Prevue January-February 2017 - 67
Opal Sands Resort
Coastal-inspired meeting spaces without the high price tag
[ON LOCATION] MELISSA BRYANT
rising number of groups are flocking to the St.
Petersburg/Clearwater area to experience its trademark
Technicolor sunsets and vibrant beach culture, and
more recently, its hotel boom, which is yielding plenty of
new rooms and unique meeting opportunities.
Opal Sands Resort, a member of Preferred Hotels &
Resorts and the new kid on the coast, which opened this past
spring, is already making quite an impression with its 230 one- and
two-bedroom suites boasting floor-to-ceiling windows, a spacious
balcony and unobstructed views of the Gulf of Mexico-not to
mention its 17,000 sf of event space.
"Clearwater Beach is not as well-known as Miami, Hawaii and
other popular upscale beach destinations and is often overlooked
in the incentive market," says Nancy Cimney, director of sales and
marketing at the resort. "The hotel and destination have all of the
same amenities and qualities, however, without the high price tag."
The resort makes every effort to reflect and complement the
surrounding community. Guest rooms and common areas are
splashed with a distinctly Clearwater palette of blues and turquoise
and local artists were commissioned to create individual and
collaborative pieces for a "mini gallery" in and around the lobby.
Groups can stick with Opal Sands' coastal-inspired theme
for their events, or carry out their own vision through themed
tasting menus and team building activities. "We've done everything
from a mock casino night with gaming tables set up on the lawn
to medical symposiums," Cimney adds. After spending the day
dolphin spotting on the Little Toot tugboat and munching on crab
fries at Frenchy's South Beach Cafe, we hopped on bikes and
headed downtown via the Clearwater Memorial Causeway, whose
picture-perfect views of the harbor made it well worth the trek.
A ROOM WITH A VIEW
GULF FRONT VALUE
Cimney welcomed our group to the resort at the on-site farm- and
sea-to-table Sea-Guini restaurant, headed by native Floridian chef
Todd Holender. Over handcrafted cocktails-a light raspberry
thyme concoction, hand-shaken coconut daiquiri topped with
toasted coconut and the showstopping smokey old-fashioned
complete with smoldering effect-she chatted with us about the
resort's friendly atmosphere.
"From valet to check-in to waitstaff at the restaurants and
pool, every staff member is trained to make each guest experience
personalized and memorable."
All of Opal Sands Resort's meeting space is located on one floor,
making traveling between multiple rooms convenient for larger groups.
"Every space has a fantastic view, which really offers a sense
of place for meetings," Cimney explains. "The event lawn can
accommodate 250 attendees-it's as close to the water as you can
get, and our customizable Opal Ballroom overlooks the Bay with
room for 550." And when attendees are off the clock, the resort's
pool and cabanas, full-service Opal Spa, fitness center and four
dining venues complete the picture.
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2/1/17 2:33 PM