NEWLY OPENED, RENOVATED, AND COMING SOON
Caesars Atlantic City (Atlantic City, NJ) is getting another $200 million in enhancements. Caesars Entertainment said the upgrades include to its valet, hotel lobby, and casino floor, along with a new outdoor pool experience. The overall $400 million transformation also adds Nobu Atlantic City, a restaurant and distinct hotel experience within Caesars Atlantic City’s hotel; Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen, the first restaurant of its kind on the East Coast; and over 750 newly renovated rooms and suites in Caesars’ Centurion and Ocean towers. John Koster, Regional President for Caesars Entertainment’s Eastern Division said, “This major investment demonstrates our ongoing commitment to elevating guests’ experiences at our resorts as well as advancing the Atlantic City tourism economy.” Joe Lodise, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Caesars Atlantic City added, “For 43 years, Caesars Atlantic City has been an iconic destination on the Atlantic City Boardwalk and critical to the market’s success over the years. The resort transformation at Caesars Atlantic City will further the property’s evolution as one of the country’s leading travel destinations here on the East Coast – bringing the best of Las Vegas right here to the center of the action in Atlantic City.”
The Karol Hotel, the first Tribute Portfolio hotel in Pinellas County, FL has new menus inspired by new Executive Chef Thomas Parker. He’ll direct daily culinary operations at the hotel’s signature K Club Bar & Bistro and Vantage Rooftop Bar, while overseeing food and beverage offerings for meetings, corporate events, local catering functions and special occasions in the hotel’s 7,340 sf of event space. Marketed by Tampa-based Mainsail Lodging & Development, The Karol Hotel focuses on delivering carefree comfort combined with intuitive design. He might be an Ohio native, but Chef Thomas is incorporating a few Italian favorites to the New American cuisine menu. K Club Bar & Bistro will feature new dinner options such as an Espresso Crusted Filet and Apple Brined Pork Chop, as well as local snapper and grouper dishes. Other dishes include Short Rib & Sausage Bolognese, Shrimp & Mussel Arabiatta and even a vegan Spaghetti & Meatballs. The dessert menu now includes Peanut Butter & Jelly Bread Pudding, “Froot Loop” Cereal Cake, and Chocolate 4 Ways. The popular Vantage Rooftop Bar also has a sophisticated new menu highlighted by Filet Tartare, Oysters on the Half Shell, Smoked Fish Dip and the Vantage Charcuterie Board, which is chef-selected daily. The signature K Club Bar & Bistro offers a menu inspired by the fresh flavors of the Florida and travels of hotel owners Fred and Karol Bullard, for whom the hotel is named.
Tampa, FL’s iconic Floridan Palace Hotel will be joining the Tapestry Collection by Hilton announces 1754 Properties, LLC, an institutional owner, operator and lender of hotels and other real estate based in South Florida. As part of a major rebranding process, the 212-room property, with over 14,000 sf of meeting space, will undergo a comprehensive $25 million renovation and be positioned as one of downtown Tampa’s most upscale hotels. Located in the booming North Downtown (NoDO0 neighborhood, the 19-story hotel opened in 1926 as the tallest building in Tampa. In keeping with the historic property’s new brand and status as a Tapestry Collection hotel, 1754 Properties has secured Jane Finkel Levin, President of Levin Investment Realty, as retail leasing broker for the project. “The Tapestry Collection by Hilton brand is a natural fit, giving our guests the consistency, reassurance and benefits of Hilton’s reservation system, rewards program, and globally recognized brand, but also preserving the unique, independent hotel experience so many modern travelers value,” said Joe Smith, CEO of 1754 Properties. According to Smith, as the appointed retail leasing broker, Jane Levin is curating a collection of boutique-style retailers, restaurants and other services that will become amenities to the historic hotel.
Take advantage of this limited offer through September 30 for a two-night stay and a $50 food & beverage credit at the new Max Beach Resort (Daytona Beach Shores, FL). The 12-story, 72 spacious one-, two- and three-bedroom residence-style suites is the area’s first professionally managed, short-term rental offering that includes enhanced guest amenities for leisure and business travelers. Use Promo Code: MAXGO. The project combined development and hospitality management expertise and resources of Bayshore Capital Inc. and Crescent Hotels & Resorts. Upscale resort amenities include full-service dining and fully stocked residential kitchen, an oceanfront pool with private cabanas, bicycle rentals, and a unique sky-level training center and lifestyle lounge. For business and social gatherings, the resort offers sunrise and sunset event terraces, and a ground-level hospitality suite and deck area. State-of-the-art WiFi, curated background music, floor-to-ceiling glass walls throughout, and design advancements such as increased acoustical isolation, turtle-friendly tinted glass, and smart TVs.
Fly nonstop from Orlando, FL to Freeport and when you book your travel now through September 10 on Bahamasair!, the official national flag carrier, you can take advantage of this introductory promotional package for $297 (Roundtrip, taxes included). Travel must be scheduled on Sundays and Mondays, and you can enjoy a four-day and three-night getaway or a five-day and four-night getaway in The Bahamas second largest city!
50% off summer rental rates at The Garden Villa (Winter Park, FL). The Garden Villa at Florida Federation of Garden Clubs features a banquet hall, elegantly-presented food, courteous service, spectacular gardens, and a relaxing ambiance. 125 Max Capacity/
FREE: 10 TIPS FOR A WEDDING RECEPTION ON A BUDGET AND MORE…
Who doesn’t want to save money on wedding expenses? Pixilated offers these 10 tips to help, from looking for unusual venues to planning an unconventional menu. And just in case a photo booth rental is high on your list, order one from Pixilated and receive wedding theme props for free! Just enter the name of the theme in the Special Instructions section during checkout.
DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT CREDIT CARD IN YOUR WALLET?
Do you earn any benefits with your credit card? Are you paying an annual fee? With inflation a hot topic, Personal finance website, WalletHub, has released its report on 2022’s Best Credit Card Rewards Programs, along with a nationally representative consumer survey and editors’ picks for the Best Rewards Credit Cards for Summer 2022. Compare cards: The best rewards cards can yield up to $1,204 more than the worst ones over the first two years. “The key is to pay the bill in full every month and avoid interest because rates are rising along with prices at the gas station and grocery store,” explains Delaney Simchuk, WalletHub analyst. Which has the best rewards program? Capital One, for the seventh year in a row, earning an average WalletHub score of 92%. What matters? 61% more Americans want bonus rewards on gas purchases this year compared to 2021. Also, 79% of people are most interested in earning cash back rewards, topping rewards points and miles by a wide margin. “The national average price of regular gasoline has increased by roughly 150% in the past 12 months. Saving up to 5% with one of the best gas rewards credit cards can help, as can shopping around for a place to fill up and reconsidering whether all of your driving is truly necessary,” says Simchuk. Trade off? 57% of people go out of their way to spend money with companies that give them extra credit card rewards. “Cash back is the most popular type of credit card rewards by a wide margin. Roughly 79% of people say they want cash back rewards the most, according to a new WalletHub survey, while airline miles and gas rewards each only got 8% of the vote and hotel points got 5%. People know exactly how much they’re earning with cash back rewards, and cash back can’t be devalued by credit card companies like points and miles.” Travel rewards envy. Around two in five Americans are jealous of people who pay for trips with credit card rewards. Simchuk adds, “There’s nothing wrong with rewarding companies with business if they help you earn credit card rewards, but be careful not to overspend. Expensive credit card interest charges will more than wipe out whatever you save with rewards. Shoppers should also be careful not to spend money with a company just to earn extra rewards if the company’s prices are a lot higher than what its competitors charge.” Worth paying annual fees? Most people (54%) say they would never apply for a credit card with annual fees.
COLORADO RIVER GETTING LOW BUT WATER ADVENTURES STILL HIGH!
Yes, a climate change drought has befallen the Colorado River and may render the hydroelectric turbines of Glen Canyon Dam inert within the next couple years, according to Kam Wixom, Marketing Director for Western River Expeditions. However, as a has been guiding water adventures in the Grand Canyon since 1991 and Western River Expeditions has been hosting trips since 1961, he says “there is still a river flowing despite it all. There are still fish swimming in the river,” and the company is still guiding rafting and camping groups in the area. He does not disagree with the forthcoming dangers of the drought if nothing changes but says the company will “simply calibrate the size of the craft to match the volume of the river’s flow. Then we will hope and pray for more snow and rain and do our best to maintain our high standards of customer experience. We’ve done it this way in Utah’s Cataract Canyon since 1961. Rivers rarely dry up entirely. As long as there are rivers flowing, we will run them.” Despite the drought, Wixom says man-made water releases from a series of reservoirs will keep 2022 water flows higher than expected. If the drought continues, more flows will occur. He said Flaming Gorge Reservoir, which straddles the Utah-Wyoming border, will release 500,000-acre feet of water over the next 12 months to prevent Lake Powell water levels from dipping below hydroelectric capability. Lower Basin (think Lake Mead) will eventually have the use of that water for crops in California. Most of the water will be released during the hottest summer months in order to try to replicate “normal” flows and natural rhythms. Wixom explains that the strategy of replicating “normal” flows is similar to that of a normal winter snowpack melting off and filling the rivers. Snowpack for the Colorado River Basin was higher than it was in 2021 and at 91% of the past seven-year average, so things are looking near normal this summer. There was more rain in the fall, so the ground is not as thirsty. He does caution that if the drought continues, it might derail normal flows in coming years. How does it impact Western River Expeditions tours? Lower water levels don’t directly equate to diminished whitewater rapids. In fact, the rapids may become more challenging. “Whitewater in Desolation Canyon, Cataract Canyon and many rapids in Grand Canyon gain a bit more kick and punch with lower water.” Lower water levels also expose more sandy beaches, more places to camp and hold beach sports competitions. And one major bonus: fewer bug problems. High water leaves large puddles of standing water where bugs breed!
MOST FUN STATES IN AMERICA?
How would you judge if a state is fun compared to others? Personal finance website, Wallethub, compared the 50 states across 26 key metrics. The data set ranges from movie costs to accessibility of national parks to casinos per capita. Who came out as #1? California. The least fun in the top 20? Georgia. California has the most movie theaters per square root of population compared to Delaware, which has the fewest. California also has 7.9 times more restaurants (to the population) than Alaska. Texas scores with the most amusement parks, which is 17.8 times more than West Virginia, while Washington has the highest personal spending on recreation services per capita, which is 2.6 times more than West Virginia. In #2 spot for the most fun state is Florida, and from there the list goes: Nevada, New York, Illinois, Colorado, Washington, Texas, Minnesota, Louisiana, Oregon, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, and South Carolina before finishing with Georgia.
COVID UPDATES FOR VISITORS TO THE BAHAMAS
The Government of The Bahamas has eliminated the mandatory Bahamas Travel Health Visa and fully vaccinated travelers no longer are required to submit to pre-travel COVID-19 testing to enter the country. Valid proof of vaccination must be presented before boarding a flight to The Bahamas. All unvaccinated travelers ages two and older will be required to obtain a negative COVID-19 test, either a negative RT-PCR test or a Rapid Antigen test, taken no more than three days (72 hours) prior to travel. The negative test results must be presented at check-in before travel to The Bahamas. Children under the age of two are exempt from any testing requirements.
CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT RECOGNIZED FOR ITS CSI
For the eighth consecutive year, Caesars Entertainment has been recognized as one of the top 50 community-oriented companies in the United States by Points of Light, the world’s largest nonprofit dedicated to accelerating people-powered change. For 10 years, The Civic 50 has provided a national standard for corporate citizenship, showcasing how companies can use their time, skills, and resources to drive social impact in their communities and company. The Civic 50 honorees are companies with annual U.S. revenues of at least $1 billion and are selected based on four dimensions of their corporate citizenship and social impact programs: investment of resources, integration across business functions, institutionalization through policies and systems, and impact measurement. “Caesars Entertainment’s CSR framework, PEOPLE PLANET PLAY, provides direction for us to act with integrity and care for our Team Members, communities and the environment,” said Heather Rapp, SVP of Corporate Social Responsibility for Caesars Entertainment.” The Civic 50 survey is administered by True Impact and consists of quantitative and multiple-choice questions that inform the scoring process. The Civic 50 is the only survey and ranking system that exclusively measures corporate involvement in communities.
To view the full report and see the full list of The Civic 50 2022 honorees: www.pointsoflight.org/the-civic-50
NEW PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN HFTP AND AAHOA
Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) have partnered. Both hospitality organizations have a shared interest in advancing the hospitality environment to the benefit of their members and the overall industry. The groups, who have long supported each other, will continue to promote and have a presence at each association’s events, offering collaborative benefits to young professional members and more. “I have great admiration for AAHOA and the initiatives it takes on; and since both our association networks overlap as do our foundational strategic goals, it only makes sense to work together,” said HFTP CEO Frank Wolfe, CAE, FIH. “Just like AAHOA, HFTP exists to help its members better understand the industry’s pressing issues and assists its stakeholders in finding solutions to their challenges more efficiently,” said Neal Patel, AAHOA Chairman and HITEC North America Advisory Council member for the last five years. A new collaboration between the associations is sharing resources for young professional members. AAHOA young professional members will have the opportunity to take advantage of a complimentary one-year HFTP membership.
BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOS ARE BACK!
Black & White Photo Booths, aka “The Glam Booth” or “The Kardashian Booth” are back in style. Pixilated’s Black & White photo booth kits produce monochrome photos. The DIY setup works right out of the box and a classic black & white filter is applied to each photo.
TRAVEL INSURANCE? RENTAL CAR INSURANCE? WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW.
Having just waited more than a month to finally get approval from my travel insurance claim (contracting COVID and being isolated for eight additional days in a foreign country), I can appreciate the helpful advice and assessment of travel insurance and rental car insurance that personal finance website Wallethub just shared from one of their latest surveys. 60% of people say travel benefits matter to them when applying for a new credit card, with 53% of people saying the pandemic made them value credit card travel insurance more. Delaney Simchuk, WalletHub analyst, says, “Unfortunately, credit card issuers have been stripping benefits like travel insurance from their offers in recent years. Apparently, some travel benefits are not cost-effective, despite applicants’ initial interest in them.” Not everyone is happy with their credit card’s customer service while traveling. About 39% said suspected fraud caused purchases to be declined. “To minimize the chances of your credit card being declined due to suspected fraud while traveling, notify your credit card company of your travel plans – including destinations and dates – before you depart. Not all credit card companies require this, but it can still be helpful,” advises Simchuk. What do people want most from their credit cards? Insurance for accidents while traveling (34%) is tops, followed by trip delay/cancellation insurance (33%) and rental car insurance (23%), leaving airport lounge access (10%) at the bottom of the list. Wallethub discovered that Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the best for car rental insurance, providing worldwide rental car insurance for up to 31 days. Damage from dirt and gravel roads and towing charges are included. For travel insurance, Chase Sapphire Preferred® covers you up to $500K for travel accidents, $3K for lost luggage, $20K for trip cancellation, $500 for delayed trips, and $500 for delayed luggage.
July 1-Sept. 24: Scalloping season in Crystal River and Plantation on Crystal River, on Florida’s Nature Coast. Promotional packages for guided and non-guided tours.
www.PlantationonCrystalRiver.com; (800) 632-6262.
July 6 – 9: Pensacola Beach Air Show. Pensacola Bay Area is the official home of the Blue Angels, officially known as the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron.
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.