Hosting a successful business meeting or event is part art, part science. But if you host it in a world-renowned locale such as Miami, you’ve got it made. Miami is a city of neighborhoods — each with its own personality and unique characteristics. These neighborhoods carry a pulse of their own, whether it’s cultural, architectural or artistic. Some of these ever-popular areas include Brickell, Miami Beach, Little Havana, Little Haiti, Historic Overtown, South Beach and Coconut Grove.
So why is Miami such a popular meetings and events destination? For Beth Miller, director of global accounts at ConferenceDirect, Miami’s biggest draws include its beaches, its culture and the excitement of an urban, international city with a laid back, beach vibe. “One particular event that I planned was a law firm partner meeting,” Miller says. “It was over Miami’s Food and Wine Week and the law firm included tickets for those who wanted to stay and enjoy the festival, which is a very special event. Other events were also legal related and the sunshine, beaches, warmth, boating, and great cuisine and restaurants, definitely exuded the Miami draw.”
Krista Emmons, CMP, operations manager, Meeting & Events with Your Event Solutions (YES), says the key attributes of Miami ideal for meetings and events include access to two international airports within 25 miles of each other, and the newly refurbished, state-of-the-art Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC). In addition, the variety of hotel accommodations — from art deco boutique properties to luxury resorts, to big-box convention properties — simply can’t be beat. “We hosted a corporate leadership forum for one of our top clients at the Confidante in South Beach,” Emmons says. “Attendees from around the world gathered for a week-long leadership forum. The group enjoyed dining outdoors, meeting in the naturally lit meeting space, and participating in nightly activities — including beach Olympics, an awards dinner off-site at a local restaurant, and a gorgeous sunset reception on property. We partnered with PRA, a local destination management company, to provide transportation and additional staffing for this VIP group.”
Gladys Mezrahi, founder and president of Indigo Events, says not only does Miami offer state-of-the art venues that can accommodate a full convention with expo, but also unique venues that can bring a sense of intimacy to any event. “There are very few cities that can offer floating venues that range from a normal cruise for a private dinner to a happy hour/team bonding in a floating hut with the most spectacular views,” Mezrahi says. “Only in Miami will you find private mansions on the beach where you can host an event, or a private suite at a casino overlooking a horse race while being served the latest gourmet delicacy.”
What’s more, Miami has been blessed with the authentic gourmet style of the world. You can find caterers or restaurants with menus that will connect the attendees with food from many different countries to bring back memories of those that come from far away. “Famous chefs call Miami their home and award-winning restaurants can be closed for private events,” Mezrahi says.
Miami’s Brickell area, which includes dozens of banks and investment firms, is home to the majority of the major corporations and large businesses in the city. Along Brickell Avenue, you will find international headquarters for major banks, corporations, real estate companies and law firms, making your corporate meeting and event attendees feel right at home. And while the area is teeming with skyscrapers, you will also find quiet, shaded streets that offer a charm and relaxed atmosphere that is truly unique among major metropolitan areas.
Brickell has a long-standing history with meetings and events, having been established in the mid-1800s and gradually becoming the city’s “Millionaire’s Row,” with majestic mansions, high-end, upscale office and residential towers, and many of the accoutrements associated with esteemed wealth.
Today, Brickell is the epicenter of Miami’s financial arena, but this downtown neighborhood also offers plenty of modern-day amusements, including convenient access to popular Miami attractions and upscale services that will keep meeting attendees refreshed and productive.
While Brickell is an international financial hub, it is also home to an assortment of wonderful eateries, high-class boutiques and a French-style village called Mary Brickell Village. Offering the ideal venue for gatherings and entertainment, Mary Brickell Village is a wonderful collection of brasseries and bistros, as well as unique shops and services that reflect the incredibly eclectic nature of the region.
The benefits of hosting meetings in Brickell are endless. Not only does it boast a broad variety of meeting spaces, but also offers venues an ideal proximity to areas that can be explored when business is done. From elegant venues in historic settings to modern meeting spaces, Brickell is an exceptional option for financial-based meetings or conventions of any size.
The Mandarin Oriental, Miami offers the ideal spot to play host to meetings and events. Set on a private island, Brickell Key, the Mandarin Oriental is considered one of the most luxurious options for event planners. Located about 10 miles from the MBCC and about 8 miles from popular South Beach, the Mandarin Oriental offers 15,000 sf of meeting space options, including a 20,000-sf private beach, an expansive, stunning ballroom and a myriad of other meeting rooms from which to choose.
Located in the heart of the Brickell business district, Four Seasons Hotel Miami features wonderful views of Biscayne Bay and offers nearly 15,000 sf of meeting space, including 12 redesigned meeting spaces that are perfect for meetings of all sizes.
Imagine hosting a rooftop meeting or event 50 stories above the city of Miami. Brickell’s W Miami is a luxury Miami, Florida resort housed in the Icon Brickell, a 10-acre bayfront enclave adjacent to historical Miami River Circle Park. Priding itself on the utmost in sophistication, the W Miami is within walking distance of the Brickell financial district and minutes from American Airlines Arena and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. W Miami is also a short drive from South Beach, the Design District, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables and other Miami locations. Meeting attendees at the glamour-infused W also can enjoy the events hosted in the hotel’s 2-acre outdoor living room complete with a 300-foot long pool.
Refined rooms and amenities aplenty can be found at Conrad Miami, which offers more than 20,000 sf of meetings and events space. From delightful poolside terraces to a state-of-the art boardroom, to the towering ballroom with sweeping views of Biscayne Bay, Conrad Miami offers something for everyone.
Located in the heart of Brickell, JW Marriott Miami is an award-winning establishment whose mission is to pamper guests at every turn. Recently named one of the “World’s Best Business Hotels” by Travel & Leisure Magazine, JW Marriott boasts more than 28,000 sf of meetings and events space, with a capacity for up to 1,000 attendees. Smaller, more intimate event spaces and breakout rooms are also plentiful in this prestigious venue.
Bring a Cuban feel to your next meeting soiree in Miami’s Little Havana, which comes complete with Cuban coffee shops, restaurants, eclectic stores and offers a wealth of Cuban-infused sounds, sights and tastes that are reminiscent of Cuba’s capital city, Havana. Evolved to become a cultural epicenter for “all things Cuban” Little Havana offers a variety of venues that can play host to any event. It is becoming a magnet for the young, the hip and the artistic.
Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood is a wonderful way for meeting and event attendees to experience a taste of Haitian culture and cuisine in a low-key, non-touristy destination. Located along Northeast 2nd Avenue, Little Haiti is adjacent to the major Wynwood Art District, and is being called Miami’s next big art and cultural center. In addition to art galleries, bookstores and Haitian music establishments, the Little Haiti Cultural Complex boasts a myriad of dance and theater venues that illustrate the musical and theatrical renaissance of Haitian cultural activity in Miami. The complex — which has several intimate meeting spaces available — houses an art gallery and theater, and features Afro-Caribbean celebrations and performances, including a weekly Caribbean marketplace, where visitors can hear music, purchase classic Haitian art, and savor delicious Creole delicacies.
In the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, you’ll find the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens — a perfect venue for intimate groups. Vizcaya is the historic Italian-inspired estate built as a winter home for American businessman James Deering in the early 1900s. Today, Vizcaya is open to tours and rentals for individuals, groups, corporations and other entities. Considered one of Miami’s most iconic landmarks, this stunningly beautiful American villa features European-inspired gardens and exquisite interiors, and provides the ideal backdrop for unforgettable events.
Coconut Grove, Miami’s vibrant and historic “village by the bay” is also home to The Cruz Building, a glamorous, three-story venue that is elegant and unique, and can accommodate business events ranging from 100 guests to large-scale cocktail parties with up to 700 guests. The majestic rooms within The Cruz Building boast stunning art, antiques and luxurious amenities.
If your group’s tastes are more modern, check out The Loft on Bayshore in Coconut Grove. Recently renovated, The Loft is an ideal space for intimate corporate and social gatherings, and can accommodate up to 300 guests for a cocktail reception and up to 150 guests for a formal, sit-down event.
The Courtyard Miami Coconut Grove reopened last fall. Significantly damaged during Hurricane Irma in 2017, the property has been closed for the past three years to undergo a complete renovation to create a stylish haven. Redefining contemporary comfort and quite unique to the Courtyard brand, the Courtyard Miami Coconut Grove welcomes travelers with a stunning waterfront location, modern amenities and 11,000 sf of total event space.
Walk throughout Miami Beach and you’ll notice a common theme: construction and facility improvements are happening at every turn. It should come as no surprise that Miami Beach has long been a popular convention and meetings destination. And as the region continues to attract convention meetings and events, its existing venues are being remodeled to meet the ever-changing needs of visitors.
One of the largest renovation projects in the city is the refurbishment and expansion of the ever-popular MBCC, which wrapped up in 2018. For years, the MBCC has been the epitome of convention locales within the Miami area. The $600 million MBCC expansion and renovation will result in the MBCC becoming one of the preeminent, state-of-the-art venues for conventions of all sizes in Miami Beach. The renovations further enhanced the venue, making the historic, 50-year-old building more efficient, flexible and responsive to the needs of today’s convention clients and attendees.
To make an event truly unique and memorable, the Faena Hotel Miami Beach boasts authenticity and refined design to create one-of-a-kind experiences. Evoking the glory days of Miami Beach, the Faena Hotel offers the Faena Theatre and a variety of beautifully curated indoor and outdoor spaces available for groups of all sizes. The hotel’s La Cava dining room, which includes a hand-carved, 22-seat private dining table by Frank Pollaro, is surrounded by an outstanding collection of world-class wines. The intimate space caters to private wine tastings and sophisticated multi-course menus customized by the Faena’s executive chef.
Regardless of the ongoing pandemic, innovation and development continues throughout the Miami region. For instance, Mondrian South Beach, the waterfront oasis on Miami Beach’s Biscayne Bay, underwent a $20 million, property-wide transformation. First opened in 2008, the bayside retreat is again setting out to redefine trends with a new modern tropical look, feel and experience with a completely refreshed design.
Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel, situated oceanfront in the heart of South Beach’s Art Deco District, is currently in the final stages of a full rooms and public areas renovation. Kimpton Surfcomber is also refreshing its meetings and events spaces, with completion set for later this year. The property will be able to offer refreshed events inventory for groups of all sizes.
Loews Miami Beach Hotel offers all the amenities expected of a top luxury hotel in this area. Offering 65,000 sf of indoor function space, the iconic hotel’s Americana Ballroom offers 28,000 sf and seats more than 7,000 attendees banquet-style. It also has 22 additional meeting rooms, salons and parlors ranging in size from 300 sf to 4,000 sf. Expansive outdoor function space includes the Americana Lawn and the St. Moritz Lawn. Its five restaurants and bars, include the temporarily closed Lure Fishbar, featuring fresh seafood, sushi and American classics; Nautilus Pool Bar & Grill, featuring locally brewed beers on tap; Preston’s Market, offering a flavor-filled breakfast experience; Miami Joe Coffee Co. offering specialty coffee, pastries, and grab-and-go items; and Bar Collins, featuring innovative cocktails, local micro-brews, delicious bar bites and shareable plates.
The new Hilton Aventura Miami is now open. The luxury hotel is poised to welcome locals, leisure and business travelers, as well as groups, with well-appointed accommodations, a robust culinary program, artful touches, premium business services and vibrant lifestyle amenities. The 208-room hotel is surrounded by world-class shopping, as well as some of the finest beaches, golf courses and casinos, and is a short drive from Miami International Airport.
Another gem within the Aventura area of Miami is the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa. With a 120,000-sf conference center, including 40 flexible meeting rooms, two ballrooms and a wealth of outdoor venues, the Turnberry is ideal for events of all sizes. And when not in meetings, the resort features an array of team-building activities that will inspire and entertain attendees.
Synonymous with golf and South Florida, Trump National Doral Miami — with more than 100,000 sf of meetings and events space — is considered the ultimate golf getaway. And thanks to the new outdoor pavilion, meeting planners have an additional 20,000 sf to utilize for outdoor dining and exhibits. For those planners who want to incorporate a golf experience within a meeting or event, Trump National Doral Miami features a wealth of corporate clinics, multi-day golf schools and private instruction.
Confident and cutting edge, Miami offers one of the most intriguing destinations for meeting and events. From high-tech hotels to art gallery spaces, the city is teeming with venues aplenty. That said, in Downtown Miami there is a renaissance of sorts occurring, the construction of the monumental Miami Worldcenter.
Located in the heart of Miami, the Miami Worldcenter will be opening the door to new and unique meeting spaces for meetings and events of all sizes. The quintessential Miami experience will be captured in the world-class retail, hospitality and residential aspects of the Miami Worldcenter. As the preeminent bridge between the city’s ever-popular South Beach neighborhood and Downtown Miami, Miami Worldcenter will create new links to Miami’s many unique locales, including its growing art and entertainment district.
At the heart of the development is a delightful open-air, pedestrian-friendly shopping center and entertainment complex. One- and two-story shops and restaurants will be interspersed with public promenades and plazas. In addition, the monumental Expo Center and Marriott Marquis World Convention Center Hotel will deliver a level of style, setting and service for guests that is simply unprecedented. Offering approximately 1,700 rooms and 600,000 sf of meeting, exhibition and convention space, the hotel will boast a wealth of resort-style amenities, including an expansive pool deck with views of the bay, the American Airlines Arena and the downtown skyline, as well as an 80,000-sf outdoor event deck. C&IT