For group events with heavy daytime schedules, the 408-room Turnberry Isle Miami is one of the best positioned hotels in South Florida, located on 300 acres in north Miami. It’s 20 minutes in either direction to glitzy South Beach or laid back Fort Lauderdale. There are two Raymond Floyd golf courses, a beautiful beach club for 500 pax and a 40,000-sf conference center. The hotel just wrapped a renovation of the 48 rooms and suites in the Orchid Building, and plans are underway to upgrade the 25,000-sf spa.
In January, Patti Reed-Ciaccio planned an international insurance industry conference at Turnberry for 300 attendees, including families, flying in from across North America, Europe, Bermuda & the Caribbean. The purpose of the 3-day event was to exchange information and ideas, network with industry experts and develop best practices.
Reed-Ciaccio has organized multiple programs before at the Marriott Autograph Collection resort.
“Miami was chosen because it has good international access, great weather and a wonderful variety of venues,” she says. “Turnberry was selected because of the overall quality of the resort and it has good meeting spaces. We also have a golf tournament so that’s an important consideration in venue selection too.”
For F&B, delegates gathered both inside and outdoors for lunch, often with panoramic views of the lush golf courses surrounded by thousands of palm trees. And we’re told the chefs put on quite a show. Beautiful, healthy buffets included items such as conch fritters, sushi and fresh local fish prepared in a variety of ways. According to Reed-Ciaccio, it felt like they were gathering in a restaurant versus a conference buffet.
“The food was outstanding and their service levels are top notch, from conference services to the banquet set-up staff,” she says. “If I could put every meeting there I would because they always have my back.”
At night, attendees were on their own for dinner. Some stayed in-house to dine at restaurants like Michael Mina’s BOURBON STEAK Miami. But many others gathered as teams and ventured down to South Beach to experience one of the country’s best dining/nightlife scenes for groups. You can walk everywhere and the cultural flavour is intoxicating.
“People are drawn to Miami; it’s a sexy destination with a lot of energy,” says Reed-Ciaccio. “It’s hip and trendy, and it’s a place where you can walk around and see so many different destinations in one afternoon.”
Plus, the global mix of cultures visiting and living in Miami is attractive when you have varied nationalities to work with.
“International travelers feel comfortable because it’s such a multicultural destination,” says Reed-Ciaccio. “It’s the best of both worlds. South Beach is close enough for dinner, but at the same time, you can keep an eye on everyone at Turnberry.”