No one is singing the blues at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa this year where the new Blue Lagoon water park will soon share space with the renowned Blue Monster golf course. Having completed a $30-million refurbishment and expansion in the past two years, the 650-acre Miami destination resort has now set sail on another improvement plan. The highlight is the $7-million Blue Lagoon: four pools with cascading waterfalls, a 125-foot waterslide, 20 poolside cabanas, a restaurant, a bandstand for live entertainment, and more set to debut early this winter. The whole area will be available for group functions, including banquets, of up to 1,200.
From the Desk of the Executive Chef The latest trends on the banquet table, according to Geoffrey Cousineau, executive chef at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix:
* Choice. "We just rewrote all our banquet menus to include combo plates," he says.
* A Taste of the Islands. "It used to be Asian fusion. What's going to be hot in the new millennium is Caribbean, Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Calypso food with a Continental twist," he says. "Call it Caribbean fusion."
* Fish for Steak Lovers. "Try Chilean sea bass," Cousineau advises. "It's still considered an upscale fish but it has a steak texture. A meat-eater will eat sea bass."
* HACCP. It stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, and it's how kitchens are becoming ever-more stringent about controlling food-borne illnesses. Where resorts used to just trace the path of shellfish to their back docks, Cousineau notes, now the Biltmore is tracking every food item from its point of origin to the resort's kitchen.
Planner to Hotel: Put Up or... While Sharon Marsh was negotiating the details of an incentive meeting with a four-star hotel, the property announced it was changing management companies. Marsh, conference and meeting manager for VALIC, a Houston-based insurer, was assured by the sales manager that the hotel's standards would be maintained--that she would see the same product on the opening day of her meeting, more than two years hence, as she was seeing the day she signed the. Marsh's response: Guarantee it. How? She included this clause in the cancellation section of her contract: "Should [the hotel] lose its AAA Four Diamond or Mobil Four Star rating, VALIC has the right to cancel this contract without penalty...or opt for a 10 percent reduction in room rate for each level the rating falls from its rating as of [the contract date]." Called to task, the hotel signed--and kept its rating.
Far From the Soccer Crowd Air France flight attendants (back from an abbreviated strike) announced World Cup scores at regular intervals during overseas flights. Crowds gathered at the Paris airport around televisions airing the latest match. But, in Nice, attendees at the International Association for Dental Research Congress, held at the Acropolis in late June, were talking periodontology, not points. Two Norwegian delegates commented that they were staying an extra few days after the conference, just to be in the same country where their team was playing, although getting tickets to a match was impossible. Even the Acropolis center's staff didn't expect much of a spillover from the games. In fact, Nice's ancient stone streets, pastel-colored buildings, and peaceful Mediterranean coastline offered a pleasant respite from sports fanatics.
Sunriver's Redo Ripe for Corporate Groups Sunriver Resort's new managing director, Tom Luersen, whose resume includes stints managing The Woodlands and Kingsmill Resort and Conference Center, plans to put a stamp on his new home--a killer combo of first-class golf courses and state-of-the-art conference facilities. Sunriver's Meadows Golf Course will undergo a renovation in 1998; and some $36 million worth of renovations have taken place in other areas of the resort since 1993, including a redo of The Great Hall Conference Center; the addition of 65 upscale suite accommodations; and the opening of the Sunriver Club, 33 new accommodations along the Deschutes River featuring state-of-the-art technology. Sunriver is located in the Cascade Mountains, 30 minutes from Redmond Airport in Oregon. With little rainfall and a climate much like Denver's, Sunriver has been a popular year-round weekend getaway for lots of Silicon Valley execs and their families, with skiing in the winter, and golf, horseback riding, and flyfishing the rest of the year. It's got 420 rooms, including 220 regular hotel rooms, on a 3,500-acre spread.