by Lisa A. Grimaldi | June 02, 2015
Southeast Florida offers metropolitan chic in cities like Fort Lauderdale (pictured) and Miami; well-heeled elegance in the Palm Beaches; and laid-back, low-key charm in the Keys. Fine dining, gorgeous beaches, top golf and colorful nightlife are hallmarks of the entire region.

New Keys for Key West

Here on the farthest point south in the continental United States is the Gates Hotel. The newly opened boutique property has 245 guest rooms and a 600-square-foot meeting/event space that accommodates 45 people. Other offerings include The Gates' own food truck, The Blind Pig, which serves locally inspired dishes and tapas throughout the day, as well as Rum Row, an outdoor poolside bar.
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Fort Lauderdale

• The 486-room Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel is no longer a Starwood property. The iconic hotel was reflagged as the B Ocean Resort late last year.

• The 500-room Bonaventure Resort & Spa in Weston, formerly operated by Benchmark Hospitality, is now being managed by Fën Hotels. The 23-acre resort has 80,000 square feet of meeting space.

• The 156-room Pelican Grand Beach Resort is undergoing a multimillion-dollar expansion project, scheduled to be unveiled this month. Included is the addition of the 1,400-square-foot Atlantic Ballroom and Terrace, the 2,055-square-foot Ocean View Ballroom with panoramic glass windows, and the 3,700-square-foot Ocean View Terrace and Gazebo. The property also is adding a full-service spa.

• The Margaritaville Resort is scheduled to debut this summer. The Jimmy Buffett-themed property will include 349 guest rooms, eight restaurants and the full-service St. Somewhere Spa, along with 11 meeting and event spaces.

• The 219-room Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa, 15 miles from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, is now open. The property has nearly 4,000 square feet of meeting space, plus a rooftop terrace overlooking the Atlantic, several pools, a seafood restaurant and a spa.

• The Westin Diplomat & Spa has joined the Curio Collection. Major investments are planned, though a timeline had not been set as of press time. The 998-room hotel, now known as the Diplomat Resort & Spa Hollywood, a Curio Collection by Hilton, offers 209,000 square feet of meeting space.

• The 290-room Conrad Fort Lauderdale Resort and Residences is slated to open this summer. The former Trump International Hotel and Tower is undergoing a $34 million renovation that will include a new spa. The resort has 15,000 square feet of indoor space that can host up to 500, and 20,000 square feet of outdoor event space.

• The 304-room Costa Hollywood opened last year. The $180 million condo-hotel complex includes a gym, a day spa, dining and retail shops.

• The Beachwalk Resort recently opened in Hallendale Beach. The property has 216 two-bedroom resort rental units and a pool overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.

• The Broward County Convention Center now offers free Wi-Fi to patrons in its public spaces. The center earned LEED Gold certification for an existing building, making it one of only three such U.S. facilities to be so designated.

• Groups that stay at one of six hotels in the Lauderdale Convention Collection can receive freebies such as a reception at the Broward County Convention Center. Click here for details.

Meeting Hotels: Properties include the 637-room Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa; 589-room Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina; 517-room W Fort Lauderdale; 486-room B Ocean Resort; 433-room Westin Beach Resort, Fort Lauderdale; 384-room Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six; 374-room Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort; 358-room Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale; 293-room Westin Fort Lauderdale, and 225-room Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port Hotel.

In Hollywood are the 998-room Diplomat Resort & Spa Hollywood, a Curio Collection by Hilton; 500-room Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino-Hollywood, and 311-room Crowne Plaza Hollywood Beach Resort.

For a full listing of area properties, and to compare hotels and send RFPs, visit

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

Airport Transit: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, about six miles south of Fort Lauderdale. Transfer cost by taxi to Port Everglades and Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, $10-$15; to Fort Lauderdale Beach, $18-$22; by shuttle to Port Everglades, $7-$10; to Fort Lauderdale Beach, $11-$18

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

Group Venue: The Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, a historic estate on 35 acres of a pristine barrier island on Fort Lauderdale Beach, includes a vast collection of art and original furnishings. The grounds are available for private events for up to 125 guests. (954) 563-5393;

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

The Palm Beaches

• The 403-room Hilton West Palm Beach at the Palm Beach County Convention Center is set to open by the end of this year. The headquarters property will feature two ballrooms and eight conference rooms; a 1,700-square-foot gym; a restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating; a 27,000-square-foot pool deck with cabanas and a fire pit, and various event lawns.

• The Palm Beach County Convention & Visitors Bureau changed its name last year to Discover The Palm Beaches. The organization can help coordinate site inspections and online registration, among other services.

• Discover The Palm Beaches has launched a $1 million effort to attract groups of five to 5,000. To be eligible for cost offsets, meetings must be new to Palm Beach County and use both the Palm Beach County Convention Center and a hotel room block. The program runs through 2020.

• The 134-room Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa has opened in Palm Beach. The property, formerly the Omphoy Ocean Resort, is now managed by Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. Amenities include a fitness center, 6,000 square feet of meeting space and a business center. The property's 5,900-square-foot spa is slated to open this spring with seven treatment rooms.

• The Waterstone Resort & Marina Boca Raton, a DoubleTree Resort by Hilton, has opened with 139 guest rooms (all with large private balconies), two restaurants, an outdoor pool and a waterside promenade with a marina. The resort's 8,000 square feet of meeting space includes the Starlight Room on the penthouse level, which sports floor-to-ceiling water views and can host up to 100 people, and a ballroom that can accommodate 200.

• The 1,049-room Boca Raton Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, has completed a $30 million renovation of its 318-room Cloister building, which dates from 1926. The resort has a total of 150,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space.

• The 95-room Fairfield Inn & Suites Delray Beach has opened with two meeting rooms and a fitness center.

• The 189-room Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa is undergoing a series of renovations. Public spaces, including the lobby and bar, will be updated with new furniture, increased Wi-Fi bandwidth and charging stations. The resort has seven meeting rooms.

• Downtown West Palm Beach will welcome its first extended-stay property, the 152-suite Residence Inn by Marriott, later this year. The nine-story hotel will include two meeting rooms and will be within walking distance of the Palm Beach County Convention Center.

• Designer Carleton Varney recently revamped all of the 90 guest rooms and suites at the Colony Palm Beach, a boutique property just 100 yards from the Atlantic Ocean.

• In Delray Beach, the 27-room Crane's BeachHouse Hotel & Tiki Bar has completed a $500,000 refurbishment that transformed four suites into villas. The boutique resort can host small meetings.

• The Delray Sands Resort in Highland Beach, just north of Boca Raton, has finished a major renovation that included its lobby, restaurant, and all 115 guest rooms and suites.

Meeting Hotels:
 Properties include the 1,049-room Boca Raton Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort; 540-room Breakers Palm Beach; 353-room West Palm Beach Marriott; 339-room PGA National Resort & Spa; 309-room Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa; 269-room Delray Beach Marriott; 210-room Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, and 154-room Seagate Hotel & Spa.

To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit

Convention Center: Palm Beach County Convention Center; exhibit space, 100,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 17; (561) 366-3000;

Airport Transit:
 Palm Beach International Airport, about four miles west of West Palm Beach. Transfer cost by taxi, $35

Taxes: Room tax, 6%; sales tax, 6%; total tax on hotel rooms, 12%

 Discover The Palm Beaches, (800) 833-5733;