Prevue asked Christine Tascione, Greater Fort Lauderdale’s director of group & convention sales, her thoughts on luxury trends for 2011.
Q: How are you adapting to the “new luxury” trend?
A: The new luxury trend is all about quality not quantity, and the freedom to enjoy those must-have, high-end staples we do not want to live without. Greater Fort Lauderdale offers luxury for less with accommodations, restaurants and attractions to satisfy even the most discerning traveler’s tastes and budget, all wrapped in an easy-access sunny, beach chic locale.
Greater Fort Lauderdale’s Lauderdale Luxe Collection offers luxe for less at 14 distinguished properties that go beyond high-thread count sheets to include rejuvenating spas, sleek bars and restaurants, and infinity pools perched over the Atlantic. Ranging from high-end golf resorts and luxurious spas to high-end boutique and trendy hotels, this collection has the level of service and amenities to fit the needs of meeting and incentive planners.
Q: What are some stellar group special events with a high level of cachet that you can put together for planners?
A: Dine under the stars on the beach in black tie and pearls, or enjoy a casually chic event in flip-flops. The Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB staff can arrange creative events with top-notch entertainment and décor to fit any planner’s budget. For those that want to set the stage, literally, we can arrange a 300-person dinner on the main stage of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
Fort Lauderdale is the Venice of America, and water opportunities abound, so a yacht charter cruising the Intracoastal Waterway is a perfect setting for groups to unwind after a long day of sessions and meetings as they pass by waterfront mansions and mega yachts.
Q: What are some luxurious venues that you actively promote to groups?
A: The sprawling 35-acre Bonnet House estate is a national historic landmark with a large orchid collection and a grand main house filled with original works of art and antiques. If the sky’s the limit, waterfront mega mansions are always an option. Luxe hotels such as The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale offer lavish private oceanfront cabana soirées or an intimate event in the 5,000-bottle wine vault with a sommelier hosted wine tasting or elegant five-course dinner.
Many of the hotels and resorts in the Lauderdale Luxe Collection have scenic pool areas with lush landscaping, which are perfect for a private moonlit reception.
Q: Are cultural venues popular for group events?
A: We are frequently asked to include unique options with an arts and cultural flair. The Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, located in the Arts & Entertainment District is available for private showings or large galas. For a more intimate event, Josephine S. Leiser Opera Center overlooks the New River. And the Design Center of The Americas features more than 775,000 square feet of fine furnishings from the top design houses in the country.