Jennifer N. Dienst | Dec 13, 2012
Where inspiration comes easy
With an incredible wilderness waiting to be explored, infinite recreational options, and cosmopolitan city centers stocked with stateof- the-art meeting facilities, Alberta - Canada’s vast and varied Western province - is a natural choice for meetings that attendees will applaud.
Alberta’s gateway cities of Calgary and Edmonton are each, in their own way, a unique mix of Western hospitality and entrepreneurial spirit. Both cities serve as the headquarters of some of the country’s largest companies, spawning a contagious atmosphere of innovation and energy. And with two international airports and no provincial sales tax, meeting in Alberta is not only an inspired decision, it’s a smart one.
Meeting planners will find plentiful resort and recreation options in Alberta’s world-famous Banff and Jasper National Parks, both of which are set against the dramatic backdrop of the Canadian Rockies. Whether a group prefers rustic mountain lodges or full-service luxury resorts replete with spas, championship golf, world-class skiing, and all-star amenities, Alberta has it all. In Jasper National Park - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - the 700-acre Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is renowned for its spa and golf facilities. Condé Nast Traveler named the property’s 10,000-square-foot spa Canada’s No. 8 resort spa, and the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Club - ranked Canada’s No. 1 golf resort for eight years running - has been a must-play course since 1925.
Championship golf courses designed by some of the world’s most renowned course architects are abundant all over Alberta. Golf-loving groups can play on three Stanley Thompson–designed courses, including the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course, as well as the Robert Trent Jones–designed Mt. Lorette and Mt. Kidd courses in Kananaskis Valley, the heart of the Canadian Rockies. And the par-72 course at Silvertip Resort, which sports dramatic elevation changes, is ranked as one of North America’s most challenging courses.
For more information: Travel Alberta; Brian Slot, Director, Meetings, Conventions & Incentive Travel; (403) 648-1080; Brian.Slot@TravelAlberta.com
Unique combination of attributes yields more meeting value
Meetings at the Disneyland Resort in California and the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida benefit from a special set of qualities that make up the “Disney Advantage” - unmatched creative resources, imaginative settings, and attention to detail. These advantages let groups realize more value and bottom-line savings than they might expect.
Walt Disney World Resort in Florida accommodates groups of virtually every size and budget with six award-winning convention hotels collectively offering more than 5,000 guest rooms and 600,000-plus square feet of meeting space. Disney’s Coronado Springs Convention Center’s 220,000 square feet of contiguous function space contains one of the largest hotel ballrooms in the Southeast at 60,000 square feet, an 86,000-square-foot exhibition hall, plus generous prefunction areas and 45 breakout rooms. With a wide variety of on-site recreational activities including two water parks, European-style spas, tennis courts, championship golf, and shopping, Walt Disney World Resort offers meeting attendees an endless list of diversions that they never have to leave the park to experience.
In Southern California, Disneyland Resort’s three hotels give planners more than 178,000 square feet of flexible meeting space to work with, along with 2,200 guest rooms. The resort also features the only two AAA Four-Diamond hotels in Anaheim - Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and the Disneyland Hotel, the latter having been recently re-imagined with a brand-new look that combines mid-century cool and modern luxury.
Every meeting at Disney Destinations can benefit from the creative talents of the Disney Event Group, an on-site team of experts who produce unforgettable meeting experiences. The group can assist with everything from concept development to staging, scripting, entertainment, themed décor, photography, and audiovisual services. And at the world-renowned Disney Institute, attendees can get an inside peek at the business behind the magic through the institute’s keynote speakers, workshops, team-building activities, and behind-the-scenes tours focusing on an array of topics from leadership excellence to organizational creativity.
Whether meeting planners choose to meet in California or Florida, the Disney Advantage gives them a unique combination of creative programs, products, and services that will take their event above and beyond any other, with the only limit being their imagination.
For more information, visit disneymeetings.com
Greater Miami and the Beaches
Everything attendees want, everything planners need
When meeting planners choose Miami, they’re not just picking any destination - they’re choosing a city that every single one of their attendees wants to visit. Starting the moment they arrive at Miami International Airport - recently upgraded with new terminals and a new AirportLink Metrorail extension that connects passengers to downtown - visitors will discover an amenity-rich destination with everything from the most talked-about hotels and beaches to the hippest clubs and latest restaurants.
Miami is chock-full of new hotels offering 46,365 hotel rooms. South Beach is already home to the world’s largest collection of restored Art Deco and Art Nouveau boutique hotels, and grand dames like the Fontainebleau Miami Beach and Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach have been face-lifted after billions of dollars in renovations.
New event facilities and performance venues are changing Miami’s skyline, too. The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County now anchors Miami’s bustling downtown, and directly across from the 650,000-square-foot Miami Beach Convention Center is the new Frank Gehry–designed New World Center, home to Miami’s New World Symphony. The center is also home to the Miami Beach SoundScape, where concert-goers can watch the symphony al fresco.
Miami is made up of a convergence of cultures, and nowhere is that more apparent than its dining scene. In the past year, Miami’s total number of restaurants has stretched beyond 5,000, with trendy eateries and neighborhood haunts popping up on almost every corner. Just as plentiful and varied, Miami’s spa scene is also one of the destination’s biggest draws. Whether hidden away in a beach resort or in a penthouse overlooking South Beach, spas in Miami come in every shape and fit every budget.
A trip to sunny Miami is never complete without a little outdoor playtime. The city, home to four World Golf Championship events and dozens of top-rated courses, is a golfer’s paradise. Water sports - from waterskiing to windsurfing - are available almost anywhere along the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, and the Miami-Dade area has two national parks, the Biscayne National Park and Everglades National Park.
For more information: Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau; (305) 539-3071; firstname.lastname@example.org
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood
Florida meetings that truly rock
Between the famous beaches of Fort Lauderdale and sultry streets of Miami, meeting planners will find the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood - an allin- one oasis that brings the best of South Florida together in one action-packed resort destination.
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood features all of the solid-gold amenities and services meeting planners need to make their next meeting or event a platinum hit. The AAA Four–Diamond resort includes 500 modern rooms and deluxe suites, 40,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, a lush 7,000-square-foot pool complex complete with cabanas, the rejuvenating Body Rock Spa, and 18 dining options including the signature Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood and the award-winning Council Oak Steak & Seafood restaurant.
Beyond its 40,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, the resort’s on-site venue options include the state-of-the-art 5,500- seat Hard Rock Live arena and the 500-seat Paradise Live theater. When meetings conclude and playtime begins, attendees can let off steam at a menagerie of nightlife, casino, and entertainment options. Groups who want to get their game on can choose between 97 table games, 2,500 slots, and the 40-table poker room at the resort’s nearly three-acre casino. For those who like to bet and win even bigger, the casino offers high-limit gaming rooms, the exclusive Plum VIP Lounge, and a non-smoking gaming room. Attendees who’d rather put on their dancing shoes or be seated for a great meal can hit the adjacent Seminole Paradise, a 350,000-squarefoot complex consisting of 23 retail shops, 18 restaurants, and 13 bars and lounges, all wrapped around a picturesque lake and courtyard.
For more information: Call (800) 937-0156 or visit seminolehardrockhollywood.com
At a Glance Meeting facilities
• 40,000 square feet of flexible meeting space
• 5,500-seat Hard Rock Live arena
• 500-seat Paradise Live theater Number of guest rooms
• 500 Amenities
• The 350,000-square-foot Seminole Paradise complex features 23 retail shops, 18 restaurants, and 13 bars and lounges.
• 140,000-square-foot casino
• 7,000-square-foot poolside retreat with private cabanas
• Body Rock Spa
The sweet spot of meeting destinations
Tucked away in the verdant hills of Central Pennsylvania, the charming town of Hershey has become a premier destination for meetings and conventions. Hershey Meetings includes two properties - the historic Hotel Hershey and spacious Hershey Lodge - that when combined offer 900-plus guest rooms and more than 125,000 square feet of space that can accommodate almost any convention, meeting, or conference.
At The Hotel Hershey, an AAA Four- Diamond and Forbes Four-Star property, meeting attendees can relax in 276 deluxe guest rooms, get down to business in 25,000 square feet of meeting space, and indulge themselves at The Spa At The Hotel Hershey as well as at the hotel’s three distinct restaurants and collection of boutique shops.
The 665-room Hershey Lodge offers more than 100,000 square feet of meeting space and four unique dining options for meetings and events. All guest rooms feature 37-inch, flat-screen televisions and multifunction credenzas that include an in-room safe (large enough for a 17-inch laptop), fridge, coffeemaker, and built-in “jack pack” for power cords and computer cables.
As for out-of-the-box event venues, Hershey Country Club also has 100,000 square feet in total, including the all-season Picard Grand Pavilion, which offers scenic views of the East and West golf courses. The Pavilion provides a unique setting for banquets, or a centralized location for tournament activities.
After a day of meetings, guests can unwind at the famous Spa At The Hotel Hershey, also called the Chocolate Spa, with a signature cocoa-infused treatment such as a Whipped Cocoa Bath or the new Cocoa Facial Experience. The Spa’s variety of health and wellness activities, from chair massages to yoga breaks, can also be incorporated into meetings.
Hershey is less than a three-hour drive from New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore; fly-in attendees will appreciate that Harrisburg International Airport (MDT) is just 20 minutes away.
For more information: Hershey Meetings, Jason Heath, Director of Sales; (866) 726-3387; jheath@HersheyPA .com; hersheymeetings .com
At a Glance Meeting facilities
• More than 125,000 square feet
Number of guest rooms • More than 900 Amenities
• Four golf courses
• The Spa At The Hotel Hershey
• The Hershey Leadership & Development Center
• Hersheypark, ZooAmerica, Giant Center, Hershey Gardens, and more
A must-visit golf destination
When most think of Mexico, they think of azure seas, pristine beaches, and centuries-old ruins. But many will be surprised to hear that Mexico is also a sublime destination for golf. With a warm climate and postcard-perfect landscape, Mexico’s 200-plus golf courses, many of which have been designed by the world’s top architects, can be found throughout the country - from hotel hotspots in Cabo San Lucas on the West Coast, to inland mountain retreats near Mexico City, and at sprawling resorts in the Riviera Maya on the East Coast.
For retreats, smaller meetings, and offsite activities, there are intimate courses like the Robert Trent Jones II–designed, 18-hole Cabo Real Championship Golf Course, which has hosted the PGA Senior Grand Slam twice, and has earned accolades from Condé Nast Traveler and Golf Digest for its stunning, panoramic views of the Sea of Cortez. Next door, the 56-room Casa del Mar Golf Resort & Spa and the all-inclusive Melia Cabo Real Beach & Golf Resort, along with multiple other Cabo San Lucas hotel properties, provide plenty of nearby accommodations and meeting space.
For a change of pace, the Avandaro Hotel Golf & Spa Resort in Valle de Bravo offers a charming respite in the Sierra Madre mountains. About two hours outside of Mexico City, the 60-room resort has no shortage of on-site activities, ranging from tennis to paragliding, in addition to its 18-hole, par-72 course. On the East Coast in Playa Del Carmen, El Camaleón Golf Club is home to the Mayakoba Golf Classic, the only official PGA Tour event held outside the United States and Canada. The par-72 course is Greg Norman’s latest masterpiece, and as players move from hole to hole, the scenery transforms from tropical jungle to dense mangroves to oceanfront stretches punctuated by massive limestone canals. Next door, the AAA Five-Diamond Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya Resort offers 401 rooms and close to 35,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor function space.
For more information: Mexico Tourism Board; Eduardo Chaillo, CMM, CMP, Executive Meeting Director; (202) 265-9021; email@example.com
Committed to change and sustainability
Sprawling Mayan ruins, can’t-look-away cerulean beaches, and an endlessly sunny climate lure tourists back to Cancun year after year. Despite its laid-back, anything-goes attitude, Cancun’s hospitality and tourism industry understands the urgent need to preserve the area’s natural beauty and native cultures. Thus, many Cancun resorts, golf courses, and attractions are implementing initiatives to conserve resources, proving that encouraging business and leisure tourism while maintaining a social conscience can be done both simultaneously and successfully.
Leading the way, the Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau has joined forces with area hotels, destination management companies, tour operators, and attractions in a mission of sustainability and social responsibility. Groups can also join the effort with a new program that lets them neutralize and even lower the environmental footprint of their meetings and events. The Cancun CVB calculates a meeting’s impact in CO2 tons, and groups can then neutralize that impact with the purchase of carbon credits. This program not only benefits local conservation efforts, but also helps to promote the development and protection of local Mayan communities. Groups can also volunteer with a popular hands-on sea turtle conservation program offered at a number of Cancun resorts. After specially trained staff members comb the beaches for turtle eggs and place them in a protected environment for nurturing, volunteers assist with releasing the turtles back into the wild, helping to save thousands of the endangered species.
Theme parks, golf courses, and tour companies are also joining the destinationwide effort to go green and embrace social responsibility. Several Cancun golf courses have been awarded the Golf Environment Organization’s certification for outstanding environmentally friendly courses, and many Cancun theme parks, due to their emphasis on preserving nature, wildlife, and local Mayan communities, have played a large role in Mexico’s eco-tourism push. Because of efforts like these, Cancun’s local tourism industry has been able to positively impact the economic, social, and cultural development of various Mayan communities while also promoting Mexico’s natural and cultural treasures. Le Blanc Spa Resort
Standout service, five-star style
Awarded the AAA Five-Star designation and consistently ranked as the No. 1 hotel in Cancun on TripAdvisor.com, Palace Resorts’ Le Blanc Spa Resort is an adults-only, all-inclusive resort that is redefining the meaning of luxury. Twenty-four-hour butler service, a private beach, and tropical drinks on arrival are just the beginning. All of the resort’s 260 guest rooms and suites come with balconies, butler-prepared Jacuzzi baths, and a “Comfort Menu,” offering everything from aromatherapies to a selection of pillows.
For groups, the level of service and sophistication is just as decadent. Le Blanc Spa Resort’s third floor has 8,000 square feet of meeting space, including two ballrooms that can be divided into breakout rooms. An adjacent patio overlooking Nichupte Lagoon offers space for banquets of up to 200 guests. Creative meeting themes inspired by the local culture - like “Mayan World” and “Viva Mexico” - add a touch of flair to celebrations and receptions.
Dining at Le Blanc Spa Resort means a new journey at every meal. Eight on-site restaurants, bars, and lounges - each with its own unique ambiance and style - feature fine cuisine and wines from around the world. The resort’s newest restaurant, Lumiere, serves French-fusion cuisine along with a wine list of vintages that all have a Wine Spectator score of 90 or above. The 46-seat restaurant offers an eight-course tasting menu that changes seasonally.
Le Blanc Spa, the resort’s centerpiece, is a tranquil haven for relaxation with bamboo gardens, hydrotherapy facilities, and 19 treatment rooms, including the 800-square-foot Golden Spa Suite - perfect for VIPs. Active groups will also find plenty to do on site and nearby, from the fitness center’s Pilates and yoga classes to tours of the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza and in Tulum. Golf enthusiasts can choose from three nearby courses: the 18-hole Playacar Golf Course, and two Jack Nicklaus–designed courses at Riviera Cancun Golf & Resort and Moon Spa & Golf Club.
For more information: Call (877) 753-2526 or visit meetings.leblancsparesort.com
Meet in paradise
Stretching across 81 miles of turquoise Mexican coastline just south of Cancun, Mexico’s Riviera Maya is famous for its ancient Mayan ruins, boho-chic lifestyle, eco-tourism, and now, its many luxury resorts. Whether a group’s penchant is for spa, golf, or simply basking in the warm rays of the Mexican sun, the Riviera Maya’s collection of luxury resorts caters to their every whim.
Although the area is widely known for its many all-inclusive resorts from top names like Iberostar and Palace Resorts, Riviera Maya’s growing number of boutique hotels delivers an unmatched level of privacy and service. Properties big and small - like the 41-villa Viceroy Riviera Maya, the 128-room Rosewood Mayakoba, and the 401-room Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya Resort - continuously make “best of” lists for their dining, spa, and golf experiences.
If golf is on their wish list, groups will find plenty of opportunities to tee off. The Riviera Maya’s courses have been designed by some of the most renowned architects in the world, and are unique for their distinct settings that weave native flora, fauna, and environmental habitats through their layouts. The Jack Nicklaus–designed El Manglar Golf Course in Playa del Secreto incorporates white-sand traps, tropical jungles, and serene lakes for an exquisite experience that challenges even the most skilled golfer. For an even bigger challenge, the Greg Norman–designed El Camaleón Golf Club is home to the Mayakoba Classic, the only official PGA TOUR event held outside the United States or Canada. The course stretches and winds its way through jungles and mangroves, eventually ending at the edge of the Caribbean Sea. The region’s golf experiences are growing still - a new 18-hole course is in development in the Kanai Riviera Maya area, along with two hotels - the 180-room W Retreat & Spa Kanai – Riviera Maya, and a 50-room resort from Auberge Resorts.
Spa-loving groups will delight in the way resorts in the Riviera Maya incorporate native ingredients and tools in their spa treatments. The Wayak Spa at Viceroy Riviera Maya uses everything from local herbs to a Maya Temazcal steam-treatment cave in its massages, facials, and body treatments.
For more information, visit rivieramayameetings.com
Resort amenities, accessible location
Even though Mohegan Sun is conveniently located between Boston and New York City, with the 1,175-room hotel’s sweeping scenic views of Mystic County and plethora of recreational amenities, it feels like a world away.
Mohegan Sun isn’t just a hotel - it’s a comprehensive gaming, dining, shopping, and entertainment destination with everything planners could need and want for the ultimate meeting experience. Meeting attendees will love that the award-winning Elemis Spa and newly renovated golf course and clubhouse at Mohegan Sun Country Club at Pautipaug are just steps away, providing a blissful end to a long day or week of meetings. Twice chosen by readers of Luxury SpaFinder Magazine for the Reader’s Choice Award, the 25,000-square-foot Elemis Spa includes 18 treatment rooms, his and hers separate relaxation areas, and the full-service Fair Tree Hair & Nail Salon. Just minutes away off site, Mohegan Sun Country Club at Pautipaug has just put the finishing touches on its revamped 18-hole championship course, now featuring an additional 125 yards with five rebuilt holes, all-new greens, and redesigned bunkers.
When it’s time to get business done, Mohegan Sun’s on-site staff of CMP-certified professionals can help planners bring any idea to life. The property’s flexible array of meeting spaces, from the 100,000-squarefoot convention center to the 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena, can accommodate events of all shapes and sizes.
When it’s time to play, the resort’s three casinos add up to more than 300,000 total square feet of gaming, and live entertainment options are just as plentiful with the 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena, 350-seat Cabaret Theatre, and 300-seat Wolf Den. And from “Cheeseburgers in Paradise” at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville to lobster-avocado-shellfish cocktails at Bobby Flay’s Bar American, dining options at Mohegan Sun satisfy every palate and budget.
For more information: Mohegan Sun, Gary Baker, Direction of Convention Sales; (877) 204-7100; firstname.lastname@example.org
At a Glance Meeting facilitie
• More than 100,000 square feet of meeting space
• 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena
• 350-seat Cabaret Theatre
Number of guest rooms • 1,175 Amenities
• Three casinos
• Golf at Mohegan Sun Country Club at Pautipaug
• 22,000-square-foot Elemis Spa at Mohegan Sun
• More than 75 shops, restaurants, bars, and lounges
Omni Hotels & Resorts
A re-imagined resort portfolio
When meeting planners consider hotel companies that offer a variety of resorts, if Omni Hotels & Resorts isn’t top of mind, it might be time to take another look. Omni’s ever-expanding resort collection includes 45 unique properties across North America - from beach escapes to golf getaways to spa retreats - all with state-of-the-art meeting space and impeccable service.
For beach meetings, the 404-room Omni Amelia Island Plantation has thrilled guests for generations. This 1,350-acre property is currently undergoing an $85-million reimagination that will add 155 new rooms, a multi-tiered pool complex, and a beachside restaurant and bar, plus an expanded conference center with more than 70,000 square feet of function space accommodating groups of up to 1,200 guests.
With panoramic views of the Santa Catalina Mountains, world-class golf, and a fullservice spa, Omni Tucson National Resort is a favorite with both golf enthusiasts and meeting attendees. After a recent $30-million renovation, the resort now includes 128 guest rooms and haciendas, and 10,500 square feet of versatile meeting space. When the business day is over, guests can tee off on greens that have hosted PGA tour events played by pros from Jack Nicklaus to Arnold Palmer.
Set amid Pennsylvania’s scenic Cumberland Valley, the 216-room Omni Bedford Springs Resort has a rich history that dates back 200 years when settlers discovered natural springs on the resort’s grounds. Today, guests can combine work and play with the resort’s championship golf course, award-winning Springs Eternal Spa, and 20,000-square-foot conference center.
The Omni Orlando Resort at Champions- Gate offers everything groups need for an all-in-one destination meeting, including 767 rooms and villas, 15 acres of recreation, multiple golf courses, and state-of-the-art meeting facilities. The resort is also putting the finishing touches on 46,000 square feet of new meeting and function space. Once complete in early 2013, the resort will offer a total of 128,800 square feet of meeting space, including three ballrooms and 46 meeting rooms.
Now when groups book multiple meetings at any Omni resort, meeting planners can earn multiple rewards, including masteraccount rebates, F&B discounts, special attrition clauses, and more.
For more information: Call (800) 788-6664 or visit omnihotels.com
Northern Quest Resort & Casino
Meet by day, play by night
Meeting participants will find that business has never been such a pleasure as when they convene at Northern Quest Resort & Casino, the Inland Northwest’s newest AAA Four–Diamond destination resort. Designed to deliver a guest experience that exceeds expectations, Northern Quest features a sophisticated atmosphere, flexible meeting facilities, and all the amenities that attendees love. With 14 restaurants and lounges, world-class entertainment, a luxury spa, and a Vegas-style casino, Northern Quest has something to satisfy every group.
Northern Quest’s 250 guest rooms combine comfort and sleek sophistication with clean lines and luxurious details, like fine linens and triple-head showerheads. The resort’s meeting space is just as well thoughtout. A total of 22,000 square feet of meeting space - 16,000 square feet of which are conference rooms - and the 11,000-square-foot ballroom make the venue a meeting planner’s dream. All of the meeting space comes with state-of-the-art technology, free Wi-Fi, and a team of certified audiovisual experts.
When the business day concludes, meeting attendees have a slew of amenities at their disposal. Guests can enjoy live entertainment at the resort’s 5,000-person outdoor concert venue or indulge at the 14,000-square-foot La Rive spa. Nearby, Spokane offers 33 golf courses and 18 wineries.
For more information: Call (877) 323-9827 or visit northernquest.com
Where groups find their happy place
Having it all comes easy at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz. The 496-room property, an enterprise of the Salt River Pima– Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC), balances business and pleasure with more than 100,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space and a long list of amenities that appeal to every interest.
The open-air spa at Talking Stick Resort is a destination in itself. The 13,000-squarefoot hideaway on the resort’s 14th floor lets guests take in floor-to-ceiling views of the Sonoran Desert during treatments that incorporate local ingredients harvested from the SRPMIC’s gardens. Guests looking to rev up instead of relax can explore the resort’s 240,000 square feet of gaming, offering everything from 700 slots to the state’s largest poker room, appropriately named The ARENA for all the action enjoyed there. Five dining options - including the award-winning Orange Sky restaurant - satisfy groups’ every culinary craving.
For more information: Talking Stick Resort, Steven Horowitz, Director of Sales; (480) 850-7777 or (877) 724-4687; email@example.com
At a Glance Meeting space
• 100,000-plus square feet
Number of guest rooms • 496 Amenities
• 240,000 square feet of gaming
• 13,000-square-foot spa
• Talking Stick Golf Club
• Two pools, five restaurants, and live entertainment