Palm Beach County - A Successful Meetings Destination

SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS November 2006 Palm Beach County is more than a playground for the rich and famous. It's a many-layered destination that offers something for everyone: more than 200 hotels in 37 cities, more than 160 private and public golf courses, more than 40 cultural venues, and world-renowned shopping throughout, along with a 350,000-square-foot convention center. And don't forget those polo ponies. All this along 47 miles of coastline boasting an average annual temperature of 78 degrees, and it's no wonder the south Florida destination saw its hotel occupancy hit record levels this year.

Essential Tool Box
Convention Facilities: Palm Beach County Convention Center, 350,000 sf total space with 23 meeting rooms; Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 2,200-seat concert hall, 300-seat theater, and 1,000-seat outdoor amphitheater; Cohen Pavilion, with 10,440-sf ballroom, 5,000-sf rehearsal hall; and South Florida Expo Center, 150,000 sf total space.
Total Hotel Rooms: 16,000-plus countywide
For complete listings, visit Facility Quick Search at www.mimegasite.com
From Airport to Center: 2.5 miles from PBIA to convention center
For More Info:
Palm Beach County CVB
www.palmbeachfl.com

The Big News
The highly anticipated Westin Convention Center Hotel is expected to break ground soon. The 400-room property, scheduled to be completed in 2008, will feature meeting space, a fitness center, spa, restaurant, swimming pool, and on-site parking.
* The Palm Beach County CVB recently launched a real-time reservation system on its website, www.palmbeachfl.com. Visitors can now book reservations with 35 area hotels. In two future expansion phases, the CVB will add airline flights and car rental booking capability, as well as tickets for attractions and events destination-wide.
* The Breakers completed a $15-million redevelopment of its five-acre beachfront, including two pools, 20 new day-use, beachfront bungalows, and a new restaurant.
* The 239 all-suite Resort at Singer Island will open as a Starwood Luxury Collection property in Dec, with 66 residential condos, 4,000 sf of meeting space, an 8,500-sf spa, and two swimming pools.
* The PGA National Resort & Spa was purchased by Walton Street Capital, a Chicago-based real estate investment firm that plans to spend more than $25 million over the next two years to renovate the entire 2,348-acre resort and spa.
* The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach reopens this month after a $45-million expansion that added 24 new oceanfront rooms and suites, a new swimming pool, two new restaurants, a 3,000-sf oceanfront terrace, and a new, 28,000-sf Grand Spa (set to open mid-2007).

Recommended for Dining
The restaurants below have group facilities and were selected from the Zagat Survey of Palm Beach County: Kathy's Gazebo Cafe and New York Prime (Boca Raton); 32 East (Delray Beach); Cafe Chardonnay (Palm Beach Gardens); and 11 Maple Street (Jensen Beach). For more information on these and other restaurants in Palm Beach County, please click on www.zagat.com

Groups Should Consider
Groups should consider these recommendations from the Successful Meetings Home Team experts. Top choices include the 560-room Breakers, the 210-room Four Seasons Palm Beach, and the 89-room Brazilian Court.n

Contributors to this section include Home Team member Marilyn Rocks. Contact her at [email protected]

On Site: WEST PALM BEACH
Back in the Groove
Bad weather-which no one can control-is probably the best test of a destination's resilience. Therefore, when I attended CMD Boot Camp at the Crowne Plaza West Palm Beach this summer (see page 62), I was amazed to see no lingering trace of that property's devastation by Hurricane Frances.
Frances, which blew into Palm Beach County in late 2004, gusted as high as 91 mph, delivering more than 10 inches of rain within 24 hours, as well as causing six county deaths and approximately $500 million in property damage county-wide. Damage to the Crowne Plaza was extensive: Not only had it been flooded, but with its air-conditioning out of commission, the interior drywalls quickly absorbed groundwater and humidity and fouled within hours.

All that and more was removed in a massive, $31-million renovation that gutted and rebuilt the interior over a 18-month period. Today's Crowne Plaza, which reopened early this year, boasts a decor that carries a motif of dark woods and rich-toned accents from its five-story glass atrium to its 219 guest rooms. The property also features two of the brand's signature programs: The Sleep Advantage Program (which comprises a bed component along with sleep aids such as lavender spray and a relaxation CD) and the Meeting Success Program (which includes the Two-Hour Response to requests for quotations).

Wouldn't you know, my 24-hour stay was accompanied by torrential rain, which prevented me from sightseeing (but ensured my meeting attendance). Luckily, the clouds parted as it came time to leave. I witnessed a glorious sunset at Palm Beach International Airport, where I also enjoyed free Wi-Fi.
Guess I'll catch a tan on my next trip. -Terri Hardin

Readers Recommend
Our subscribers gave Pinnacle Awards to the following:

Palm Beach County CVB
Boca Raton Resort & Club

For more listings, visit Facility Quick Search at www.mimegasite.com