OPEN AND READY FOR BUSINESS
The $64 million renovation of Gaylord National Resort reopened July 1. Located minutes from downtown Washington DC on the Potomac River, the resort has easy access to National Harbor. The redesign includes the guestrooms, signature Pose Rooftop bar and lounge. The redo enhances the 19-story glass atrium, all-season pool, hot tubs with river views, and the resort’s spectacular 1.5-acre garden atrium.
After an investment of more than $200 million, Harrah’s Las Vegas (NV) 2,542 guest rooms have been redesigned. Also renovated: a complete casino floor remodel and two new LED marquees at the north and south entrances. What’s new? How about singer Donny Osmond’s first-ever solo residency that opens August 31 or maybe PizzaCake, a fast-casual restaurant by Buddy Valastro? Where else in Vegas might you bite into authentic New York-style pizza or a slice of Carlo’s Bakery’s cake and over-the-top slices of dessert pizza? Designed to recreate a typical New Jersey/New York-style pizzeria with elements of street art, classic furnishings, and old-school photos, there’s an additional bonus of music from Buddy’s personal playlist. The center-Strip resort provides convenient, direct access to the 550,000 sf CAESARS FORUM Conference Center via the Skybridge. The redesigns began in 2016 and were completed in June 2021. Following the first two renovation phases of 1,622 Valley Tower rooms in 2016 and 2018, Harrah’s Las Vegas completed the redesign of all 2,542 rooms and suites in 2020, including the Mountain Tower with an additional investment of $70 million. The casino floor and lobby have upgraded lighting, floor and ceiling tiling, carpeting and modern restrooms. An oversized ombré art piece with purple and blue hues is positioned behind the front desk. Additional design highlights include marble floors and counters, as well as contemporary bronze columns with wood paneling.
The 30-year-old Pueblo Bonito Mazatlán Beach Resort (Mazatlán, Mexico) is ready for her close-up after finishing the final phase of a $26.5 million renovation. Located in Mexico’s Golden Zone, the first phase updated 116 suites, remodeled Cilantro’s Restaurant, and added an Asian fusion restaurant, Pescados. Phase two updated the remaining 262 suites, renovated the entrance, and expanded and refreshed the lobby. There are new meeting facilities for up to 300 attendees. Both Las Palomas and Angelo’s restaurants were redesigned and expanded, while a new oceanfront bar, La Palapa, was added.
Spirit Airlines has officially landed in Pensacola International Airport (PNS)! The airline now flies from Florida’s Panhandle to seven destinations: Austin (TX), Columbus (OH), Dallas-Fort Worth (TX), Indianapolis (IN), Kansas City (MO), Louisville (KY) and St. Louis (MO).
Book now and stay between August 22 through December 17 at either Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay Resort & Spa or Pueblo Bonito Mazatlán Beach Resort and receive up to 50% discount. Each 378-room properties lie along Mazatlán, Mexico’s Pacific coast. Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay Resort & Spa, an all-suite hotel, sits on 20 acres of private beach, tropical gardens, and oceanfront swimming pools. Pueblo Bonito Mazatlán Beach Resort, opened in 1987 along Mazatlan’s “Zona Dorada” (“Golden Zone”), recently completed a $26.5 million renovation. The promotional offer, applicable to free-cancellation and nonrefundable rates, is valid only for all-inclusive stays, minimum of three nights. Guests who stay six nights or more qualify for additional savings, up to 50% off.
www.pueblobonito.com; (800) 990-8250; mention Promo code: MAZATLAN21.
What’s hot and what’s new in event technology. Read what 23 handpicked experts have to say. The info has been compiled into a free report by Event Tech Innovation. Just download it, according to Editor in Chief Miguel Neves.
MY STATE IS MORE FUN THAN YOURS
Just so we are clear, the evaluation of whose state is more fun lies with the WalletHub’s latest survey. The personal-finance website analyzed the top 20 fun states after realizing that two-thirds of Americans plan to vacation this summer. The analysis encompassed more than 26 key metrics, ranging from movie costs to accessibility of national parks and to the number of casinos in a neighborhood. No surprise that California (home to legendary film and television studios) would have more movie theaters per square root of population than Rhode Island, but 6.5 times more? Probably not a stretch to realize California also has more than 7.7 times the number of restaurants than North Dakota, but I am surprised that Texas beat out Florida for theme parks (per square root of population). The Longhorn state has 16.5x more theme parks than West Virginia. As for personal spending on recreation services, Massachusetts beat out lowest placed Mississippi by 4.2x. So who’d place a bet that California is in the first spot for most fun state… and win! OK, here are the rest of the list, from #2 to #20. Florida, Nevada, New York, Illinois, Colorado, Washington, Texas, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Louisiana, Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin, Arizona, Maryland, North Carolina, Michigan and in a surprising last place finish, Hawaii.
I don’t typically recommend many books publicly, though I am an avid reader with a stack of yet-unread-but-purchased-books waiting my attention. However, I seem to have many friends who are published novelists. John Charles Miller is one of them. Many of his books, from a time travel series (with historically-factual info stirred into the storyline) to his latest murder mysteries, occur in Florida. I liken his first Florida murder mystery, The Listener, to a good Saturday summer popcorn movie: lots of action, intrigue, and a delightful cast of characters. The Nose Knows is the sequel. You can buy the ebooks or paperbacks from Amazon or from him directly. Tell him you read it here!
July 1 – September 24: Crystal River (FL) has mid-week scalloping packages for two. Includes having your seafood and sides cooked by the chef; two-night stay in a garden or water view deluxe room, patio room or golf villa; guided scalloping tour; and souvenir bag with mesh scalloping bag, scallop recipes and water.
www.PlantationonCrystalRiver.com; (800) 632-6262
July 4: Luminary Hotel & Co. (Fort Myers, FL) has a trio of special events and special package offers. The events are Fourth of July Dinner at Oxbow Bar & Grill, Celebration on the Pool Deck at Luminary Hotel & Co, and Rooftop Views at Beacon Social Drinkery. The two special packages for July 4-5 are for the Private Balcony Suite Package and the July 4th Celebration Package with Mega Tickets.
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 International Live Events Association, Meeting Professionals International and the Society of Professional Journalists. She is now serving on the 20121-2022 MPI Independent and Small Business Owners Advisory Board. 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. Karen@KarenKuzsel.com; www.karenkuzsel.com; www.ThePsychicLady.com; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady.