Monthly Archives: January 2013

Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau Receives Three Gold Adrian Awards

IRVING, Texas (Jan. 30, 2013) – The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) recognized the Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau (ICVB) with three additional Gold Adrian Awards for compelling advertising, public relations and marketing campaigns in the 56th annual Adrian Awards Competition, the largest and most prestigious travel marketing competition globally.

The ICVB was recognized for its work on attendance-building initiatives for consumer events held at the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas, key public relations placements on behalf of the destination, and a direct mail campaign targeting group meetings and events.

These three awards bring the total number of Adrian Awards received by the ICVB to 14, since 2011. HSMAI presented the awards to the ICVB on Monday, Jan. 29, during the annual HSMAI Adrian Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis, attended by more than 750 hospitality, travel and tourism
marketing executives.

“The fact that these awards recognize the comprehensive expertise of our staff, as well as the actual results derived from creative efforts, is important, said Maura Allen Gast, executive director of the ICVB.

“The Adrian Awards stage represents the pinnacle of a very large and competitive industry. These awards are validation that what we do, we do well, and it delivers results.”

This year’s contest attracted more than 1,100 entries from around the world – the winners displayed premium industry knowledge and delivered excellent consumer engagement results. More than 200 subject-matter experts in advertising, digital marketing, media and public relations disciplines, along with prominent members of the travel industry, were selected for the panel that decided on the awards given.

All winning entries are accessible in the HSMAI Adrian Awards Winners’ Gallery. For more information on the HSMAI Adrian Awards competition and Gala, please contact AdrianAwards@hsmai.org or visit adrianawards.com.

Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau Launches “Be Our VIP” Campaign

The Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) has launched a new marketing initiative to attract qualified meeting planners to Sioux Falls. The “Be Our VIP” campaign features a complimentary site visit offer including one (1) plane ticket to Sioux Falls, lodging for up to two (2) nights in Sioux Falls, all meals during the visit and any entertainment supplied by the CVB.

“On a regional and national level we continue to educate the meeting industry about the advantages Sioux Falls can offer as a host city when compared to our competition,” states Teri Schmidt, Executive Director of the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The best way to do that is to show them firsthand the type of red carpet treatment they will receive from our newly improved airport, Convention Center, intimate hotel conference facilities, welcoming accommodations, unique off-site locations, attractions, restaurants, entertainment and of course, new facilities being built.”

Meeting planners who qualify must supply the decision makers in their organization with prospective host cities, be able to provide a complete request for proposal (RFP) for an event that generates a minimum of 100 room nights on peak night(s) and has never held a meeting in Sioux Falls or not since 2007. Marketing efforts include a four page glossy insert tipped into 12 regional, national and international industry publications, geo-targeted online display and search ads in Washington D.C., Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee, Atlanta and Des Moines, remarketing and direct e-blasts to the CVB planner database. All marketing efforts will direct to a landing page, www.visitsiouxfalls.com/BRVIP, featuring an online submission form.

Mission: To market the City of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as a one-of-a-kind visitor destination, and to provide premier visitor services, by attracting conventions, meetings, sports, events, leisure and business travelers to Sioux Falls in the most economic and efficient manner possible in order to positively impact the local economy

Mega-Projects Put Dubai on Track for Meetings and Events

The Government of Dubai has announced a number of megaprojects that analysts and industry experts say will further strengthen the city’s appeal as a business and incentive destination.

In November 2012, HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, unveiled a string of multibillion-dollar projects led by Mohammed bin Rashid City – a development that will feature the world’s largest shopping mall, 100 hotels, golf courses, arts and entrepreneurship centers and a massive park that is reportedly 30 percent larger than London’s 15.2-million- square-feet Hyde Park.

Other high-profile developments in the pipeline include a US$2.7 billion (AED10 billion) entertainment complex in Jebel Ali that will feature five theme parks, a US$1 billion (AED3.68 billion) replica of India’s Taj Mahal, a US$650 million (AED2.4 billion) tram project due to open in 2014 and a US$410 million (AED1.5 billion) Business Bay Canal connecting both the office district to Downtown Dubai and Burj Khalifa to the sea through a 2.8- kilometer artificial waterway that will pass across the city’s main thoroughfare, Sheikh Zayed Road.

Mat Green, Head of Research & Consultancy, UAE at real estate giant CBRE Middle East, said the planned mega-projects align with Dubai’s strategy to establish itself further as a major hospitality hub.
“The hospitality sector in Dubai is very buoyant at the moment, but there is still a need to create new drivers if the city is to truly compete globally with other major tourism destinations. The announcement of up to 100 potential hotels, a Universal Studios and various other cultural and entertainment initiatives will go some way to achieving this goal,” he said.

Anwar Abu Monassar, Director of Operations, The Vision Destination Management, shared Green’s sentiments that the projects would be integral to Dubai’s ongoing success story. He said that, as Dubai matures as a destination, new attractions and new products must be developed to sustain the city’s vibrancy.

In the first half of 2012, Dubai received around five million visitors. Last year, CBRE estimated that visitor arrivals would reach around 10 million by the end of the year, up by 10 percent from the previous year’s figures. Air passenger traffic was also bullish with Dubai International Airport handling 4.92 million passengers in October 2012, a year-on-year increase of over 14 percent. Dubai Airports predicted that total passenger traffic would be around 57 million in 2012.
Peter Payer, Senior Vice- President of Arabian Adventures, said the new developments would generate more interest among international travelers looking for unique experiences. The business features of Mohammed Bin Rashid City were also expected to attract industry leaders and decision-makers from around the globe.
“The perception of Dubai as a central business and tourism hub has continued to go from strength to strength in recent years. It is now globally recognized due to its proven track record in hosting world-class events and reputation as a luxurious holiday destination,” he noted.

While most of the megaprojects are geared towards the leisure market, Alexander John, Regional Director – Business Development of MCI Middle East & India, said the developments would also help those in the meetings industry to target large conventions.
“With the additional inventory of hotels and facilities, planners will have more choice on where they can conduct their meetings, incentives and conferences. Dubai is now moving from being just a stopover to a complete destination with options for all types of travelers and budgets,” he said.

Date Nights for the Year, Every Day is Valentine’s Day in Howard County

Located in the HEART of the Baltimore & Washington DC region, Howard County offers fun filled romance for every interest and budget in every season. Plus, enter to win FREE date nights for a year!

Ellicott City, MD – Howard County Tourism & Promotion thinks the Beatles said it best, that all you need is love, and there’s sure lots to love, love, love about Howard County, Where Maryland Comes Together! So we’ve gathered a list of romantic adventures for every season. Allow us to help you turn every day into Valentine’s Day! Howard County is located in the heart of the Baltimore Washington, DC region. When one thinks of things of the heart, romance always comes to mind and Howard County abounds with romantic things to do. A quaint, historic bed and breakfast, a couples afternoon at a nearby spa, sumptuous hand crafted chocolates, wooded glades and serene retreats and musical programs with internationally recognized artists; all of that and much more is right here in Howard County.

Make a reservation at one of Howard County’s finest romantic restaurants and with the fantastic wine pairings, well, who knows! Tersiguel’s French Country Restaurant in the Ellicott City Historic District, The Elkridge Furnace Inn which was recently identified as one of the Top 100 ‘Most Romantic’ in the US by OpenTable, and The King’s Contrivance in Columbia are among the most romantic in the county. Superb food, excellent service and an atmosphere that makes you want to hold hands between courses are what you can expect.

Ladies, if the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, take home a growler from Victoria Gastro Pub or the Ale House Columbia. Take a cooking class together from one of our renowned chefs and reap the culinary rewards of a job well done.
If you’re looking to reconnect with that special someone there are many Howard County locales to do just that. The Spa at Turf Valley offers great couple’s get-a-ways like Couple’s Golf & Spa. Romantic stays can also be had at The Wayside Inn Bed and Breakfast where you can choose a room that includes a claw foot bathtub and options to make your stay so very special and the The Obladi, the only hotel in the Ellicott City Historic District can take some back to their “courting” days if that was when the Fab Four were current. The name alone will conjure up memories and you can stay in a room named after your favorite: John, Paul, George or Ringo. Add a Haunted History of Olde Ellicott City walking tour to your stay for another reason to hold each other close!

An evening out to catch a live performance can be quite nice when you are with the one you love. Warm up a cold winter evening with dinner and a show at Toby’s Dinner Theatre. The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, our local and highly acclaimed theatre company, offers performances under a
starlit sky all summer long! If classical music is your style, check out the Columbia Orchestra.

“When we’re looking for weekend plans, we have our choice of wine tasting, concert going or zip lining…actually we could probably do all three! This area has so much to offer,” said Lori Paddy, Sales &
Communications Coordinator at Howard County Tourism & Promotion.

For some out of the ordinary romantic experiences in and around Howard County consider the following ideas: Take your honey to Terrapin Adventures where you can climb, swing, and zip your way to a special bond! Stroll the beautiful Azalea Gardens just outside Howard County at Brighton Dam. This is a wonderful spot with 20,000 shrubs on 5 acres overlooking Triadelphia Reservoir and it’s absolutely free.

The Shrine of Saint Anthony is a little bit of Italy right here with a 70 year old late Italian Renaissance building on 310 acres of rolling hills and woodlands. A stroll here with that special someone may just have you asking the friars to tie the knot that very same day.
The Wine Bin in Historic Ellicott City serves up wine tastings (and sometimes chocolate pairings!) all year long. Linganore Winecellars offers tastings paired with chocolate and roses (in February), cheese, and more throughout the year at the vineyard.
At Tea on the Tiber you can experience the quiet elegance and refinement of a grand English Tea parlor. As you sip your tea you can imagine ladies and gentlemen of a bygone era in their afternoon finery enjoying the comfort and camaraderie of friends. Join them for an afternoon of fine teas and
traditional English fare with your special someone.

Are wedding proposal plans in the works? Or, do you want to treat your sweetheart to a unique experience? Top it all and schedule a surprise romantic flight for two at Friendship Hot Air Balloon Company.

Upcoming Date Nights to make your sweetheart swoon:
Food and Wine
Gourmand Goes Lebanon – A Wine Tasting Event
January 24, 2013
Elkridge Furnace Inn
elkridgefurnaceinn.com

BR Cohn Wine Tasting
January 26, 2013
Alexandra’s Restaurant at Turf Valley
turfvalley.com

Barrel Room Tasting
February 2, 2013
Linganore Winecellars
linganorewines.com

Arts & Culture
Barber and Sibelius Classical Concert
February 2, 2013 Jim Rouse Theatre
columbiaorchestra.org

Harlem String Quartet: Bringing New Attitude to Classical Music
February 2, 2013

Smith Theatre at Howard Community College
candlelightconcerts.org

Rockin Music
80s Party with Live Music from The New Romance
January 19, 2013
The Woodstock Inn Restaurant & Bar
woodstockinn.net

The Fabulous Hubcaps
March 8, 2013
Turf Valley
turfvalley.com

Adventure
Romantic Adventure with Zip Lines and More
February 16-17, 2013
Terrapin Adventures
terrapinadventures.com

For information on the businesses mentioned above, or to schedule your romantic adventure, go to www.visithowardcounty.com, stop in the Howard County Welcome Center (8267 Main Street, Ellicott City, MD 21043) or call 1-800-288-8747. And don’t forget to check our calendar of events for more great date nights!

Like the sound of these? Enter to win FREE date nights for a year through the promotion Download for Date Nights January 14 – February 14, 2013. Persons are enthusiastically encouraged to download the new Parker App technology and prove it! Show us in-person at the Welcome Center or on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/hocotourism. The winner will be drawn on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2013 at the Welcome Center.
INNOVATIVE PARKING TECHNOLOGY helps with Parking in Ellicott City A new smart phone app that allows shoppers and visitors to Historic Ellicott City to more easily locate available parking with their smartphone is now available. The parking solution called ParkerTM directs travelers in real time to open parking spots just like a GPS provides directions to Ellicott City itself. Implementing the ParkerTM App is one facet of how Howard County is enhancing parking opportunities in historic Ellicott City. As part of this project, sensors have been installed in each of nearly 600 parking spaces. Motorists can use the app like a GPS device to locate available parking and be informed if it is metered parking or one of 350 year-round, free spots in the city’s six downtown lots. It saves time, gas and the frustration of driving around searching.

Registration Open for AH&LA’s 2013 Legislative Action Summit

Washington, D.C. – Registration is now open for the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) 2013 Legislative Action Summit (LAS), April 23-24, at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill.

LAS brings together hundreds of hoteliers from across the country to focus on bottom line issues impacting the lodging industry: meaningful and workable immigration reform; reforming visa laws to increase foreign travel to the U.S.; protecting the industry against unfair labor rulings; health care implementation; and tax reform.
The conference also provides an opportunity for hoteliers to educate lawmakers about the importance of lodging to the U.S. economy. The U.S. lodging industry is comprised of over 4.8 million guest rooms and employs 1.8 million workers nationwide. Industry annual sales exceed $137 billion, and travel-related wages are over $194 billion. Nationally, the travel and tourism industry is one of the top 10 employers in 48 states and the District of Columbia.

“The power of LAS lies in the ability of constituents, actual voters from congressional districts across the country, to sit down and explain issues directly to their senators and representatives,” said Marlene Colucci, AH&LA executive vice president for public policy. “These meetings provide opportunities for hoteliers to explain the impact of legislation and regulations on their businesses and to demonstrate the importance of lodging on the local level. They also create relationships which the industry can utilize in the future.”

LAS attendees benefit from insights shared during expert panels, meet with their members of Congress, and hear from key members of Congress and the Administration on policy priorities for 2013. In addition, Hotel Interactive’s Glenn Haussmann will host a panel featuring a policy discussion from senior lodging industry executives.

Visit www.ahla.com/LAS for more information and to register for this critical event.

AH&LA’s LAS is generously supported by our founding sponsor American Express, supporting sponsors Cornell University School of Hospitality Administration, HD Supply, Heartland Payment Systems, and our media sponsors Hotel Business, Hotel Management, and USA Today.

PCMA Education Foundation Receives Membership Endowment from Disney Destinations

Disney Destinations to sponsor $50,000 of PCMA membership scholarships over three years

CHICAGO, IL – Disney Destinations, in support of the PCMA Education Foundation, has made it possible for the Foundation to fund PCMA memberships for a select number of meeting professionals over the next three years. Through this generous endowment the Foundation and Disney Destinations will award three one-year memberships each month through November 2015.

To be considered for a scholarship, applicants must be meeting professionals joining PCMA for the first time or have not held a PCMA Membership in the past three years.
Scholarship Award Benefits:

-Full PCMA membership privileges for 12 months.
-Participation in a community of meeting professionals for relevant, high-level industry and professional development education and networking, both face-to-face and virtually.
-Connection opportunities with PCMA strategic partners and suppliers to help build career-long supportive relationships.
-A subscription to the leading industry magazine, Convene®, to stay informed with the latest research, best practices and trends.
-Membership in the local PCMA Chapter to strengthen local and regional relationships.

“Disney Destinations PCMA membership scholarships will open doors and experiences that will undoubtedly enrich recipients’ careers and help them deliver strategic value and quantifiable impact to their organizations” said Anne Hamilton, vice president, Resort Sales and Services for Disney Destinations.

“Disney Destinations and the PCMA Education Foundation are committed to elevating the stature and successful future of the meetings industry. This collaborative scholarship opportunity is an important initiative that moves our industry and PCMA forward” said Liz Erikson, PCMA Education Foundation, Chair.

Interested meeting professionals can learn more about the program and obtain a scholarship application at pcma.org/memberdiscounts.

About Professional Convention Management Association
PCMA is the multi-channel professional resource and premier educator for leaders in the meetings, conventions, events and trade show industries. PCMA provides their 6,300 members
with a community of likeminded colleagues, innovative education and creative global solutions
to enhance both their professional development and their organization’s face-to-face and virtual
connections. Headquartered in Chicago, PCMA has 17 chapters throughout the United States,
Canada and Mexico with members in more than 35 countries. For additional information, please
visit the PCMA Web site at pcma.org.

About PCMA Education Foundation
The role of the Education Foundation of the Professional Convention Management Association
(PCMA) is to support the mission of PCMA through fundraising and grant giving focused on
scholarships, education and research that will advance the meetings and conventions industry.
Established in 1985, the Foundation fuels advancement, nurtures professional development and
shapes tomorrow’s meeting and convention leaders. Learn more at pcma.org/foundation.

ACC Liverpool Kicks off 2013 with Birthday Celebrations

@accliverpool celebrates fifth birthday

ACC Liverpool, home to BT Convention Centre and Echo Arena, is kicking off the New Year by celebrating its fifth birthday.

The venue opened its doors on January 12 2008 with the official opening ceremony for Capital of Culture, launching a year-long celebration and signalling the culmination of a decade of regeneration in the city.

In its first year it attracted more than 618,000 visitors to 269 events, generating an economic impact of £207m to the city region.
Since then, ACC Liverpool has attracted almost 3 million visitors to 1,100 events and generated £620m in economic benefit for the local economy.

Highlights at Echo Arena Liverpool over the past five years include the MTV Europe Music Awards, the MOBO Awards 2010 and 2012, BBC Sports Personality of the Year and X-Factor Boot Camp, which alone reached more than 16 million TV viewers. Artists who have performed at the arena include Sir Paul McCartney, Beyonce and Lionel Richie whilst sporting events include the World Netball Series and the Davis Cup.

BT Convention Centre has hosted a series of high profile conferences including Labour Party annual conference, BBC Worldwide Showcase, the Royal College of Nursing Congress and the Liberal Democrats spring and annual conferences – Lib Dems are set to return in 2014 for their annual conference. 2012 saw the return of events including the British Council of Shopping Centres and the National Cancer Research Institute.

David McDonnell, chairman of ACC Liverpool, said: “Prior to opening, it was felt that there was a real need for a venue like ours in Liverpool. Now five years on we’ve proved this was most definitely the case, bringing world class events to the city – the likes of which had never been seen before in Liverpool.
“We know that the people of Liverpool are proud to have a venue like ACC Liverpool and our aim is to live up to this vote of confidence by continuing to bring fantastic concerts, sporting events, family entertainment and conferences to the city.”

ACC Liverpool has achieved a series of awards since opening including a RIBA award; Conference & Incentive Travel Hot List Awards for Sustainability and Best Conference Centre; and successive annual Tourism awards from the Liverpool Enterprise Partnership for Best Performance Venue, Sustainable Tourism and Business Tourism.
As the venue enters its sixth year, it has further plans to develop the waterfront site with the construction of Exhibition Centre Liverpool (ECL), which will allow the ACC Liverpool team to move into a new market.

Mayor Joe Anderson said: “It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that ACC Liverpool has transformed the city. Not only does it bring top international acts and conferences here, but it also supports thousands of jobs and provides a massive boost to the local economy.

“It’s no surprise that this award winning venue attracts such a high calibre of events, and people return again and again because of the facility and the fantastic welcome they receive when they visit the city.

“ACC Liverpool may only be five years old, but it is already a much loved and iconic part of our world famous waterfront and will continue to put Liverpool on the map in terms of bringing outstanding events to millions.”

Mr McDonnell continued: “Even though we are no longer the new kid on the dock, we are by no means resting on our laurels. We look forward to work starting on site for ECL in autumn this year which will enable us to enter into a new market of hosting large scale consumer and trade exhibitions as well as continuing with successful conferences and events.

“This will bring new benefits and develop our offer for customers and delegates in Liverpool, the UK and internationally.”

Palms Raises the Bar with New Beverage Outlets

Palms Expands Spirit Offerings with Openings of Scarlet and SOCIAL

Las Vegas – Raise a glass to the debut of Scarlet and SOCIAL, two dynamic new venues mixing up the beverage scene at Palms Casino Resort. Scarlet, the recently opened intimate cocktail lounge, and SOCIAL, the dazzling new whiskey-centric casino centerpiece opening January 25, are adding a spirited take on imbibing. With individual focuses and unique offerings, there is something for everyone whether guests are looking to grab a quick drink in a casual setting or indulge in top-shelf spirits in a highly stylized locale.

“Both Scarlet and SOCIAL will add an exciting new element to the redefined Palms,” said Joseph A. Magliarditi, President of Palms Casino Resort. “From the minute our guests walk through the front door, they can expect to have a fantastic experience with a great drink in a variety of welcoming settings.”

Scarlet
Scarlet, the sophisticated mixology bar from 9Group Las Vegas, is now serving in a dramatically lit, red-hued 200-square-foot space directly adjacent to N9NE Steakhouse. The exclusive space is set to become one of Las Vegas’ most treasured hidden gems.

Scarlet invites guests on a drinking journey through a diverse menu featuring original shots, signature cocktails and infused spirits created by Francesco Lafranconi, the Executive Director of Mixology and Spirits Educator for Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada in combination with 9Group bartenders. Some of Scarlet’s specialty concoctions include shots served s’more style or with a carbonated candy chaser, cocktails like the Alive & Well combine Platino Rum, fresh lime sour, grapefruit sorbet and maraschino mist and a seasonal list of infused spirits such as the banana-bread infused tequila will change often.

SOCIAL
Also, coming to Palms on January 25 is SOCIAL. As the name alludes, the new center bar will be the social hub of the property located at the heart of the renovated casino floor. SOCIAL will offer a broad selection of beverages with an emphasis on whiskey featuring a collection of over 30 unique labels, single malts and limited edition bourbons. SOCIAL will boast an inventive list of all whiskey-based cocktails with such libations including the Socialite, a mix of Wild Turkey Honey, Aperol, sweet Vermouth, lemon juice and raspberries and the signature Social Misfit, a mix of Bulliet Rye, Disaronno, White Peach Nagomi, and lemon juice served in a branded flask memento. SOCIAL will mix their own barrel-aged cocktails, serve whiskey flights and allow guests to experiment with free whiskey samples.

Featuring dramatic lighting fixtures, plush booths, intimate tables and open sightlines of the action on the gaming floor, SOCIAL will be the ideal place to meet for a drink or spend a night on the town in a comfortable yet chic setting. Guests can also participate in special events like “Mixology Days” offering professional tips on proper cocktail preparation, or stay social by enrolling in the Whiskey SOCIAL club which will feature exclusive tastings by master distillers.

Scarlet is open nightly Friday & Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday-Thursday at 4 p.m. and SOCIAL will be open 24 hours-a-day.

The openings of the new bars are part of the $50 million property-wide renovation underway at Palms. For more information, please visit www.palms.com. For images please visit media.palms.com.

About Palms Casino Resort
Palms Casino Resort, heralded as one of Las Vegas’ most sought-after destinations, is an all-encompassing, one-stop experience. The boutique property boasts three distinct towers and a diverse mix of bars and restaurants across a 95,000-square-foot casino. Palms is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar transformation that will encompass an Ivory Tower room and suite redesign, appealing new culinary additions, re-imagined gaming spaces and new, distinctive nightlife experiences. In addition to newly designed rooms, during the first phase of the renovation, Palms will welcome Heraea, a high-energy American restaurant and lounge, and XISHI, a pan-Asian restaurant and lounge, both by The ONE Group. Amenities include Fantasy Suites, such as the Hardwood Suite, the only hotel room in the world with its own basketball court; the all-new Cantor Gaming® race and sports book, one of the few sports books in Las Vegas to include a poker room; SOCIAL, Scarlet, Chocolat Bistro, tonic bar; ghostbar; Pearl Concert Theater; Moon Nightclub; N9NE Steakhouse; Nove Italiano; Simon Restaurant & Lounge; Palms Pool & Bungalows; Kim V? Salon; Drift Spa & Hammam; Brenden Theatres, a 14-theatre cineplex and more than 60,000 square-feet of meeting space. Palms Casino Resort is located west of the Las Vegas Strip and I-15 on Flamingo Road. For reservation information, call toll free at (866) PALMS-RES, (866) 725-6773, or visit www.palms.com. For groups of 15 rooms or more, contact the Sales Department at (866) PALMS-MTG or (866) 725-6768. Connect with Palms Casino Resort on Twitter @Palms and on Facebook.

Kimpton’s EPIC Hotel, Miami Earns Fodor’s Choice 2012 Distinction

MIAMI – Fodor’s, the leading name in travel guides for over 75 years, today announced that Kimpton’s top-rated Miami flagship hotel, EPIC Hotel, has been recognized as a 2012 Fodor’s Choice selection. This notable distinction designates the hotel as a leader in its category for service, quality and value in 2012.

“EPIC continues to stand apart from other hotels in downtown Miami because of its unmatched personalized service and ability to put guests at the center of it all, in every possible way,” said Eric Jellson, Area Director of Sales and Marketing for Kimpton and EPIC. “Our waterfront location on the Miami River overlooking Biscayne Bay along with our private marina, 16,000 sq. ft. pool deck, exhale spa and two critically acclaimed restaurants are collectively the point of difference. Where we really make our mark is on the service side as we always strive to set a sense of place and welcome from the moment our guests arrive. Our service style is to be unscripted and always caring, with a true passion for delivering personalized attention.”

The editors and experts of Fodor’s have been selecting only the top fifteen percent of their listed properties and activities as Fodor’s Choice award recipients since 1988. Every year, Fodor’s writers experience, examine and evaluate thousands of hotels, restaurants and attractions in their travels across the globe. While every business included in a Fodor’s guide is deemed worthy of a traveler’s time, only those offering a truly remarkable experience are given the Fodor’s Choice designation. The 2012 Fodor’s Choice recipients are considered the best of the best, providing a remarkable experience in their price range or category. Kimpton’s EPIC Hotel will receive special recognition in the next Fodor’s guidebook and on www.Fodors.com.

This honor is on the heels of EPIC’s 2012 recognition in Condé Nast Traveler’s coveted Reader’s Choice list of the Top 20 Hotels in Florida. This distinction also follows EPIC’s ranking in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2012 Gold List of World’s Best Places to Stay; the 2011 Reader’s Choice List of Top 200 Hotels in the U.S.; and placement of the hotel as a Top 10 Luxury Hotel, a Top 10 Trendiest Hotel, and a Top 25 Hotel in the U.S. by TripAdvisor® in its 2010 Travelers’ Choice® Awards. EPIC was also included in TripAdvisor’s national rankings for its excellence in luxury accommodations, representation of style and trends, and overall customer satisfaction.

A luxury, waterfront hotel located at the epicenter of it all in downtown Miami, EPIC offers a timeless and classic contemporary take on Miami design, spectacular skyline views, and dramatically designed spaces. Since its official opening in 2008, EPIC has continued to redefine the Miami luxury hotel experience, receiving consistently stellar reviews, gaining an ever-increasing number of repeat guests, and making it a “first choice” among places to stay in the downtown Miami area. The hotel is consistently recognized for its unmatched personalized service as well as its purposeful execution of the brand’s signature care, programs and amenities.

EPIC offers guests a true cosmopolitan resort experience that combines Miami’s indisputable international vibe and energy, with exclusive amenities such as a 16th floor roof-top pool deck, top-rated restaurants and Exhale spa. Together, all of these attributes have made the hotel one of the leading hotels in the market, sought after by business and leisure travelers, groups, celebrities, sports teams and the international set. With some of the best attractions, boutiques, restaurants and entertainment just steps away from the hotel, EPIC offers a memorable experience to guests, while epitomizing Miami at its best – EPIC really does live up to its name.

For more information on EPIC and/or reservations, please call (866) 760-3742 or visit www.epichotel.com. To stay up-to-date on the latest news and travel deals, become a fan of the EPIC Hotel Facebook page by visiting www.facebook.com/epichotel or follow us on Twitter and Instagram @KimptonInFL.

ABOUT FODOR’S TRAVEL
Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House, Inc., is one of the world’s leading providers of travel information. Covering over 7,500 worldwide destinations, Fodor’s guidebooks and website, Fodors.com, have provided the most up-to-date, accurate information for travelers since 1936. Written by a vast team of global correspondents, Fodor’s provides travelers with engagingly written, locally reported, and absolutely indispensable travel guidance. Visit www.Fodors.com.

ABOUT KIMPTON’S EPIC HOTEL
A member of the award-winning San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, EPIC – a Gold List recipient of World’s Best Places To Stay in 2012, named one of the Top 50 Hotels in the U.S. on the Conde Nast Traveler’s 2011 Reader’s Choice List and Best Miami Accommodations by Porthole Magazine in 2012 – combines the style of a cosmopolitan boutique hotel with the amenities of a resort to create a sophisticated oasis for guests amidst the energy and pulse of Miami. Located at the edge of the Miami River and Biscayne Bay, EPIC’s 411 rooms and suites are artfully designed by Cheryl Rowley, with furnishings that convey an understated sense of cool, and all feature private balconies that provide inspiring views of the city and bay. EPIC’s 25,000 square feet of meeting and event space offer the kind of cohesive Miami meeting space that helps create meetings of lasting influence. From the gorgeous meeting rooms on the 14th floor to the 16th floor pool deck with stunning views to our outdoor EPIC lawn, over 25,000 square feet of meeting space in eight flexible meeting rooms can accommodate up to 300 seated guests or 400 for a reception. EPIC’s meeting and event planning staff offers the dedication and execution you need, providing the assurance that your event will exceed your expectations and those of your guests. For more information on EPIC and/or reservations, please call (866) 760-3742 or (305) 424-5226 or visit www.epichotel.com. To stay up-to-date on the latest news and travel deals, become a fan of the EPIC Facebook page by visiting www.facebook.com/EPICHotel or follow us on Twitter @KimptonInFL.

ABOUT KIMPTON HOTELS & RESTAURANTS
San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, a collection of boutique hotels and chef-driven restaurants in the US, is an acknowledged industry pioneer and was the first to bring the boutique hotel concept to America. In 1981 Bill Kimpton founded the company that today is well-known for making travelers feel welcomed and comfortable while away from home through authentic and unscripted customer care, stylish ambience and embodying a certain playfulness in its approach to programs and amenities. Adjacent to the hotels are locally-loved, top-rated, Kimpton restaurants. Kimpton leads the hospitality industry in ecological practices through its innovative EarthCare program that spans all hotels and restaurants. Market Metrix, a recognized authority and leader in feedback solutions, consistently ranks Kimpton above other hotel companies in luxury and upper upscale segments for customer satisfaction. Privately held Kimpton was recognized by Fortune Magazine as a Best Company to Work for in 2012. The company operates 58 hotels and 67 restaurants, bars and lounges in 24cities. For more information visit www.KimptonHotels.com or call 1-800-KIMPTON.

Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Chef Wins Double Silver at IKA World Culinary Olympics

KUALA LUMPUR – The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre’s (the Centre) reputation for excellent catering is again in the spotlight, thanks to the commendable achievement of Chef Mohamad Noor Musa at the 23rd IKA World Culinary Olympics (the Olympics) held in Germany.

Chef Mohamad Noor, Chef Garde Manger at the Centre was chosen to represent Malaysia as part of the 12-strong team to compete in the Olympics. He won Silver for his creative ‘Symphony Seafood Platter’ in the Individual category. The team clinched Silver in the Group category. Malaysia finished a very respectable 14th this time – a big jump from its 40th placing in 2008.

Chef Mohamad Noor’s ‘Symphony Seafood Platter’ was judged on presentation, practicality and style. The judges were particularly impressed with the use of taro as an ingredient in seafood platter. The Malaysian participation was organised by the Chefs Association of Malaysia and Tourism Malaysia with the aim of promoting Asian ingredients, spices and herbs to an international audience.

In congratulating Chef Mohamad Noor on his achievement, the Centre’s General Manager Datuk Peter Brokenshire stated that this award “is a reflection, not just of Chef’s talent and hard work, but also the Centre’s 51-strong Culinary, Beverage and Catering teams who continuously strive to enhance their gastronomic capabilities and delivering world-class culinary offerings.”

His achievement is hot on the heels of the Centre winning the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Malaysia Chapter’s inaugural “Dato’ Lau Foo Sun Excellence in Dining Award” late last year. This is further testament of the Centre’s growing reputation in the culinary world and the quality of its 5-Star Banqueting experience which delivers both fine dining and excellent value.

The IKA (Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung) World Culinary Olympics is the oldest culinary competition of its kind, having been held every four years since 1900. It is considered the most important event in this field and the biggest culinary exhibition in the world. Some 1,320 chefs from 54 countries competed in Germany.