Last winter, thousands of art lovers from around the world got to experience the newly renovated 1.4-million-square-foot Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) during the 17th Annual Art Basel, held Dec. 6-9. It was one of many international events at the upgraded meetings venue, which got additional event space and a brand new façade last year. In place of its old, 1989 exterior are white steel “ribs,” forming a unique wave-like appearance — like a “fish’s body,” according to the architect, Curtis Fentress. When developing the project, Fentress says he and his team kept the city’s biggest annual festival in mind. “The primary thing was that the center work well for Art Basel,” he said.
“We [were] extremely proud to present our 2018 edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach at the recently renovated and brand new state-of-the-art Miami Beach Convention Center — our home since 2002,” Noah Horowitz, director Americas for Art Basel, said, adding that the renovation “has allowed us to completely reimagine our layout, design, and visitor experience to best serve our exhibitors and attendees.”
The renovations to the MBCC — which offers half a million square feet of versatile exhibit space, 150,000 square feet of meeting space, plus a 60,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom — included expanding its 84 meeting rooms and adding a brand new 20,000 square-foot Junior Ballroom. All of the event space is equipped with the latest in audiovisual technology and soundproofing. Following the updates, the sustainable, LEED Silver-certified venue is also more energy efficient, and features sunlit hallways and outdoor terraces, in addition to rooftop parking that will free up the adjacent six-acre lot so it can be used as a public park.
For accommodations, there are several high-end hotels within a short drive of the MBCC — like the Biltmore Miami and the Trump International Beach Resort. The 271-room Biltmore offers 75,000 total square feet of open-concept meeting space, featuring plenty of natural daylight — including three ballrooms, the largest of which is 6,200 square feet; 36,000 square feet of indoor banquet space; and 11,280 square feet of outdoor event space — with a wing devoted exclusively to small meetings and breakout sessions, meant to enhance productivity. It’s also home to the Conference Center of the Americas, offering 40,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, and group privatization is available upon request.
With the Atlantic Ocean as its backdrop, the 355-room Trump International Beach Resort is a picturesque setting to host an event. The property offers 22,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space, which incorporates the local greenery and is flooded with natural light. Onsite team building activities are also a great option for groups. Organizers can work with the resort’s dedicated watersports and outdoors activities team to create memorable events on the beach. In addition, there’s an onsite full-service spa and two oceanfront, grotto-style swimming pools with poolside cabanas for when attendees find down time.
“From planning, arrivals, accommodations, housekeeping, banquets, and departures to the Trump International Beach Resort’s impeccable guest services, we were delighted with the resort,” Laura Land, chairman of the board at the Florida Watermelon Association, said. “The property embodies what one thinks of when you use the word ‘resort.’”
In addition to the MBCC, meeting planners have their choice of off-site venues, like the 9.1-acre Brickell City Centre, including a 352-room hotel, an open-air shopping center, and an entertainment center; and the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, a 250,000-square-foot facility that combines a planetarium, aquarium, and science museum. Organizers can also showcase Miami’s culinary scene — from ceviche at GKB to some of the destination’s best Caribbean food at Clive’s Café in the city’s Little Haiti neighborhood.
Plus, Miami is easy to get to, with more than 400 flights from around the globe daily — Miami International Airport serves more airlines than any other airport in the U.S. — and even easier to navigate with an express intercity train service, Brightline, connecting to Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with service to Orlando coming soon. For more information about hosting a meeting in Miami, the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau offers meeting planner and pocket city guides, or you can visit MiamiMeetings.com.