Archives for posts with tag: Tampa

Safari Wilderness in Lakeland, FL offers customized tours and facilities for private events.


How many of London’s spectacular palaces have you visited or hosted an event in? One of the most unexpectedly incredible venues I’ve ever been to is the Banqueting Hall. I kept imagining myself in a Renaissance dress and hair garland of flowers dining at the long table under massive wooden chandeliers and low-lit wall sconces while the musicians played lilting melodies. This place is truly fit for a luxurious dining event. The Banqueting Hall and other sites such as Kensington Palace and the Hillsborough Castles are all included in the special edition of Historic Royal Palaces, a guidebook of venues and special offers only available to Meeting Planners and Travel Specialists. The book is available in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.


When I first learned about the 260-acre Safari Wilderness located halfway between Tampa and Orlando, my reaction was Read the rest of this entry »

My idea of luxury camping. Loimugi House at Serara Camp, Kenya.

My idea of luxury camping. Loimugi House at Serara Camp, Kenya.

In this issue: Hot Deals Will Warm Up Your Winter Chill

Team Building Activities in Montréal Can Run Hot & Cold


When you want to save up to £2,000 per day * and are willing to travel to the UK to do it, who are you going to call? Brocket Hall, a 5-star standard Regency stately home that can be your group’s exclusively if you book any time before the end of January 2015 and fulfill the commitment anytime between January and April. The savings include an array of amenities that may make this an offer too good to refuse. Check this out. Traditional English Butler service, complimentary WiFi, meeting capacity for 150 (theater style). The luxurious property boasts 46 en-suite rooms and there are two championship standard golf courses and Palmerston Golf Academy set amongst 543 acres of private land, located just 22 miles Read the rest of this entry »

Elevate your palate in Elevage, the fine dining restaurant in the new Epicurean Hotel in Tampa, FL. Amy Pezzicara, Pezz Photo/Epicurean

Elevate your palate in Elevage, the fine dining restaurant in the new Epicurean Hotel in Tampa, FL. Amy Pezzicara, Pezz Photo/Epicurean

The weather may be putting much of North America in a deep freeze, but across the globe, hotels opening or in transition are heating up the environment. There are so many hotels changing owners or under construction that it’s difficult for me to keep track of property names, but as folks often check out my blog before doing site visits, booking groups, or even booking their own vacations, here are some of the latest of my discoveries.


Finally, the long-awaited Epicurean Hotel opened in Tampa in December. The 137-room boutique hotel, with a focus on fine foods and fine arts, is located across from the renowned Bern’s Steakhouse. The new hotel’s 80-seat restaurant, Elevage, is joined by Chocolate Pi (a patisserie, or for those who don’t speak French… a bakery), a Bern’s Fine Wines & Spirits shop on the first floor, and the Epicurean Theatre, a culinary classroom I hope to find myself dicing and splicing in very soon in the future. The Grand Awakening Weekend is coming up January 17-19 and stars the hotel’s Chef, Chad Johnson, and celebrity chefs such as Norman Van Aken. Developed by Mainsail Lodging & Development in collaboration with the legendary Bern’s Steak House, Epicurean Hotel is the first newly-constructed property in the United States to join the prestigious Autograph Collection® of Marriott International,; (855) 829-

Two new Tampa hotels are slated to open this year. What do you call a former Mercantile Bank building when it’s been converted into a 130-room boutique hotel situated along Tampa’s famed Riverwalk? You get Aloft Tampa Downtown. It’ll feature a terrace pool deck overlooking the Hillsborough River, the picturesque University of Tampa minarets, and downtown Tampa. Aloft won’t be the only boutique hotel to emerge from an historic property. Once a 108-year-old Federal Courthouse building,  Le Meridien Hotel gains new life as a 130-room hotel with 4,800 sf of meeting space, including a 2,200-sf ballroom set in the old courtroom with 18-foot ceilings, two breakout rooms, and a board room that seats 12.

There’s a “No Strings Attached” policy being offered by The Langham Huntington Pasadena, located nine miles north of Los Angeles for groups who book before March 31 and arrive through December 31 of 2015. The historic property can accommodate up to 350-person conferences. Lots of indoor and outdoor space, a resort style setting, no resort fees, no attrition and no F&B minimums. Industry specific offers are available for Pharmaceutical, Financial, Insurance, and Associations.

Omni Hotels & Resorts just bought its 6th property from KSL Capital Partners, LLC, a leading private equity firm. The reflagging of the Montelucia Resort & Spa as theOmni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia extends the Omni’s Read the rest of this entry »

Hearst Castle pool looks down the valley to the ocean.

Hearst Castle pool looks down the valley to the ocean.

Today is one of those sticky humid days for which Florida is famous… or is that infamous? I’ve recently returned from a glorious vacation to the Central Coast region of California, where we imbibed in the riches of cuisine, wine and destinations for which that area is known. It was our first for many experiences in the Central Coast area as we usually roam the grape-vined hills of Sonoma and Napa. As I wanted to be in the moment, I chose to play tourist and not overburden myself with notebooks and scratched hasty words of reporter prose.

Nonetheless, when I do write about the experiences from a fond after-glow, you will hear about the Starlight Coastal train ride from Oakland to Santa Barbara (don’t wait… do it! Ask me about the roomette advantages), Cielito Restaurant in Santa Barbara and Novo Restaurant in San Luis Obispo, Hearst Castle, Sextant and Cypher Wineries (the latter was so amazing we actually became club members), and The Read the rest of this entry »

The Thief... an upscale hotel in Oslo, Norway

The Thief… an upscale hotel in Oslo, Norway

No disrespect to Vicksburg, MS but I was more than surprised to learn it was named as one of the top 13 places to visit in 2013 by “AAA Southern Traveler” and “AAA Midwest Traveler.” Some of the other cities named were expected, such as Orlando (bring on the tourists, please), Ireland, San Francisco (always a favorite) and Las Vegas. Panama made the list. I just returned from a glorious press trip to Panama, so I can understand why this city is so intriguing. On that trip, we stayed at Trump Ocean Club (stunning architectural beauty surrounded by the Pacific Ocean) and visited hot spots like the Panama Canal (undergoing an impactful expansion) and the Frank Gehry Biodiversity Museum, which is so colourfully exquisite in both the architectural conception and what will be contained within, that I am sure when it opens later this year (keep your fingers crossed) the world will be beating a path to its door. More on Panama later… after I write my story for “Prevue Magazine.” Other destinations named in the top 13 to visit are Christchurch, New Zealand, Read the rest of this entry »

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