Book the recently renovated Woodlands Resort (Houston, TX) with new business by April 15 and receive double points and up to 1% rebate to the master bill for up to 100 total room nights. The more room nights, the better the incentives. Woodlands Resort is part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. It has 402 rooms; 75,000 sf of meeting space divided among 55 unique venues and sits on 350 acres.
www.woodlandsresort.com/meetings/; (281) 364-6389.
Florida and Georgia residents only: Buy a 2-Park 1-Day Park-to-Park and get two days free at Universal Studios Orlando and Universal Islands of Adventure. (Hint: if you are a Harry Potter Wizarding World fan as I am, you must have tickets to both parks to receive the full experience). Must be used by June 26, 2024. Blockout dates March 25through April 6. Unused days will be forfeited. Guest must present valid proof of Florida or Georgia residency at time of purchase, ticket pick-up and redemption. This promo is only online.
Romance is in the air at Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf & Spa Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico and the Pacific Ocean resort has an enticing offer if you book a stay by February 28 for travel now through December 19. The promotional Romance package is for two persons, all-inclusive. The adults-only beachfront property with each room having an ocean-view terrace or balcony, includes such amenities as sparkling wine in-room upon arrival; flower petals on the bed; a couples massage at the award-winning Armonia Spa; private dinner for two on the beach; and a golf lesson for two at Quivira Golf Club’s oceanfront practice facility. The romantic perks also include gourmet confections from El Chocolate at The Market at Quivira and a keepsake glass heart made by the San Miguel Blown Glass Factory from recycled bottles sourced from Pueblo Bonito Resorts, completing a circle of sustainability. There are different levels to the Romance package, with pricing dependent on the level and availability.
Opal Collection knows baseball fans will flock to Florida for a spring training-focused vacation. They’ve just sweetened their bet that their luxury hotels and resorts conveniently located near some of the most popular baseball stadiums might be a draw, but they’ve added a signing bonus. New for 2024, these Opal Collection properties are offering a special “Play Ball!” package online that includes a resort credit ranging from $20 to $50 per day; and a spring training welcome bag complete with a baseball hat, baseball, pen or sharpie for player signatures, and a box of cracker jacks. Here’s the all-star lineup. In the Clearwater and Tampa area, Opals Sands Resort and Sandpearl Resort combine a beachfront vacation with quick access to watch the Toronto Blue Jays at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, and even the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field in nearby Tampa. Fans can also opt for the iconic Belleview Inn, a historic Florida golf hotel in nearby Belleair, just minutes from Clearwater Beach. The Resort at Longboat Key Club and Zota Beach Resort are in close driving distance of three spring training teams: the Pittsburgh Pirates at LECOM Park in Bradenton, the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, and the Atlanta Braves at CoolToday Park, a little further south in North Port. Located just 15 minutes from Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa is the top choice for Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals fans. Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa and The Lucie are also near Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, as well as Clover Park in Port St. Lucie, where the New York Mets play.
Book a new meeting by March 31 at the Palm Beach Convention Center (The Palm Beaches, FL) with minimum contracted room nights of 300 rooms for two or more nights and receive up to $20 per room night. Event must be actualized by the end of 2026.
Planners who book a group for a Western River Expeditions’ rafting adventure in 2024 get the entire trip for free. The charters are for river rafting trips in Southern Utah destinations such as Desolation Canyon and Cataract Canyon as well as through Moab. Early bird bookings have the best selection of departure dates and destinations. User-friendly links also come with supplemental trip information, all designed to make the organizer’s task stress-free. Each group member uses this private link to sign up and pay for their own reservation. “A private charter is a great option for groups ranging from extended family to corporate to non-profit. The benefit of going with your own group is the promise of building deeper bonds through shared adventures with family, co-workers, or others. Salt Lake City-based Western River Expeditions offers one of the few travel experiences that allows everyone to be doing the same thing at the same time in an extraordinary place – with absolutely no distractions,” says Brandon Lake, co-owner and CMO.
https://www.westernriver.com/group-rafting-trip; (866) 904-1160 (Local: (801) 942-6669); http://www.westernriver.com/.
The all-inclusive market in Mexico and the Caribbean just received a boost from Playa Hotels & Resorts with the completion of extensive renovations at the newly renamed Wyndham Alltra Vallarta in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. To celebrate the grand unveiling, Wyndham Alltra Vallarta if offering a 40% discount on bookings, valid for stays through December 20, 2024. Owner and operator of all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean, Playa Hotels & Resorts has drawn inspiration for the property (formerly known as Wyndham Alltra Riviera Nayarit) from ancient Huichol culture. The renovation includes 159 rooms, including all Junior Suites. The Alltra VIP Club for club level guests has speeded up its semi-private check-in (and out) service, enhanced its concierge assistance and personalized cocktail service. Club guestrooms receive upgraded minibars, in-suite Nespresso coffee makers and a complimentary hydrotherapy spa experience. Five dining venues have been revamped. The brand introduces its new Agave Bar and the first Mezcaleria in the chain’s portfolio.
Florida residents can save 40% for stays at Universal Orlando properties. Valid Florida ID required at check-in. Book by February 13, 2024 to save 40% for all room types at ALL Universal Orlando hotels when you travel Sunday – Thursday 1/7-1/11/24 and 1/15 -2/14/24. Also, save 40% when you book by May 22, 2024 for all room types only at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel when you travel Sunday – Thursday 2/15-3/7/24 and 4/7-5/23/24.
Book new business in a Boston or Cambridge (MA) hotel and receive a 10% rebate off the banquet master bill and 10% off all rooms booked. Here are the eligible program dates to qualify: 2024: now through 03/31/2024; 2025: 11/18/2024 – 04/17/2025; and 2026: 11/17/2025 – 03/31/2026.
Book a meeting within specified dates at Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe (Houston, TX) and receive a complimentary cruise for two on the Margaritaville at Sea Paradise or a Margaritaville Bahamas Frozen Concoction Maker. Mar. 14-29; and Mar. 31-Apr. 4. What gifts you are eligible for depends on the amount spent for the booking. There are other promotional incentives, from 20% off any team building activity (sans F&B), self-parking, and complimentary meeting room rental with minimum F&B spend.
I have a dear friend who believes the power of the beach overcomes any of the day’s negativity. She would go crazy for the ‘Wealth of Wellness’ package offered by Pueblo Bonito Golf & Spa Resorts, located within the luxury residential development Quivira Los Cabos at the tip of the Baja Peninsula. The updated-for-2024-package integrates numerous wellness components available within the resort community. The exclusive five-day “Wealth of Wellness” package, available through December of 2024, includes all-inclusive F&B, two 50-minute organic massages or facials, mountain bike tour for two, use of beach cabanas with personal butler service, a cooking class for two, and shuttle service and access to sister properties, which also have all-inclusive F&B,
www.pueblobonito.com; (800) -990-8259
NEW AND COMING SOON VENUES
Universal Studios Orlando Resort is pulling out all the stops for the debut of its newest Orlando, FL theme park, Epic Universe. Details are finally emerging. Four islands lead off from the Celestial Park entrance. Many of the rides will not be typically constructed, such as the Constellation Carousel, whose carriages include celestial lions, dragons, peacocks and more. Each carriage turns 360 degrees while lifting riders up to six feet in the air. Celestial Park will be joined by Universal’s third Harry Potter Wizarding World, this one subtitled Ministry of Magic. There will also be Super Nintendo World, Dark Universe, and How to Train Your Dragon-Isle of Berk. Details are emerging teasingly, but designers emphasize that imagination rules the day. Dueling roller coasters and neon-lit restaurants, including the Aquaria Bar that sits inside glass walls that resembles a Victorian aquarium surrounded by water. Universal gives this fun fact: The decorative fish that line the ceiling are surrounded by metallic curtains that shimmer as they sway, creating the illusion of being underwater in a massive aquarium. There will also be three new resort lodging properties. Universal Helios Grand Hotel will have a Mediterranean feel, with celestial patterns and constellations adorning the hotel. Universal Stella Nova Resort, set to open next January 21, is inspired by the infinite vastness of the unknown universe, while Universal Terra Luna Resort is expected to debut February 25, 2025. We will keep you updated.
Trilith Guesthouse has debuted its 193-room boutique hotel in the Town at Trilith (Fayetteville, G), inviting guests to “awaken the storyteller within.” Central to every story at Trilith Guesthouse is the street-level Prologue Dining & Drinks and rooftop Oliver’s Twist Bar & View, the hotel’s two signature dining outlets. A member of Marriott International’s Tribute Portfolio of independent boutique hotels, Trilith Guesthouse also features an interactive culinary studio, 17,000 sf of indoor and outdoor event space, a spacious pool, and multiple apartment-style residences. At Prologue Dining & Drinks, Southern heritage and locally sourced ingredients bring to life the region’s vibrant flavors and traditions to life. Weekend brunches begin March 23. An homage to Charles Dickens’ rags-to-riches classic, the hotel’s stylish fifth-floor rooftop bar, Oliver’s Twist Bar & View, offers a menu of elevated pub fare with a subtle nod to London, along with inventive “twists” on classic cocktails, and views of the Town at Trilith. Trilith Guesthouse is situated at the main entrance of the European-inspired Town at Trilith, adjacent to Trilith Studios, the second largest film and television studio in North America. “Today, the story of Trilith Guesthouse went from fantasy to nonfiction, with countless hours of careful planning and hard work finally becoming a reality,” said James Green III, General Manager of Trilith Guesthouse. “We’ve fulfilled our vision of creating a welcoming curated space for guests to enjoy open, spirited, and friendly socializing and imaginative exploration.”
New Caesars Entertainment restaurants and hotels have opened, including Nobu Hotel Atlantic City (NJ) and Bobby Flay’s French-inspired Brasserie B at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, NV.
Quest and EventWorks have joined together, expanding their base of operations and services for draping and event rentals. Now in Birmingham, AL; Charleston, SC; Myrtle Beach, SC; Jacksonville, FL; and Savannah, GA.
www.Questevents.com; www.eventworksrentals.com; www.crushbyeventworks.com.
New hotels in Mexico for 2024 are numerous. Here’s a brief outline. Grand Velas Boutique Los Cabos (79 rooms) opened a second property between San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas in January. The adults-only boutique offers an intimate option for relaxing romantic getaways with a private beach, wellness center and spa, ocean view infinity pool, personalized service, and access to its neighboring sister property. Habitas Mazunte (28 rooms) reflects the laid-back lifestyle of the Oaxacan Coast. The hotel will perch on a jungle-clad cliffside overlooking the Pacific Ocean, featuring a wellness center and yoga shala, a clubhouse with a pool, bar and restaurant, and activities such as snorkeling, surfing, hiking, and the release of baby turtles. Sha Wellness Clinic Riviera Maya (100 room and 35 private residences) is available to book. The award-winning wellness clinic has unveiled its latest addition amongst the tropical beauty of Costa Mujeres, a secluded stretch of coastline just north of the Riviera Maya. Kimpton Virgilio Mexico City (48 rooms) is the brand’s first hotel in Mexico City, slated to open in winter 2024. The hotel will offer a rooftop bar and pool, a signature Spanish-inspired restaurant and amenities such as a fitness center, bikes, yoga mats, and 24-hour in-room dining. Todos Santos Boutique Hotel (10 rooms), open for bookings, is set in the heart of town amongst the charm of art galleries, cobblestone streets, and cafe culture. The historic building dates to the late 19th century and has undergone a transformation to reinstate its original grandeur with rich colors, dark wood, hand-painted murals, and meticulous craftsmanship. Highlights include the rooftop breakfast terrace and lavish La Copa Bar. Banyan Tree Veya, Valle De Guadalupe (30 rooms), coming this Spring, will be the Banyan Tree Group’s fourth Mexican property. Just a couple of hours’ drive south of the U.S border, Veya sits amongst the rolling hills of Valle de Guadalupe. Expect sleek villas with private pools, the brand’s first signature winery, culinary concepts, swimming pools, and the Banyan Tree’s award-winning Spa. Four Seasons Cabo San Lucas At Cabo Del Sol (96 rooms and 61 residences) should open early this year. The resort will blend Mexican and Mediterranean vibes within the coveted Cabo Del Sol community on one of the region’s few swimmable beaches. Enjoy amenities like a private beach club, a kid’s club, luxurious spa and wellness facilities, plus dining and shopping experiences. Chablé Sea Of Cortez, La Paz (approx. 50 rooms) will open in 2024 but no set date yet. The resort will sit on 15 acres. Guests can expect incredible sea views from luxury pod-type accommodations with private terraces, gardens, and plunge pools, alongside a luxury spa.
CALL FOR ENTRIES
February 23 is the early date to enter the Ex Awards for the Experiential Marketing Summit, taking place April 24 – 26 at the MGM Grand (Las Vegas, NV). New this year are expanded Trade Show Categories including: Best Overall Trade Show Exhibit Portfolio, Best Trade Show Exhibit Under 50×50, Best Trade Show Exhibit Over 50×50, Best Outdoor Trade Show Exhibit and Best In-Booth Trade Show Activation/Experience. Late entry date is March 1.
https://ex-awards.secure-platform.com/a. For questions: Emily Makadok at firstname.lastname@example.org
CALL FOR SPEAKERS
Florida Festivals & Events Association (FFEA) is looking for speakers for their 30th annual conference August 20-22 in Orlando, FL at Renaissance SeaWorld Resort Orlando. They’re looking for speakers who offer inspirational and actionable insights for attendees, which ranges from municipalities to non-profits to Independent Event Planners. Successful past topics have included sponsorship recruitment and retention, marketing and social media strategies, event operations and logistics, volunteer management, technology, and professional development. Members attend to improve their careers through professional development and to gain fresh perspectives and ideas for their events. Deadline to submit Speaker Interest form is February 22. Speakers will be notified by March 12 of being selected.
HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY TECHNOLOGY EXPOSITION AND CONFERENCE PROPOSALS & APPPLICATIONS SOUGHT
Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) is seeking input from industry professionals and presenters for the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®) scheduled for June 24-27 in Charlotte, NC. Presentation proposals should be industry-specific and unique to HITEC, crafted for seasoned hospitality professionals. Topics may include (but are not limited to) artificial intelligence, sustainability and renewable resources, best practices regarding ethics, operational back-office solutions, and personal development.
For HITEC 2024, the council is incorporating a new hybrid approach to its program planning to ensure attending professionals will have access to industry guidance of great interest. Presenters will receive a complimentary HITEC 2024 registration in exchange for speaking. They will then be responsible for their own participatory travel and hotel expenses. Applications are still being accepted to compete in the remaining two E20X contests at HITEC Charlotte and HITEC Dubai this June. Deadline is March 15.
BEST & WORST STATES FOR SINGLES
Valentine’s Day is approaching, and love is in the air whether you want to be reminded or not. Personal finance website WalletHub has compared the 50 states across 29 key indicators of dating-friendliness, from the share of single adults to online-dating opportunities to restaurants per capita to assess the 10 Best & 10 Worst American States for Singles. Leading off in first for Best Place is Florida, followed by Texas, California, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia and New Jersey. The worst options begin with South Carolina and end with West Virginia. In between are New Mexico, Hawaii, South Dakota, Wyoming, Kentucky, Alaska, Arkansas, and North Dakota. You can look at the detailed survey results for yourself.
February 9-11: Pensacola, FL claims to have held some of the first Mardi Gras parties and parades in the country. The party continues, officially kicking off the Friday after New Years before getting into high gear. February 9, you can catch the Krewe of Lafitte Mardi Gras Parade, downtown, beginning at Spring & Garden streets. February 10 is the Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade on Palafox and Government Streets. The 11th is Krewe of Wrecks Mardi Gras Parade on Pensacola Beach.
March 26: The Marshall Tucker Band with special guests, The Georgia Thunderbolts, star in the 2024 Rockin’ on the River Concert Series at Caloosa Sound Amphitheater.
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. Karen@KarenKuzsel.com; www.karenkuzsel.com; www.ThePsychicLady.com; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady. She is also active with Experience Kissimmee CVB and Wedding Venue Map.