APR 2018

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 41 of 67

⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ A P R I L 2 0 1 8 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 42 F L O R I D A up to 400 and nearly 600 people. Plantation Hall, which adjoins a central park, has 3,200 square feet of space that can accommodate 200 people. Sweetwater Branch Inn has 20 guest rooms, four meeting rooms and banquet space. Ocala/Marion County Marion County offers an ideal combination of natural beauty, Southern charm, and excellent facilities that make it a dynamic destination for business conferences, corporate retreats, or large group meetings, according to the Ocala/ Marion County Visitors & Convention Bureau (VCB). Among the reasons cited by the VCB is proximity to the Ocala International Airport, the Gainesville Regional Airport, the Orlando International Airport and the Tampa Interna- tional Airport. There's also a wide selection of restaurants and shopping, natural excursions through the Ocala National Forest, trips to art and history museums and tours of horse farms. There are a variety of unique event facilities to suit a range of size and budget needs, ac- cording to the VCB. The Webber Center and the Klein Confer- ence Center at the College of Central Florida – Ocala Campus have 7,000 square feet of meeting space, while the Appleton Museum of Art can accommodate groups of up to 500. The Southeastern Livestock Pavilion has grand- stand seating for 4,200 and an adjacent 800- seat auditorium. Hotels with meeting space include the Courtyard Ocala, a Certified Green Lodging property, with 171 guest rooms and 3,000 square feet of meeting space. The Hilton Ocala has 196 guest rooms and 40,000 square-feet of indoor/outdoor meeting and events space, and award-winning American fusion dining at Arthur's Bistro. Orlando Always a top meeting and vacation destination, Orlando continues to grow, adding new attrac- tions, lodging, restaurants and more. According to Visit Orlando, Universal Or- lando Resort's sixth onsite hotel, Universal's Aventura Hotel, is expected to open in August 2018, with 600 guest rooms, bringing the total number of guest rooms at Universal Orlando to 6,200. The Grove Resort & Spa opened in 2017 with 184 guest rooms and, over the next three years, plans to add an additional 878 two- and three-bedroom suites along with other ameni- ties. The Delaney Hotel, a 54-room boutique property that can host up to 100 for events, is expected to open in May 2018 in down- town Orlando. The hotel will offer high-tech conveniences, including remote check-in and digital-tablet-based concierge services in every room. Looking further ahead, JW Marriott is build- ing a new hotel and resort development in Bonnet Creek that is expected to open in early 2020; Universal Orlando announced a dual-ho- tel project expected to open in 2019 with a total of 2,800 rooms; and the 250-room Lake Nona Resort is expected to open in 2020, offering an emphasis on fitness and providing athletes and sports visitors with an environment attuned to their needs. At the 2,009-room Orlando World Center Marriott, the 39,500-square-foot Crystal Ball- room has completed a refurbishment that also included enhancements to the hotel's 450,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting and event space. The newest restaurant at the 200- acre resort, Latitude & Longitude, can accom- modate up to 700 for special events, utilizing an outdoor terrace and four private dining rooms. Set on 53 acres just one and a half miles from Walt Disney World, Caribe Royale is the only all-suite convention hotel resort in Or- lando, offering a total of 1,335 one-bedroom suites and two-bedroom villas. The resort's spacious 150,000 square feet of flexible event and meeting space can accommodate up to 4,400 people and includes three ball- rooms—40,000 square feet, 26,000 square feet and 6,400 square feet—along with 51 breakout rooms. "Our resort recently completed a multi-million-dollar refurbishment of all the public spaces in the convention center and opened Calypso's Pool Bar and Grille," said Gerald Urquiola, general manager. "Along with the fun of Calypso's, we feature other casual dining options, including a coffee café, two lounges, a 24-hour deli café and 24-hour room service. Our contemporary steakhouse, The Venetian Chop House, has been awarded the AAA Four Diamond rating for 14 consec- utive years." Guests at the resort can enjoy a full se- lection of amenities, including two pools, lighted tennis and basketball courts, a run- ning trail, bike rentals, an arcade room and the full-service Island Spa offering massages, body treatments, facials and nail care. Caribe Royale is a member of Stash Hotel Rewards. "I encourage planners to ask about the exclusive Stash Meeting Planner Points Program," Urquiola said. n B R E A K O U T S P O T L I G H T : Caribe Royale, Orlando Contact:

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