Resilient Florida continues to enhance its appeal to groups, large and small.
Despite the sluggish economy, a cursory glance at construction in Florida reveals a new special-events center in Orlando, a massive multi-use business/hotel complex in Miami, and a new international airport in Panama City. Here are some of the highlights:
The area near the Orange County Convention Center last year saw the opening of the 315-room Westin Imagine Orlando. Meanwhile, Pointe Orlando, a shopping, dining, entertainment complex a block from the OCC, continues to expand. In downtown Orlando, the $480 million, 875,000-square-foot, 20,000-seat Orlando Events Center is slated to open in October 2010, replacing Amway Arena.
Daytona Beach’s newly expanded Ocean Center—with 200,000 square feet of meeting space, a 12,000-square-foot banquet hall, and 36 breakout rooms—is across the street from Ocean Walk Village, with hotels, restaurants, and shops.
Miami’s luxury appeal got a huge boost this year with the rebirth of two of its legendary beach properties—Eden Roc, A Renaissance Beach Resort & Spa; and Fontainebleau Miami Beach.
In Tampa, the new Safari Lodge at Lowry Park Zoo features an 11,000-square-foot grand hall and the Reilly Reserve, a 3,000-square-foot elevated annex with views of the park.
In Jacksonville, the first phase of Kings Avenue Station, a multi-use project including 221 recently opened hotel rooms, has been completed.
Panama City Beach is poised to attract more groups with more upscale accommodations and increased accessibility.
THE WEST COAST
- The 16-story, 255-room Westin Tampa Bay Rocky Point, with 6,500 square feet of meeting space, opened in July.
- Slated to open in late 2010 is the 18-story, 225-room Waldorf Astoria Sarasota, the centerpiece for The Proscenium, a mixed-use project. The new hotel will feature 38,000 square feet of meeting space, and direct access from the hotel’s ballroom to the Nederland Performing Arts Center.
- Opened earlier this year in Punta Gorda, the 43,500-square-foot Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center features a 20,000-square-foot meeting and exhibit hall and an 18,000-
square-foot waterfront Great Lawn.
- Opened in November, the 19-story, 184-room Resort at Marina Village in Cape Coral offers 10,000 square feet of meeting space.
- Opened this year in Fort Myers are the 148-room Hyatt Place Fort Myers, with 2,100 square feet of meeting space; the 164-room Hilton Garden Inn Fort Myers, with 1,300 square feet of meeting space; and the 169-room Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport, with 6,800 square feet of meeting space.
- At Disney, the 15-story Bay Lake Tower opened in August with 295 two-bedroom villas. The tower compliments the adjacent Contemporary Resort’s 656 rooms and suites and 115,000-square-foot convention center.
- Set to open in 2010 along the northeast border of Disney property is a 900-acre resort complex with a centerpiece 445-room Four Seasons Hotel and 18-hole golf course.
- Opened in September, the 1,400-room Hilton Orlando Hotel at Orange County Convention Center features 175,000 square feet of meeting space (including a 50,000-square-foot and a 30,000-square-foot ballroom, 21 meeting rooms, and a walkway to the North/South Building of the convention center.
- Opened in November following a $25 million propertywide makeover, the 323-room Holiday Inn in the Walt Disney World Resort has more than 11,000 square feet of meeting space.
- In October, the 482-acre Bonnet Creek Resort opened on a site surrounded on three sides by Walt Disney World Resort. The 1,000-room Hilton Bonnet Creek offers 114,000 square feet of meeting space. The 498-room Waldorf Astoria Orlando has 28,000 square feet of meeting space, including its own man-made island, designed for special events. Guests at both properties have access to a 24,000-square-foot spa and on-site 18-hole championship golf course.
- Scheduled for completion in November 2010 is a massive $450 million expansion and renovation project at the Peabody Orlando that will result in 1,641 guest rooms and 250,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space.
- The 155-room Venturella Resort & Spa in Lake Buena Vista, with 6,500 square feet of meeting space, opened in summer 2009.
- Opened in November, the 263-room Westin Lake Mary, Orlando North, features 14,000 square feet of meeting space.
- Planned for an early 2010 debut is the 400-room Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Hotel & Spa Bonnet Creek Resort, adjacent to the Walt Disney World Resort, which will feature 20,000 square feet of meeting space.
- The 2,265-room Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort, in partnership with Florida State University, has developed an application for Apple’s iPhone and iTouch, which allows users to access in-depth resort information from the handheld devices.
- Rosen Hotels & Resorts and the Orange County Convention Center have partnered in a program that electronically links both entities, providing check-in, registrations, badge printing, and other services through check-in desks at their three hotels, Rosen Plaza, Rosen Centre, and Rosen Shingle Creek. Meanwhile, the Rosen Centre recently debuted the Banshoo Sushi Bar.
SOUTH FLORIDA & THE KEYS
- Opened earlier this year, the 411-room Epic Hotel in Miami on Biscayne Boulevard Way can accommodate up to 300 people with its 11,000 square feet of meeting space.
- Slated to debut mid-2010 is the 357-room JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in downtown Miami, part of a $1 billion multiuse project that will encompass retail shops and a spa. The hotel will offer 80,000 square feet of meeting space.
- Opened earlier this year, the 249-room Sonesta Sole Miami on Collins Avenue has 5,000 square feet of meeting space.
- The 312-room W South Beach in Miami Beach opened in July with 10,000 square feet of meeting space.
- Opened earlier this year, the $205 million, 486-room W Fort Lauderdale has 19,000 square feet of meeting space.
YEarlier this year, Key West International Airport unveiled a 30,000-square-foot terminal as part of a $31.6 million multiphase project.
- Opened in November, The 184-unit Resort at Marina Village in Cape Coral has 8,000 square feet of meeting space, including two 2,700-square-foot ballrooms.
- Slated to open in spring 2010 in Pensacola is the 162-room Hotel Indigo, a boutique luxury hotel with 3,000 square feet of meeting space and a rooftop swimming pool.
- The 60-room Watercolor Inn in Santa Rosa Beach, with 4,000-square-feet of meeting space and several outdoor venues overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, is a boutique hotel with a spa, dining on-site, championship golf nearby, and outdoor activities such as fly-fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and hiking.
- Scheduled to debut May 2010 is the new $318 million Panama City–Bay County International Airport on Highway 388, which will feature two runways and a 124,000-square-foot, seven-gate terminal building on a 4,000-acre site.
- At Walt Disney World, Chef Cat Cora, a star on the Food Network, opened Kouzzina by Cat Cora (pictured here), a Mediterranean-style restaurant at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, in September. Also opened this summer, Paradiso 37 at Downtown Disney is a waterfront dining spot. The recently opened 70,0000-square-foot Jostens Center at Disney’s Wide World of Sports can host disneyworld.disney.go.com
- Berliner Classic Motorcars Inc. in Dania, near Fort Lauderdale, offers a 13,000-square-foot showroom packed with vintage cars that can host up to 180 for a sit-down function. www.berlinercars.com; (954) 923-7271
- The Pirate City complex in Bradenton, the spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, is available to groups and offers 83 hotel-style dormitory rooms and four meeting spaces, a conference room for up to 100 people, and a boardroom. www.pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com; (941) 747-3031
- The Wolfsonian-FIU, in Miami Beach’s Art Deco District, with its high vaulted ceilings, ornamental appointments, and art deco fountain, can accommodate 125 for a reception, 40 for a seated event, and 20 in a conference room. www.wolfsonian.org; (305) 531-1001
- Grande Lakes Orlando (Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott) opened the Grande Lakes Adventure Course, a multilevel structure ideal for teambuilding, with 25 traversing and climbing elements. Also on site: two 600-foot zip lines and a 40-foot giant swing. www.grandelakes.com
- Bay Point Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Panama City has introduced complimentary transportation aboard a 60-passenger boat to Shell Island, a nearby 7-mile-long undeveloped and uninhabited island. Its waters are home to one of the world’s largest concentrations of bottle-nosed dolphins. www.marriottbaypoint.com
- The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables has opened the Biltmore Culinary Academy, a cooking school taught by the hotel’s chefs. The three-hour Signature Hands-On Class accommodates up to eight students. www.biltmore.com
ASK THE CVB
Daytona Beach Area
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& Key West CVB
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