ConventionSouth – News Across The South, July 2015

Kimpton Florida Hotels pashmina program
Kimpton-Florida Hotels Pashmina Program keeps guests cozy and comfortable

Florida

Kimpton Introduces “Pashmina Program”, Miami – To address situations in which some participants feel chilly in meeting rooms, Kimpton’s Florida hotels have rolled out a “Pashmina Program.” This complimentary offering for groups attending meetings at Kimpton’s Florida properties is designed to provide a fashionable approach to keep guests warm.
According to Eric Jellson, director of marketing and strategy, Kimpton Hotels Florida & Cayman Islands, temperatures in hotel meeting rooms are usually set at 72 degrees, which is comfortable for some participants but chilly for others. He cited an ergonomics study from Cornell University which found that temperature is an important variable that can impact performance.
“Productivity levels are directly impacted by how comfortable we are in our surroundings,”
Jellson said. “It’s our job to deliver comfort and provide groups with the environment they need to have a successful meeting experience.”
Kimpton’s Florida properties include EPIC Miami; Surfcomber Miami, South Beach; Vero
Beach Hotel & Spa; and Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa, Palm Beach.
Georgia
Porsche’s Playground Opens, Atlanta—Porsche has built an “Experience Center” at its new $100 million, 27-acre North American headquarters on the south side of Atlanta. The facility has a 1.6-mile road course and five driver-training modules located infield. For events and activities at a retreat or national dealer meeting, all six modules can be run simultaneously, keeping participants engaged and cycling through vehicles. Instructors can provide input on technique as participants await their second or third runs in a module. Additionally, Cayenne or Macan “off-roading” experiences over steep hummocks and muddy trails are available.
Porsche Experience
Porsche Experience Center. Atlanta GA

Depending on the aspirations and budget for an event, Porsche can call upon its Pantheon of

Hero Drivers, men and women who have competed at Le Mans, Daytona and the other great races, to serve as instructors. The facility also includes a 13,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art conference center that’s available to groups that want to run one- or two-day programs.
Cotton Sail Hotel and Top Deck Mark First Anniversary, Savannah—The Cotton Sail Hotel and Top Deck, a boutique hotel and rooftop bar overlooking the Savannah River, marked their first anniversary with a special event in late June.
“The Cotton Sail Hotel has experienced an exceptional year of success,” said Inan Isik, the property’s general manager. “We could not be more delighted with the excitement and positive feedback we’ve received from the Savannah community and hotel guests over the past year.”
A former cotton warehouse built in the late 1800s, the iconic Ryan Building was preserved and revitalized into a hotel and restaurant by HOS Management, a project which received an Excellence in Rehabilitation award in April 2015 from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.
According to Isik, the hotel now blends traditional Savannah charm with understated nautical appeal. Top Deck, a nautical-themed rooftop restaurant and bar which offers spectacular views of Savannah’s historic district and the Talmadge Bridge rising over the Savannah River, has become a popular special event site.
Kentucky
Bulleit Bourbon Bar Opens, Owensboro—The new Bulleit Bourbon Bar, which debuted in late June at the Owensboro Convention Center, will showcase more than 40 bourbons, including Bulleit Rye, the top-selling rye whiskey in the country.
“There is a bourbon for everyone, from the novice to the connoisseur,” said Mark Pruett, director of food and beverage at the convention center. Jason Bott, vice president and general sales manager for Coastal Wine and Spirits of Kentucky, said “bourbon is the fastest-growing category in the spirits industry today. It is a pleasure to work with the Owensboro Convention Center to enhance their guests’ experience.”
Designed and handcrafted by Brian Payne and The Mill Custom Woodworking Shop in Owensboro, the bar will be portable so that it can be set up for receptions, meetings and special events, according to Dean Dennis, general manager for the center.
Louisiana
New Convention And Tourism Sales Assistant At Shreveport-Bossier Convention And Tourist Bureau—Zachary Ebarb has been hired as a convention and tourism sales assistant at the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau.
Ebarb will support six staff members in the convention an d tourism sales department in selling Shreveport-Bossier’s group tours, convention and meeting space, and more than 10,000 hotel rooms. The team attracts new business and maintains client relationships through direct sales, customer and facility relationships, trade shows and client events.
Ebarb most recently served as the sales coordinator for the Hilton Garden Inn at 5971 Financial Plaza, Shreveport. He graduated from Northwestern State University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management and Tourism in May. During college, Ebarb served as a travel consultant for the Natchitoches Parish Tourist Commission. He also previously worked as a front desk clerk for Holiday Inn Express and Suites Natchitoches and Cypress Bend Golf Resort and Conference Center in Many.
“Zachary’s passion for Louisiana and varied background in hotels, sales and tourism make him a great fit for the team,” said David Bradley, vice president of convention and tourism sales at the tourist bureau. “He will work very closely with our hospitality and tourism community to promote Shreveport-Bossier as an excellent destination for group tourism, meetings and conventions.”
Maryland
Hotel Indigo Property Opens In Baltimore—In June, InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) Hotel Indigo brand opened its first hotel in Maryland. The 162-room Hotel Indigo Baltimore – Mt Vernon occupies a historic building that once housed Baltimore’s first YMCA and sits in the heart of Downtown Baltimore’s Historic and Cultural Districts.
Jason Moskal, vice president, lifestyle brands, The Americas, IHG said: “The Hotel Indigo brand is uniquely designed to reflect the local culture, character and history of the neighborhoods where our hotels are located. Mt. Vernon’s rich history was defined by a dynamic network of social clubs and innovative thinkers who gathered often in the name of cocktails and creativity. Guests will be inspired by the neighborhood story uncovered within the Hotel Indigo Baltimore – Mt Vernon and the service delivered by our Hotel Indigo team, all within a stylish boutique hotel
setting.”
The property features the restaurant and bar Poets Modern Cocktails & Eats as well as a grab-and-go option, both offering seasonal and locally sourced food and drinks from purveyors such as Tanner’s Pickles, Ottenberg’s Bakery, Clement’s Pastry Shop, Lancaster Farms, Richardson Farms and Baltimore Coffee & Tea.
Jason Curtis, general manager, said, “We look forward tointroducing guests to the Mt. Vernon neighborhood, which inspired every part of our hotel. From the Cultural District and Oriole Park at Camden Yards to the local dining scene on Charles Street, we are connecting guests with everything our neighborhood has to offer.”
Guests have access to a 24-hour fitness center and 4,000 square feet of meeting space. The
Baltimore hotel also features the brand’s Neighborhood Guide, an innovative touchscreen display that connects guests to each other, the local neighborhood and to Hotel Indigo locations around the world.
Texas
New Doubletree Opens In Austin — The DoubleTree by Hilton Austin Northwest – Arboretum opened in June. Located 18 miles from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, the former Holiday Inn has undergone a multi-million-dollar transformation that includes a total redesign of the lobby, updated guest rooms, all-new furniture throughout the hotel, a new restaurant and bar, and expanded meeting and event space. The hotel is owned by 8901 Austin Hotel LLC and managed by Driftwood Hospitality Management.
“With its beautiful redesign and convenience to the area’ s key business and leisure destinations, DoubleTree by Hilton Austin Northwest – Arboretum is a wonderful addition to our expanding portfolio, which now includes four hotels in the thriving Austin area,” said John Greenleaf, global head, DoubleTree by Hilton. “We look forward to welcoming travelers to this dynamic hotel, and serving guests and the community with the ‘little things’ that add up to create a rewarding travel experience – starting with the signature chocolate chip cookie welcome at check-in.”
The hotel features a new lobby bar, Centre Lounge; a new restaurant, The Overlook; 194 guest rooms with vintage-style décor; a 24-hour fitness center; a 24-hour business center; a newly renovated outdoor pool; and WiFi throughout the property. Additionally, it offers 7,200 square feet of event space, two conference rooms and a boardroom, all equipped with WiFi and the latest audio-visual equipment.
San Marcos Properties Up And Running, San Marcos TX—All the meeting facilities and hotels in San Marcos are up and running, having recovered from the floods that inundated the area in May 2015, according to Charlotte Wattigny, innovation manager at the San Marcos Convention and Visitor Bureau.
“Initially, there was flood damage to some first-floor rooms in four hotel properties on the north side of San Marcos, but these have been repaired and are accepting reservations,” she said. “In fact, a new property, the Comfort Inn and Suites, has just opened, with 72 guest rooms and 1,000 square feet of meeting space.”
Area attractions were not affected by the flooding and the portions of the San Marcos River that runs through the town, as well as the town’s parks along side the river, have reopened, Wattigny said. “The areas heaviest hit by the flood waters were primarily residential, so we ask visitors to be respectful of the neighborhoods in those areas,” she said.

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