HURRICANE MICHELLE brushed South Florida, doing
minimal damage. As a precaution, Florida Keys visitors on Saturday
were ordered to evacuate, while residents left on Sunday. But on
Monday afternoon both were able to return and tourism is back to
normal. The American Power Boat Assn. races off Key West were
rescheduled for Nov. 16 to 18.
IN DOWNTOWN SARASOTA, the 266-room Ritz-Carlton
will open Nov. 16 with a $169 per night introductory rate for stays
through Dec. 20. Floridians qualify for a $149 rate, which is
commissionable. For stays Jan. 2 to Jan. 13, there is a Welcome to
the New Year rate from $195. The property has 18,000 square feet of
meeting space, a business center, fitness center, a restaurant,
lobby lounge and bar. Club Level rooms will have concierge service.
For information, call (800) 241-2222 or (941) 309-2000.
THE FIRST TWO Water Buses began plying Fort
Lauderdale's waterways this month. The 42-foot, 70-seat boats (six
more are coming by the first quarter of 2002) eventually will
replace the smaller Water Taxis operated by Canal Boats Inc., which
also runs the Water Bus. The all-day fare on the Water Bus and
Water Taxi is $5. For information, call (954) 467-6677.
THE ROYAL PALM Crowne Plaza Resort, with 422
rooms, will open in Miami Beach on Dec. 1 as a project of Peebles
Atlantic Development Corp., Washington. It will be the first and
largest African-American owned and developed, full-service
beachfront resort, according to Six Continent Hotels, parent of
Crowne Plaza Hotels. The property will have more than 150 suites
and 6,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space.
WINGATE INNS, a Cendant brand, opened its
100-room Wingate Inn-Miramar. The $8.5 million, full-service hotel
offers rates from $89 per night. Miramar is west of Fort
Lauderdale. For information, call (800) 228-1000 or (954)
AMONG THE MANY deals offered by Florida hotels
are two from Marriott Vacation Club International properties. For
stays through Dec. 13, Marriott's Ocean Pointe Resort, Singer
Island, has rooms from $128 per night vs. $140; Marriott's
BeachPlace Towers, Fort Lauderdale, has rooms from $182 vs. $209.
These properties also have higher-cost villas. For information,
call (800) VILLAS-9.
THE RESORT AT Longboat Key Club near Sarasota
offers Florida residents a $189 club suite along with use of the
fitness center, beach lounges, bikes and tennis courts. The plan is
commissionable. For information, call (800) 237-8821.