Florida's West Coast offers groups a diverse array of settings, from cosmopolitan Tampa to upscale Naples (pictured) to the beach resorts of St. Pete and Clearwater. The region is famed for fishing, great golf, water sports, powdery beaches, nightlife and eclectic dining.
ST. PETE & CLEARWATER NEWS
• The Wyndham Grand Resort Clearwater Beach will feature 450 guest rooms in two 15-story towers and 24,000 square feet of event space when it debuts in early 2017.
• The 196-room Postcard Inn on the Beach has renovated its poolside rooms and restaurant. The property added a tiki pavilion and 1,650 square feet of meeting space, for a new grand total of 4,500 square feet.
LET IT RIDE
The new 99-room Seminole Casino Hotel in Immokalee features slots, a poker room and plenty of high-stakes action, 24/7. Adjacent is the 10,000-square-foot Seminole Center, with seating for up to 750 attendees.
• The 319-room Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club has added glass balconies to the guest rooms of its main Tower Building. The property has invested $50 million in enhancements over the last few years, including a renovation of all guest rooms and suites; the opening of a new ballroom; the renovation of several meeting rooms, and the addition of a new beachfront pool complex. The 125-acre resort features 34,000 square feet of meeting space.
• The Hyatt House Naples/Fifth Avenue opened in March. Designed with an Old Florida feel complemented by modern touches, the property has 183 guest rooms, including 120 suites with full kitchens, and 3,160 square feet of meeting space. A pedestrian underpass provides access to nearby shopping and dining.
• The 189-room LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort has completed an overhaul of its meeting and event space, including enhancements to its two ballrooms. The property offers 8,000 square feet of indoor meeting space and 4,000 square feet of outdoor function space.
Meeting Hotels: In the greater Naples area, properties include the 454-room Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa; 474-room Naples Grande Beach Resort; 450-room Ritz-Carlton, Naples; 319-room Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club; 199-room Hilton Naples, and 119-room Inn on Fifth.
To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit mcvenues.com.
Airport Transit: Southwest Florida International Airport, 33 miles northeast of Naples; transfer cost by taxi to downtown Naples, $70
Naples Municipal Airport, three miles from downtown Naples; transfer cost by taxi to downtown Naples, $20
Taxes: Naples and Marco Island: room tax, 4%; sales tax, 6%; total tax on hotel rooms, 10%
Contact: Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau, (239) 252-2379 or (800) 688-3600.
CAN’T BEAT THE VIEW
On pristine beachfront property, the new Opal Sands Resort, Clearwater Beach,
features 25,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, including a 7,650-square-foot ballroom. The resort's 230 guest rooms and all meeting spaces feature stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico.
• The 540-room Saddlebrook Resort recently completed renovations to its meeting space. Among the improvements are new ceramic flooring on two of the resort's foyers, new carpet in both ballrooms and all boardrooms, and lighting upgrades. The 480-acre property features 95,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, a five-acre team-building course and two 18-hole Arnold Palmer golf courses.
• The 260-seat restaurant Grey/Salt has opened in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa. The restaurant draws on Italian and French cuisine and features local seafood, artisanal flatbreads and handmade pastas. A private dining room seats 50 people.
• Tampa International Airport is undergoing a $1 billion expansion that will add a new main terminal, car-rental facilities, and 65 new shops and restaurants, 30 of which will open this year. The first phase of the project is slated for completion in 2017, with a second phase expected to be carried out between 2018 and 2023.
Meeting Hotels: Properties include the 719-room Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, 520-room Hilton Tampa Downtown, 442-room Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay and 287-room Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel.
Group Venue: Take your group out on the high seas with Yacht StarShip, the first AAA three-diamond-rated dining yacht in the United States. The ship, which sails from Tampa, Sarasota, Clearwater and several other local ports, can accommodate up to 150 guests.
Convention Center: Tampa Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 200,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 37; (813) 274-8511.
Airport Transit: Tampa International Airport, nine miles to downtown Tampa; transfer cost by taxi, $32
Taxes: Room tax, 5%; sales tax, 7%; total tax on hotel rooms, 12%
Contact: Visit Tampa Bay; (813) 223-1111 or (800) 448-2672; fax: (813) 229-6616.