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Brocket Hall in the U.K has a sweet deal for meetings in 2020.

HOT DEALS!

The year isn’t over and already deals are coming in for 2020. Great news for those planning ahead. For instance, at the English estate in London (U.K) called Brocket Hall, the 543-acre luxury venue has a Business Bloom package for a minimum of 20 attendees that is valid from Feb. 28 through Mar. 31. The offer covers all the meeting rooms, with tea, coffee and homemade treats throughout. Either a working buffet lunch or a two-course luncheon. There’s a three-course dinner in the Ballroom at The Prime Minister’s Table and a full English breakfast in the Dining room. Many more amenities than possible to list.

events@brocket-hall.co.uk; emma-irving@brocket-hall.co.uk;  01707 368 725.

Looking to make some last minute travel plans? How about the Caribe Royale in Kissimmee, FL? Book a room between Dec. 11-25 and receive complimentary breakfast for four daily. November 28, 2019. Room rates begin at $120/night.

www.cariberoyale.com

Caribe Royale in Kissimmee, FL has a mid-winter package.

Their fifth anniversary is a gift to golf enthusiasts. Quivira Golf Club, the Jack Nicklaus-designed course at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, Pueblo Bonito Golf & Spa Resorts and ranked No. 2 on Golfweek’s list of the “Top 50 Courses in the Caribbean and Mexico,” has a golf package to commemorate their opening on Dec. 4, 2014. The 7,085-yard, par-72 tour de force at the adults-only, all-inclusive beachfront property located within Quivira Los Cabos, includes these amenities in their ‘5th Anniversary Package.’ Golf Director Antonio Reynante and his staff will instruct on how to play the course successfully. Make an ace at the par-three ninth hole, and you’ll win a complementary seven-night VIP golf vacation for four players. Imbibe in the celebration’s specialty cocktail: Pitaya soda, vodka and Damiana infusion, mango foam with smoked morita pepper salt. There’s even a specialty dish, Platillo: braised octopus with shrimp from the Sea of Cortes, chickpea hummus, pickled kabuchi and red onion. There are many more amenities with this package, which runs from now through April 30, subject to available.

www.quiviraloscabos.com; www.pueblobonito.com; (800) 990-8250

COMING SOON TO A CITY (MAYBE) NEAR YOU!

Montréal (Canada) competes intensely for corporate meeting business, and this coming year, with a steady influx of new and renovated hotels, the metropolitan city has opened wide its invitation to book. Here’s just some of what you can expect. The Epik Collection continues its transformation of classic buildings. This time it’s the 37-room Hôtel le Lux, due to open sometime in the Spring. www. epikcollection.com. In September, look for Hôtel Humaniti, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. Humaniti is part of Montréal’s first “smart vertical community.” Divided into hotel and condo, the $200-budget is expected to produce 193 rooms and meeting space for up to 4,000. www.humanitimontreal.com. Also that month, as part of a redevelopment of the Westbury quartier of the Côte-des-Neigesborough, the Westbury Montréal hotel (part Hilton Garden Inn and part Homewood Suites) will have 5,000 sf of event space to hold up to 350 people, including a 2,800 sf outdoor terrace. The Hilton garden Inn section will have 157 rooms and the Hilton Homewood Suites will have 133. www.westburymontreal.com. There aren’t any functioning websites yet, but also look for the openings of the 33-room Hôtel Mile-End in the fall and the 175-room Hilton Hampton Inn Chinatown by the end of 2020. Four properties are being seriously renovated, with three due for a big reveal in 2020 and one in 2021. Hôtel Bonaventure Montréal, known for has already unveiled their redone meeting spaces, but by April, all 397 rooms will have been refurbished, a bit at a time. www.hotelbonaventure.com. Marriott International has big plans. They have two hotels undergoing renovations in 2020 and one in 2021. April, look for the Hôtel le Centre Sheraton Montréal’s $50-mllion dollar budget to renovate the 825 rooms. The hotel has 31 meeting spaces. By October, the Montréal Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel’s 279-room property will have received flooring redos in the rooms and technological renovations throughout the hotel. Last, but certainly not least, the historic Marriott Château Champlain Montréal is getting an overall face lift, from the 25 meeting rooms to all 614 guest rooms. The common areas and transformation of the pool into a 3,400 sf wellness area is part of the $30-million renovationwww.marriott.com..

Rendering of Caesars Forum,which is due to open in March, 2020.

Caesars Forum, a 550,000 sf conference facility in Las Vegas (NV) isn’t expected to open until March, but already more than one million room nights and over $390 million is contracted for meetings and events. Some of the events industry leaders who’ve already selected Caesars Forum for meetings includes ConferenceDirect, Cvent, HelmsBriscoe, Meeting Professionals International and Professional Convention Management Association. The $375 million conference center will carry a LEED silver certification and will have the world’s two largest pillarless ballrooms: each allegedly the size of one football field with about 110,000 sf, two 40,000 sf ballrooms, six state of the art boardrooms, and will also be the first facility of this size built on one level. The adjacent Forum Plaza will be the first 100,000 sf dedicated outdoor event space in Las Vegas. The resort will be able to host up to 10,000 attendees in more than 100 break-out rooms.

www.caesarsentertainmnet.com; www.caesarsforum.com

Asian culinary offersings will be available at EDGE Rooftop Cocktail Lounge in Tampa

New Executive Chef Jason Bamford has has altered menus and the cooking classes held in Tampa’s Epicurean Hotel in their Epicurean Theatre. Bamford has introduced an innovative “American fusion” menu at its signature restaurant, Élevage SoHo Kitchen & Bar, and Asian-inspired culinary offerings at EDGE Rooftop Cocktail Lounge. Élevage’s menu now includes such dishes as dry aged beef tartare, charred octopus and hand-pulled burrata. Vegetarian options range from grilled aubergine (eggplant) and charred avocado to whole roasted cauliflower and roasted roots. For the regulars, one foodie-favorite dish remains: the Homage to Bern’s pressed steak sandwich, a nod to their legacy, Bern’s Steak House. The new EDGE Rooftop Cocktail Lounge menu features chef-inspired small plates, such as Vietnamese Chicken Salad, falafel salad, and a fried chicken Bánh Mì . An updated cocktail program showcases well-made classics, while highlighting creative signature offerings such as the Snap Chat with sugar snap peas and A Head of Lettuce made with Reyka vodka, fresh lettuce and olive oil. Cooking classes in the Epicurean Theatre, which are open to the public, offers interactive and knowledge-based classes on wine and cooking, taught by Bramford or one of his skilled colleagues. The Theatre is also available for private bookings. The Epicurean Hotel was developed in collaboration with Mainsail Lodging & Development and the legendary Bern’s Steak House. It was the first newly constructed hotel property in the United States to join Marriott’s Autograph Collection.

www.EpicureanHotel.com;  (855) U-AWAKEN (829-2536).  

Kelly Clarkson takes up residence at Zappos Theater in Las Vegas, NV.

Grammy Award-winning global superstar Kelly Clarkson is taking up a Las Vegas residency at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Clarkson and her band will offer VIP experiences that bundle with premium tickets. There will be a limited number of meet & greets possible. Zappos Theatre is a 7,000-seat state-of-the-art entertainment venue.

www.kellyclarkson.com/Vegas

LOS CABOS TOURISM EXPANDS TO U.S.

New direct flights make getting to Los Cabos, Mexico easier.

Los Cabos Tourism Board announces the opening of its first trade office in Los Angeles. Located at the tip of the 1,000-mile-long Baja Peninsula, Los already has nonstop flights from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and now the U.K. Four new flights just begun are from Monterrey ( Mexico); Edmonton (Canada); Winnipeg (Canada); and a direct flight from London (England). The direct flight from London will be the first route outside of North America and will be operated by TUI on the 787 Dreamliner.  

HOLIDAY FAMILY FUN RINGS OUT THE YEAR

Dress up (or not) in your finest and merriest Dickens-era apparel, grab a battery-operated lantern or candle, and join in the Dickens Illuminated Procession on Dec. 12 in Fernandina Beach (FL), the newest addition to the Amelia Island’s Victorian Christmas celebration, running Dec. 13-15. Step back in time to experience Charles Dickens’ early Victorian era Britain, with themed characters and entertainers, festive lights and holiday décor, period vendors, exciting seasonal entertainment, a petting zoo with goats, and tastes of the holidays. Returning annual favorites to the free family-oriented events include photos with St. Nick, Tiny Tim’s Kids Zone, the adults-only Dickens After Dark, and the Christmas Wish booth. New events for Dickens on Centre includes the addition of the “2nd Act Stage” to complement the main Wharf Stage and a new “Legend of St. Nick” stage show. Love to dress up and compete for prizes? There’s a new period piece costume contest.

www.AmeliaIslandChristmas.com

Skiing and shopping deals at Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley, CA.

Santa may be skiing on the slope next to you in Alpine Meadows/Squaw Valley (CA), but if you don’t want to wait to see what he may bring, spend $750 in the Village shops through Dec. 24 and receive a free adult lift ticket, valid for the 2019-2020 season. Just bring your receipts for all retail, online apparel store, and food and beverages in the area to the main tickets office at Squaw Valley or Alpine Meadows. 

www.squawalpine.com

Everyone is welcome. That was a key message for “All Access Wake County (Raleigh, N.C), the first ever accessibility awareness and training summit for restaurants, hotels, attractions, retailers and event venues throughout Wake County. More than 150 hospitality industry employees participated in summit which was held at the Raleigh Convention Center. “We created ‘All Access Wake County’ to train, equip and motivate all Wake County hospitality partners to go above and beyond just being ADA compliant,” said Dennis Edwards, president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh). “The hospitality industry here lives by the motto ‘All Are Welcome’ and we want those with all types of disabilities to know that includes them. The November training summit was kicked-off with an opening keynote presentation by Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray, authors of the book “I’ll Push You.” They were the subjects of the documentary by the same title chronicling their journey to become the first to complete the 500-mile Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail in Spain by wheelchair. This summit was the kickoff for a larger initiative, which includes a new accessibility resource portal at VisitRaleigh.com/allaccess. This training resource encourages hospitality partners to provide extraordinary customer service for people with disabilities by educating them on immediate and long-term steps to providing effective service to guests with accessibility challenges. Visit Raleigh and the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA) also implemented a digital accessibility solution called AudioEye on their websites (www.VisitRaleigh.com and www.RaleighSports.org).  AudioEye, the leader in cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) digital content accessibility solutions, is a leading web accessibility company with technology for sustainable compliance with ADA-related requirements and enhanced user experience to make enhancements to websites.

Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries.  She is an active member of ILEA and MPI and is now serving on the 2019 – 2020 MPI Global Advisory Board for The Meeting Professional Magazine for the second consecutive year. Karen writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, she 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; www.ThePsychicLady.com; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady.

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows

HOT DEALS!

Time is running out to book The Village at Squaw Valley Lodging (Olympic Village, CA) winter sale and save 25% for stays from Jan. 6 – May 31, based on availability and only for Sun-Thursday and non-holiday stays. The majority of room have private balconies, fireplaces and kitchens. Standard rooms do not have those amenities.

(800) 403-0206

The Winter Escape Package being offered by Caribe Royale Orlando isn’t the luxury resorts only promotional package being offered. There’s one for Florida and Georgia residents and if you hurry, there’s a Fall program Read the rest of this entry »

HOT DEALS!

Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort

This may be the gift that keeps on giving, all the way through December 31, 2022. Bring your meeting to The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel and receive a $3 room rebate per actualized room up to $5,000. The Islands Incentive program created by the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau includes any new bookings that occur from May 1 to December 31 each year through 2022. To qualify, planners must book a meeting with a minimum of 150 room nights at one of these 14 properties. In Fort Myers: Crowne Plaza Fort Myers at Bell Tower Shops, Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport at Town Center, Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa, Drury Inn & Suites, and Luminary Hotel & Co., Autograph Collection (opening in 2020). On Fort Myers Beach: DiamondHead Beach Resort and Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina. South Seas Island Resort and ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort are both on Captiva Island. The others include Embassy Suites Hotel, Estero; Gasparilla Inn & Club, Boca Grande; Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa, Bonita Springs; The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village, Cape Coral; and Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, Sanibel Island. The offer applies to meeting groups who may be considering other destinations besides Lee County. Read the rest of this entry »

The scenic natural beauty of Switzerland.

It was the trains that did it.

The idea of trains snaking slowly up to mountain peaks 7,000 feet or higher along ancient cogwheel tracks exhilarated my any-excuse-to-take-a-train husband, Russ. My stomach roiled pondering multiple train rides chugging along steep inclines, thinking about how I got nervous even holding onto the railing on the Empire State Building’s upper floor and tried looking down. He buttered me up about taking the Odysseys Unlimited Alpine Splendor tour by painting a picture of the scenic beauty we’d encounter in five countries: Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Liechtenstein, and Germany. By then, I remembered we’ve climbed glaciers and volcanos, ridden cable cars up 5,000 feet, and never once did I pass out in fright. My fears morphed into anticipation.

Ride along with me on this soaring Alpine Adventure which concluded with an extension trip to Read the rest of this entry »

Marenas Beach Resort in Sunny Isles Beach, Miami, FL

HOT DEALS!

School in Florida is back in session, but that doesn’t mean the travel deals have played hooky. In the two-and-a-half-mile white sand stretch of Sunny Isles Beach in the Miami area, a number of hotels are offering some sweet deals for getaways. For Florida residents, the Read the rest of this entry »

Brocket Hall at Christmas

HOT DEALS!!

The holidays are fast approaching, which means you only have until August 31 to book a vintage holiday celebration at one of the main venues at the 543-acre Brocket Hall Estate in the United Kingdom. There are special menus and amenities for each venue. Brocket Hall’s butlers cater to up to 150 guests in the ballroom, Billiard room and library. With this booking by August 31, the planner receives a complimentary bedroom in Brocket Hall on the night of the party. Book the Oak Room and the planner gets a complimentary bedroom in Melbourne Lodge on the night of the party. Or, join in with your group of Read the rest of this entry »

A painting by Paul Cezanne.

In Part 4, we saw how Vincent Van Gogh’s art was impacted by his mental issues, how mountaintop former castles and fortresses continue to “live,” and how the idyllic beauty of Southern France country landscapes inspire paintings.

Aix-en-Provence

It was a reality jolt to spend days roaming gentle villages of country folk living high in ancient fortresses and then to find oneself in the thriving urban city of Aix-en-Provence. We strolled along Cours Mirabeau, a wide, tree-lined thoroughfare, explored the Old Town, and took in the artistic drumbeat left by Artist Paul Cezanne, born here in 1839 and who Read the rest of this entry »

Hollywood Oscar-like figurines repose in niches at Dali’s Theatre-Museum

In Part 1, our journey began in Albi before exploring the medieval city of Carcassonne and then the Abbaye Fontroide in Narbonne.

FIGUERES (SPAIN), COLLIOURE and PERPIGNAN

Where we stayed:

La Villa Duflot sits in a three-acre park with olive and palm trees. The hotel’s site says it has just 24-rooms, but it is apparent they have added many more than that. We had to walk outside the hotel’s lobby to reach our room in a first-floor wing. The hotel is styled after an Italian villa, although the décor was more Art Deco. The dining room in the evening is Read the rest of this entry »

Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa

HOT DEALS!

Summer isn’t the only time Florida Resident discount rates will be available at Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa, minutes from Naples, FL. A seven-day advance purchase is required, but the rates are available through December 31 by using the code CPFLR. The 26-acre property can host meetings up to 1500 people, has an 18-hole golf course, Camp Hyatt kids club, two firepits and is close to the airport. There is a three-acre pool area with waterslides, lazy river, adults-only pool, hot tub, and both a Read the rest of this entry »

The Met Hotel in Greece is both an art gallery and upscale hotel.

When I first began writing this column, I was working regularly for a high end travel magazine that catered to the hospitality, meetings & events industries. Over time I have realized that not all travellers visit destinations or plan events because they are part of a corporate or social group. This edition (and likely more in the future) will feature some personal travel options for adults and families.

HOT DEALS!

It’s an art gallery. No, it’s a hotel. No, actually The Met Hotel in the ancient coastal city of Thessaloniki, Greece is both. While Read the rest of this entry »

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