Prevue May/June 2015 - (Page 64)

Gaming Size, location and an expansive list of amenities streamline meetings [ON LOCATION] JOHNALEE JOHNSTON/BARBARA SCOFIDIO G aming hotels & resorts have an edge when it comes to meeting the demand for robust group experiences. A variety of entertainment, shopping, spa services and dining are generally built-in for large groups, making room for creative programming elsewhere-whether a mixology class in a snazzy cocktail lounge or heading offsite for a little local immersion. Planted conveniently where the action's at, gaming hotels and resorts also offer ease of accessibility, streamlining arrivals and departures and access to popular local hangouts and attractions. Regardless of how you and your groups get your game on, as the following gaming properties will attest: Less isn't always more. PANAMA Aside from being one of Central America's tallest buildings, the architectural "sail" of the 70-story Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower Panama also makes it one of the most recognizable on Panama's Punta Pacifica peninsula. Modeled after the iconic Bahrain World Trade Center, the hotel is fittingly just a brief walk from the financial district. A new 75,000 sf casino adds to this pizzazz with 600 slot machines and 34 gaming tables for blackjack, roulette, poker and baccarat. The Ocean Sun Casino marks a $100 million investment by Trump Hotels, in partnership with Sun International, which also includes areas for live entertainment and gourmet food service. Gaming continues on the 66th floor for high rollers, where panoramic views of the city create a light and airy backdrop to gaming salons, a lounge bar, restaurant and infinity pool. Overall, groups will find the 5-star hotel's amenities very accommodating- from the Cava 15 wine lounge to tailored in-room spa services. Every aspect of the tower has been designed to flaunt ocean views; waterfront dining and a five-pool deck jutting out into the ocean swept air on the 13th floor are popular gathering spots. Overall, 27,000 sf of meeting/event space is available to groups. Panama City has seen a surge of new hotel development- including Trump, Starwood, Waldorf-Astoria, Westin and Hard Rock-over the past five years. The city's approachable price points and contrast between old and new have helped to increase visits by 50 percent since 2008. Alongside 16th century ruins the new Frank Gehry-designed biodiversity museum, Biomuseo, stands; a rainforest within city limits neighbors a forest of green and blue glass skyscrapers. It's a city on the verge, so much so that its canal is also undergoing an expansion that will double its capacity and economic clout by 2016. NEVADA At the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino's 135,000-sf Beachside Casino, shoes and shirts are optional. Surprisingly, the three-story casino and scantly dressed patrons and dealers therein aren't the hotel's only allure. The hotel's convention center is gaining 350,000 sf of exhibit space by January 2016. A major trend in fine dining-beer vs. wine tastings-has also taken root here. In a friendly but competitive five-course dinner, which can be tailored to groups, Director of Food and Beverage and Certified Cicerone Sarah Johnson (the only female cicerone in the state of Nevada) 60 | prevue magazine 60-63_Gaming.indd 60 4/22/15 12:33 PM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Prevue May/June 2015

Planner’s Pick: South Africa
Fresh Meets: Sheraton Expands in China
Bureau Buzz: Meet Hawaii
Good Business: Accor on Gender Equality
Sea Shores: Windstar Cruises
Experience Luxury
On Location: Destination Resorts
On Location: Northeast Florida
On Location: Iberostar Playa Mita
On Location: Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
Checkout: Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall & Zilara Rose Hall

Prevue May/June 2015