Save up to 35% in this flash sale at The Lucie, part of the Opal Collection.

Pay for three nights and get the fourth free at the newly renovated boutique hotel, The Lucie on Jensen Beach, FL, which just became a member of the Opal Collection. If you need a fast getaway, check out the flash sale. Save up to 35% off stays across our entire collection but you have to book this Opal-ized deal between October 13-15.; (866) 258-7247;

Zibu Allende, just one of many dining locations at Live Aqua San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. It serves a fusion of Mexican & Thai cuisines.

Wine tasting, cultural tour, and a 15% discount on F&B, as well as AV are just some of the perks when you book at least 30 rooms a night a minimum three nights at Live Aqua Urban Resort San Miguel de Allende, located near the Obraje Dam in Mexico. You must make this new booking by December 30. There are many promotional packages available so check them out to see which might work for you.

Sioux Falls Sourced package could be yours.

PLANNERS: You have until September 30 to enter Sioux Falls Sourced for the Fall package giveaway. Each quarter the Sioux Falls, SD Experience gives away a box to 10 randomly selected qualified planners. The featured products change quarterly. The Fall Box is valued at $98.54 and includes such items as a themed fine art greeting card from artist Rodger Ellingson, a Fall candle from Sweet Cream Candle Co, Pancake & Waffle Mix from Gluten Free Please, and Fire Pucks from The Casual Campfire Supply Co. There is much more. The Winter Box promo runs October 1 – December 31.  The sweepstakes is open to qualified Meeting Professionals (“participants”) who are legal residents in the 50 United States, are at least 21 years of age, have a physical business address in the United States and is the meeting planner or decision maker for their organization with the authority to book a meeting in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Book your next meeting or event, with actualization by December 31, at Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa (Destin, FL) and you can earn 100,000 bonus HHonors points.

Sweetgrass Soapery Seasonal Bundle is one of many gifts in the Sioux Falls Sourced package for Fall.

LEISURE Travelers, the September 30 deadline to apply for The Sioux Falls Sourced Fall package is fast approaching. The Sioux Falls Experience gives away a box of goodies each quarter to 50 randomly selected winners. The featured products change each quarter. You must reenter each quarter. The package includes Solstice Rose Seasonal Bundle from Sweetgrass Soapery, Coffee beans from Coffea Roasterie, Wooden coasters from DaleTree, and so much more. Enter for the Winter package, October 1 – December 31.

The Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens shows off entertainment, flowers, and family events from May – October.

Here’s an offer I’ve never seen before. Richmond Region Tourism has a summertime offer that will provide a 15% rebate off your banquet master bill and a NetZero Emission Event Certification whether you book your meeting or event this month or June through August of 2024. The booking must be made by December 31, 2023. The Virginia tourism group will assist how many carbon offsets you are entitled to from examining your RFP and will purchase those offsets to make you eligible for NetZero Emission Event Certification.;

Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach has promotional incentives.

You have plenty of time to book the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach for your group and still be able to take advantage of benefits offered. Book your new meeting by December 31, 2023 and actualize by December 31, 2024 to receive benefits such as 5% off all Master account charges, reduced resort fee to $20 per group room, or a complimentary basic Wi-Fi up to 3 mbps in the meeting space. The more rooms booked, the more benefits accessible. The hotel has 343 guest rooms, 22,000 sf of meeting space, and the area’s largest ballroom.; (727) 281-9500

Plano Foodie Pass is free!

Through September 30, Visit Plano (TX) has a FREE and limited-time foodie pass! Accumulate points for checking-in at participating restaurants and redeeming coupons. Points can be cashed in for prizes. Once you check-in to 20 restaurants, you are automatically entered into the “Fit for a Foodie” sweepstakes, which includes a Chef’s Table Dinner Experience, amazing hotel stays, and up to $500 in restaurant gift cards! to register.

Upcoming promotional packages at Opal Collection’s Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa (Jupiter, FL). Indigenous Peoples’ Day Savings: Up to 25% off + free overnight parking (valued at $25 nightly) from October 4–10, 2023. Thanksgiving Savings: Free breakfast for two adults & three children under 12 years old from November 17–25, 2023. Christmas & New Year Savings: $50 daily resort credit on suite bookings from December 22, 2023–January 6, 2024.

Daily Umbrella Rental & Resort Credit at three Opal Collection Longboat Key/Sarasota Resorts. Get a daily $75 credit at The Resort at Longboat Key Club, Longboat Key, FL. Get $25 credit daily at both Zota beach Resort (Longboat Key, FL) and Lido Beach Resort (Sarasota, FL).;


Five of Tampa, FL-based Mainsail Lodging & Development’s hotel rooftop bars raised more than $8,000 for the American Red Cross Hurricane Idalia Fund during a one night, “Raise the Roof for Hurricane Idalia Relief” event. The hotel bars donated 100% of proceeds raised September 7. They included EDGE Rooftop Cocktail Lounge (Epicurean Hotel in Tampa); Hi-Fi Rooftop Bar (Fenway Hotel in Dunedin); Vantage Rooftop Bar (The Karol Hotel in St. Pete/Clearwater); Skybox Rooftop Bar (Residence Inn Tampa Wesley Chapel); and Beacon Social Drinkery (Luminary Hotel & Co. in downtown Fort Myers). “In times of need, unity is our greatest strength. I’m proud of our five hotels for quickly coming together to help those affected by Hurricane Idalia,” said Joe Collier, President and Founder of Mainsail Lodging & Development. “It was great to see so many of our guests, team members, and area residents come out to support the cause and help rally behind our Florida neighbors.”;


W South Beach has new technology to transform a blank wall into any scene of your imagination.

Pick an image, reflect an experience, amplify the emotions attendees will feel with the innovative 360-degree projection technology just installed at W South Beach (Miami, FL) as part of the hotel’s $6 million ballroom and meeting space renovation. The 3D-mapping technology combines multiple effects to transform the 4,300-sf blank canvas ballroom that can hold up to 250. The built-in projection system is fully customizable with pre-set color scenes and a digital library of stills and video displays.  The energy-efficient system requires light only. The renovation includes three studios (60 each max) equipped with 75-inch LCD monitors, wireless internet and HDMI connectivity, dimmable white LED and recess lighting. The spaces can be combined into one larger space.; (305) 938-3000

Breakfast is now served at Al Taglio restaurant in the Music City Center (Nashville, TN). The fast-casual restaurant for convention and tourist guests is owned and operated by the center and located in the southeast corner of the building at the corner of Rep. John Lewis Way and Korean Veterans Boulevard. New menu options blend the traditional with the unexpected, from breakfast burritos, frittatas, and pastries to more innovative dishes such as a breakfast pizza topped with eggs and sausage gravy or a grilled panini filled with blueberry compote, mozzarella, and arugula. “This corner lacks an abundance of quick breakfast options, and we’re excited to be able to offer that to our guests, as well as those who live, work, or visit downtown Nashville,” said Music City Center President and Chief Executive Officer Charles Starks. MCC is a 2.1 million sf convention center with more than 353,000 sf of exhibit hall space, two ballrooms, 55 meeting rooms, and a covered parking garage with 1,800 spaces.

Polar Expedition ship, The Sea Spirit, now has catering by Switzerland-based Sea Chefs.

The air outside may get colder during a Poseidon Expeditions cruise into polar regions aboard the 114-passenger Sea Spirit, but inside, Switzerland-based hospitality and catering company Sea Chefs will be keeping the kitchen hot with its new partnership that commences with the start of the 2023-24 Antarctic season. “In the same way that our passengers expect a top-notch polar adventure from our bridge and expedition teams, they deserve no less than the best when they’re relaxing on board and anticipating a fine meal, friendly service and well-maintained, comfortable accommodations,” said Poseidon CEO Angelica Vorea. “We expect that the proximity of Poseidon’s offices and that of Sea Chefs in Limassol, Cyprus, and in Hamburg, Germany, will also benefit our ability to work closely and to deliver a first-rate cruise experience aboard the Sea Spirit.”;; (347) 801-2610; In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, contact Poseidon’s Hamburg office –; +49-40-7566-8555. In the UK and elsewhere on the globe, contact or telephone +44-870-068-9142.

Renovations have continued at Opal Grand Resort & Spa (Delray Beach, FL). A rooftop event space with ocean views will open in early 2024.

Hotel Bardo Savannah is a new brand that describes itself as “equal parts urban resort and neighborhood clubhouse.” Formerly The Mansion on Forsyth Park, the historical Savannah, GA property is undergoing a major renovation and will reopen February, 2024.  There are 140 rooms, a pool, bars, a ballroom, and new coastal Italian restaurant, Saint Bibiana. A cooking school was slated to open September 2023.

Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa is a dog-friendly resort in Jupiter, FL.

Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa, part of the Opal Collection, completed a transformation of all accommodations and upgrades to the Jupiter, FL resort’s banquet and ballroom spaces, as well as the newly opened Latitudes restaurant. The nine-story resort features a heated oceanfront pool and whirlpool spa, an outdoor lounge area complete with cabana-style chairs, fire pit, fitness center, lighted tennis and pickleball court, beach and pool concierge, and kids club activities. This is a dog-friendly resort and welcomes well-mannered dogs 30 lbs. or less.

Lido Beach Resort (Sarasota, FL) has opened the Tiki Bar, situated Gulf front. Weekly culinary specials, a stage for live music, including a live electric violin sunset performance each Wednesday. For groups, Lido Beach Resort has created a new Sunset Sand Garden, which makes a unique addition to any event or private function. Also renovated, The Resort at Longboat Key Club, Longboat Key, FL and Zota beach Resort (Longboat Key, FL);;

Two Naples, FL Opal Collection hotels have undergone renovations. Edgewater Beach Hotel is an all-suite beachfront hotel featuring more than 100 elegantly appointed accommodations. The pool area has been completely enhanced with water features and more. Boutique property, The Capri Inn, has oversized bathrooms, and private terraces or balconies.;

Old Hickory Steakhouse has been redesigned at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.

Gaylord Hotels are redesigning all their Old Hickory steakhouses. Already open is the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.


I wasn’t going to include this latest survey by WalletHub in this blog but then changed my mind because “being happy” seems to be a hot-button conversation across my worlds these days. What is happiness? What makes you happy? Before I give you the run down of the top 20 as revealed in the WalletHub 2023 Happiest States in America survey, here’s is what two of their experts explained about key ingredients of happiness. “The key ingredients to a happy life are resources, purpose, and belonging. Resources are those things that help us do things like pay our bills and have some level of options in our lives. Not enough resources, and we can quickly feel trapped, stressed, and overwhelmed. But there is a ceiling on the amount of resources that help us feel happy and, we need a balance. We might think that more money or more resources would help us feel happier, but that often is not the case. An overabundance of things like money, for example, can often lead to loneliness and depression. This leads us to a sense of purpose. Often a meaningful and happy life has a calling, or purpose associated with it. This is why our vocation is so critical to our identity. A life without purpose can feel empty and hollow, but a life with purpose is engaging and often, filled with episodes of genuine happiness. Lastly, belonging is about knowing that we matter and that we belong in the space of our lives. Artifacts such as the kinds and quality of the conversations we have, or our familial unit (however that is defined), as well as our community, become important barometers of how happy we are. Belonging is not about being around people all the time or being surrounded by others constantly. Rather, belonging is knowing that you are valued for who you are and the unique gifts you bring into the world.” Brad ShuckProfessor; ELOD Ph.D. Program Director, University of Louisville

“I think Maslow’s hierarchy of needs goes a good way to explaining the key ingredients to a happy life. If we have secure access to resources to meet our basic physiological and safety needs, then we are on solid footing to be in a position to enjoy life. It is these basic building blocks that form the foundation of our well-being. If these are missing or start to erode then each day is going to be a struggle. Over time, this ongoing struggle leaves us vulnerable to being physiologically, psychologically, and even spiritually depleted. While feeling a sense of belonging and experiencing love can act as a buffer, deficits in our basic needs are going to take a toll. These deficits may also limit our capacity to derive happiness from higher-order needs such as self-esteem and an inner sense of purpose and potential.”
Fiona NewtonAssociate Professor; Director of Engagement, Department of Marketing; Program Director, Marketing Communications Major, Monash University

WalletHub compared the 50 states across 30 key indicators of happiness. The data set ranges from the depression rate and the share of adults feeling productive to income growth and the unemployment rate. Do you agree or disagree with their explanations? While you ponder the possibilities, here are the top 20, beginning at #1 with Utah. The list then goes on to Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Florida, Idaho, and Nebraska. #11 is Delaware, followed by Massachusetts, North Dakota, Virginia, New Hampshire, New York, Illinois, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and finally, South Carolina.


Dec. 16: Winterfest Boat Parade in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Celebrate 20 years together of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Winterfest. This year’s theme is Reflections Afloat.

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 2022-2023 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. She is also active with Experience Kissimmee CVB and Wedding Venue Map..