New and Noteworthy in Florida

Despite the inclement weather that has visited hardship upon Floridian residents and businesses alike, a number of newcomers to the meeting and lodging industry are getting jaws wagging with their unique themes and compelling venues. Here’s a roundup of what’s making headlines in the Sunshine State:

  1. The World’s Largest Harley-Davidson Dealership. Chopper fans will be in hog heaven when they visit this 54,000-square-foot, two-story showroom in Daytona Beach. The showroom, which opened in October 2005, is the first stage of the 150-acre Destination Daytona, which will eventually include condominiums, themed bars, restaurants, an amphitheatre and a 100,000-square-foot conference center.
  2. W Hotel Fort Lauderdale. If you’re down South and have a hankering for the W’s exclusive “sensory meeting,” complete with aromatherapy, candles and mood music, you’ll soon be in luck. The first W Hotel in Florida is set to open in Fort Lauderdale in late 2007. Visit W Hotels online at
  3. The American Orchid Society Visitors Center and Botanical Garden. Home to the American Orchid Society (AOS), this 3.5-acre spread in Delray Beach hosts two separate 4,000-square-foot greenhouses and a 14-foot cascading waterfall. “Whether you’re planning your holiday party, a special awards banquet or any other corporate function, we have a picturesque setting that will amaze and delight all those who attend your event. Receptions may also be hosted indoors in our awe-inspiring atrium,” according to the AOS Web site. Visit the Garden online at
  4. Alltel Stadium. No matter who you’ve rooted for in the past few Super Bowls, you’ll appreciate the remodel of the Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, the park that hosted the 2005 event. The stadium, home to the NFL franchise the Jacksonville Tigers, has two indoor areas (arenas?) each comprising 30,000 square feet of function space, suitable for large banquets or receptions. Visit the stadium online at
  5. Walt Disney World. No list of noteworthy hotels, restaurants, or basically anything in Florida would be complete without a set of mouse ears. The resort complex recently added even more event space to its offerings, upgrading its Coronado Springs Resort to a total of 220,000 square feet of function space, 45 breakout rooms and one of the largest hotel ballrooms in the Southeast at 60,214 square feet. Visit Walt Disney World online at