car track5_GMH_0521Here are my holiday wishes for you—at least, those I can immediately come up with. Don’t feel guilty when you can’t find time for friends and partying because you’re crazy busy with work that pays the bills. I’ve been fretting, feeling as if I’m disappointing all you wonderful folks who have filled my inbox with newsy items. My intent has been to get this written, but the truth is, I have been slammed with an incredible amount of work that had to be my priority. Of course, now it’s near to the end of December and I am torn between family obligations, gift buying, limited party going, and fulfilling my obligations to everyone I’ve been ignoring these past two months.

#2. Enjoy what you have with those you care about. My husband is one of the aforementioned people who thinks I haven’t devoted enough waking hours to his care and pampering, but who is simultaneously thrilled that I am getting the work. My perspective is that that the corporate life has settled into post-election let’s-get-back-to-business attitudes and money is loosening and it is imperative and wise to take advantage of every moment.

#3. I know you don’t really want to hear what’s happening with my life that has prevented me from sharing news… so let’s just get on with it.

#4. Before I “get on with it” I do want to wish you all the very best of holidays. Be safe, healthy, loving, and comfortable with the life you have chosen for yourself. Peace.

These cars might be a bit too large to fit in a kid’s stocking, but it would sure make for an amazing present for your male or female-loving wanna-be racer. The Richard Petty Driving Experience (RPDE), the worldwide leader in stock car drive and ride entertainment, is putting a professional driver in the front seat, with you, for a true NASCAR driving experience. The all-new format known as Right Seat Instruction (RSI) will be available at all 20+ tracks, including RPDE’s base locations in Las Vegas, Orlando, Concord N.C. and Kansas City. Both the student driver and pro wear Stilo helmets featuring a built-in, two-way open-mic system, allowing for clear communication, instantaneous interaction, coaching and feedback. RPDE is the only consumer stock car driving experience in the country offering this technology. “RSI gives student drivers the ability to make immediate changes to their driving technique, instantly improve their driving performance, and ultimately help them drive faster…faster,” says Rick Fedrizzi, President and Chief Operating Officer of RPDE. “First timers will get comfortable much more quickly and returners will find RSI to be an all-new experience.” www.drivepetty.com

Are you a car enthusiast who’d rather enjoy an afternoon browsing through a museum instead of racing laps around a track? Here’s the perfect opportunity for you to enrich your community giving and share your love for cars. America’s Car Museum (ACM), the four-level, 165,000-square-foot facility that opened last June in Tacoma, Wash., today announced it will launch a community-focused program in Jan. 2013 titled “Giving a Break.”  The $100,000 museum initiative includes an alliance with United Way Pierce County to distribute ACM tickets to the area’s economically challenged, including veterans, children and elderly persons. www.lemaymuseum.org.

If you’re like me, camping out on the race grounds is not my idea of a good time. I’d rather park myself in a cozy hotel room, surrounded by luxurious amenities, until it’s time to head out to watch the races. Well, race fans: start your engines and head for the AAA Four-Diamond Shores Resort & Spa, which has now partnered with Daytona 500, held annually at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.  Not only are you getting an incredible deal for the five-night package valid Feb. 20-25, 2013, but you can save $1000 by taking advantage of it. Here’s what you get:

•           five nights of ocean view accommodations (Feb. 20-25, 2013)

•           Petty/Earnhardt Tower-Level Seating for two at the NASCAR Nationwide Series,  Drive4COPD 300 and Daytona 500 races (Feb. 23 & 24)

•           Sprint FanZone access for two (Feb. 23 & 24) – The next best thing to a garage pass.  Prior to the race, walk the track surface and onto pit road for pre-race driver introductions.

•           Airport Limousine pick up and drop off (for guests arriving by air into the Daytona International Airport)

•           One Official Commemorative Daytona 500 Photo Book

www.ShoresResort.com and mention promotion code: D513SH. (866) 934-Shores

Winter is the best time to swim with the manatees and Crystal River, Fla. is the only location in North America where you can legally swim and interact in the wild with the endangered West Indian Manatee.  Manatee tours are offered year-round, but prime season to see these sea cows is from Oct. 1 – Mar. 31.  An experienced guide will offer fun facts about the eco-friendly Plantation on Crystal River and the natural springs of King’s Bay, pristine lakes, wildlife refuges and state parks that surround the resort. Snorkeling gear and wet suits are provided. Ask for the special manatee package. www.PlantationonCrystalRiver.com or (800) 632-6262

You won’t need your coat when you opt for the climate-controlled indoor entertainment options at the Adventure Forest, Wilderness at the Smokies’ new multi-million dollar indoor fun park. There’s mini-bowling, a 23’ climbing wall, black light mini-golf and their famous indoor water park. There’s also a three-story ropes course, a multi-level, enclosed laser tag arena, more than 100 arcade games, a ‘Laser Maze,’ a 25-foot tall spring ride, a 23-foot climbing wall, special birthday party rooms, another restaurant and lounge, plus other attractions and activities that do not involve water – all of it indoors and open year-round. Wilderness
at the Smokies, located minutes from Interstate 40 and situated in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, is one of the area’s only year-round vacation destinations. Great news for groups: the park is located next to the 200,000 sf Sevierville Events Center. The Center has a 108,000 square-foot exhibit hall, a 19,000 square-foot ballroom, more than 1,600 parking spaces, 10 covered loading bays, two nearby airports, and is less than a full day’s drive for 75 percent of the U.S. population. www.WildernessAtTheSmokies.com or (877) 325-9453

Planners: book 10 rooms at the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter and win five perks from a long list of options. The “Take 5” promotion are for group events booked and actualized by Mar. 31. The San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter features a total of 8,375 square feet of meeting space and five total meeting rooms including the Cabrillo Ballroom which has 2,432 square feet and a seating capacity of 308. There are 306 luxe rooms and a rooftop bar with sweeping views of the San Diego Bay, the city’s skyline, and PETCO Park (home of the San Diego Padres baseball team). www.SanDiegoMarriottGaslampQuarter.com. (619) 696-0234.

Peru wants you to experience the real country, from the Amazon Rainforest which has been recognized as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World to the city of Cusco, capital of the old Inca Empire and which is contending for the title of Seven Wonder Cities of the World. From the number of new hotels being erected in Peru, you know they are seriously pursuing leisure and group business.

Sonesta Posada del Inca Arequipa will expand from 58 to 120 rooms by the first half of 2013 with an investment of $100,000 per room. Sonesta Posada del Inca is strategically located in the center of the Arequipa’s Main Square.

Aranwa Colca Hotel Resort & Spa, a riverside resort and spa in the Colca Canyon and Valley of Arequipa, opens in 2013. The mountainside location and natural atmosphere of the 4-star property is a relaxing way to experience the natural beauty of Peru.

GHL Hotels, Quimera Holding Group Acquires Las Casitas del Colca in Arequipa.

The Andean Experience Co. will open boutique Hotel B in January, in the heart of Barranco. The two-level, 27-room Hotel B will continue the tradition of opulence and grandeur of the historic mansion it is housed in, originally designed by famed French architect Claude Sahut.

Hotel Rio Sagrado, located in the city of Cusco, introduced a new concept of Wellness & Relaxation. A Yoga and Spa Journey featuring reflexology and stress management techniques rejuvenates and energizes, while A Good Night’s Sleep uses an aromatic massage and Yoga Nidra to induce the ultimate state of relaxation and deep sleep. At El Bar del Huerto, traditional, non-alcoholic Peruvian beverages featuring exotic fruits and nutrient rich ingredients cleanse and nourish, leaving guests feeling pure.

http://www.peru.travel/en/

bmcdonald@rscva.com

Montréal, Canada has been named one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities to visit in 2013. “Lonely Planet” is a travel magazine. Montréal, ranked 8th, is one of only two North American cities (the other being San Francisco) and the only destination in Canada to be included on this prestigious annual list. www.tourisme-montreal.org

Here are their picks… just in case you’re ready to pack your bags.

1- San Francisco, United States

2- Amsterdam, The Netherlands

3- Hyderabad, India

4- Derry / Londonderry, Northern Ireland

5- Beijing, China

6- Christchurch, New Zealand

7- Hobart, Australia

8- Montréal, Canada

9- Addis Abada, Ethiopia

10- Puerto Iguazù, Argentina

OK folks. Time to quit for now. I promise lots more news in my next issue of Hotel Happenings & Program Promotions. Til then….

Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries.  She is a Contributing Editor-Writer for Prevue Magazine and is an active member of ISES and MPI, for which she is on the Membership Advisory Council and the Industry Advisory Council. She writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, Karen 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@earthlink.net; http://www.ThePsychicLady.com

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