APR 2017

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ A P R I L 2 0 1 7 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 48 F L O R I D A rooftop lounge and new meeting space that will bring the total for the property to 100,000 square feet. In Naples, the Naples Grande Beach Resort has 83,000 square feet of meeting space and the New Hope Event Center in Naples, provides 44,000 square feet, including a large banquet hall, meeting rooms, a lecture hall, a gymnasium and a 20-acre event lawn/sports field. A number of other Paradise Coast properties are just finished or are undergoing renovations, as well: The 310-room Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa recently completed a $40 million transformation that created a new floor-to-ceil- ing window overlooking the beach and Gulf of Mexico in a new entryway, lobby and recep- tion area. Sixteen new one- and two-bedroom suites have been added, along with seven new poolside suites. The resort's 12,000 square feet of meeting space was also refreshed. LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort in Naples enhanced its ballrooms and its public spaces around the conference center and terraces. The 190-room property offers 12,000 square feet of meeting space. The Inn on Fifth has renovated the executive boardroom meeting space and completed an extensive remodeling of the Spa on Fifth. The hotel's new signature restaurant, Ocean Prime, opened late last year. The Naples Grande Beach Resort renovated its public spaces, including enhancements of its ballroom and lobby lounge. All this makes JoNell Modys, PR and commu- nications manager, and Debi DeBenedetto, group sales manager, for the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau quite happy. The Paradise Coast also has several unique and appealing off-site meeting venues such as Artis—Naples, a performance and art center, and Sugden Community Theatre. Outdoor recreation and educational attractions include Rookery Bay, a 110,000-acre research reserve dedicated to wet- lands featuring the Museum of the Everglades; the 13,000-acre Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Everglades Adventure Tours; the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Cen- ter; Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens; NGALA Wildlife Preserve; the Naples Botanical Garden, which has a new visitor center and three new gardens; and the Dolphin Explore cruise boat. And Pure Florida, based in downtown Naples, ► One of the largest convention center facil- ities in the U.S., Orlando's Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) is in the midst of a multiphase long-term expansion, with several new projects recently opened or set to open later this year, said Gwen Wilson, public relations manager. "We're excited about the Center-to-Table Gardens in the Westwood Lobby. This structure has 81 towers with 44 planting spots on each and gives us the ability to serve herbs and veg- etables grown on property in an all-natural, chemical-free environment for meals pre- pared at the OCCC." Also new at OCCC is the 7,000-square- foot Destination Lounge, a state-of-the-art "meeting sanctuary" with video walls and LED displays to support corporate brand- ing, Wilson said. "This venue provides attendees and exhibitors a place to sit com- fortably and continue to do business. The Destination Lounge allows for spaces that are technology friendly with comfortable seating and open views perfect for meet- ings or private functions." Opening in May 2017, the OCCC's new International Drive Pedestrian Bridge will connect the West Building of the center to the Hyatt Regency Hotel and will be the fifth bridge connecting nearby hotels to the convention center. The OCCC has 2.1 million square feet of total exhibit and event space, with 74 meet- ing rooms (49 in the West Building and 24 in the North/South Building) and 232 total breakout rooms. The Chapin Theater seats 2,643. n B R E A K O U T S P O T L I G H T : Orange County Convention Center, Orlando Contact: Rendering of the International Drive Pedestrian Bridge

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