Take a Meet­ing, Take a Break

From beaches to moun­tains to the glit­ter­ing Ve­gas Strip, mem­o­rable venues give your meet­ings an edge

Business Traveler (USA) - - NEWS - By Michael An­dré Adams

From beaches to moun­tains to the glit­ter­ing Ve­gas Strip, mem­o­rable venues give your meet­ings an edge

Among the ma­jor con­sid­er­a­tions in­volved with plan­ning a meet­ing, the most ba­sic – and of­ten most crit­i­cal – de­ci­sion is: Where should we hold our gath­er­ing? Meet­ing plan­ners and hosts want to pick a venue with ex­cit­ing fea­tures, ad­van­tages and ben­e­fits, from state-of-the-art meet­ing tech­nol­ogy to imag­i­na­tive cui­sine. For at­ten­dees, the deal is of­ten sweet­ened by a choice lo­ca­tion which of­fers all those ameni­ties, but stirs in the ben­e­fits of re­lax­ation and re­cre­ation found in world class re­treats.

Puerto Rico

Take for ex­am­ple the hand­ful of ocean or beach­front prop­er­ties man­aged by Hil­ton on the for­ti­fied is­land of San Juan – one of many is­lands that com­prise the US ter­ri­tory of Puerto Rico. There you’ll find all the beauty and ben­e­fits of the trop­i­cal Caribbean, less the re­quire­ments of a pass­port for travel.

In 1963, renowned ar­chi­tect Mor­ris Lapidus de­signed the Con­dado Plaza Hil­ton. Noted as the first property in the now very bustling and very pedes­tri­an­friendly Con­dado neigh­bor­hood, the 571room property has since been re­freshed to a new stan­dard that is both con­tem­po­rary and sleek for to­day’s trav­el­ers.

Its ex­te­rior views open up onto the At­lantic Ocean and the tran­quil Con­dado La­goon. Here, guests find kayak­ing, pad­dle board­ing and snor­kel­ing ex­pe­di­tions to ob­serve the ma­rine life along the reef. Al­ter­nately one must not over­look the sim­ple plea­sures of an ocean-fac­ing ham­mock or a swim in the salt­wa­ter pool.

The land­mark property also has its place in his­tory; in March 1978 then 73-year-old Karl Wal­lenda of The Fly­ing Wal­len­das Fam­ily fell to his death while at­tempt­ing to cross be­tween the ho­tel’s two tow­ers. But on June 4, 2011, the Wal­lenda name was redeemed with the suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of the walk by sur­viv­ing rel­a­tives Nik and Delilah Wal­lenda.

In ad­di­tion to an on­site casino – a pop­u­lar at­trac­tion at most ho­tels and re­sorts in San Juan – Con­dado Plaza Hil­ton is home to a to­tal of eight restaurants, bars and lounges, in­clud­ing a 24-hour up­scale Denny’s that even serves cock­tails. For even greater culi­nary heights, there’s Pikayo, where celebrity chef Wilo Benet, a na­tive Puerto Ri­can, takes cen­ter stage.

“The op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence a di­verse cul­ture; the blend of the His­panic tra­di­tions and so­ci­ety with all the con­ve­niences of the US, all this less than three hours away from the East Coast, ”ex­plains Raul Bustamante, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, the Con­dado Plaza Hil­ton. “The cu­rios­ity to ex­pe­ri­ence the beauty of Old San Juan and its churches and fortresses of the 16th century, to­gether with the beaches and nat­u­ral beau­ties of Puerto Rico, is a great in­cen­tive to at­tend any meet­ing in Puerto Rico. ”Visit con­dado­plaza.com.

Less than a stone’s throw away on the other side of the Con­dado La­goon sits the Caribe Hil­ton, a property touted as the place where the ca­reer of leg­endary crooner and in­ter­na­tional sex sym­bol Julio Igle­sias be­gan. With 916 rooms spread across a to­tal of five build­ings, the in­te­rior look and feel of this con­ven­tion ho­tel al­most seems at odds with its beach­front sta­tus.

This is a property where in 15 min­utes you can learn to trek the sea via the art of scuba div­ing along the ho­tel’s bar­rier reef lo­ca­tion. At­ten­dees would also be re­miss if they did not ex­pe­ri­ence the culi­nary ex­cel­lence of ex­ec­u­tive chef Mario Ferro’s suc­cu­lent grilled Caribbean lob­ster tails with drawn but­ter fla­vored in trop­i­cal fruit and spices. Visit caribehilton.com.

“For 25 years, El San Juan Re­sort & Casino in the fash­ion­able Isla Verde district has reigned supreme as the fore­most hotspot and en­ter­tain­ment venue in Puerto Rico,” notes Olivier Mau­maire, the re­sort’s gen­eral man­ager. “At the epi­cen­ter of San Juan’s vi­brant nightlife yet dra­mat­i­cally set along a two-mile beach, the re­sort epit­o­mizes a thriv­ing, sun-drenched life­style.”

By day, re­sort life cen­ters around the Encanto Beach Club, with its re­cently re­freshed Fan­tasy Pool area com­plete with new loung­ing chairs, a state-of-theart pool­side DJ booth, Fan­tasy Bar and sig­na­ture drink menu. Guests en­joy an open air lounge of 24 canopied, dou­ble--

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.