Hotel Matilda in San Miguel Allende.

Journey Mexico has been guiding visitors through Mexico for many years, introducing the country’s diverse cultural heritage, landscapes, gorgeous resorts and exclusive private rentals in exotic locations. They have introduced a Responsible Travel Fee (RTF) to make an additional positive impact on the people and country. Aligned with their B-corp certification, the RTF empowers guests to directly contribute to the protection and preservation of Mexico’s legacy. They assessed and selected local non-profit organizations that strive to rescue and conserve Mexico’s cultural,


Russ and me, after our successful hike in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.

Russ and me, after our successful hike in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.

I’ve been away travelling, hiking up mountains, glaciers and volcanos throughout Patagonia. Until I can focus on telling you the details of that thrilling adventure, here’s a lot of information on which you can chew and plan your vacation or group meeting. There’s a lot of info here, so grab your favorite beverage, plop yourself into a comfy chair, and dream about the possibilities.
Tech-savvy groups won’t want to miss out on the wizardry  The Mira Hong Kong offers along with its unique thematic coffee breaks, nine meeting rooms that can host from 18 to 800 people, and state-of-the-art AV services. Located in Tsim Sha Tsui, China, The Hong Kong prides itself on Asian hospitality, views of Kowloon Park, and that each of the 492 rooms and suites is equipped with a sleek, portable, and complimentary Wi-Fi device for use on-the-go, allowing for 24/7 connectivity and sharing the signal to up to 10 devices. Book this hotel by August 31 and here are just some of the perks you can gain for your group.
8 to 49 rooms: – For every 5 rooms booked, the 6th room booked will be upgraded to the next category, plus additional privileges
50+ rooms: – For every 50 room nights booked, enjoy one complimentary night for your next visit; Complimentary 60-minute cocktail at the open-air lounge bar or at one of the Specialty Suites designed for entertaining; additional privileges
Osthoff Resort cooking school, classes for kids and for adults

Osthoff Resort cooking school, classes for kids and for adults

How come when I vacationed as a youth with my family no one offered kid’s culinary classes like this year’s Summer Pleasures™ at The Osthoff Resort?  The Elkhart Lake, WI AAA Four Diamond resort compounds its “Culinary Kids” cooking classes with junior-sized fishing, Village history treasures hunts, and “Kidz Kraftz” projects for children from four to 10 years old. The summer promotion includes two nights in an elegant guest room and $15 per day towards our Summer Pleasures™ program, which runs May 27 – June 1 and Sunday through Thursday, June 2 – September 30. The Osthoff is one hour north of Milwaukee, less than two hours from Madison and approximately three hours from Chicago.  The resort contains 38,000 sf of state-of-the-art function space, four restaurants, a 20,000 sf Aspira Spa and a classic cooking school.
I’ll for any opportunity to dance. Throw in a luxurious lodging package and the chance to watch celebrity performances during the 28th annual Vail International Dance Festival, July 30 – August 13, and it sounds like a mountain-high grand idea. The Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail Village, CO thinks a package that includes 15% off all spa services, $18 reduced price valet parking and complimentary basic WiFi might be a great incentive for arts patrons. The hotel’s mix of alpine adventure and timeless European elegance are the perfect backdrop to a festival that features Isabella Boylston as Artist-in-Residence, Company-in-Residence BalletX, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Dorrance Dance, and Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance. There will be a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Festival’s Artistic Director, former New York City Ballet star Damian Woetzel and at least 10 world premieres of dances.; (866) 284-4411;
PSST! The secret password to get a special 20% discount on room rates for the newly-opened The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel is GRAND. The rate is available for travel through December 2016. The upscale boutique chain, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, has located their latest property in the first six floors of the historic R.J. Reynolds Building in downtown Winston-Salem, NC. The April 26 opening earmarks Kimpton’s first foray into the Carolinas. I’ve stayed at a number of Kimpton hotels. Each has been eclectically styled and elegant. The Kimpton Cardinal has 174 luxe guestrooms, including 15 suites, each blending the tradition of monograms and tartan fabrics with modern furnishings and playful artwork. Each element tells a story, from the emerald green accents in each bathroom – an ode to the state’s official gemstone – to the oversized portraits of luminaries R.J. Reynolds and Colonel Winston woven into the detailed carpets of the boardroom and mezzanine. Named to the National Register of Historic Places, the building remains an architectural showcase of original gold leaf, rich marble and burnished brass. Common areas include the welcoming Living Room on the lobby level dressed in Carolina-inspired artwork with pops of fuchsia and monograms and a nearly 2,000-sf Rec Room with a basketball court, bowling alley and adult-sized twisty slide. The Katharine, a traditional French brasserie that draws fresh inspiration from classic Southern cooking and overseen by Executive Chef Ed Witt, sits adjacent to The Kimpton Cardinal. The hotel has more than 6,300 sf of function space, including two ballrooms with room for up to 400 guests on the mezzanine level. The 20th-floor office spaces of R. J. Reynolds have been transformed into three meeting rooms, offering views of downtown Winston-Salem and the mountains to the west. Upon arrival, guests of The Kimpton Cardinal will be greeted with a Winston-Salem tradition of Moravian cookies and sweet tea in the Living Room. Other unique local amenities and experiences include an Art-o-Mat® in the hotel’s Rec Room, a traditional cigarette machine repurposed to distribute small pieces of artwork, and the option to utilize the hotel’s yoga mats and bikes for a quick ride and yoga session at nearby Bailey Park. Also tying into its local cycling community, the hotel will be developing specific packages and amenities for cycling enthusiasts. The Kimpton Cardinal takes pet friendly to a new level. Four-legged guests are provided a VIP (Very Important Pet) amenity, pet bowl and pet bed… at no extra charge.;
Blast off your summer by joining MeliáRewards and get a 15% off the brand new Me Miami, by Meliá Hotels International. You must book before June 30 and stay by that date to take advantage of the offer. The Miami, FL property has 14,000 sf of function space and is in the heart in the heart of downtown, nearby to Adrienne Arsht Center, American Airlines Arena, Perez Art Museum and the new epicenter of the city, Miami Worldcenter.
Springmaid Beach Resort's Southern Tide Bar & Grille. A new beginning on the Springmaid Pier.

Springmaid Beach Resort’s Southern Tide Bar & Grille. A new beginning on the Springmaid Pier.

Just in time for a summertime trek to the popular Myrtle Beach, SC, the 30-acre oceanfront Springmaid Beach Resort has completed the first round of its major renovation project. All 452 waterfront guest rooms and the Springmaid Pier restaurant, renamed Southern Tide Bar & Grille, have been fully renovated and redesigned. To celebrate its rebrand as the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton, Myrtle Beach Oceanfront, you can receive a special 15% off introductory savings on all accommodations, F&B, and gift shop purchases, for travel through September 30. You must book by April 30.
Located in the resort’s Live Oak and Palmetto Towers, the redesigned guest rooms feature 40” HD TVs, DoubleTree’s signature Sweet Dreams® bedding, mini-refrigerator, microwave and private balcony with outdoor seating. Outfitted with new ebony wood furnishings, the rooms are dressed in a fresh palette of ocean blues and cool grey, creating a contemporary coastal design. The newly-named Southern Tide Bar & Grille features driftwood finishes, sand and surf hues and a wall of windows overlooking the historic Springmaid Pier. By the end of summer, renovations will also include an all new Main Building and waterfront focal point for the resort with guest registration; the Ocean Blue Restaurant & Lounge with waterfront outdoor seating and private dining room; lobby bar; The Market grab & go snack area; Ocean Terrace and Ocean Boardroom. Additionally, the resort’s 35,000 sf feet of flexible event space and largest ocean-view conference center in Myrtle Beach is receiving an upgrade.
www.; (866) 764-8501
You can save up to 45% with this offer by The Wyndham Reef Resort in Grand Cayman. Yes, you read that correctly. 45%. Travel by June 17, book by May 12. No minimum night stay. The secluded 150-room Wyndham Reef Resort is the only full-service, all beachfront resort in the Cayman Islands with all-inclusive packages. Every room features spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea, and all one and two-bedroom suites include a full kitchen and dining area. The resort is also minutes from George Town, Seven Mile Beach, Stingray City and other popular island locations.; (888) 232-0541.
A new coat of exterior paint and a redo for Pelican’s dockside restaurant and Sheraton Bay Point Resort will be ready to take the spotlight by Memorial Day Weekend. The Panama City Beach, FL resort has 320 rooms, including 60 golf villa suites, 60,000 sf of indoor/outdoor meeting space, two 18-hole golf courses, including the only Nicklaus Design Course in NW Florida; and the 12,000 sf luxury Serenity Spa.
The Mall of America (MOA) opens two new projects this month: the new Parkview Meeting + Event Center and its newest attraction, FlyOver America.  The Saint Paul, MN projects were completed by Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Associates, Inc. (KOMA), from Inver Grove Heights. FlyOver America is a flight simulation ride that takes guests on a breathtaking, aerial tour of some of the greatest landmarks and regions throughout the United States using virtual flight technology. The ride is adjacent to the new Parkview space in the southwest corner of Nickelodeon Universe and spans from 10 feet below the park up to 55 feet in the air. KOMA was tasked with coordinating a pre-designed three-level ride and screen structure within a newly designed building enclosure within the park. The building is comprised of pre-show exhibits, a 45-foot high theater space, retail areas, box office and administrative spaces and a renovated park plaza. The event center is a marriage of creativity and functional design, evoking an indoor-outdoor feeling overlooking Nickelodeon Universe. Soundproofing was an essential element. The 4,000 sf of private event space has a 700 sf balcony overlooking Nickelodeon Universe. KOMA’s design incorporates perimeter programmable LED lighting and SageGlass LightZoneTM glass in order to give the space a luminescent glow. Customers will be able to control the opacity of the windows overlooking the park.  The space also features a scalloped ceiling, custom carpeting, custom large-scale digital wallcoverings, floor-to-ceiling upholstered banquettes and rich walnut accents. There’s full A/V capabilities, private restrooms, and can accommodate up to 400 guests.
The work is underway on the renovation of the 1000,000 sf Benton Convention Center in downtown Winston-Salem, NC. The multi-million-dollar renovation includes significant structural, design and technological upgrades to the interior and exterior of the building.  Key design elements are to create more open, flexible meeting space and pay tribute to Winston-Salem’s historic arts, tobacco and textile roots.  The plans also include expanding the front facade to provide more practical, pre-function space.  More windows and skylights will give the venue a contemporary, open and inviting aesthetic.  The center remains operational during the renovation and is expected to be finalized May 2017.
Code green is Caesars’ multi-year strategy to identify, measure, manage and reduce their material impacts on the environment. No better time to display their efforts than at Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center in Atlantic City, NJ when the entertainment company hosts MPI’s World Education Congress, June 11 – 14. Caesars will showcase some of the elements that has won them a silver IMEX Green Supplier Award and Green Key Eco-Rating, such as paperless online event menus, meeting guide, BEOs and billing. All China, flatware and linen are offered in lieu of disposables and water is present only on request.; 855-MEET-CET;;
As an experienced traveler, I am aware that Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are the best days to fly and that Tuesdays can be the best day to buy airline tickets. Not everyone possesses the knowledge I do, and for those of you who don’t, check out this information by David Weliver, a nationally cited authority on Millennials and money, and other tips he offers on his Money Under 30 site.
If only the fellow travelers on my recent trip to Patagonia knew about this handy accessory they wouldn’t have been struggling with schlepping their camera gear. Tenba’s BYOB Camera Insert converts any existing bag into a camera bag. This new accessory also fits inside their Packlite Travel Bags, the world’s first packable, self-stowing camera bag.
OK, while this admittedly is not technology, I do think it “smart” of Gaylord Hotels to declare what the season’s trendy colors are. The Marriott International brand provides appropriate set designs as visuals for the color schemes. The company says this year’s colors are Rose Quartz and Serenity (promotes happiness and fluidity), Snorkel blue for a nautical theme, Buttercup to create a sunny and cheerful atmosphere, Fiesta (deep reds), and Green Flash for a splash of Spring.
Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries.  She is a Contributing Editor-Writer for Prevue Magazine and is an active member of ISES and MPI and is now serving on the 2015 – 2016 MPI Global Advisory Board for The Meeting Professional Magazine. 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.