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Southeast: a planner's subtropical paradise. (Florida).

Palm Beach County boasts "The Best of Everything"--and it's about to get even better. In May 2003, a new world-class convention center will open its doors to 330,000 square feet of fabulous meeting space. Located in downtown West Palm Beach and within steps of CityPlace, a new, upscale retail and entertainment complex, the $76 million property will feature a 100,000-square-foot exhibit hall, 25,000-square-foot ballroom, and 23,000 square feet of breakout space to suit any size group.

There are more than 3,000 guest rooms within three miles of the property, including a new 400-room hotel that connects directly to the convention center and a 350-room hotel across the street. Many of Palm Beach County's most deluxe accommodations also offer meeting space.

The area also has a number of unique event locations, including:

* Raymond Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, a multipurpose space with three distinct performance halls available to groups.

* Old School Square Cultural Arts Center in Delray Beach, a 1920s gymnasium-turned-theater listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

* South Florida Entertainment Center and Exposition Center, a full-service facility with more than 100,000 square feet of flexible function space.

Bigger means better in Broward County, where the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center recently expanded to 600,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space, almost doubling in size. The tri-level center's sleek design simplifies even the most demanding convention requirements. Improvements to this state-of-the-art facility include new and larger meeting rooms, an executive teleconferencing suite with Internet connectivity, and cutting-edge climate controls.

One of the area's most significant transformations in the past few years can be seen in the new and improved hotels that line Greater Fort Lauderdale's magnificent shoreline, where several beaches were recently named by the Clean Beaches Council as some of the finest.

Spearheading the development is the 1,000-room Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa, which opened in January 2002. The 39-story hotel and adjacent 209,000-square-foot convention center offer exceptional meeting options and a spectacular ocean view. The property's one-of-a-kind dynamic infrastructure makes it one of the most technologically sophisticated sites in the country.

Miami's meeting facilities match its popular social scene when it comes to diversity and style. And the city's multicultural flair fosters a sense of belonging that groups of all sizes are sure to appreciate.

The Miami Beach Convention Center is one of the country's largest with 1 million square feet of functional space that can easily accommodate the needs of a single sizeable client or four groups simultaneously. Meanwhile, the Miami Convention Center, adjacent to the Hyatt Regency Miami in the heart of downtown, has a wide assortment of spaces including the 5,000-seat James L. Knight Center, a 444-seat auditorium, and 117-seat lecture hall. In bustling Coconut Grove, the waterfront Coconut Grove Convention Center provides 150,000 square feet of contiguous space close to theaters, boutiques, and curbside restaurants.

But the real hot topic here in the tropics is the hotel boom: Greater Miami offers nearly 50,000 guest rooms, with an additional 5,000 to be completed by the end of this year. Following on the heels of the Mandarin Oriental Miami and the 1W Marriott Miami grand openings, the 639-room Hotel Inter-Continental Miami just finished the final phase of its $34 million renovation, which includes upgrades to its 62,000 square feet of meeting space.

Recreational activities abound, including deep-sea fishing, restaurant hopping, or simply strolling through the city's historic Art Deco district. And those who love the nightlife better boogie to sizzling South Beach, where meeting participants can let loose after a long day.

Unlock the secret to recharging and revitalizing your executive team in the Florida Keys, a string of islands just south of Miami that's just the place to get well-deserved rest and relaxation. Guaranteed to inspire thinking as clear as the water, the five areas of Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key, and Key West each offer unique gathering spots and getaways. Bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels are a natural choice, but the area also caters to groups with a variety of venues that can accommodate most midsize meetings.
COPYRIGHT 2002 American Society of Association Executives
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Association Management
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Apr 1, 2002
Words:692
Previous Article:Southwest: Part pampered resort, part rustic refuge, and all about meeting options. (Florida).
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