OCT 2016

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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Page 14 of 59

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 6 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 15 Incorporating Cultural Elements An example of new design trends can be seen at the new Ace Hotel New Orleans, which opened earlier this year in one of the United States' most culturally diverse areas. The owners aimed to blend the confluence of culture and sounds into its design, honoring the city where French culture meets Houma Indian tradition meets Creole superstition. "New Orleans is a true confluence of traditions, identities and stories, so we hope for the open design to foster a dialogue between locals and visitors," said Kelly Sawdon, partner and chief brand officer, Atelier Ace & Ace Hotel Group. "The hotel – housed in a 1928 Art Deco building that once housed Barnett's Furniture Store – was designed by our friends at Roman and Williams, who are known for their highly tactile, layered and resonant environments." The hotel's design also captures a prevalent desire in the South to embrace the unique culture and historical heritage of the area. Partnering with local artisans and local antique vendors for decor, the design firm tapped into the building's Art Deco roots by choosing French design elements, lighting and furniture inspired by that era. The 234-room hotel is decorated in a palette of deep, rich colors, including dark grays, greens and eggplant, which plays into the dual tones that are trending right now, as cool tones are slowly being replaced in favor of warmer tones with metal finishes, according to Lesley Hughes Wyman, principal and co-founder at MatchLine Design Group. There's also a music venue that opens into an adjacent living room space that creates a social area for groups to use. Another new property in The Big Easy that utilized an existing structure and integrated local cultural charm is the 288-room Hampton Inn and Suites New Orleans Convention Center, which offers 12,000 square feet of meeting space. Set across two towers – one a historic warehouse, the other a modern build – the hotel is in the Arts and Warehouse district and features the Warehouse Bar with the original wood floors and high ceilings with exposed beams. Creating New Color Schemes Central Florida hotels are also buying into cutting-edge design trends. At the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, a $140 million, multi-year redesign project, now underway, includes renovating the 2,267 guest rooms at both hotels with a new color scheme inspired by the resort's water-themed architecture, creating a more modern look. The new interiors feature a combination of whites, blues and grays mixed with abstract artwork, said Gino Marasco, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort director of sales and marketing. The Swan guest rooms were completed in 2015 and the Dolphin guest rooms are scheduled for completion by the end of 2017. A $5 million renovation of its 329,000 square feet of meeting space, which started in Summer 2016, will also refresh all the meeting rooms at both hotels. Invoking A Sense of Nostalgia Northwest Florida is also bringing a fresh facelift to an iconic property by incorporating history and beautiful natural surroundings. Henderson Beach Resort, a Salamander Beach & Spa Resort in Destin, seamlessly blends modern conveniences with the nostalgia of days gone by, said General Manager Douglas Hustad. It's set to open Nov. 18, 2016. Hinging on the living room-type reception- area trend, the expansive reception area of the luxury resort offers an upscale yet comfortable first impression for guests upon arrival and is called The Living Room. It offers a custom stone fireplace and sofas that offer views onto a veranda. Connecting to the Outside The Auburn/Opelika Marriott Hotel & Conference Center at Grand National also recently completed a multi-year comprehensive renovation that touched all 129 guest rooms ► A hard hat tour of the newly rebranded and renovated Sheraton Bay Point Resort (formerly the Bay Point Golf Resort & Spa), which took place in June, gave an exciting preview of the extensive changes that will soon be unveiled when the Panama City Beach, Fla., property re-opens in November. The resort, which is nestled in a 1,100-acre wildlife preserve, is undergoing a $30 million renovation that took hotel and conference center buildings down to the studs, completely transforming guest rooms, public areas, meeting spaces and dining facilities. From electrical and plumbing to windows, doors and walls to flooring, lighting and furnishings, the property is all-new while retaining its amazing views of the bay, the beach and the Gulf of Mexico. For outdoor events, a new outdoor pavilion and lawn overlooking St. Andrews Bay, which offers 14,000 square feet of function space, provides an elegant area for receptions and corporate gatherings. There are three new restaurant/bar venues, including Tides, a three-meal-a-day restaurant, and a lavish, open-air pool bar. ■ SHERATON BAY POINT RESORT Site Visit By Marcia Bradford The Living Room at Henderson Beach Resort

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