APR 2012

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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Home SOUTHWEST FLORIDA Sarasota: Top-Ranked Beaches Alongside a number of renovation efforts hap- pening at some of Sarasota County's 29 hotel properties with meeting space, Kelly Defebo, meeting and leisure sales manager with the Sara- sota CVB, pointed out that the region's beaches just received a major accolade—Siesta Beach was ranked No. 1 on the annual Top 10 Beach List produced by coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman aka "Dr. Beach." "That has definitely brought more attention to our area," Defebo emphasized. "Now, the name recognition has allowed us to pick up more meeting and group RFPs." Sarasota County offers 4,000 hotel rooms, including these three properties you'll want to explore for your next meeting. 'Green' Hotel & Hypo-Allergenic Rooms The Hyatt Regency Sarasota is the only Four-Di- amond hotel in Sarasota and it has also earned a Palm One designation from the Florida Green Lodging Program. The hotel also offers Respire by Hyatt, a hypo-allergenic guest room option where the rooms undergo an additional six-step cleaning process to reduce airborne particles and minimize the presence of potential irritants. This process includes installation of a state-of-the-art air purification system and treatment of all fab- rics and surfaces in the guest room. The property houses 20,000 square feet of function space and 3,000 square feet of prefunction space, including the 10,000-square-foot Sarasota Ballroom. Award Winning For Service...And Tennis Along with receiving a Four-Diamond award }for the 29th consecutive year, the 218-room Longboat Key Club and Resort was named the No. 1 tennis resort destination on the Florida Gulf Coast and one of the Top 10 nationwide by Tennis magazine. According to Director of Com- munications Sandra Rios, the property just com- pleted upgrades to its John Ringling Meeting Room and The Library, including new décor, carpets wall coverings and technology upgrades. It also opened the Tavern and Whiskey Bar and rolled out the 2012 Wellness Campaign for members, guests and employees. The resort is located on 410 beachfront acres and houses 12,000 square feet of meeting space. New GM Focused On Service The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, a Five-Diamond property, recently appointed Bradford Jencks as general manager, a 30-year hotel management veteran, said Katharine Monahan with the The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. "I know his expe- rience will benefit the community, guests, mem- bers and all the ladies and gentlemen at the resort." The property houses 18,000 square feet of meeting space and on-site golf. ■ Sarasota: While manatees have been spotted along the northern Atlantic Ocean coastline, the only state that they are commonly found in the U.S. is Florida. Sadly, the gentle giants are listed by the World Conser- vation Union as vulnerable to extinction. Attendees can learn more about them at the Mote Marine Lab in Sara- sota. Follow Up: ■ 38 ConventionSouth APRIL 2012 Conservation and environmental protection are two lessons attendees can pick up at the Mote Marine Lab and Aquarium in Sarasota. Here, attendees can explore Floridaʼs rich sea life through touch pools, viewable-working labs and high-tech interactive exhibits that showcase the world- renowned research of Mote. And, the facility has numerous meeting and special event venues, including a 3,500-square-foot conference room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the aquarium's dolphin lagoon on one side and Sara- sota Bay on the other. Additional options include a 4,300-square-foot room featuring a 1,300-square-foot balcony that provides water views and a 60-person covered pavilion built by members of the Seminole Indian tribe. ■ www.con v on the agenda in Planning Directory Planner Resources Meeting Site Showcase manatee Engage attendees through animal encounters.

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