Fort Lauderdale's clean beaches, warm weather, lively restaurant scene and wealth of accommodations make it an alluring destination for meetings and incentives. The region is ready to welcome several new resorts this year, adding even more options for planners.
• The 486-room Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel is no longer a Starwood property. Last month, the iconic hotel was reflagged as the B Ocean Resort. Opened in 1956, the property was designed to look like a cruise ship.
• Let attendees know that the Fork Lauderdale app has the latest information about dining options around the city. Download the free app from iTunes at bit.ly/17VfElE.
Las Olas Boulevard, the road that connects the beach with the city, is known as Greater Fort Lauderdale's "style mile," lined with an eclectic assortment of boutiques, art galleries, restaurants and cafés.
Fresh Catch of the Day
Foodies will savor the farm-to-table cuisine at Market 17, within the Portside Yachting Center. The daily menu features local fish and seafood. Groups up to 220 are accommodated.
• The Margaritaville Resort is scheduled to debut this summer. The Jimmy Buffet-themed property will have 349 guest rooms, seven restaurants, multiple pools and a full-service spa, along with 11 meeting and event spaces.
• The 219-room Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa opened last year, just 15 miles from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The property features nearly 4,000 square feet of meeting space divided among seven rooms, the largest of which is the Grand Bahama Ballroom, able to accommodate up to 300 people. Among other property highlights are a rooftop terrace overlooking the Atlantic, several pools, a seafood restaurant and a spa.
• The Westin Diplomat & Spa has joined the Curio Collection by Hilton, following its sale last August. 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 upgrade that will include a spa. The property offers 15,000 square feet of indoor space for functions of up to 500 people, and 20,000 square feet of outdoor oceanfront 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.
• Set to open in April, the Beachwalk Resort in Hallandale Beach will have 216 two-bedroom resort rental units and a swimming 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 free services such as a reception at the Broward County Convention Center. For details: bit.ly/1irLawk
Those who love to fish will find lots of places to cast off in Deerfield, Pompano, Dania Beach and other coastal cities, including four municipal piers. Among the catch prized by local anglers: sailfish, tuna, swordfish, mahi mahi, wahoo, grouper, snapper and barracuda. For details go to bit.ly/11ZDonU.
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.
Hollywood has 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 more, visit mcvenues.com.
Convention Center: Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center; exhibit space, 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: Sail along the waterways of the "Venice of America" (one of Fort Lauderdale's nicknames) aboard the Floridian Princess. The yacht accommodates up to 400 guests. (888) 771- 0102
Contact: Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, (954) 765-4466