PLANS FOR a $100 million convention center in the
Kissimmee-St. Cloud area near Orlando were scrapped when the
Osceola County Commission voted 3 to 2 Monday to abandon a proposed
partnership with Xentury City Development, following allegations
that the CEO of Xentury's Saudi-owned parent firm, Xenel Int'l, may
have ties to a bank that reportedly funds terrorist activities.
Xentury denied that ties exist, but the county attorney could not
verify the denial nor disprove the allegations. The allegations
were made by officials of Local 362 of the Hotel and Restaurant
Employees Union. What's next? Osceola County will be discussing a
convention center proposal from the Texas-based Landmark Org. This
facility, however, would be built closer to hotels and motels along
Highway 192 and not near the proposed Xentury site, which in turn
was close to the existing 1,406-room Gaylord Palms Hotel, a
REOPENING DEC. 12 in Miami Beach is the Bass
Museum of Art, which completed phase one of a renovation and
expansion. The $8.8 million project more than tripled the museum's
exhibition space and provided an outdoor sculpture terrace, cafe
and museum shop. For exhibit information, call (305) 673-7350; or
check the Web site, www.bassmuseum.org.
CRUISETOUR WORLD, a show for leisure
specialists, will make its debut next spring in Fort Lauderdale
under the sponsorship of several industry associations and Travel
Weekly. Set for April 24 to 27 at the Broward County Convention
Center, the sponsors include Cruise Lines Int'l. Assn., the
Institute of Certified Travel Agents and the U.S. Tour Operators
Assn. It will be co-sponsored as well by Giants, ModernAgent.com
and the Outside Sales Support Network. More than 200 exhibitors are
expected to participate. Travel Industry Shows, based in
Pleasanton, Calif., will produce CruiseTour World. For information
call (925) 249-2233, check the Web site, www.travelindustryshows.com or e-mail [email protected].
WITH THE AIM of "elevating the luxury golf
experience to a new standard," a Golf Caddie-concierge program will
be introduced by the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Golf Club opening in July
at the Grande Lakes Orlando complex. In addition to usual caddie
services, the caddie-concierge will provide course information and
an ice-cold towel soaked in rum and lime juice; relay food and
drink orders; and make new or revised dinner reservations. The
uniformed golf caddie-concierge will be on hand from practice
session to the conclusion of the golf round.
SEMINOLE COUNTY hotels launched a
third-night-free deal applicable through the Christmas-New Year's
period. The Orlando Marriott-Lake Mary pays commission on the first
two nights, but it is up to the participating nine properties to
decide on commissions, a Seminole County Convention & Visitors
Bureau spokeswoman said. Thus, agents should check before booking.
For information and related dates, view the bureau's Web site, www.visitseminole.com.
• The Boca Raton Resort & Club received City Council approval
to add a 151-room hotel wing and a separate, 12-suite building to
its Boca Beach Club operation. The expansion will include 19,000
square feet of meetings space. There are no immediate construction
plans for the expansion, a spokeswoman said.
• Wellesley Inns, a unit of Prime Hospitality, Corp., opened its
third property in the Orlando area. The 164-room, 12-story
renovated hotel at 6500 International Drive, previously operated
under the name MIC Lakefront Inn. It continues to be owned by MIC
Hotel Group, Miami. Rates are from $89 per night including a
continental breakfast. Agent pay is 10%. For information, call
(800) 444-8888 or (407) 345-5340.
• The 221-unit Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, Ponte Vedra Beach,
received the American Automobile Association's top Five Diamond
THE PLAZA RESORT & SPA, Daytona Beach,
introduced a two-night Getaway Sampler Spa plan priced at $609,
double, on stays through Jan. 31. The pay is 10%. Included are an
oceanfront room, spa cuisine breakfast and lunch each day,
unlimited use of the spa, one 50-minute massage, one Salt Glow
treatment, one minifacial, a manicure, fitness classes and a spa
gift. For information, call (800) 874-7420 or check the Web site,
• AirTran inaugurated service to West Palm Beach. The new service
from Atlanta involves three nonstops daily in each direction.
• Delta Connection carrier Chatauqua Airlines starting Feb. 1, will
operate three daily nonstops between Richmond, Va., and Orlando
using Embraer regional jets.