Surrounded yourself with art of the ages at Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, China

Surrounded yourself with art of the ages at Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, China

In this issue: Exotic resort stays will cost you less while new hotels will vie for your dollars.


Summer’s reached the halfway point and Fall is just around the corner, but you have until Dec. 30, 2015 to enjoy a stay at the Gaylord National in Washington DC and receive a $100 per night resort credit. Receive a $50 per night credit for a stay at any of the other three Gaylord properties: Gaylord Opryland (Nashville, TN), Gaylord Palms (Orlando/Kissimmee area), or Gaylord Texan (Dallas/Ft. Worth area). Must request promotional code ZJL.

1-800-GAYLORD in the US.  Outside the US,

Experience the historic Wine Train and explore Napa Valley wineries in style

Experience the historic Wine Train and explore Napa Valley wineries in style

This one is for all of you who love wine and wish you could explore Napa Valley but who’d rather not try to drive while gazing at a map. Take the Wine Train. Better yet, take one of the Wine Train packages being offered this summer. I’ve taken this train, a restored and preserved beauty. Most of the cars were built in 1915 by the Pullman Standard Company as first­ class coaches for the Northern Pacific Railway. Just sitting in the dining car with original lighting and wooden bar sets the mood for an elegant occasion. When you add one of the Wine Train’s packages, you can get accommodations, private tours of vineyards, California-inspired cuisine, and hear local bands. Seriously, if you are headed to Napa and looking for a stress-less way to explore the area and its wineries, look into this. Talk to Kim Powers and tell her you read about the packages here.

Does the opportunity to save up to 35% off your bill at any of 450 international hotels, which may translate to anywhere from $800 to $1500 in USD resort credit, sound appealing? This is a deal offered by Meliá Hotels International. The offer includes up to $550 Meliá Rewards Resort Credit, 2,000 MeliáRewards welcome points and 2,000 bonus points. You have to hurry though and book by July 31, 2015 and travel must be completed by December 22.

Once a gondola station with attached restaurant, the new Chetzeron (Switzerland) overlooks the Rhone Valley and Alpine peaks.

Once a gondola station with attached restaurant, the new Chetzeron (Switzerland) overlooks the Rhone Valley and Alpine peaks.

Design Hotels is featuring new spa and artsy-designed hotels. I am drooling over a couple of the many offered. For instance, The Swatch Art Peace Hotel does not fit my idea of a hotel sitting on Shanghai China’s Bund waterfront. It features a Victorian Renaissance façade built in 1906, a restored Jacobean staircase, and a bed set inside a birdcage frame. Swatch boutiques reside street level, and there are 18 workshops and apartments for artists-in-residence, so artwork literally surrounds you. At night, check out the renowned pan-Asian restaurant Shook! and a rooftop bar. Book one of the seven available guestrooms in this beauty and get a 20% discount. Another beauty is Chetzeron, a 16-room hotels so high up in the Crans-Montana of Switzerland that you can only reach it by foot, ski or snowmobile. Views of the Rhone Valley and Alpine peaks, from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc. The hotel opened in June this year, so be among the first to check out their restaurant serving locally sourced seasonal cuisine and their regional Valais wines. The former gondola station and attached restaurant-turned-chic hotel will be closed in November and then again each mid-April through mid-June. Book it and save 20%.


By the time the Wyndham Bay Point Golf Resort & Spa finishes its rebuild in 2016, there will be newly decorated and designed 320 guestrooms, 40,000 sf of event space, including 2 Grand Ballrooms, two covered terraces and seven boardrooms. The property has two golf courses, five clay tennis courts, fitness center, full service spa and salon, four dining venues and four outdoor pools in addition to their private Bay Beach.

Group business: Florencia Branagan, 800-874-7105; 850-236-6035;;


The 120-room property formerly known as the Hotel Indigo in Miami is receiving a complete renovation, name change and new hotel affiliation. Once the currently-named Miami Dadeland Hotel, recently acquired by Integrated Capital, LLC of Los Angeles emerges from the renovation, it will be repositioned as an Aloft Hotel, a collection within Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “This property successfully serves an area that’s experiencing significant revitalization, and as such has noteworthy growth potential,” stated Kenneth Fearn, managing partner for Integrated Capital. “The liaison with Starwood Hotels & Resorts and eventual conversion to an Aloft hotel demonstrates our continued commitment to exceptional guest experiences for business and leisure travelers alike.” The property is one mile from Florida’s Turnpike and 11 miles from Miami International Airport. The six-story hotel features an outdoor swimming pool with private cabanas, restaurant serving breakfast and dinner, business center, fitness facility and indoor/outdoor meeting space.;; (855) 811-0255.


I don’t usually print much in the way of kudos awarded to people and properties, but I think this deserves a shoutout. Tourisme Montréal just ranked first in the Americas for international association events for the fourth consecutive year. According to the Union of International Association’s (UIA) International Meetings Statistics Report for the Year 2014, Montréal’s 79 international events led major convention cities like New York, Washington and Buenos Aires. Tourisme Montréal notes this achievement is remarkable given the extremely competitive global environment marked by an overabundance of convention space, highly incentivised offers from prospective host cities, and a U.S. convention market fervently bouncing back.


Ashley McKay from IBISWorld sent me a story by Procurement Research Analyst, Anna Son. The information in Innovation & Smart Spending Mean Cost Savings for Hospitality is such sound, practical  advice that I want to share it with you. Just in case you aren’t familiar with IBISWorld, it’s a publishing company that has who focused on business intelligence, specializing in Industry research and Procurement research, since 1971. The publisher employs teams of analysts in the US, UK and Australia that scour and detail economic, demographic and government data. The article is lengthy and can be found at

but here are a few highlights. Anna Son predicts consumer spending will increase a steady 3.3% per year on average through 2018. Though smart investments in technology can increase efficiency, she says sometimes renting goods may be more cost effective. She discusses the investment in Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms for cost savings and says that with current competition, the prices of tablets and smartphones are dropping. She goes into detail on how to decide whether to purchase or rent, on anything from janitorial supplies to uniforms.

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