Participants in the Meet the Greens Invitational Golf Classic and Marketplace, June 9 to 12, got their first big surprise before even reaching the Sol Meliá Paradisus Puerto Rico: a seamless transfer along Route 66, a highway opened in March that significantly shortens the trip between the airport and the resorts in Puerto Rico's northeastern corner.

En route to the Paradisus, the 60 or so meeting professionals also got a sneak peek at the golf course they'd play the next day as they wound past the Coco Beach Golf and Country Club, adjoining the Paradisus property and designed by Tom Kite and Bruce Bease. The site inspection event — hosted by the Puerto Rico Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Paradisus, and the Westin Rio Mar, and co-sponsored by The Meetings Group, Prism Business Magazines and Media, publishers of Association Meetings — included a second day of golf at the Westin's River Course, designed by Greg Norman. Paradisus, one of the all-inclusive resorts in the Sol Meliá hotel chain, served as headquarters for the event and hosted the Meet the Greens Marketplace trade show and the closing dinner and awards ceremony.

After the opening reception, several planners checked out the Paradisus' casino, while others grooved to the music in the lobby bar. The next morning, the group assembled after breakfast to provide some feedback on the Web sites of the Puerto Rico CVB and the new 580,000-square-foot convention center before heading out to golf at the Coco Beach club.

Of the four nine-hole layouts at Coco Beach — the Mountain, Lakes, Ocean, and Palms courses — the golfers particularly raved about the Mountain course's views, extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the north to El Yunque rain forest to the south.

The nongolfers had the choice of touring historic Old San Juan or visiting the rain forest for a guided trail walk.

That evening's treat was a ride up into the rain forest for a real “Survivor”-type experience, only the food and band were excellent, and no one got kicked out of the Revealing Rainforest's 45-acre, privately owned facility. The flexible space can be tented for up to 750 people and can be used for both dinners and teambuilding exercises.

Despite an early morning downpour the next day, the drainage on the Westin Rio Mar's River course worked its magic, and by the time the sun came out, the golfers were good to go. At the final evening gala and awards ceremonies, Puerto Rico CVB's President and CEO Ana María Viscasillas addressed the crowd, emphasizing the importance of meetings and incentives to Puerto Rico.

Sponsors

American Airlines
Caribbean Special Events
Entertainment Concepts The Meetings Group magazines, Prism B2B
Puerto Rico Convention and Visitors Bureau
Paradisus Puerto Rico
Revealing Rain Forest Events
Travel Services Inc.
Westin Rio Mar Beach Golf Resort and Spa