Travel Weekly's Florida E-Letter: September 13, 2001

THE NAPLES-BASED Coral Collection group of five upscale hotels in South Florida introduced a two-night and longer Smart Rate plan through the fall. The cost is $198 double for two nights through Sept. 30; $250, from Oct. 1 to Dec. 20. In Miami Beach, (South Beach), the Smart Rate also covers one dinner (per room) at the Blue Moon Hotel's restaurant. For reservations, call the hotels: Blue Moon (800) 724-1623); the Essex House, (800) 553-7739, and the WinterHaven (800) 395-2322, all in South Beach; Hotel Escalante, Naples, (877) 485-3466, and the Chesapeake Resort, Islamorada, (800) 338-3395.

UNITED VACATIONS, Milwaukee, trimmed land rates over selected fall dates from $45 to $170 per person, double, for its three-night and longer Walt Disney World vacation product . The dates are Oct. 1 to Nov. 15 and Nov. 23 to Dec. 23. The discounted rates apply to stays at five Disney on site hotels, with the lead three-night offering pegged at $339 per person, double using a Disney's All-Star Resorts property. Disney's 100 Years of Magic events, honoring Walt Disney, start on Oct. 1 for a 15-month run. For information, call the operator, (800) 328-6877.

PENSACOLA has a new hotel: the 71-unit Travelodge Inn & Suites, on the city's west side, offering rates of $69 to $89 per night. For information, call (850) 454-0280. Rising in Pensacola Beach is the $14 million, 117-suite Springhill by Marriott, which will have 2,500 square feet of meeting space when it opens this March. Rates will be in the $125 per night range. Also under construction in Pensacola Beach is the $26 million, 183-room Hilton Garden Inn, a gulf-front property which will have 10,000 square feet of meeting space when it opens in spring 2003.

INTERACTIVE SHARK DIVES, involving feeding, would be banned if new regulations of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission get final approval. The commission voted 6 to 1 to propose the ban after more than 20 shark-bite incidents occurred in Florida waters this year. Four dive operators offering the shark-feeding excursions criticized the commission on grounds that it caved-in to media frenzy over the incidents, none of which involved shark-feeding groups. If the ban does become law, (possibly in November), affected operators are South Florida Diving Headquarters, Pompano Beach; Jim Abernathy Scuba, West Palm Beach; Atlantis Dive Center, Key Largo, and Dive Site, Marathon.

COMMISSIONS OF 12% to 20%, payable on stays now through Jan. 31, were announced by 14 hotels along the Florida Spacecoast to underscore their support of travel agents. Paying 12% are the Days Inn Kennedy Space Center, Titusville, and the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Palm Bay. Paying 15% are the Comfort Inn & Suites (if booked directly with the hotel); Days Inn Oceanfront, Best Western Ocean Inn, Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach, Courtyard by Marriott, Days Inn Oceanfront, Ocean Suite Hotel, Sea Esta Villas, and Wakulla Suites, all in Cocoa Beach. Also paying 15% are the Royal Mansions Resort, Cape Canaveral, and Best Western Space Shuttle Inn, Titusville. Paying 20% is the Ramada Inn & Suites KSC, Titusville.

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