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by Chris Duthie | June 01, 2016
Why here?
Southeast Florida is a world-class meeting destination, underscored by sun-splashed recreation -- think premium golf, tennis, scuba diving and snorkeling, beach activities and saltwater fishing -- plus astonishing and elegant nightlife, entertainment, top restaurants and premier shopping.


THE KEYS
 The 95-room Courtyard Marathon Florida Keys opened this winter. The property has 1,100 square feet of meeting space, a business center and two dining options.

 The 167-room Playa Largo Resort & Spa, a Marriott Autograph Collection property, debuted in April. Offerings include 10 private bungalows, a waterside restaurant, a spa, a private marina and 39,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting space.


HQ DEBUT
The 400-room Hilton West Palm Beach, which is connected to the Palm Beach County Convention Center, is now open for business. The property has 24,000 square feet of meeting and event space.
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FORT LAUDERDALE

Local Update
 The 349-room Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort debuted in Hollywood in November 2015. The Jimmy Buffett-themed property offers 30,000 square feet of meeting and event space, a spa and eight  dining outlets.

 The B Ocean Resort -- formerly the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel -- is renovating its outdoor and public spaces, lobby, restaurants, corridors and all 487 guest rooms. The refurbishment project, slated for completion this summer, will nearly double the resort's 14,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

 The historic Escape Hotel is being rebuilt and rebranded as the Gale Boutique Hotel. The North Beach Village property, slated to debut later this year, will have 96 guest rooms and 128 residences. Opened in 1951, the Escape helped launch Fort Lauderdale's legacy as a popular beachfront destination. The $120 million project will feature a rooftop sky deck, a fitness center, a spa, concierge services and a pool.

 The 198-room Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale, has elevated its classic look with an $8 million makeover to its guest rooms, spa, restaurant and public spaces. The property has 24,000 square feet of ocean-view meeting space.

 The 384-room Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six has completed renovations to its 5,900-square-foot Panorama Ballroom. The event and meeting space has been detailed with new carpeting, lighting, furnishings and more.

Meeting Hotels: Properties include the 650-room Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, 589-room Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, 500-room Bonaventure Resort & Spa, 487-room B Ocean Resort, 432-room Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, 430-room W Fort Lauderdale, 384-room Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six, 374-room Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, 361-room Embassy Suites by Hilton Fort Lauderdale, 315-room Fort Lauderdale Marriott North and 298-room Westin Fort Lauderdale.

In Hollywood are the 998-room Diplomat Resort & Spa, 500-room Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino-Hollywood, 349-room Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort and 311-room Crowne Plaza Hollywood Beach.

To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit mcvenues.com.

Convention Center: Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center; exhibition space, approximately 200,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 31. (954) 765-5900; ftlauderdalecc.com

Airport Transit: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, six miles south of Fort Lauderdale; transfer cost by taxi to Port Everglades and Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, $10-$15

Taxes: Tourist development tax, 5%; sales tax, 6%; total tax on hotel rooms, 11%

Group Venue: The historic waterfront Stranahan House was built in 1901, with the lower floor serving as a trading post and the upper floor as a community hall. The venue can be toured during the day by groups; at night, the house serves as the launching point for Fort Lauderdale's River Ghost Tour. Events for up to 75 guests can be staged on the patio. (954) 524-4736

Contact: Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau; (954) 765-4466.