THE ISLAND ROCKET catamaran is the latest venture
of Floribbean Hospitality Group, Coconut Grove. By Thanksgiving Day
it expects to launch commissionable day sailings between Miami's
Bayside Marketplace and Coconut Grove's Dinner Key Marina to the
Holiday Isle resort in Islamorada, Florida Keys, where an optional
overnight package will be available. The 50-foot catamaran has 130
airline-type seats. Fares for the three-hour trip will be $48.50
one-way; $89.50 roundtrip, including snack and beverage service.
For information on agent vouchers, call (305) 445-8456. The related
Web site is www.firstladycharters.com.
OVER PRESIDENTS' DAY weekend, Feb. 15 to 17,
the Washington Mutual Coconut Grove Arts Festival will take over
the heart of the Coconut Grove enclave of Miami with more than a
mile of contemporary art displays. Properties offering packages
during the event include the Sonesta Hotel and Suites, three nights
from $399 per person, double, with breakfast, (800) SONESTA or Web
site www.sonesta.com/coconut_grove. Also, the Wyndham Grand
Bay Coconut Grove has an Art Lovers Weekend plan available nightly
for $299 single or double, (305) 858-9600. The Web site is www.wyndham.com. Other
Coconut Grove hotels with special rates are the Mutiny, Mayfair
House, Hampton Inn Doubletree and Grove Isle Resort, The festival's
Web site is at www.coconutgroveartsfest.com.
• A rare opportunity to earn 15% pay on new bookings for December
-- including the Christmas period -- is offered by South Seas
Resort, Captiva Island. The override applies to Harbourside hotel
rooms or any one-bedroom units occupied between now and Jan. 1. For
information, call (866) 61-SHELL.
• A fall 2003 reopening is planned for the 91-room Victor Hotel, in
South Beach. The Art Deco property, to be managed by Hyatt Hotels
Corp., is undergoing a $48 million restoration and expansion on
behalf of owner ZOM Development, Orlando. In related news, Hyatt
named Ilan Segal as general manager of the Victor. Most recently he
ran Island Outpost's the Tides and Marlin hotels, both in South
Beach. For pre-opening information, call (305) 269-4747.
• Another Art Deco property, the Brooklyn Hotel, just reopened in
South Beach at 320 Euclid Ave. as a condo property. Built in 1937,
it has undergone $3.2 million in renovations since 2000 under new
owners Chapman Ducote of South Point Capital and Kristin Nevin of
Ducote Designs. Boutique Hospitality Group, Miami, is running the
condo hotel which has 17 one-bedroom suites. Ken Svejkovsky, the
managing director, also is handling sales. Most recently he was a
consultant for hotels in Hawaii. Rates range from $149 to $349 per
night depending on season and type of suite. For information, call
(888) 362-8889; the Web site is at www.brooklynsouthbeach.com.
• The former Lagoon Resort, under the new ownership of Jim and
Leslie Rhyne, reopened in the Keys as the 25-unit Coconut Cay
Resort and Marina. Agents earn 10% pay on rooms, which are priced
from $99 per night, and on two-bedroom cottages with kitchens,
which cost $199. The resort is on a peninsula extending into
Florida Bay and can be found near Mile Marker 50.5 bayside, south
of Marathon Airport. For information, call (877) FLIP-FLOP. The Web
site is at www.coconutcay.com.
• Also in the Keys, the former 79-room Hampton Inn , Marathon,
switched flags and is now the Best Western Inn and Marina. For
information, call (305) 743-9009.
• Grande Illumination, a colorful re-enactment of the 18th century
period when St. Augustine was part of the British Empire, will take
place Dec. 7 and 8, providing an entertaining and educational blend
of pageantry and history.
• Winterfest Boat Parade, Dec. 14, features holiday-light-festooned
yachts and other vessels plying the Intracoastal Waterway. For
information on related events, call (954) 767-0686. The Web site is
• Accents on Winter, Dec. 5 to Jan. 18, is Tallahassee's annual
celebration to commemorate the site of the first Christmas
celebrated in North America more than 450 years ago. Highlights
include tours of sculpted gardens, plantation homes and an 1880s
• The ninth Annual Holiday Tour of Historic Inns in St. Augustine
is set for 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 8. There are 23 participating
bed & breakfasts, all ablaze with lights, vintage ornaments,
handcrafted heirlooms and innkeepers in period costume.