Silver King Ocean Brasserie opened in November.

The restaurant is new. The seafood fresh and prepared classically in the new Silver King Ocean Brasserie in the Luminary Hotel & Co, the latest property from Mainsail Lodging & Development and the first Autograph hotel in the Fort Myers-Naples (FL) area. Centered on an open kitchen and overseen by Executive Chef Kiel Lombardo and Chef de Cuisine Matthew Mohler, the 60-seat restaurant has 40 additional outdoor seats. The décor includes modern elements such as a flowing silver and copper artwork installation inspired by the restaurant’s namesake, the “Silver King” Atlantic tarpon, as well as silver accents, rich woods, marble, and velvet. Chef Kiel has embellished the menu with Marinated Charred Octopus, East Coast Oysters, Potato & Caviar, New York Strip Dry Aged Prime, A5 Japanese Beef, and whole fish dishes. The restaurant also features The Florida Room, a private dining space that seats 14. The Silver King Ocean Brasserie is open for dinner Tuesday – Saturday, with plans to offer brunch. The Luminary Hotel & Co. opened in September and has already received Four Diamond Designation from AAA, awarded to less than 6% of the more than 27,000 properties inspected and approved by AAA on an annual basis. The hotel also contains four other F&B outlets. Coming this March: Oxbow Bar & Grill will front the Caloosahatchee River. Oxbow’s second floor will be reserved for special events and groups, with an outdoor terrace and picture windows offering spectacular river views.

Austin Adventures bought Wildland Adventures

Austin Adventures (Billings, MT) has expanded its international operations by acquiring Wildland Adventures, an ecotourism pioneer with a 36-year track record as a successful global adventure travel icon, headquartered in Seattle, WA.
“By acquiring Wildland and its well-established operation and excellent reputation, we are expanding our destinations and offerings by 35 percent. Clients will have the opportunity to travel on an additional 40 vetted Wildland itineraries in exciting destinations,” said Dan Austin. The integrity of Wildland’s core product is already aligned with that of Austin Adventures, Austin added. The Austin Adventures mission is to give guests a comprehensive and immersive view of regions visited by engaging in multi-sport adventure such as biking, hiking, sea kayaking and whitewater rafting. The newly acquired programs combine adventure with a focus on cultural and natural history. To ensure a smooth transition, Wildland CEO Kurt Kutay is staying on the team for the foreseeable future. He will be taking on roles in quality control and product development. “We are thrilled to keep the legacy we’ve built alive and vibrant for years to come by joining the Austin Adventures family,” Kutay said. “To collaborate as one, we won’t miss a beat providing trip expertise and in-depth regional knowledge.” This is the fifth time in its 35 years that Austin Adventures has grown through acquisition. In 2000 the company firstly acquired Backcountry Tours, followed by Eurobike Tours, CBT Tours, Inc. and Go South Adventures. With each acquisition, Austin Adventures added destinations, regional expertise, and talent. Austin Adventures manages all of the arrangements for its selected destinations that include distinctive regions of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe. Small groups are limited to 12 guests (18 on family departures). Rates include first-class accommodations, most meals and beverages, expert guides, park entry fees, multisport activities such as hiking, biking, rafting, horseback riding and more, ground transportation and luggage service. Not included is round-trip travel to the host city.; (800) 575-1540;

Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino is the final Caesars Entertainment property to reopen company-wide in the U.S. and Canada, following the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino debuts the newly branded William Hill Sports Book on reopening day, December 22, with new customer offerings that include self-service sports betting kiosks and an expanded betting menu featuring LIVE InPlay Wagering.

Rio Exterior with palazzo (Las Vegas, NV) is the last Caesar’s property to reopen.

Nighttime aerial of Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina in the British Virgin Islands.

Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina on private Scrub Island in the British Virgin Islands has reopened. The AAA Four-Diamond  resort has several overnight options for guests and sailing vessels, with 52 guest accommodations, including suites with gourmet kitchens, spacious living areas and private/oversized balconies, as well as a collection of two-to six-bedroom villas, and a 55-slip marina with five for mega yachts up to 170 feet. Two private beaches, a waterfront infinity pool, an intimate spa, world-class dining, and on-site access to dive and sailing charters complete the overall experience. In accordance with guidelines established by the British Virgins Islands government, all overnight guests at Scrub Island must adhere to a set of specific protocols and restrictions, which are outlined on the destination’s official travel website. A member of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, the resort follows the brand’s Commitment to Clean program, providing a safe environment for guests and staff.; (877) 890-7444.

OCC Road House logo

Rev your bikes. Coming by May 2021 to the Tampa Bay FL area in Pinellas County will be the OCC Road House & Museum, a $6.5 million restaurant and attraction based on Paul Teutul’s popular OCC brand. Paul Teutul Sr. of Orange County Choppers fame and area hospitality executive Keith Overton break ground by the end of 2020 adjacent to the 9.5 acre complex that is home to Bert’s Barracuda Harley-Davidson, the one-of-a-kind destination restaurant will be decked out with a fleet of Paul Sr.’s custom choppers featured on the hit Discovery Network series “American Chopper,” along with hundreds of rare items from his vast collection of biker memorabilia, many never before seen by the public. With more than 11,000 sf of indoor space, the family-friendly OCC Road House will be one of the area’s largest full-service restaurants, with indoor and outdoor seating for more than 325. The restaurant will feature a massive 25,000-sf pavilion for concerts, outdoor dining, a billiards hall, floor games and other entertainment, and a retail store of merchandise and collectibles. Keith Overton, owner and developer of the OCC Road House & Museum, is a 35-year veteran of Florida’s hospitality industry. “As a long-time biker and St. Pete resident, I’m fired up to partner with Paul Teutul Sr. and bring something new and exciting to the dining and entertainment scene that will appeal to locals looking for great food, fun and live entertainment, and to motorcycle enthusiasts and OCC fans from all over the world,” said. Overton.  For the past 25 years as President at TradeWinds Island Resorts he and his team worked with Bert King of Bert’s Barracuda Harley-Davidson and Paul Sr. to create the overwhelmingly successful St. Pete Beach BikeFest, which has attracted 75,000 visitors to the area annually. The restaurant and museum will be packed with motorcycle memorabilia Paul Sr. has personally collected over the past three decades, including an enormous “patch wall” with tens of thousands of patches he has been gifted by members of the military and first responders over the years. Overton and Paul Sr. welcome military personnel and first responders, past and present, to help continue to fill the patch wall, leaving their mark for others to see. An Orange County Choppers Wall of History will feature custom choppers in a “chronology of chrome” detailing the brand’s more than 20-year evolution.; Keith Overton, President & CEO, at (727) 432-3428.

Museum Row on Main Street Louisville, KY opens new attractions

Iconic attractions in Louisville, KY have added educational components to Museum Row museums. Additionally, Louisville Tourism is offering a new promotion to area residents to save up to 50% off an overnight stay in a participating hotel, along with a $25 Visa gift card for dining or takeout from a local restaurant by booking at This promotion is for Kentucky and Southern Indiana residents and will run through the end of 2020. The Frazier History Museum, Cool Kentucky exhibits historic trinkets and treasures to tell the stories of iconic Kentuckians. Check out the lives of the former ABA team, the Kentucky Colonels, disco balls, and local culinary treats such as the hot brown and bourbon balls. The permanent exhibit includes a Chevrolet Corvette and American Pearl, the plywood boat Tori Murden used in her journey across the Atlantic to make her the first American and first woman to row the Atlantic Ocean solo. At the Louisville Slugger Museum, & Factory, bourbon and baseball come together after the truth was discovered behind mysterious and fascinating photographs of a black baseball team that had been exceptional in its time, but forgotten in history. The exhibit features the Louisville Unions, a pre-Negro Leagues team that dominated the Southern baseball circuit in 1908. A second exhibit salutes the Bloomer Girls, who challenged stereotypes and helped women win the right to vote. Between 1890 and 1930, the Bloomer Girls teams played semi-professional baseball and traveled the country challenging men’s teams. This exhibit showcases a typical bloomer outfit alongside the type of heavy, restrictive dress that women had been previously wearing. Also displayed is a Wolff-American safety frame bicycle, circa 1897. Both exhibits run through December 2020. The Kentucky Derby Museum traces the first American female jockeys and tells their stories through artifacts and treasures from the jockeys’ personal collections. The exhibit runs through August 2021. Four hundred years of policies linked to systemic racism in America are displayed in the Muhammad Ali Center.  Posted on plywood panels used in the Louisville protests, this powerful exhibit offers encouragement to create a more inclusive future. Runs through April 2021. Kentucky’s Science Center has an interactive exhibit giving an inside look at the Boeing 747-8F, UPS’s newest aircraft and how it flies into Louisville and Worldport, UPS’s international air hub in Louisville. At this permanent exhibit, take off from Louisville Muhammad Ali Airport by flying one of three real pilot training simulations used by UPS to train pilots while getting a peek at interactive fight maps and how the cargo containers are loaded. The Parklands of Floyds Fork is a new, illuminated trail walk. The one-mile trail features more than 10 light installations harmonizing light, music and nature, and runs through January 3. Coming early in 2021: Roots 101 African – American Museum. Housed on Museum Row, this will be a museum dedicated to telling the story of the African-American journey from Africa and all ports in between.

Sal y Mar Exterior

This is a tale of dual openings. Concord Hospitality Enterprises Company opens its dual-branded 226-room Aloft and Element Hotel in the 22-acre Midtown Tampa (FL) area in January and sitting atop is Sal Y Mar (Salt and Sea) Rooftop Bar, a stylish new rooftop lounge inspired by the Riviera Maya town of Tulum.  Easily accessible from a dedicated elevator on the hotel’s ground floor, the rooftop lounge will have 4,900 sqf of indoor and outdoor seating, including a covered terrace and drink rails lining the perimeter. Tulum’s Mayan influences impact decor in earth tones and coastal organic finishes, with fresh crisp linens, bamboo ceiling and comfortable hanging hammock chairs. The menu will range from tapas to authentic Spanish treats such as carne asada street tacos and pan seared scallops with mango puree, plantain crisp, and pico de gallo. There will also be lots of salads and entrees. Midtown includes nearly two million square feet of retail space, residential living space, and office buildings, with ample parking and intuitive walkability.  Midtown also features the central green space of Midtown Commons, the 3-acre Midtown Lake, and the Watercourse recreational trail.

Entertainment has returned the Las Vegas Strip. Four of Caesars Entertainment live shows, with audiences currently limited to 50 people under safety mandates. The shows are ABSINTHE at Caesars Palace, Extravaganza at Bally’s and Tape Face and X Country at Harrah’s. ABSINTHE is one-part vivid imagination, two parts carnival and a shot of old-world burlesque mixed with a heavy dash of decadence. X Country showcases stimulating performances from the X Country Girls, who will leave nothing to the imagination. Tape Face features America’s Got Talent sensation who does not speak at all in his show, although his message of being true to self comes across loud and clear. Extravaganza – The Vegas Spectacular features feats of strength and flexibility from more than 30 dancers, acrobats, aerialists, skaters, comedians and, the return of the iconic showgirl to the legendary Jubilee Theatre.; (855) 234-7469;

The renovation of the 251-suite Embassy Suites by Hilton Detroit Troy/Auburn Hills in Troy, MI includes all guestrooms, public spaces, restaurant, and meeting rooms. The hotel is owned by private investment firm Rockbridge and managed by Hospitality Ventures Management Group (HVMG). Centrally located within Troy’s business and financial hub, the hotel features approximately 7,000 sf of meeting and event space, including eight, flexible meeting rooms, as well as a business center, pool, 24/7-market, and a fitness center.;


Ella Mae’s Diner is in the new Luminary Hotel.

Ella Mae’s Diner at Luminary Hotel & Co. (Fort Myers, FL) is hosting a holiday toy drive to benefit the annual Children’s Christmas Party coordinated by the Dr. Piper Center for Social Services. Donations of unwrapped toys can be brought to Ella Mae’s Diner through Sunday, Dec. 20. Held on Christmas Day every year since 1915, the Children’s Christmas Party was started by Sarah Williams, mother of Dr. Ella Piper, for whom Ella Mae’s Diner is named. Over more than a century, the Christmas Party has grown from an original gathering of 15 little girls to more than 600 children. When Williams died in 1926, Ella Mae carried on her mother’s work with the assistance of many local churches, businesses, and community friends who donated gifts for the children. Since Dr. Piper’s death in 1954, the annual Christmas Party has continued uninterrupted through the faithful efforts of local citizens.


World Food Championship in Dallas, TX are just some of the prizes being given away in holiday contest.

There is no charge to enter World Food Championships’ December Holiday contest. More than $5,000 in prizes and products will be given out from random drawings on December 12. Sponsors include Bull Outdoor Products, Metro, Gotham Steel, Vitaclay, Westinghouse Homeware, Stavely Woodworks Llc, Hassell Cattle Company, The Jelly Queens, Cattle Dog Coffee Roasters, and more. One entry per person, but prizes will be drawn one a day over 12 days. Prizes will include the 30” Bull Outdoor Outlaw LP Grill Cart, the METRO PrepMate MultiStation, Stavely Woodworks Cutting Board, Gotham Steel Cookware + Bakeware Set, VitaClay VM7900 Smart Organic Multi-Cooker & Cook Book, Jelly Queens Holiday Four Season Tower, Cattle Dog Coffee Roasters Deluxe Coffee Basket, Westinghouse Soup Maker Blender, Hassell Cattle Company Filet Pack, The Oyster Bed – Le Grande, Two VIP Weekend Lounge Passes to the World Food Championships in Dallas, and two VIP Weekend Lounge Passes to the WFC Chili Cook-Off.

Pensacola Holiday Trail photo contest

With a snap of your camera, you can win $1,000 in prizes in the Pensacola (FL) Holiday Trail contest. OK, after you snap the photo you will have to check-in to the Experience Pensacola App. Each check-in is equal to one entry.  No limits but you must be 25 years of age or older and the contest ends January 1 at 6 pm CST. The prize package includes: Two-night stay at Margaritaville Beach Hotel; Gift Card to Redfish Bluefish; Gift Card to Waterpig BBQ; Gift Card to Crab Trap; Gift Card to Nick’s Boathouse; Gift card to Flora-Bama Watersports; Nina Fritz Painting and a custom gift basket filled with goodies from Bodacious Shops, Innerlight Surf Shop, Waterboyz, and Renfroe’s Pecan’s.

Download the App to play.


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September 27 – 30 in Dallas, TX: The date has changed, but not the event. Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) will hold HITEC North America 2021 in-person at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. Traditionally held in June, the conference has been pushed back to give the hard-hit hospitality industry an opportunity to build positive momentum as it recovers from the pandemic-related slow-down. Additionally, HFTP will co-locate its Annual Convention with HITEC Dallas. HITEC Dallas will feature the same opportunities the hospitality technology event is known for, which has made it an annual, premier event for the hospitality community. Attendees can expect a four-day education program planned and presented by industry experts. In addition, HITEC Dallas will feature an exhibit hall hosting over 300 companies. The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) will co-locate its ROC Americas program and associated executive roundtables focused on hotel revenue optimization September 28-29 in Dallas. “We look forward to welcoming industry revenue optimization professionals to Dallas along with HFTP as we bring the community together to lead the recovery,” said HSMAI President and CEO Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA. In 2020, HFTP produced its first virtual event CYBER HITEC, hosting over 1,840 registered participants engaging in hospitality technology-focused education sessions, 18 virtual exhibit halls and multiple networking opportunities. Also enveloped within the programming was the HFTP Annual Convention, with a hospitality finance-focused education track. Registration is still available for CYBER HITEC, which offers on-demand access to the platform. Pricing and priority sales scheduling for the 2021 HITEC North America will be available before the end of 2020. HFTP, established in 1852, is an international, nonprofit association, headquartered in Austin, TX, and with offices in Hong Kong, United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Dubai. HFTP is recognized as the spokes group for the finance and technology segments of the hospitality industry with members and stakeholders spanning across the globe.

membership@hftp.or; FB @HFTPGlobal; @HITECConference

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 fifth 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; @thepsychiclady.