Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts January 1999
Short Cuts:BEYOND THE DANISH
Tea time: Far East Break at Hilton Woodcliff
Do your meeting breaks resemble a hit-and-run
scene, with attendees grabbing a cup of coffee and dashing off to
the nearest phone bank? If so, it’s time for a change.
Themed breaks can turn simple sustenance into something special,
adding appeal to the event and helping attendees recharge for the
next session. And, says food and beverage director Don Giordano of
the Hilton Woodcliff Lake in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. (201-391-3600),
they cost peanuts more than a regular break.
“They force people to de-stress,” says Giordano, who has seen
themed breaks grow in popularity at his property. The Hilton
Woodcliff Lake’s Far East Break dishes up moist
coconut cake, orange slices, fortune cookies and a selection of
green teas amidst an exotic backdrop of bamboo baskets, chopsticks,
paper parasols, Oriental vases, enormous fans and bonsai plants. On
request, servers will dress in kimonos.
The Tropical Break at the Ritz-Carlton San Juan
Hotel & Casino in Puerto Rico (787-253-1700) features fruit
punch and virgin piña colada smoothies, fruit brochettes and
chocolate-covered bananas. Surfboards, giant flip-flop sandals,
oversize beach chairs, mini palm trees and classic Caribbean music
create the ambience. To take advantage of the warm ocean breezes,
hold the break on the terrace.
Colonial Williamsburg Resort & Conference Center in
Williamsburg, Va., (800-822-9127) capitalizes on its historical
surroundings with the Eighteenth-Century Break . A
town crier or one of the founding fathers George Washington or
Thomas Jefferson announces the break, and servers in Colonial garb
dole out hot or cold apple cider, malt cider, roasted peanuts and
scones from tables decorated with lanterns, beeswax candles and
baskets of seasonal flowers.
Pretzels, every which way, and Coca-Cola are featured in the
Coke With a Twist break at Philadelphia’s Wyndham
Franklin Plaza Hotel (215-448-2979). Attendees can choose from soft
or hard pretzels with a variety of mustards, or even the chocolate-
covered kind. Old-fashioned wooden Coca-Cola bottle cases, soda
fountain glasses, an original Coke vending machine and cola
memorabilia liven up the atmosphere. Don’t be shy about expanding
the beverage selection for non-Coke fans.
At the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando (407-239-1234),
the Border Break brings Tex-Mex to Mickey Mouse
land. Attendees sip virgin margaritas and munch on corn tortilla
chips, salsas, cheese dips and warm breadsticks served by wait
staff donning cowboy hats and sombreros. Bulls’ horns, saddles,
cowboy boots and bales of hay complete the transformation.
The Miniature Golf Break at Chateau Elan in
Braselton, Ga., (770-932-0900) gets attendees putting. Two golf
pros are on hand to help, and a video of professional tournaments
runs in the background. Bagels and assorted cream cheeses, along
with beverages, are served from a golf cart.
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