Rebranded Sal Y Mar Rooftop Bar & Events Venue atop the dual-branded Aloft and Element Hotel in Midtown Tampa, FL has rental deals for holiday events.

The job market is much better than has been pondered, worried over, and misrepresented according to the latest numbers released Nov. 5 by the U.S Labor Department. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 531,000 in October, beating the estimate of 450,000, states the report. “This is the kind of recovery we can get when we are not sidelined by a surge in Covid cases,” said Nick Bunker, economic research director at job placement site Indeed. “If this is the sort of job growth we will see in the next several months, we are on a solid path.” Best of all for the hospitality, leisure, and meetings & events are that these industries have regained 2.4 million positions lost during the pandemic as more than 164,000 Americans have now returned to restaurants and vacations. No one has tallied how many of those who left these industries have permanently transitioned to other industries, but it is a positive (finally!) sign that events will go on, restaurants will keep serving, and hotels will still be putting heads into beds.


Don’t let the name change fool you. The former Sal Y Mar rooftop bar atop the dual-branded Aloft and Element Hotel in Midtown Tampa (FL) may now be known as Sal Y Mar Rooftop Bar & Events Venue, but the promotions are just as incentivizing. Book a holiday party by Nov. 15 for 50 or more attendees and planners can choose from several bonuses, including double Marriott Bonvoy points; free holiday-themed centerpieces (12); free red linens for 12 tables; or a free sound patch, wireless microphone, or projector and screen. Events with 100 or more attendees can choose from any of the above, plus one free room night accommodation the night of the event. Drawing on the Mayan influences from the Mexican coastal town of Tulum for its color palette and décor, the Venue on the 7th floor has 5,280 sf of adaptable indoor and outdoor space, with 360-degree views of Tampa and St. Petersburg skylines. The light-filled Skyline Ballroom can be converted into two rooms to accommodate up to 225 guests. Board rooms Midtown & Cityscape are good for more intimate meetings, and there is Skydeck for a one-of-a-kind, indoor-outdoor celebration.; 813-353-0600 ext. 3324.

Book your next meeting at Gaylord National (National Harbor, MD) by Dec. 31 for use by Dec. 31, 2022 and earn double Marriott Bonvoy® points.; (877) 677.9352

Lobby of the new Margaritaville Beach House Key West , FL


Mark your calendar for Nov. 15, when the new Margaritaville Beach House Key West (FL) makes its debut. Currently operating as the Barbary Beach House Key West, the rebranded and upgraded resort will feature popular family-friendly amenities, an expanded retail outlet, and Tin Cup Chalice Bar & Chill, a brand-new restaurant and bar concept. The oceanfront resort along Smathers Beach offers 186 roomy suites, a lagoon-style pool, and longing hammocks throughout the grounds. The resort has indoor banquet space and outdoor gardens and courtyards, along with the 1,500 sf Tiki room for smaller events. The resort is one mile from Key West International Airport and provides complimentary shuttle service to the airport, Duval Street, and the Downtown Seaport Harbor.; (866) 237-022.


I don’t read the Old Farmer’s Almanac, but fortunately between reading that and conducting their survey of 70 of the largest U.S. metro areas, personal finance company WalletHub has determined 2021’s Best Winter Holiday Destinations, broken down by the best for cold and warm places. The company focused on cost and convenience, not scenic beauty, as well as 39 key metrics (from weather forecasts to safety and variety of activities). Here are a few of the highlights of cold destinations: Louisville, KY has the lowest price for a three-star hotel room ($43) which is 2.8 times lower than Worcester, MA ($119). Chicago, IL has the most restaurants per square root of population vs Bridgeport, CT, which has the fewest. As for warmer destinations, Augusta, GA charges the lowest for a three-star hotel ($43) which is nearly four times lower than Honolulu (HI), which is $168. As for restaurants, Orlando, FL has 28.7 times more restaurants than Deltona, FL. So here is how they ranked out, from #1 to #10. Leading off for best cold destinations is Atlanta, GA, followed by Washington, DC; New York, NY; St. Louis, MO; Albuquerque, NM; Chicago, IL; Denver, CO; Cincinnati, OH, Kansas City, MO, and Boston, MA. As for which are the top 10 best warm destinations for winter travel, Austin, TX takes the prize. It’s followed by Las Vegas, NV; San Diego, CA; Dallas, TX; Houston, TX; San Antonio, TX; Phoenix, AZ; San Francisco, CA; Tampa, FL and Orlando, FL.

For full details:


A wild ride on the Grand Canyon rapids with Western River Expeditions.

Watch a few news or nature shows and it will be no surprise that drought has plagued the western U.S. Major lakes feeding farms, supplying water, or being the venue for water sports are at historically low levels. Brian Merrill, CEO of Western River Expeditions and the Moab Adventure Center has had to work through the pandemic and low-level rivers before to keep his businesses flowing (did you catch my word play, there?). Merrill indicates that lower water means using smaller boats with five max people than their J-Rigs (for up to 18) when taking rafting groups through Cataract Canyon. Bad for the bottom line, but good for all the additional guides that will be hired. He says the severity of the drought is evident in the two man-made reservoirs created by dams on the lower Colorado River, which includes Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Merrill says multiple groups determine water flow to be sure everyone has enough to operate. All we can do now is pray the weather patterns change, rain (but not floods) and snow falls.;


Nov. 12-14: The Mahabhuta Yoga Festival at the Bayview Park, Pensacola, FL 32502.

Nov. 20: Beach Hits Musical Festival at Casino Beach, Pensacola, FL 32561. Free.

Nov. 26 -28: Gulf Coast Blues Fest at Pensacola Interstate Fairgrounds, Pensacola, FL 32526; (850) 503-5766

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.;;; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady.