Greater Fort Lauderdale, Florida: More Than You’d Expect From a Meetings Destination

Greater Fort Lauderdale has long been known as a haven for vacationers looking to soak up the Florida sunshine, but meeting planners and their guests find the destination has much more to offer these days.

The beaches and boating are enjoyable on the Atlantic Coast and Intracoastal Waterway, but anyone charged with site selection for a convention or event will bask in the glow of spectacular venues and amenities found in a bustling, modern Greater Fort Lauderdale.

The area has 121 venues with meeting and event space and 17,000 hotel rooms—numbers that are growing by the day. Among the largest meeting spaces are the 600,000-sq.-ft. LEED-Gold certified Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center with panoramic water views, and BB&T Center, which seats more than 19,000 arena-style.

Other venues provide interesting options, too. In the downtown warehouse and arts district known as Flagler Arts and Technology Village, event spaces ranging from 6,000 to 8,000-sq.-ft offer an artsy vibe for your gathering. The South Beach Wine & Food Festival and FemAle Brew Fest are two events that have taken place here. The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center includes a 300-seat theater among the museum exhibits, books, documents and artifacts of interest there. Water venues can accommodate dinner cruises and sightseeing tours to provide your guests with a memorable South Florida experience.

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Throughout Greater Fort Lauderdale, meeting hotels offer a variety of space configurations, a blend of tropical and urban settings and tremendous amenities. Many of the area’s perennial favorite hotels, including W Fort Lauderdale and Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, have undergone renovations in recent years, with significant investments in amenities, exterior spaces, technology and sustainability—to the tune of more than $900 million collectively.

Several new hotel projects are underway or opening soon. Two brands are combining under one roof as The Dalmar Fort Lauderdale—A Tribute Portfolio Hotel and The Element by Westin are slated to open in August 2018 in downtown Fort Lauderdale. At 24 stories, the full-service hotel has 323 rooms combined and more than 12,000 square feet of meeting space. The property includes an infinity pool, yoga studio, rooftop bar overlooking downtown and an elevated arrival entrance on the 6th floor. A new, 22-story oceanfront Four Seasons property with a hotel and private residences broke ground in 2018.

A huge plus for any meeting or event is easy access, and getting to Greater Fort Lauderdale is a breeze! The recently renovated Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport offers service to more than 165 domestic and international cities. South Florida’s Brightline rail service adds to the transportation mix with stops up and down the coast. Water taxis allow your guests to enjoy a quick boat ride while easily moving between points along the Intracoastal Waterway.

When the meetings are over, your guests can experience all that Greater Fort Lauderdale has to offer. The Las Olas neighborhood is a popular destination for upscale dining and boutique shopping. Enjoy international cuisine, take a culinary tour or shop at Las Olas Boulevard, which has been called “the Rodeo Drive of Fort Lauderdale.” Some stores here offer discounts for shoppers showing their convention credentials.

Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s 2017 opening of Point Royal at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, another recently renovated property, may have garnered the most headlines, but restaurants throughout Greater Fort Lauderdale delight diners with the variety of choices served. From waterfront seafood eateries and Cuban sandwich shops to sophisticated steakhouses, there is something for every palate. The foodies among your guests may enjoy browsing the Crave GFL TV series highlighting some of the local favorites.

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If your attendees are bringing their families along, they may want to embark on a cruise vacation or hit the beach. Enjoy the sand and surf along the area’s 23 miles of coastline, which includes six communities known for safe, clean and family-friendly beaches: Hollywood, Dania Beach, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and Fort Lauderdale. In fact, the Clean Beaches Council of Washington, D.C., has certified these beach communities since 1999. Plus, there are a myriad of ways to get active in the water. Your guests can go fishing, boating, parasailing, paddleboarding, snorkeling or scuba diving, just to name a few.

Other outdoor adventures beckon guests into the Everglades. Explore this natural wonder where you can observe wildlife and learn about the Seminole Indian culture. Everglades Swamp Tours is one of many companies offering airboat tours and kayak rentals. Butterfly World in Coconut Creek is the world’s largest butterfly park and makes for an enjoyable outing for all ages.

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Greater Fort Lauderdale’s evolution from a spring breakers’ paradise to a progressive coastal metropolis is evident in the continued growth and appeal of the city and surrounding communities. From the rise of sustainable design and development to multicultural influences and LGBT+ inclusiveness, Greater Fort Lauderdale is forward thinking in its hospitality, helping all guests to feel welcome here.

The Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB is helping to extend a warm welcome with two special offers for you. For a limited time, receive up to $10,000 cash back plus hotel incentives on stays for all new meetings booked in 2018 for eligible dates through 2021. For events planned at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/ Broward County Convention Center, the Brighter Meetings incentive will cover 100 percent of the event space rental for groups meeting in 2019-2020 and 50 percent of the meeting space rental for events in 2021-2022. Meetings must maintain a minimum of 300 rooms on peak. For terms and conditions, visit sunny.org/meetingdeals and remember to book by December 28, 2018.