Prevue May-June 2018 - 22

Previous: Bloom & Bee restaurant at The Post Oak, Houston; Right (clockwise from top): Beach dinner at Dreams Las
Mareas Costa Rica; Michael Mina cocktail at the Bellagio (photo credit: Anthony Mair), Las Vegas; Gaylord Palms Resort &
Convention Center, Orlando

H

How do you define a luxury experience? Is it a feet-in-the-sand
dinner where a steady stream of custom cocktails and lapping
waves flow, a customized in-room spa treatment that incorporates
local traditions and ingredients or perhaps a sporting event that
includes up-close and personal encounters with members of your
favorite team? Your attendees, and the following destinations, would
likely answer "all of the above."

HOUSTON, TEXAS
Restaurants galore, but the ground floor of The Post Oak Hotel at
Uptown Houston is where the eye candy's at. One of the perks to
being a 10-acre, 38-story mixed-use development in a snazzy part
of town is the ability to house a Rolls-Royce showroom somewhere
between a 2,000-label wine cellar, 250-room hotel and private
rooftop helipad. Toss in amenities like designer retail, Houston's
first Mastro's Steakhouse and a luxe guest room experience
coupled with the option for in-room spa services, and meetings and
incentives attendees really need only
show up to feel like VIPs at The
Post Oak.
Nikki Keenan, Sr. VP of sales
for Landry's, Inc., which owns and
operates the development, says the
property has a few tricks up their
sleeve as well for visiting groups.
"Given that the owner of The
Post Oak Hotel is also the owner of
the Houston Rockets, we have the
ability to customize an exciting night
with the team, offering groups of 10
to 1,000 an entertaining, exciting and
unique opportunity to build team camaraderie."
Back at the hotel, the luxe experience begins prior to arrival
when preferred room temperature and any personalized travel
arrangements are made. And the moment attendees enter the door:
an elaborate Swarovski crystal chandelier inspired by the Dubai
Opera House hovers over custom Calcutta marble flooring, stone
pillars and works of art from iconic American artist Frank Stella that
the three-story atrium lobby has been nicknamed the "Stella Lobby."
The hotel's 35,000 sf of meeting space includes the largest ballroom
in the Uptown Houston area at 16,000 sf. Groups can also meet
and nibble beneath colorful blown glass blooms at the Bloom & Bee
or indulge in craft cocktails at the vintage-inspired H Bar.
"Our culinary team also offers cooking demonstrations with our
executive chef or executive pastry chef," Keenan says, "and master
sommeliers present wine dinners and tastings from a selection of
over 2,000 labels and rare vintages dating back to the 1800s."
The Galleria shopping mecca is just a short walk beneath a
canopy of oak trees and along cascading fountains. Keenan says

the goal for visting meetings and incentives groups is simple: Give
attendees what they want. "We recognize that the affluent traveler is
looking for a unique and memorable experience curated especially
to their tastes, and we apply that same philosophy to groups."

COSTA RICA
Now that Costa Rica's reputation for being a sustainable adventure
destination has been well established, Mauricio Ventura Aragon,
minister of tourism, says it's time to focus more on meetings. He's
doing so with the new LEED certified Costa Rica Convention
Center in San Jose, set to open this month. "Sustainability is
a priority in Costa Rica, and the center is no exception. It has
everything that would be expected for a project of this kind
today: solar panels, water treatment plants and LED lighting, as
well as other things that Costa Rica considers a priority, such as
reforestation of the whole area and the construction of lakes to
get a more park-type convention center rather than a concrete
construction." Costa Rica's first
convention center will span 25 acres and
hold room for 6,500 attendees in spaces
that are naturally lit and naturally primed
for green meetings.
Groups can carry over this vibe with
a meetings and incentives combo that
ventures beyond San Jose to include
ecotourism adventures to volcanoes,
rainforests and waterfalls where zip lining,
climbing and rappelling, whitewater rafting
and diving are on the agenda. Rural
tourism activities are also gaining ground
with attendees. These programs allow
direct interactions with locals and for hands-on cultural exchanges.
Resorts like Hilton Papagayo and Dreams Las Mareas Costa
Rica also offer their own unique immersion experiences such as
dance classes, eco tours, yoga on the beach, local cooking and
coffee making classes.

"The affluent traveler is
looking for a unique and
memorable experience
curated especially to their
tastes, and we apply that
same philosophy to groups."

22 | prevuemeetings.com

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
Luxury bite-by-bite is the name of the game at the Bellagio thanks
to an ever evolving culinary scene that has brought a new wave
of seafood dishes to the desert. This time, the journey begins
with James Beard Award winner Michael Mina and a re-imagined
concept that emulates fresh seafood feasts at marketplace
paradises and seaside villages from around the world.
"I found inspiration in my travels and researched the best
cultural traditions, techniques and presentations that bring out
the most delicious flavors of seafood," Mina says. What does
this mean for groups, you ask? The opportunity to select from
a "Market List" menu of refined seafood culinary traditions from


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