F&D Destination: Florida

Hilton West Palm Beach

floridaGroups have 24,000-plus sq. ft. of indoor meeting space available at the Hilton West Palm Beach, in addition to several outdoor function spaces, including a 6,000-sq.-ft. area at the front of the property and two large event lawns of about 2,400 sq. ft. each at the pool deck. Manor, the hotel’s signature restaurant showcasing locally sourced ingredients, is another option for a group gathering, seating approximately 150 patrons indoors and 60 more outdoors.

TaylorMade Golf, a Carlsbad, CA-based manufacturer of golf clubs, bags and accessories, recently held a global product launch at the hotel, bringing in 300 attendees including sales reps, invited media and customers. “West Palm Beach is a wonderful city for commerce and tradeshows that has rapidly gained popularity for a variety of reasons,” notes Kim Johnson, Program Manager of Events/Marketing for the company. “The city has a small town, San Diego-like feel, yet it still is just over an hour away from a major city such as Miami. For our international travelers, that offered a very accessible airport to schedule travel in and out of — even for the number of people we were managing.” The style of the property itself was also a nice fit for the event, Johnson says. “The Hilton West Palm Beach is a beautifully constructed new hotel with both modern and contemporary finishes. The overall look and feel of this location matched very well with the TaylorMade Golf brand.”

“From both an execution and ROI standpoint, the event went very well,” she relates. “Some of the challenges lay within the moving parts of having simultaneous events at both the Hilton West Palm Beach and the Club at Ibis golf course, which was just over 30 minutes away. However, everything ran on schedule, nothing went awry and everyone had a great time, which as an event manager, is my overarching goal for every event I oversee.”

FORT LAUDERDALE

The centerpiece of Fort Lauderdale’s meetings industry is the SMG-managed Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, which offers four exhibit halls totaling 230,000 sq. ft., two ballrooms and 31 meeting rooms. The facility is located just five minutes from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and is connected to a 2,500-space parking garage via two enclosed, air-conditioned skywalks. Groups who prioritize sustainability will note that the convention center is the first in Florida to earn LEED certification and the third nationwide to achieve LEED Gold for an Existing Building.

floridaComplementing the convention center is one of Florida’s most vibrant hotel infrastructures. Among the many developments that will favor meeting groups is the expected winter 2017 opening of the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. The property will offer 290 expansive studio and suite accommodations, 20,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, an ocean-view spa and fitness center, and an elevated deck oasis with an ocean-facing pool. By spring 2018, a dual-branded Starwood property will open with 12,000 sq. ft. of function space. It will be comprised of The Dalmar, from the Starwood Tribute Portfolio (209 rooms), and The Element by Westin (114 rooms). Major renovations include the recent $95 million transformation of The Diplomat Beach Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton; a $30 million renovation and conversion of the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Port Hotel to Le Meridien Dania Beach at Fort Lauderdale Airport (245 guestrooms, 20,000 sq. ft. of meeting space) by fall 2017; and the W Fort Lauderdale’s recent $55 million renovation of all 430 guestrooms and public spaces. By the end of the first quarter of 2017, the W Fort Lauderdale will add a new 4,000-sq.-ft. ballroom to its 26,000-plus sq. ft. of meeting space.

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