Prevue May-June 2018 - 82
Family-run properties create memorable Orlando meetings
[ON LOCATION] STEVE GRASSO
ust a 10-minute drive from Orlando International Airport
and we were already approaching the perfectly manicured
grounds of Rosen Shingle Creek. Designed to reflect
1900s Spanish Revival-style architecture, the hotel is set on
255 acres of lush Florida landscape and magnificent cypress trees.
Each of its 1,501 guest rooms looks out over this green expanse and
its pretty creek, nature trails, rolling golf course and resort pools.
Shingle Creek is one of the northernmost headwaters of the
Florida Everglades. In the early 1800s, settlers and cattle barons
would log cypress trees along its waterway to a nearby mill where
they were fashioned into roof shingles. The hotel's name pays
homage to the old Florida frontier and communicates something
of its historic landscape to Orlando convention-goers who pass
through this busy meetings hub.
"Planners have come to realize the many advantages of
working with an independent hotel company such as ours,
affectionately dubbing these qualities the 'Rosen Difference,'" says
Leslie Menichini, VP of sales & marketing for Rosen Convention
Hotels. "We are able to customize our contracts to meet a
planner's needs. No cookie-cutter meetings or events here. This
is a huge advantage for groups that have special requests or who
want to create unique experiences."
THE ROSEN DIFFERENCE
Our tour began with a look at the property's 524,000 sf of meeting
and event facilities. The largest space is the Gatlin Grand Ballroom,
offering 95,000 sf of column-free space with 31-ft ceilings. It is
accompanied by two smaller ballrooms, 99 breakout meeting
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rooms, a 40,000-sf outdoor space and an abundance of smaller
informal spaces that make good use of the ample Florida sunshine.
Outside, we took a look around the four outdoor swimming
pools, two hot tubs, tennis and basketball courts, and the Shingle
Creek Golf Club. This 18-hole, par 72 championship course was
recently redesigned by the Arnold Palmer Design Company, and
boasts its own golf academy and a 2,000-sf pavilion that can be
used for events. A nature trail circles the property, inviting groups to
explore its flora and wildlife, and anglers can enjoy seasonal fishing.
After the tour we had dinner at A Land Remembered, the
hotel's AAA Four Diamond steakhouse. The restaurant is named after
Patrick D. Smith's historical novel about pioneer Florida, with decor
that reflects this time period. We shared a sampler plate of goat
cheese fritters, jumbo lump crab cakes and bistro steak bruschetta,
followed by a real taste of Florida in the form of an alligator stew.
The following day took us on a tour of the other Rosen
convention hotels in Orlando, starting with breakfast at the Rosen
Plaza. The 800-room property is connected to the Orange County
Convention Center via a raised covered walkway, providing
attendees with seamless access to meetings and events. It also
boasts more than 60,000 sf of meeting space, including a 26,000-sf
grand ballroom. 3NINE is an innovative entertainment venue at the
property, which is available for private events and buyouts. It features
state-of-the-art sound, intelligent lighting and lasers, color-changing
columns, programmable flat-screens and stylish decor.
The Rosen Centre is also connected to the Orange County
Convention Center via covered walkway. The property has
recently undergone a renovation of all 1,334 guest rooms with