only be enjoyed with a DreamWorks Experience package, so be sure to specifically request this package by name.  If funds are a bit tight and an overnight is not in your budget, get your holiday groove on with Gaylord’s lavish holiday displays, including 5,600 feet of garland, 12,000 Christmas ornaments and 1.5 million lights. Each resort has its own party atmosphere that make it a fun destination one way or another. The 4-Diamond, certified Florida Green Lodging resort, has 212 guest rooms and suites with private balconies or terraces.

The Shores Resort & Spa

Meeting planners take note: the Shores Resort & Spa, a pet and eco-friendly Florida coastline resort, is now offering one point for every dollar spent on rooms and F&B items. Enrolll in the Stash Hotel Rewards program and earn an extra thousand points. Hold your group’s meeting by March 31 and receive double points. Points are redeemable for stays at nearly 150 luxury resorts throughout North America and the U.S Virgin Islands.

Loews Hotels

If leftovers make it into my fridge, I am all for eating them. I may reimagine them into something more grandiose, but I am not one to waste a meal. Maybe that’s why I appreciate what Loews Hotels have come up with just in time for Thanksgiving. At many of their hotels across the county, Loews is re-creating its Turkey leftovers into sandwiches stylized by that property’s Chef. Here are some examples of the offerings, available from November 21-27.

Loews Lake Las Vegas: Master Sushi Chef Osamu “Fuji” Fujita puts an Asian spin on the Turkey Breast Hand Roll. Three rolls, including the “Green Soy Paper Wrap” includes Kaiware sprouts, tomato, turkey breast and sushi rice.  The three rolls are served with a dipping sauce featuring Sriricha, mayonnaise and cayenne pepper.

Loews Miami Beach Hotel: Enjoy Caribbean flair at Preston’s Brasserie with Chef Delaire’s Turkey Sandwich ‘Cuban Style’. Layered with ham and Swiss on a baguette with a side of yucca fritta, it’s perfect with a signature Basil Bash cocktail with vodka and seasonally appropriate cranberry juice.

Loews Regency Hotel: Chef Crocker’s trio of sliders on a variety of artisan bread includes cranberry walnut bread, pecan raisin pull-apart bread and Parker House brioche rolls.  These sandwiches combine roast turkey with stuffing, sweet potato, gravy and stone-ground mustard-cranberry mayonnaise.

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