REASONS TO VISIT MARCO ISLAND, FLORIDA

By Savannah Boyd

One of my family’s favorite travel destinations is Marco Island, Florida. Marco Island has beautiful beaches, gorgeous resorts, is easy to travel to (no customs) and could be the perfect destination for your next event! These are the reasons my family and I love it so much.

Fun fact: Marco Island’s busy season is in the winter! However, we usually go during the summer and everything is still open.

Resorts

  • We have stayed at the JW Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa for 15 years. Within the resort there are great restaurants, coffee shops, bars, shops, and a gym. The pool area is beautiful, staff walks around handing out cold towels, live music, and lots of food options right next to the pool!
  • There is a wide variety of lodging options in the area to best accommodate you and your guests.  

New Convention Center

  • During our last trip, Marriott was building a new, adults-only, hotel tower for meetings and events. It is oceanfront and overlooks the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It now has 3 ballrooms, 62 event rooms, 37 break rooms, and over 140,000 square feet of event space. The largest meeting space, the Calusa Ballroom, can accommodate over 3,000 guests!
  • The 5th floor of the new tower is where 10K Alley is located. Guests can enjoy an upscale distillery experience, bowling, pool tables, and visual sport simulators.
  • This site is perfect for business meetings, incentive trips for employees, and team building activities.

Food

  • Marco Island has an exceptional variety of food choices and an abundance of fresh seafood.
  • Some of our favorite local restaurants are Mango’s Dockside Bistro, NeNe’s Kitchen, Dolphin Tiki Bar, Snook Inn, Gypsy Isle Café, and Capri Fish House.

TRANSPORTATION

  • We always rent a car from the Fort Myer’s airport and it is a short 30-minute drive to where we stay and most other lodging sites.
  • Free rides to restaurants: Restaurants partner with taxi companies and will pay your ride fee! To find out if a restaurant offers this, call ahead of time or ask the concierge.
  • There are always some taxi’s waiting outside the resort or you can call the taxi company ahead of time to arrange a ride.
  • Many places are walkable!

Local Activities

  • Sunset Cruises
    • We went on the Cool Beans catamaran for the Champagne Sunset cruise. It was a 2.5-hour boat ride, free beer, wine, non-alcoholic drinks, and complimentary champagne at sunset! The staff was great!
    • There are many sunset cruise and charter boat options to choose from!
  • Golf Courses:
    • The Rookery at Marco is located in shallow wetlands so it attracts many different species of birds and alligators. The course is 7,100 feet long and has the option of 5 different tee-off spots.
    • Eagle Lakes Golf Club is a public course that offers a lot of value in their 18 holes and 6 sets of tees.
  • Different excursions:
    • Fishing Charters, Everglades Tours, and Cycling Tours

Reasons to Host a Conference in Stockholm

Every city has its own unique qualities and presents exciting opportunities for corporate events. Stockholm, Sweden, a beautiful city on the water may be the ideal setting for your next event! Here are just a few reasons why.

Top Notch Convention Centers

  • There are many great conference spaces in Stockholm including the Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre. Itis located in the city center just across from the City Hall, overlooking Lake Malar. The space itself holds 3,000 people and has bars, over 400 hotel rooms, and 20+ meeting rooms, a great place for any size crowd.
  • Stockholm offers many other great convention centers that make for a perfect event.

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Easy access to public transportation

  • Public transportation is a very popular way to get around the large city. There are several options for public transportation: underground trains, commuter trains, trams, and ferry lines. The underground trains, also known as the World’s Largest Art Exhibit, allow travelers to experience an attraction in itself. The walls of these subway stations have been decorated by artists with sculptures, paintings, engravings and many other forms of art.
  • There are convenient airport express train and coach bus options for getting to and from Stockholm’s airports. (Arlanda Airport Express Train and Flybussarna Airport Coaches)

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A Wide Variety of Attractions for Guests

There are many things to do while in Stockholm, these are some of our favorites!

  • Visit Stockholm’s City Hall (Stadshuset)
    • The City Hall has a unique architectural history and offers public tours of this beautiful space. It hosts public events such as orchestra concerts and other shows in its main hall where the Nobel Banquet is held each year. The City Hall overlooks Lake Malar, one of Stockholm’s many bodies of water. There are also tours available to see the view of the city from the City Hall Tower. The climb up the tower consists of 300+ stairs with sculptures along the way, however there is also the option to take an elevator.

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  • Visit the Vasa Museum
    • In the 17th century, the King of Sweden had his people build a war ship. When the intricate ship was finished and loaded up to leave port, the ship sank just meters off of the shore. The ship was rescued in the 1960’s and the museum was built around it. The fascinating museum shares information about the architecture of the museum, exhibits about the sailors and passengers on the ship, how it was built and much more. The Vasa was well preserved in the brackish waters of the Baltic Ocean, making it a treasure for all who visit it.

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  • Shop in Gamla Stan
    • Gamla Stan is the old town of Stockholm on an island in the center of the city that dates back to the 13th century. It is made up of old buildings with alleyways and cobbled streets. There is shopping and dining throughout Gamla Stan, and local artists display galleries of their unique artwork. Gamla Stan is a great place for a “fika”, or a break for coffee and a pastry, especially in front of the iconic medieval buildings located in the town square.

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Contact GEM to have your next conference in Stockholm!

 

 

Destination Spotlight: St. Thomas, USVI

Many have been wondering about the status of the US Virgin Islands after Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit them in the fall. Although a lot of resorts are still getting back on their feet, the US Virgin Islands remain a favorite for group travel. Here are a few resorts in St. Thomas that are still up and running!

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St. Thomas has a variety of hotels and excursions that your guests can benefit from. There are many of outdoor activities that the adventurous crowds would love to take advantage of in the ideal climate of the island! There are opportunities such as deep sea fishing, golfing, snorkeling, sailing, hiking, horseback riding and much more!

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For those that would prefer to lay low and relax, there are a variety of spas and wellness centers on or in close proximity to the resorts. Enjoying the beach is also a great way to get R&R time.

Accommodations:

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Point Pleasant Resort:

Point pleasant is a great place for you and your guests to enjoy villas on the water. The views available here are breathtaking, overlooking the Water Bay. The resort is five minutes from ferry boats, making it a very convenient location.

The Ritz-Carlton

This well-known five star hotel will give you and your employees have a luxurious stay. It overlooks the blue horizon and has views of the other islands. Here, guests can get a glimpse of Caribbean culture while experiencing the beauty of the island and the resort simultaneously.

Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort

This oceanfront Resort is another beautiful place for your employees to call “home” during their trip. The hotel itself offers a variety of amenities including a spa, a gym, & a swim-up outdoor bar overlooking the water. The Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort can accommodate crowds of many sizes and is a great place to host your next company incentive trip!

If you want to treat your employees in a luxury beach trip, the US Virgin Islands are a spectacular place to do so! Contact GEM for planning services.

Our Favorite Hometown Events

Our company travels the globe planning events, but some of our favorite events happen in our hometown of Annapolis, Maryland! Spring on the Chesapeake Bay means warm weather, boating, and the start of crabbing season. Let us plan your next company outing and enjoy all that Maryland has to offer in springtime!

Black Eyed Susan Day

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Treat your employees or valued customers to a Friday at the races! Since 1919 Preakness has been a well-loved tradition in Maryland. GEM will coordinate all logistics for a fun-filled day sipping mint juleps, indulging in local fresh fare, and watching the famed horse races at the Pimlico Race Course.

Blue Angels Flyover

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Whether sitting bayside at a local restaurant or basking in the sun aboard a chartered boat, your employees will be delighted to take a break from the office to enjoy this Annapolis tradition!  Let GEM handle all of the planning – from communicating directions to your employees to picking the afternoon lunch menu, we are here to make sure your employees have an unforgettable day watching the famous Blue Angels Air Show.

5 Reasons Site Visits are Crucial to your Event’s Success

No matter how many events we plan, we always find great importance in visiting the venue or hotel during the planning process. Even if we have planned an event at that particular space before, revisiting the property is vital to the success of the program.

Creativity

By experiencing the property in person, you are able to bounce back ideas that you may never have thought of by looking at pictures on the hotel’s website. While on a site visit in Key West, we were amazed by the cotton candy pink sky that appeared at sunset. These magnificent colors were the inspiration to our tropical Welcome Reception which we decorated with soft pinks and bright turquoise accents – perfectly complimenting the picturesque sky. “The linens match the sunset!” we over heard one attendee exclaim, why yes, yes they do.

You’ll discover problems

Walking the space allows you to get a feel for the flow of the event. Maybe the walk from your attendee’s guest rooms to the Award’s Dinner venue is under construction and a complete eye sore. You may reconsider where you have the dinner or create custom signage that directs attendees a different, more aesthetically pleasing route.

Planning will be easier

After seeing the space, you will go back to your office and breathe a sigh of relief as you realize it is so much easier to plan an event after seeing the venue in person. Instead of guessing where your group of 100 attendees will gather to take a group photo, you will have scouted it out yourself, snapped a photo, and confirmed that there is enough space for the group, the background is pretty for the photo, and the sun shining in the right direction at the time of the photo opp.

Client Relationships

Site visits are a great way for you to get to know your client, their vision, and the little details that will make your event shine. Walking the space together allows you to collaborate on ideas and get a true feeling for how your client imagines the event. You’ll be able to get detailed answers to your long list of questions instead of the impersonal responses that tend to reside in email communication.

Site Visits are FUN!

Lastly, visiting the property with your client is FUN! Not only do you develop a better relationship with the hotel/venue staff, but you get to enjoy the company of your client on a more personal level. This makes for a more enjoyable experience throughout the duration of the planning process.