Meritage vineyards & The Crusher Statue, Napa, CA

Meritage vineyards & The Crusher Statue, Napa, CA

IN THIS ISSUE: sizzling summer savings and CSR is the gift you give


Summer deals are sizzling at Wyndham Bay Point Golf Resort & Spa on the Emerald Coast of Florida. Their summer promotion is call Sun-Sational Perks and depending on how many are in your group (50-100, 101-150), you have the choice of two or three of the perks, which can range from complimentary continental breakfast to custom gobo to a Sundae Bar. For bookings up to 200 room nights, the perks can also include an one-hour reception or a 3% credit to the master account on sleeping rooms. The bookings must be new. For full details:; (850) 236-6033);

The ballroom at Brocket Hall, UK

The ballroom at Brocket Hall, UK

Fancy a cup of tea from your traditional English butler or playing on two championship standard golf courses set among 543 acres of private land just 22 miles from Central London? If you think these amenities sound perfect for your group of at least 20 who need a two day getaway, then Brockett Hall in a 5-star standard Regency stately home has a Two-for-One deal you should give consideration. The promo runs through September of 2015. Book a two day, one night event at Brocket Hall and get the second day free, a savings of more than £2000 (and don’t ask me to convert that to dollars!)

Julie or Jeanette: 01707 368728; 01707 368727;

The Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, FL wants to feed your children (12 and under) for free for the rest of summer! That’s right, through August 31, your munchkins can enjoy a complimentary entrée from the kids menu per each adult entrée purchased. Offer valid for overnight hotel guests only. There are a slew of other promotional packages through the summer, from choosing a favorite theme park to visit, or whether you want to indulge in spa services.

Summer savings for any Punta Cana Resorts by Meliá are so steep that they can only accept bookings by June 30 for a stay through September 22, 2015. How steep? Try 45% for Punta Cana and up to 30% for booking Meliá resorts in the Mexican Caribbean.

You won’t need to paddle your way across Lake Las Vegas to take advantage of the two sweet summer promotional packages being offered by this Hilton. Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa invites you to stay with them through August 31 and take advantage of their Private Getaway Couple or their Cool Down Family Splash Package. Without the kids, you may receive up to 50% off the resort fee, complimentary drinks at the Lagoon Bar & Grill, reduced kayaking rates, and a complimentary breakfast for two at Medici Café and Terrace. For the family plan, you get many of the same perks, but also a reduced price at the neighboring Cowabunga Bay Water Park.


Even the second largest Convention Center in the country has to renovate its spaces to attract a changing clientele. By the predicted opening in August, 2015, the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) will have completed phase one of its five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) when West Halls E & F and other meeting rooms have been converted into a 50,000 sf ballroom with four boardrooms. Meeting rooms ((W340) are getting wood flooring, bamboo ceiling, an outdoor mezzanine deck, and upgrades to the carpet, doors and décor. “In the competitive market of convention centers, we try to balance the location where a company can hold a meeting in a designated place, while at the same time they may want to have a social event, but don’t want to have it in a meeting setting,” said Kathie Canning, OCCC executive director. The CIP, which began in 2013, will finish by 2017 and include curtain walls, lighting and utility upgrades, restroom renovations, fire alarm systems, new furniture groupings to concourses and an updated wireless system in both buildings.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if all your event planning services could be streamlined by one software program? The Tampa Convention Center (TCC) is betting their new Ungerboeck Software will do just that; keeping real-time track of all the processes involved in booking, planning and executing events. “This new software will drive accuracy and efficiency to an even greater level, and, more importantly, deliver a higher level of service to customers and clients,” says TCC Director of Sales & Marketing Eric Blanc.

Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater’s Gulf Coast Beach has summer spa promotions.

Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater’s Gulf Coast Beach has summer spa promotions.

No surprise that corporate groups hosting meetings on Clearwater’s Gulf Coast Beach hope for a bit of leisurely relaxation between sessions. Now the Sandpearl Resort, minutes from the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport and Tampa, has given groups even more reason to stick more than a toe in the water. The Sandpearl’s new Spa Mixer program has been designed for groups of at least six as a healthy happy hour. They can choose from 60-minute to 120-minute programs that encourage networking while partaking in mini-services in treatment rooms and enjoying light appetizers and cocktails when not being treated. Mini-services can include 10-minute meditation sessions, mini-reflexology foot massages, hand massages, manicures and skin consultations. Fatigued from travelling and wishing for a quick pick-me-up before the sessions begin? Try the Petite Pearl Package. On the menu: Express Massage, Express Facial, Express Manicure and Express Pedicure.

I received word about the reopening of many Los Cabos hotels and resorts devasted by Hurricane Odile in 2014 just a day before hearing that Hurricane Blanca was headed straight for the idyllic Baja California Peninsula. Fortunately, Blanca’s strength waned before blasting the fragile recovery, so I happily report that an area I visited and blogged about (LOS CABOS: A MEXICAN FIESTA OF FOOD, FUN AND UNIQUE EXPERIENCES, published October, 2013) is safe. Restoration continues. The first major resort reopened was April 20, with One & Only Palmilla. The exclusive resort remodeled Agua by Larbi restaurant and debuted the fine-dining restaurant, Seared, by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Here’s a list of other hotels and their expected openings: Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort (June 4); Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort (July 1); Hyatt Place (July 15); Hyatt Ziva (August 15); Cabo Azul Resort and Spa (September 30); Casa del Mar (October 1); El Ganzo (October 1); Dreams Los Cabos (October 1); Me Cabo (October 1) and Melia Cabo Real (November 30). In March 2016, The Westin Resort & Spa will reopen. With so many hotels reopening and wider global attention being paid to the area, more airlines are offering service. Spirit Airlines launched a new non-stop flight from Houston’s’ George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) to Los Cabos on May 9 and starting June 13th, Southwest Airlines from Baltimore (BWI) will provide direct service.

The Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) has expanded their 30-year experience as a “one-stop-shop” with a new alliance that provides DMC services in more than a 100 destinations and 65 global markets, plus the USA.


Now, this is my kind of CSR. The more you eat and drink, the more money is donated to American soldiers, past and present. Even better, if any military members wish to participate in The Meritage Resort and Spa’s “Red, White, Bourbon, and BBQ” on Independence Day this year, they can receive a 15% discount by using the promotional code “HERO”.  The Napa, CA resort’s event, open to the public, takes place near the pool, offering spectacular views of the resort’s hillside vineyards and Napa’s Grape Crusher Statue. The July 4 festival includes food pairings, Napa Valley wines, locally crafted beers, American Revolution Vodka, festival games, and live music from Full Chizel.

Full details:

I didn’t hear about this event in time to participate, but wish I had. What a fun way to honor such a worthy cause. The Be Brave Foundation, in partnerships with the Dr. Phillips center for the Performing Arts and Immanuel Production Group, produced a flash mob styled dance video on June 13, 2015 for the Ellen DeGeneres #JustKeepDancing Childhood Cancer Challenge. The aim of the challenge is to raise awareness and money for childhood cancer by recording a dance video, donating to a childhood cancer charity, and challenging others to do the same. Be Brave’s goal was to incorporate at least 100 Central Florida pediatric cancer warriors, and hundreds of local residents and community leaders. Participants were provided a 50% discount code for a Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts show. Other sponsors included Streamlined Technologies, Cranium Academy of Lake Nona, and Triumph Ventures Group LLC.;

Within days of the April 25 earthquake in Nepal, Clean the World’s Global Soap division responded with an initial shipment of soap and hygiene kits to clinics and camps serving more than 5,000 families in Kathmandu. Chief Development & Programs Officer Sam Stephens flew to the affected area and supervised the distribution of supplies to the people hardest hit. Thousands were struggling without even basic sanitary needs, such as soap, the first line of defense in preventing the spread of deadly diseases. The Orlando-based Clean the World is working with world partners to continue the efforts throughout the recovery.

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; @thepsychiclady