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 48 of 67

A P R I L 2 0 1 8 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 49 F L O R I D A Museum of Fine Arts, Imagine Museum, Chihuly Collection and Clearwater Marine Aquarium, make the St. Petersburg and Clear- water area of Florida's Gulf Coast appealing to meeting planners. Coming to downtown St. Pete this month, the James Museum of Western + Wildlife Art will show off 400 to 500 exceptional works in a $50 million 80,000-square-foot museum. The new venue will have 30,000 square feet of gal- lery space, additional event space, a 120-seat theater, a two-story indoor sculpture court, a store and a café. Slated to open spring 2019 is the five-story, 137,100-square-foot Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement For those who want to sample local flavors, the St. Pete/Clearwater Craft Beer Trail now runs from Tarpon Springs to St. Petersburg with more than 30 craft breweries. According to Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwa- ter, the metro area offers 35,000 guest rooms, 35 miles of beaches and 44 golf courses, along with 500,000 square feet of meeting and event space. Notable properties include the 230-room Opal Sands Resort and the 253-room Sandpearl Resort, both in Clearwater Beach; the iconic Loew's Don Cesar, with 277 guest rooms, and the 173-room Dolphin Beach Resort at St. Pete Beach. Added to this are several properties just outside each city, such as the 620-room In- nisbrook, a Salamander Gold & Spa Resort in Palm Harbor with 65,000 square feet of meet- ing space, and the smaller Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Harbourside on Indian Rocks Beach. In late September of 2017, Hyatt Place St. Petersburg Downtown, a 15-story, 175-room hotel that is part of the One St. Petersburg project, opened. Additionally, The Vinoy Re- naissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club, a venerable seven-floor, 348-room luxury land- mark lodging in downtown St. Pete reopened 102 tower rooms in November 2017 as part of a $50 million multi-year renovation and redevelopment. The property boasts 60,500 square feet of total event space. In Decem- ber, the 287-suite Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa showed off its extensive, multi-million-dollar renovation and the Bilmar Beach Resort on Treasure Island completed a full renovation to all its 166 studios, efficien- cies and suites. Dunedin, about five miles north of Clear- water, will see the rebirth of a Roaring Twen- ties-era iconic property in September 2018 Enticing groups to "escape to paradise," the Margaritaville Resort Orlando, expected to open in early 2019, will add an exciting new 300-acre immersive property just south of Walt Disney World. "With Orlando's tourism numbers soaring (from 66 million visitors in 2015 to 68 mil- lion in 2016) we think that the region is more than ready for a new and immersive experi- ence," said Linda Haserot Vice President Sales & Marketing, Ocean Properties Hotels Resorts & Affiliates, which manages the property. "Our guests can truly experience a 'no worries' vacation, with one of the most iconic and trusted brands within the hospitality industry." Centrally located near the entrance of the resort, the 187-room Margaritaville-themed hotel, a $90 million venue, stretches along the sandy shoreline of the 45-acre manmade lagoon, with corridors extending from the atrium lobby. The property also features 16,000 square feet of indoor meeting space. According to Haserot, the hotel will cater to millennials. Tropical plants, large seating areas and custom artwork, in- cluding a large blue flip-flop sculpture and upside-down margarita glass chandeliers will make the lobby fun and interactive. A three- acre swimming area with over 60,000 square feet of beach, 2,200 beach chairs and a lazy river, will be located behind the hotel. Among the numerous recreational options, the lagoon will host paddleboarding and snorkeling. A 12-acre water park will feature four to five towers with numerous slides, such as racing mat slides, large family raft slides and body slides. Other onsite amenities include a fitness center, zero-entry pool, tiki bar, private overwater cabanas, retail dining entertainment district, wedding pavilion, Little Parakeet's Kids Club, transportation to area theme parks, walking and biking paths, Margaritaville Beach Bikes and compli- mentary parking. A resort-wide water taxi system, tree-lined walking trails and a tram system will help guests travel around the property. n B R E A K O U T S P O T L I G H T : Margaritaville Resort Orlando Contact: Margaritaville Hotel Lobby ➤

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