Prevue May-June 2014 - (Page 70)

nine new spa beds and zero-gravity lounging pedicure chairs with hammered-copper bowls. The spa improvements were part of a major overhaul of the 598-room Gulf Coast resort that has an extensive program of meetings and incentive experiences. Indoor and outdoor meeting spaces include two ballrooms, a theater, hospitality suites and several meeting rooms and board rooms, and the resort also considers its broad beach to be a meeting space. The Hogwarts Express, Universal Orlando Three restaurants (which required the addition of 3,600 sf to the resort's Gulf side) were also expanded, including Sandcastles, which nearly doubled in size and now accommodates 126 pax. The Spa Tower was completely redesigned, and its 202 guest rooms include two presidential suites. Exterior changes include a new valet parking deck, which created more space for self-parking. Overall, the renovation brought new features to the lobby, accommodations, food-andbeverage venues and exterior. The Panhandle property has a dedicated meeting and event staff who help groups create outdoor teambuilding exercises such as the Beach Olympics, scavenger hunts, dance parties and even a 5k "fun run" complete with signage, water stations and official numbers for contestants' shirts. The resort also hosts business retreats, corporate meetings, VIP stays, golf and fishing outings and other incentive visits. The new main lobby ption has beach-inspired sculptures and floor-to-ceiling windows, new lighting elements, and accents that the resort says are Caption "reminiscent of a luxurious southern home." 62 | prevue magazine UNIVERSAL STUDIOS ORLANDO Universal Orlando Resort is buzzing with anticipation for the Diagon Alley expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, set to double the size of the area. Universal Orlando is still working out the details of how Diagon Alley will be incorporated into meetings and events, but the overall group experience is expected to be off the charts, following in the footsteps of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade. "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade is already a popular event location where planners can arrange an experience along the cobblestoned streets of Hogsmeade," says communications strategist Julie Hall of Curley & Pynn, Universal Orlando Resort's PR firm. Groups will pass through platform 9 ¾, board the Hogwarts Express in Hogsmeade and arrive at King's Cross Station moments later. From there, the options are endless- whether watching a wand choose a wizard at Ollivanders, dining in the Leaky Cauldron or a joyride through Gringotts bank. A number of themed shops and dining venues will serve as incredible backdrops for group meetings. The Hogwarts Express travels between London's King Cross Station and Hogsmeade Station with views of London, the British countryside and a few surprises along the way. Of course, the area would not be complete without the darker magic of Knockturn Alley, featuring the sinister items of Borgin and Burkes.;;;;;;; Alfresco dining, Acqualina Resort & Spa

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Prevue May-June 2014

Planner’s Pick: Tucson
Fresh Meets: Trump Hotel Collection
Bureau Buzz: Meet Puerto Rico
Good Business: InterContinental Hotels
Sea Shores: Cruise Shipping Miami
The Changing Face of Luxury
On Location: Toronto
On Location: Jamaica
On Location: Cancun Marriotts
On Location: Santa Barbara Curaçao
Checkout: SLS at Beverly Hills

Prevue May-June 2014