Florida Life - Lifestyle
Business-- and Beyond: Luxury resorts that cater to business
Resorts that focus on business travel also understand the value of down-time amenities.
The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa has a rich history. Once a playground for the rich and famous (Sammy Davis Jr., Judy Garland and others), today, after many millions of dollars worth of renovations and the continuous additions of programs, it’s one of the most popular business hotels in south Florida. “We have many repeat groups,” says Director of Sales Tiffanie Story. The resort understands that fun is part of the equation. “We can arrange recreation such as golf, spa, tennis for our group guests here on property,” says Story. “If they choose to do an outside event, we can recommend a local vendor for anything from Everglades tours to charitable events.”
Business: Westin has new meeting facilities indoors and out, with many connecting to a convention center adjacent to the hotel.
Pleasures: Heavenly Spa; a championship golf course; a hotel-owned yacht at the resident marina to which guests have access.
Bonus: For $5, guest can get a New Balance tote filled with exercise gear, new socks and sneakers delivered to their door, eliminating the need to stuff carry-on bags with all of the above.
The colorful beachside property is big on environmental preservation.
“Sandpearl’s visitors are approximately 30% group travelers, of which 75% are corporate business and meetings travelers,” says General Manager Eric Waltz. “It’s not unusual for our business travelers to return after their meetings with their families and friends for a relaxing vacation.”
Business: Beachside team-building activities and mid-meeting “spa breaks.”
Pleasures: “We’ve arranged for everything from a fishing tournament from our boat docks to beach Olympics, cooking classes, spa treatments and ocean excursions,” says Waltz.
Bonus: Caretta on the Gulf, the hotel’s restaurant, is the only four diamond eatery in town; sailing expeditions aboard a 60-foot windjammer, during which the six guests on board at a time get to pitch in and steer or raise the main sail.