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Mammoth additions to Miami MICE

Sydney Paulden meets Nancy Bedoya, International Sales Director of five Marriott Hotels in Miami

At the last count, of all the hotels in Miami, as many as 28 were members of the Marriott Group. In London for World Travel Market is Nancy Bedoya. She is the Director, International Sales, for five of them. Why just five? And how do you pick five as a cluster?

Simple. They have the same owners in common, although branded and managed by Marriott. Is Nancy therefore making the same sales pitch five times over? Not at all. You couldn’t find five hotels more different one from another.

‘Whichever level of hotel, whatever size, to suit your budget and your event, I have something to offer’, says Nancy very confidently. Together her five properties have over 1,000 rooms. All have a range of event facilities and she is fortunate enough to be in a position now to offer one property that is unique even within the vast Marriott group internationally.

‘The latest Miami addition to the Marriott range is a double-brand property. It comprises the JW Marriott Marquis Miami and the Hotel Beaux Arts. The address is the same for both – 255 Biscayne Boulevard Way. Both are integral in the same building’.

The Marquis is a 41-floor, 313 room (with 56 suites) 5-star hotel offering over 80,000sqft (9,000sqm) of event space. It has a 20,000sqft (2,200sqm) column-free Grand Ballroom that can seat 2,300 delegates. It is a mammoth addition to the MICE facilities of Miami.

And the Hotel Beaux Arts? It has 44 rooms and suites. But that doesn’t say it all. It is a modern boutique palace. To quote its owners, ‘it has been created to inspire and awe’. It unashamedly embodies everything that technology can provide for a hotel guest. Each first-time visitor has to be accompanied to their room by a specialist member of the hotel staff so that the guests can be introduced to the Apple installed iPad in every room that is essential for the full appreciation and enjoyment of their stay. It controls 30 different services, from running the bath to opening the curtains.

The Hotel Beaux Arts is a ‘Gee Whiz!’ experience, with remote-controlled Bang & Olufsen video and sound systems, HD TV and cordless phones. The bathrooms are of Italian marble, they have a jetted Jacuzzi, Molton Brown toiletries and a wall-to-wall mirror with a tv screen embedded in it.

In spite of all these facilities in the building, including four f&b outlets, the total of 313 rooms and 44 rooms for the two hotels didn’t seem enough to require a 42-floor edifice. Then Nancy told me that one of the owners of the properties she represents is Shaquille O'Neal. He is widely known as both a rapper and an American basketball star, a giant figuratively and physically as he is 7ft 1in tall (2.16 m) and weighs over 23 stone (325 pounds or 147 kg). It is very likely his influence that has resulted in the wide range of sporting and leisure facilities that Nancy told me are available to the guests of both properties. They include a 10,000sqft (over 1,000sqm) NBA-approved basketball court, suitable also for tennis, a Jim McLean indoor golf school, complete with golf simulators, putting greens and a pro shop. And then there are a virtual bowling alley, a billiard room, a stainless steel infinity sky pool, a whirlpool, a Met 2 fitness centre, a Rina yoga studio and a Rik Rak Spa.

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