Is it just me, or is the year already resembling a white water rafting trip, where one hurdles along a swiftly-moving river, past dangerous obstacles, barely allowing enough time to catch your breath? Albeit the weather which has played havoc upon lives across America, I am seeing strong signs that business is rebounding across the globe. Hotels are putting more heads in beds; airport traffic is heavier; and business meetings are rediscovering that face-to-face conferences initiate more business creativity and closed-sales than do virtual conferencing. On a personal note, as an entertainer (when not working as a journalist), I am elated that companies are signing off on contracts for parties and trade shows months ahead instead of waiting until the last moment for fear their attendees may opt not to attend.
As January slips into February, I wish you warmer weather (if you’ve been plagued by the polar vortex), more business, and the time to embrace love (not just work) in your life. For those of us in the hospitality, travel, lodging, meetings & events industries, the approach of Valentine’s Day heralds romantic promotions and the crunch of conference bookings. Here are some grand deals for which you may want to consider.
PUT YOUR HEART INTO THESE PROMOTIONS
Cold weather dashing your warm thoughts of love? You may want to catch a flight to Los Cabos, Mexico, on the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula, where love will indeed be in the air and in the romantic possibilities. The 96-room Capella Pedregal’s “Month of Romance” offers an arrange of activities created especially for lovebirds in mind, such as Movies Under the Stars and Romantic Culinary Delights, which includes a romantically themed five-course dinner. There’s also A Chocolate Love Affair for couples who want to mix up a scrumptious chocolate fondue, or Romancing the Moon, a romantic spa experience based around the cycles of the moon.
Escape to Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a Rosewood Resort whose Valentine’s Weekend includes everything from the special Hearts and Hands couples massage on the suite’s terrace to private rooftop dining under Los Cabos’ star-filled skies. A weekend isn’t long enough to express your sentiments? Maybe the four-night Passion in Paradise Package is a better fit. There is an option for a 5th night at 50% off. Hurry though. Travel must be booked between February 12th and 18th. The package includes breakfast in bed daily, delivered by your personal butler, as well as Moet rose champagne and strawberries.
If your budget doesn’t quite stretch as far as you’d like, the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos has a (minimum) three-night option from Feb. 9-21,that won’t break the bank. It includes 15% off a private champagne beach dinner, a bottle of premium wine and cheese platter, an upgrade to a Ziva Ocean View Junior Suite (subject to availability) and free access to the resort’s Hydrotherapy Circuit, Hydrothermal Tubs, and Jacuzzi. Must mention code VDP30 when booking.
If you consider yourself an artsy type, I recommend Hotel El Ganzo, the destination’s newest boutique property. If you read my story on Los Cabos (and if not, look it up on this site), you will understand why I consider Hotel El Ganzo rife with romantic possibilities. This stark white hotel, adorned by original guest-artists works, is offering guests a 4-night stay with romantic welcome amenity, a 50-minute couples’ massage and a special wine pairing Valentine’s Day dinner. www.visitloscabos.travel
One of the most romantic resorts I’ve visited Stateside is in Napa Valley, CA. The 322-room Meritage Resort and Spa has its own winery, wine cave, and gourmet cuisine. This Feb. 14-16, Meritage hosts the inaugural Masters and Makers @ Meritage Napa Valley food and wine experience. This celebration will showcase Napa Valley and Sonoma County wines and farm-fresh foods through creative wine tasting experiences, seminars, culinary classes, a wine maker dinner in the Estate Cave, a wine tasting gala and more. The weekend begins with The Master and The Makers Tasting, an Amuse Bouche set to highlight five quintessential blended wines from the Napa Valley. Guests will taste the wines and listen as a Master of Wine and Master Sommelier taste and review each of the wines, giving their opinions and helping guests understand the art of wine tasting. The Friday night Reserve Wine Dinner in the Estate Cave will be led by Master Sommeliers as they take attendees on a food and wine journey and featuring Pine Ridge Vineyards. Saturday’s options include a Custom Wine Tour and tasting at three classic Napa Valley wineries, along with a picnic lunch. The Perfect Blending is an educational hands-on course on making the perfect Bordeaux Blend. You get lunch and your own “Meritage Blend” with a custom wine label. Foodies, check out Cook to This! The onsite Trinitas Cellars offers a Cooking Class and Wine Pairing. That evening, 65 wineries from Napa Valley and Sonoma County will showcase their finest wines, accompanied of course, by delectable treats from The Meritage Resort’s culinary team. If you’re still hungry and thirsty by Sunday, enjoy the farewell Bubbles & Brunch, where you can taste 30-40 wines, paired with cheeses and charcuterie. A portion of all ticket sales from The Gala and Grand Tasting will be donated to the Napa Valley’s COPE Family Center. www.TheMeritageResort.com/Napa-Valley-Restaurants/Masters-Makers/
The TradeWinds Island Grand, a tropical and traditional beachfront resort located along the Gulf of Mexico on St. Pete Beach, FL, thinks its new “Hearts on Fire” Valentine’s Day package sizzles with romantic energy. The two-night package includes a bottle of champagne, two TradeWinds champagne flute glasses, and a three-course dinner for two in Bermudas Steak and Seafood. Featured entrees include pink peppercorn crust tenderloin of beef, miso seared sea bass and lobster ravioli. There’s an exclusive couples-only bonfire on the beach on Saturday, featuring S’mores complete with sriracha-infused marshmallows. The “Hearts on Fire” package also includes the daily Resort Amenity Fee, a hooded beach cabana with cushions for two, unlimited rides on the three-story High Tide Slide, paddleboats, fitness center, self-parking, wireless Internet access, portions of the children’s program, daily newspaper, pool towels, and more. (866) JUST LET GO (587-8538); www.JustLetGo.com.
ROMANCE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE IN THE AIR FOR THESE HOTEL HAPPENINGS 7 PROGRAM PROMOTIONS
If you’re a Meeting Planner or Incentive Travel Planner who has to book a last-minute getaway, you may want to pay attention to the offering by Design Hotels™, a 130 member hotel consortium. Book with arrivals by February 28, 2014 and you are eligible for a 15% commission. The special rates include various benefits for your clients, ranging from complimentary breakfast and Wi-Fi to shuttle service and discounted spa treatments. The added values vary from hotel to hotel. You can also book with your respective Consortia Rate Access Code. Look for Rate Name ‘15% Special Commission Rate’. www.designhotels.com/commission. To celebrate the addition of six new hotels in its collection, including the fabulous Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel in Selfoss, Iceland, Design Hotels™ is also offering a 20% offer rates to check out these properties. Rates can also be booked in the GDS. use CHAIN CODE DS and Rate Name ‘Design Hotels In with the New’. The other new hotels are Mira Moon, in Hong Kong, Hong Kong; Grace Beijing in Beijing, China; Skt. Petri, in Copenhagen, Denmark; Rooms Hotel Kazbegi in Stepantsminda, Georgia; and The Majlis Resort in Lamu Archipelago, Kenya.
On my bucket list is a stay in a real castle. Peckforton Castle in the heart of Cheshire, UK, would work nicely for me, but think their newest promotion for March and April might stir up some additional corporate business. Book your group during that time and receive a voucher for dinner, bed & breakfast and a one-hour Land Rover experience. Use this code: WINTER2014. Contact Rachael, 01829 260 930 opt 2 or phone 0161 238 4573.
Time is running out to participate in Great Days Out, one of the UK’s most established group travel shows. The date is February 8 at EventCity, Manchester. Co-sponsors include VisitEngland, Virgin Trains and The Pass Magazine. The show honors group friendly attractions, destinations and trade from across the UK and Ireland. New exhibitors include the wonderful Cadbury World, Marketing Lancashire, Manchester City Football Club, The Birdcage, Play Factore, Ribble Valley and Visit Peak District. The show runs from 9:30 am to 3:30. Admission is free. Contact Prakash Chohan on 0161 238 4573; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. email@example.com; www.ThePsychicLady.com; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady