The soaring wings of the Milwaukee Art Museum, designed by Santiago Calatrava, actually can move up and down. photo by Karen Kuzsel

The soaring wings of the Milwaukee Art Museum, designed by Santiago Calatrava, actually can move up and down. photo by Karen Kuzsel

in this issue: Hot deals save you hotel fees in luxury properties across globe.

Wine Train celebrates 25 years.

My husband and I were in Milwaukee, WI last week. If you’re like me, going on a mini-vacation to Milwaukee was not on my favored lists of places to see.
It was, however, quite high on his, mostly because he has long wanted to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Johnson Wax Museum structure. The cherry atop the sundae was that not only did he manage to snag the last two open spots (in what is typically a months-long wait) for a free two-hour guided tour of the Johnson Wax building, but two other buildings were just recently included in the tour. I have to admit, I was impressed with both the complex and the detailed history behind SC Johnson and Wright. Just as important, Russ and I were booked into the historic Pfister Hotel, a gem of a classic beauty of architecture. Everything about the hotel, the five-star service and staff, and the culinary delights we ate at its Café were first-class. The hotel’s walkable proximity to famed architect Santiago Calatrava’s soaring addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum was like adding a layer of hot fudge sauce to a banana split.
The moral of my trip recap is that travelling to unknown sites, exotic of domestic, may exceed any expectations and result in memories forged from the surprise of discovery. My wish for you is to discover new destinations in my blog, maybe save some dollars going there by taking advantage of the Hot Deals offered, and to let all of know how it worked out.
Happy travels!
HOT DEALS! MEAN SAVINGS

Governor of the Picuris Pueblo blessed our breakfast at Santa Fe Hotel

Governor of the Picuris Pueblo blessed our breakfast at Santa Fe Hotel. photo by Karen Kuzsel

Hotel Santa Fe The Hacienda & Spa, Santa Fe, NM –  There is simply no other place in Santa Fe, NM where the Governor of the Picuris Pueblo can bless your meeting, you can sup next to an authentic Pueblo tepee, or walk among treasured Indian artifacts and handcrafted furniture. When you consider that if you book your meeting through May 31, 2015, you will not only have the possibility of all that, but you could choose a complimentary morning or afternoon break or even a one-hour welcome reception. I’ve been to this hotel. I’ve been blessed by the Governor. I’ve dined by the tepee and walked the halls. The hotel emanates a spiritually peaceful atmosphere. Be sure to check out The Hacienda, an exclusive experience perfect for an executive board or as an incentive reward. (Don’t be shy if you tell them you heard about it from me!)
(855) 421-4309
Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, GA– Fall is just around the corner and so are the savings in the All Fall Complete Meeting Group Package. Meeting attendees receive three full meals and two breaks between sessions, but if the group meets between November 1-14, all meeting space will be included at No Charge! Meet by February 1 and receive the discounted pricing beginning at $128 a person, per night. Valid for groups of 25+. Included are lodging in the Mountain Creek Inn and unlimited admission to Callaway Gardens. Callaway Gardens has nearly 80,000 sf of meeting space, 684 guest rooms, restaurants, shops, golf, tennis, fishing and more.
(800) 543.7121; sales@callawaygardens.com
The Shores Resort & Spa, Daytona Beach Shores, FL– The last 40 years have been great for this beachside property (originally known as Hilton Daytona Beach Resort). Their anniversary celebration is a present for your pocketbook, with prices beginning at $74. The rate is valid on all mid-week stays at the oceanfront resort through the end of the year. The Shores Resort & Spa is the only AAA Four Diamond oceanfront property, with private balconies and terraces, in Central Florida.  The resort has added 14 new Cabana Suites overlooking the Atlantic Ocean to its roster of 212 guestrooms.
(866) 934-Shores; http://www.ShoresResort.com and mention promotion code: 1974SH
Auberge du Lac at Brocket Hall, U.K – I can just picture myself supping in my sophisticated finery, enjoying the repast in this five-star restaurant’s dining room or one of four private meeting rooms. The four meeting spaces, which can hold from two to 18, overlook the lake and is set amid the 543 acres of Brocket Hall’s English country estate. Just think, it’s only 22 miles from Hyde Park Corner in Hertfordshire countryside and yet you’ll be surrounded by the lush trapping of regal gentility. Rates begin at 50 pounds per person.
01707 368888; aubergeevents@brocket-hall.co.uk; brocket-hall.co.uk/auberge
The TradeWinds Island Resorts: the Island Grand and Guy Harvey Outpost, St. Petersburg Beach, FL – The TradeWinds Island Resort’s partnership with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium makes this promotion a celebration the whole family could enjoy. If you or your family has seen “Dolphin Tale,” about the survival of Winter as he learns to swim with a manmade tail, then you likely know that Winter’s home is the Aquarium. When “Dolphin Tale 2” debuted September 12, it introduced Hope, another dolphin at the Aquarium. So having the resort offer a three night “Dolphin Tale 2 Getaway” package is the perfect marriage of vacation, Aquarium, and you. The package includes accommodations at the TradeWinds Island Grand or Guy Harvey Outpost; two tickets to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium; a dolphin watch cruise for two; a plush Winter the dolphin toy; and the hardcover book, Winter’s Tale.  Also included is the nightly resort amenity fee, which includes parking, beach cabana, paddleboats and many other extras at both TradeWinds resorts. Best of all: while you’re enjoying the amenities, a portion of the proceeds from the package will be donated back to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. So it’s a win-win all around. This package is available through February 11, 2015.
(866) JUST LET GO (587-8538); http://www.JustLetGo.com
Associated Luxury Meetings International Hotels In Colorado, Illinois, South Carolina And Carolina –Each hotel has a different “buy now, reap incentives” program happening. The common denominator is that you must book by various dates in December, 2014 to take advantage.
http://www.meetings@alhi.com Here’s just a few of the details:
Hard Rock Hotel San Diego: 420 guest room & suites; 22 meeting rooms totaling 40,000 sf, with the largest at 9,170 sf. Group rates begin at $149, going up depending on the month.

Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa, CO

Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa, CO

Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa, Western CO: Must actualize by March 31, 2015. Book 15 rooms or more and choose from three incentives. 72 Guest rooms & suites; seven meeting rooms totaling 12,000 sf, with the largest being 3,906 sf.
The Langham, Chicago: Book by October 31 and actualized between December 15 and March 31, 2015. 316 guest rooms & suites; 12 meeting rooms totaling 15,000 sf, with the largest being 4,840 sf.
Belmond Charleston Place, SC: Rates begin at $225. 435 guest rooms & suites; 21 meeting rooms totaling 40,000 sf, with the largest at 14,432 sf.
Design Hotels in Paris, Porto, Hamburg & Gothenburg – I love Paris any time of year, but am loving the view offered outside the room of Hôtel Sezz Paris, with the Eiffel Tower standing tall and regal.

Hotel Sezz Paris

Hotel Sezz Paris

Hôtel Sezz Paris: Book by October 31 and stay by December 27. Rates begin from 290 Euro.
Gastwerk Hotel Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany: Incentives through November 30. Rates begin at  113 Euro.
Avalon Hotel, Gothenburg, Sweden: Book and utilize by November 30. Rates from SEK 1545.
Hotel Teatro, Porto, Portugal: Book and use by December 25, 2014 to receive program rates. Begins at 76 Euro.
http://www.designhotels.com
DEBUTS
The ante has been raised in the Central Florida land of themed resorts with Universal Orlando’s September 9 announcement that Loews Hotels are building a fifth resort. Already speculation is roiling that other area hotels are going to have to invest in renovations or building to keep pace with putting heads into beds.  Loews Sapphire Falls Resort will be a Caribbean themed venue, with 1,000 rooms, including 77 suites, sand beach, pool and all the amenities necessary to attract families. Complementing the theme, the hotel will be built around a tropical lagoon and waterfall. It’s set to open in the summer of 2016.
The opening of a new casino in Las Vegas wouldn’t register much attention, but in Baltimore, MD it’s a very, very big deal… to the tune of about $442 million. That’s how much the new Horseshoe Casino Baltimore entertainment complex cost by the time it opened August 26.
Horseshoe Baltimore Senior Vice President and General Manager Chad Barnhill says the complex features 122,000 sf of premier gaming space, two celebrity chef restaurants, innovative live entertainment venues, the industry’s best player loyalty program and Maryland’s only World Series of Poker Circuit tournaments that will take place in a 25-seat World Series of Poker-branded poker room.
One restaurant is Johnny Sánchez, a spirited taqueria that is the first collaboration between renowned culinary masters John Besh and Aarón Sánchez. Guy Fieri’s Baltimore Kitchen + Bar, which will bring the signature style of the chef,/restaurateur and Emmy Award winner. The third premium dining venue is Jack Binion’s Steakhouse. Two more dining options are available: Ruby 8 Noodle and Sushi Bar and the Baltimore Marketplace, a collection of several popular restaurant concepts operated by celebrated local restaurateurs.
As you’d expect, the nightlife will shake up any evening, and if you can’t find a drink at its signature 14forty Bar, the only bar in Charm City serving drinks 24/7, then you aren’t trying. around the clock, seven days a week. There’s more, much more… but if you want all the skinny on the complex, located along Russell Street on Baltimore’s south side, you’ll need this address.
http://www.caesarsacquisitioncompany.com
Who doesn’t love having more space? Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando knows more space equals availability for larger groups. Thus the motivation to expands its meeting and function facilities by 56,330 sf by the Fall of 2015. Overall, the hotel’s 141,330 sf of total meeting and function space will include a new ballroom (35,955 sf of column-free multi-purpose space) and four meeting break out rooms. The additional break out rooms bring the total to 15,ranging from 939 to 3,282 sf.
https://www.universalorlando.com/Hotels/Loews-Royal-Pacific-Resort.aspx
If there’s one thing Meeting Planners are looking for, it’s new ideas for team building. Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa in La Jolla, CA thinks their new programs will enervate, excite and unite your attendees! There are three categories from which to choose: Cooking, Tastings and Body, Mind, Wellness.

Estancia Hotel port-cochiere

Estancia Hotel port-cochiere

Body, Mind, Wellness – We know this usually means yoga stretches or massages of one kind or another, but where have you been that Qi Gong was offered? The ancient practice of Qi Gong incorporates breath with gentle rhythmic movement to induce a meditative state.  Think how many ideas your team can brainstorm after taking this? Some of the other options in this category include Guided Meditation, Bocce Ball, and Hiking. Each activity is geared towards a specific number for maximum benefit.
Cooking – How about a sushi making challenge, wherein exotic options are chosen by each time in addition to ones each team will have? They have one hour to come up with treats tasty enough to woo the hearts and tongues of a panel of judges. Attendees better get it right—it will be part of their dinner! As a natural complement, you can add a Sake Tasting for up to 20 people. Of course, for those who prefer a bit more heat, maybe the Salsa Making Challenge and/or Margarita Making will be the ticket.
Beer and Wine Tastings – What better way to roust a group from post-meeting lethargy than while learning about whiskey, tequila, wine, or beer in a fun and educational environment? There’s a Mixology Boot Camp, where the choices include Vodka, Whiskey, Gin, or Tequila. The group gets an overview of crafting cocktails before singlehandedly getting measure, pour, shake, and stir two specialty cocktails. Sampling expected. Other options include Whiskey 101
(American, Canadian, Irish, and Scotch), Tequila 101 (Silver, Anejo, Reposado, and Estancia’s Exclusive Double Barrel Reposado Herradura), and Wine 101 (five varietals from various viticultural areas. We can’t leave out Beer 101 (though I personally do without that one), which will offer a range of local craft beers and national brands for tasting.
spaestancia@estancialajolla.com; (844) 221.8413

Win two tickets on the Wine Train. Sip, sup and sightsee through Napa Valley, CA

Win two tickets on the Wine Train. Sip, sup and sightsee through Napa Valley, CA

HAPPY 25th ANNIVERSARY TO THE WINE TRAIN
Love the Wine Train. Had a wonderful time cruising through Napa Valley vineyards, sipping on various wines of the region and munching on delicious snacks. You have the opportunity to check this out for yourself by winning one of 25 pairs of tickets and other small gifts they’re giving away to celebrating the 25th anniversary. You only have until the end of September to enter.
http://winetrain.com/win-tickets
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. 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; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady

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