Travel Weekly's Florida E-Letter: November 6, 2002

AT THIS WEEK'S ASTA congress in Honolulu, delegates were reminded that Greater Miami will play host to the October 2003 event. Both the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Port of Miami were planning to welcome attendees during the final evening event in Hawaii. CVB officials also took pride in announcing that the American Speech-Language-Hearing Assn. selected the Miami Beach Convention Center for its November 2006 annual meeting, which is expected to attract more than 12,000 attendees.

THE BREAKERS, Palm Beach, introduced a 15% commission policy applicable to new leisure reservations involving stays completed by Dec. 19. To qualify, agents must mention booking code TAPB15. The property also is extending resort activity credits ranging from $100 to $600 per room, depending on the length and dates of stay. For information, call (888) BREAKERS or check the Web site, www.thebreakers.com.

ALSO IN PALM BEACH, Jan. 2 to Feb. 8, the Society of the Four Arts will be the site of "Becoming a Nation," a traveling exhibit of historic objects belonging to the U.S. State Dept. Included is a painting of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock; artwork by Paul Revere and Benjamin West's 1772 painting of William Penn offering a treaty to the Indians of Pennsylvania. For information, call (561) 655-2776.

LODGEPODGE
• The Holiday Inn Town Center, Boca Raton, was acquired for $8.5 million by Norwalk, Conn.-based HEI Hospitality, which plans to begin a $2.2 million renovation of the 182-unit property by the third quarter of 2003. The renovation includes the addition of 1,500 square feet of meeting space. The hotel will be run by an HEI subsidiary, Smilezzzz. (Yeah, it's got four Zs.)
• In Tampa, CNL Financial Group, Orlando, will break ground early next year on a 300-room Renaissance hotel at International Plaza. It will have 9,500 square feet of meeting space, a fitness center and restaurant when it opens in 2004.
• Boca Resorts, Boca Raton, posted a net loss of $9.1 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30 vs. the same quarter of 2001. The 2002 quarter reflected a $6.8 million increase in revenue thanks largely to a strong performance by the Boca Raton Resort & Club. However, there was a slower recovery by the rest of the portfolio: Registry Resort at Pelican Bay, the Edgewater Beach Hotel and Naples Grande Golf Club, all in Naples; the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Hotel and Marina and the Bahia Mar Resort and Yachting Center and Grande Oaks Golf Club, all in Fort Lauderdale. In addition, operating expenses were $3 million higher during the past quarter vs. the same period of 2001, reaching $55.5 million.

OPENINGS
• Debuting in St. Petersburg in mid-January is a 91-room Hampton Inn & Suites, offering 1,200 square feet of meeting space and a fitness center. The owner is JMC Communities Inc.
• A spring 2003 opening is set for the 183-room Hilton Garden Inn on Pensacola Beach. It will have a business center, restaurant, exercise area, indoor pool and 10,000 square feet of meeting space.
• The National Hotel, Miami Beach, opened its 32-unit Cabana Wing overlooking the hotel's signature 205-foot pool. Each unit has a 27-inch flat screen TV with built-in DVD, video and CD player as well as Web TV. Rates through Dec. 26 are from $299 per night; $319 on Friday and Saturday. For information, call (800) 550-0505.

SPECIAL RATES
• A $99 nightly minimum room rate, including a hot breakfast and weeknight snacks, is offered by the new Residence Inn at Aventura Mall, near North Miami, for stays of 30 or more days in a studio unit through Dec. 19. The 191-unit extended stay property has an exercise room, four meeting rooms, and in-room high-speed Internet link. Commissions of up to 10% are offered to agents who complete the Marriott Hotel Sales Specialist course. For information, call (800) 331-3131. The Web site is www.residenceinn.com/miara.
• A $73 per night Chill Out rate for a suite is extended by the Edgewater Beach Resort, Panama City, on stays through Feb. 28. For information, call (800) 874-8686 or check the Web site, www.edgewaterbeachresort.com.
• In another deal, South Beach Hotel Group's Whitelaw in Miami Beach, provides the fourth night free when three are prepaid from $297 double (which breaks down to $99 per night). In addition, the 49-room hotel is offering some $400 worth of services no extra cost, such as airport transfers, a continental breakfast, nightly cocktails, guaranteed nightclub admission and gym access. For information, call (305) 398-7000 or check the Web site www.whitelawhotel.com.

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