Palm Springs; The Capital of Cool

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Palm Springs; The Capital of Cool

Palm Springs is a desert resort city in the Sonoran Desert of southern California. The city is located within the Coachella Valley, approximately 107 mi (172 km) east of Los Angeles. Known for its hot springs, stylish hotels, golf courses and spas, the city’s population is estimated at under 50,000.

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Palm Spring is known for its mid-century modern architecture, design elements, and arts and cultural scene. Some may remember the old Palm Springs as a sunny desert town where Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and many other Hollywood types partied in the 1950s and 1960s. That city crashed and burned when new communities developed nearby. Stores closed. Restaurants died. Builders abandoned construction sites.

But a funny thing happened as the decades rolled by: The city discovered a way to turn back the clock. Everything old is new. Once again, this town is hot, hot, hot. Once again, it's the capital of cool.

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The proof is in the clubs, restaurants and hotels that are popping up, and in the trend-setting millennials who are flying in from San Francisco and New York City. They marvel at the mid-century modern architecture, shop in vintage stores, spend the rest of the day lazing around the city's sparkling blue pools, then cap the night drinking single-barrel bourbon and craft beer in trendy bars.

You can also find evidence in the evolving city, which is trying to preserve its heritage while catering to new visitors and longtime residents. The biggest turnaround is in the heart of downtown where a $450-million redevelopment project includes restaurants, shops and hotels that are giving birth to a new and vibrant Palm Springs.

In Palm Springs, you’ll find a sunny mix of minimalist design and contemporary colors.  Among them is the almost-finished Kimpton which is consummate Palm Springs — Midcentury Modern, only better. The hotel is built off the architectural heritage of the city.  Kimpton the Rowan isn't the only new hotel in town. Two other nearby lodges opened their doors in the last few months. Both will help the visitor to remember why they will love this city and its beautifully-designed hotels.

La Serena Villas, originally built in 1933, spent decades as a community eyesore before its renovation and reincarnation as a super-chic downtown hotel. Its 18 cottages, stark white and accented by brilliant bougainvillea, are at the edge of the imposing San Jacinto Mountains.  

Rooms are plush and have patios, fire pits and outdoor claw-foot tubs. The hotel pool is busy, and Azúcar, a new Frida Kahlo-inspired restaurant, keeps guests and visitors happy with tapas, shareable plates and dinner entrees such as a spiced tempeh bowl and Moroccan roasted chicken with saffron rice and dates. 

The other winner is the nearby Holiday House. The hotel, designed in 1951 by Herbert Burns, considered a top Palm Springs modernist, was most recently named the Chase.  It was sold and remodeled with an emphasis on preserving its original Midcentury Modern pedigree. Among the many changes are a new lobby bar, pool and lounge areas.  You will love the airy blue-and-white color scheme and the over-the-top art collection that features works by David Hockney and Roy Lichtenstein, among others.

There is also the Ingleside Inn, which recently completed a major renovation. The 30-room Inn is a Spanish Colonial Revival-style lodge that dates to the 1920s.  The hotel is being restored to its former glory, once a Hollywood celebrity favorite, now complete with vintage tiles.

The Ingleside sits next to Melvyn’s Restaurant, which has also undergone a face-lift. Melvyn's was a favorite of Frank Sinatra, who held the reception for his wedding No. 4 there.

Back in the day, the Ingleside-Melyvn's complex also drew stars such as Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando and in more recent times Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell.

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 Palm Springs is being reborn; and is repositioning itself for a new generation of visitors and locals. Some of this development reflects the city’s architectural and cultural heritage, and some moves us beyond that legacy. Maintaining that balance will be an ongoing challenge.

As evidence of that balance, many of the new development projects speak to the balance between past and future, commerce and culture, and the diversity of this unique city. 

The city that used to be focused primarily on golf is now getting a younger, hip generation from Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York—not to mention from abroad. This is a new demographic that has rediscovered Palm Springs and enjoys what it has to offer including its new bike paths and hiking trails not to mention high-end food and beverage outlets. But golf is never forgotten. The city is blessed with more than 100 golf courses—some of which have also undergone major renovations. 

Palm Springs isn't the only desert city that's getting chic new downtown hotels. Your incentive program could also include Palm Desert, 15 miles southeast, and the site of Hotel Paseo, a 150-room property adjacent to the city's primary shopping district, El Paseo, which desert dwellers call the “Rodeo Drive of the Desert.”

The new three-story hotel is considered the first luxury hotel built in Palm Desert in more than 30 years. Among the interesting guest suites are a billiards room with a wet bar, lounge and bed, and a glamor room, with space to get prepared for a big event.

Another unusual feature is a refurbished 25-foot,1950s Airstream trailer, which has taken up residence in the Backyard, an outdoor space that will feature a lawn, stage and activities courts for playing boccie ball, shuffleboard and cornhole toss. A pool, spa, cabanas and bar.

The lounge has a rotating art gallery and colorful art installations. The hotel has a rare-breed restaurant designed by three famous chefs: AC3 Restaurant + Bar, and a full-service spa that offers yoga and tai chi classes.

In search of a truly hot destination for your next incentive program, let professionals at Global Management Services take you to the new capital of cool.

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CHICAGO PREPARES TO WELCOME A NEW BREED OF HIP HOTELS

Chicago is sizzling with hot new hotel openings. City’s West Loop neighborhood has become the magnet for several new and exciting properties catering to the trendy area’s residents and visitors alike while downtown remains the hotbed for the clientele curious to check out the newly-modernized historic buildings.  Here is a sneak peek at what’s on the horizon.

WEST LOOP: NOBU HOTEL CHICAGO

Inspired by culinary trendsetter Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, the 155-room Nobu Hotel Chicago is scheduled to open this year in the West Loop. The sleek boutique hotel will feature Nobu’s signature fusion of modern and Asian-inspired design. As with other Nobu hotels, the Chicago property will feature a 10,000-square-foot, ground-floor Nobu restaurant. In addition, Nobu on the Roof will offer an indoor/outdoor lounge overlooking Randolph Street’s popular Restaurant Row. The hotel will also feature 3,245 square feet of multi-use suite space available for corporate events. Nobu Hotel Chicago will also be offering a hi-tech fitness center equipped with Technogym gear, a state-of-the-art spa facility, and an indoor swimming pool. 

WEST LOOP: THE HOXTON

One of the most highly-anticipated hotel openings of the year is The Hoxton, opening in April in Chicago’s hot West Loop neighborhood. Inspired by Fulton Market’s meatpacking past, the design of the 182-room hotel is distinctly industrial-chic. In a nod to the neighborhood’s roots, the hotel rooms feature exposed concrete and warehouse-style floor-to-ceiling windows with city views. The rooms are softened with the addition of pieces by local artists, mid-century-inspired furniture, and custom patterned rugs and wallpaper. Celebrity chef Stephanie Izard has been recruited to head Cabra, a rooftop Peruvian restaurant, in partnership with Boka Restaurant Group. Boka will also operate a basement piano bar and a 200-seat all-day Mediterranean restaurant called Cira (with sister coffee shop Cafe Cira) on the first floor of the hotel. The 12-story hotel also features a seasonal rooftop pool and Hoxton’s first-ever fitness studio. Groups can rent The Apartment, the Hoxton’s meeting and events space made up of five separate rooms that have access to The Pantry, a kitchen stocked with drinks, fresh pastries and snacks.

THE LOOP: JEWELERS BUILDING HOTEL

A 39-room boutique hotel is planned for the historic Jewelers Building on Jewelers Row in the heart of the Loop. Located at 15-17 North Wabash Avenue, the 137-year-old building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a city landmark. Completed in 1882, the Jewelers Building is the only example of the early work of famed Chicago architecture firm Adler & Sullivan left in the Loop. The facade will be preserved as much as possible, with soundproof windows installed to muffle the rumblings of the nearby ‘L’ train. Retail and restaurant tenants are also planned. The hotel is expected to open in 2020 and will be managed by a San Francisco-based hotel operator.

THE LOOP: THE RESERVE HOTEL

The Reserve Hotel, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, is scheduled to open in late 2020 in the historic 208 S. LaSalle St. building in the Loop. The luxury 234-room hotel-within-a-hotel will occupy the top five floors of the landmark office building designed by renowned Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, located in the heart of Chicago’s Financial District. The Reserve Hotel features a unique story and position in the Chicago hospitality market. It was intended by Burnham to be a “monument to commerce” with a stature equal to public institutions, government offices and libraries. Floors 1-12 of the building are currently home to the JW Marriott Chicago hotel, which opened in 2010. The Reserve Hotel is planned to feature a penthouse and an extravagant ballroom. 

SOUTH LOOP: HOTEL ESSEX CHICAGO

A $250-million renovation has transformed the former Essex Inn to Hotel Essex Chicago, a new luxury lifestyle hotel in the South Loop. Welcoming its first guests on April 1, Hotel Essex features 274 rooms with sleek mid-century modern style and floor-to-ceiling views. The French-influenced Grant Park Bistro has a light-filled 40-seat dining room that overlooks the open kitchen, along with a seasonal outdoor patio lining South Michigan Avenue. The hotel’s bilevel SX Sky Bar is located on the fifth and sixth floors of the adjacent Essex on the Park residential tower, boasting a sweeping lake view and retractable glass walls that can be opened wide during warm weather. Small plates and craft cocktails are served for lunch, dinner and late night. SX Sky Bar also features a dance floor and intimate spaces for private events.

For a peek at all the trendy new hotels in the Windy City, let the professionals at GMS take you for a behind-the-scene site inspection of the new and the established properties in Chicago. 

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The most beautiful place on earth from space

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The most beautiful place on earth from space

Have you ever dreamed of an intimate dinner or a raging party on your own private island? Let us help you make it happen! But where, you might ask. With over 700 islands and only about 30 of them inhabited, the Bahamas are just 50 miles off the coast of Florida and a perfect setting for such a bucket list event.  

With the clearest water on the planet (visibility of over 200 feet), the Bahamas sure are a breathtaking destination. Even from out of space you can see these watercolors in all shades of blue as proved by astronaut Scott Kelly with a collection of photos he took during his year in the International Space Station. He even called the Bahamas “the most beautiful place from space”.

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Did you know that even their name comes from these exceptional 100,000 square miles of ocean, the Bahamas archipelago is located in: It derives from the Spanish “baja mar” which means shallow waters.

But if you might think that picture perfect beaches and crystal-clear turquoise water is all the Bahamas have to offer, you’ll be surprised to find:

Swimming Pigs

Did you know that pigs can swim? See for yourself on Big Major Cay, an island in the Exumas now also named Pig Beach. These pigs are living the dream on their own little island and beach, with regular tourist visits feeding them carrots or (chicken) hotdogs. It isn’t clear how the pigs got there, stories range from a shipwreck during which the pigs managed to swim to shore over Colonial sailors who dropped their livestock for later use all the way to a simple business scheme to attract tourists to the Bahamas. Either way, the swimming pigs are a not to be missed site when in the Bahamas. 

Endangered Rock Iguanas

On to another species that has their own private island in the Exumas: The Northern Bahamian Rock Iguanas can only be found in Exuma and are in fact listed as critically endangered. The iguanas can live up to 40 years and might reach 24 pounds. They’re wild animals but are used to visitors and enjoy the fruits and veggies they might bring.  

One of the most expensive cigar and wine collections in the world

Tucked away in the old town of Nassau and located in a historic 18thcentury mansion, we came across and unexpected find: Graycliff is a boutique hotel and fine dining restaurant that offers a very exclusive wine cellar for small and very exclusive Private Dinners. This wine cellar contains some of the oldest and rarest wines with a value of over 25 million US Dollars. Since 1997, Graycliff also runs an award-winning cigar company and is one of the premier manufacturers in the business today.

While enjoying your meal, wine or cigar, keep in mind that these walls have seen almost 300 years of Bahamian history: The mansion was built by a pirate, Captain John Howard Graysmith in 1740, became an infamous Pirate hangout and a popular party spot for rich and famous travelers from the US during the Prohibition in the 1920s. Graycliff still draws an elite crowd of royals and celebrities - Nelson Mandela, The Beatles, Jay-Z, Michael Jordan, Beyoncé and Lenny Kravitz – just to name a few.

Versailles Gardens on Paradise Island, Nassau

Nassau, or more precisely Paradise Island has its own Versailles Gardens. Dismantled and imported from a 14th century Augustinian monastery in France, newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst brought the cloister in the 1960. The Versailles Gardens are now a cultural landmark and beautiful event space – actually, one of the most popular places to get married in the Bahamas.  

It’s worth to climb up the steps: You’ll have an incredible view from the top with Nassau Harbor on the one side and the amazing Four Seasons Ocean Club on the other. 

Underwater caves

The sea level in the Bahamas hasn’t always been as shallow as it is today. During the glacial period, it was as low as 250 feet below its present level. For centuries, the limestone that forms the islands has been eroding and ended up creating a system of vertical and horizontal caves that are now below the islands some of which accessible through fascinating blue holes. The longest known underwater cave system in the world lies on Grand Bahama Island in the Lucayan National Park. Divers from all over the world fly to the Bahamas to explore these diverse underwater caves.

Let GMS craft a one-in-a-lifetime incentive program for your top performers in the most beautiful place on earth.

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5 must-see venues in Music City, USA

Nashville is now the fastest growing city in America, attracting not just music lovers, but a diverse population from many other walks of life.  The city is known by many flattering nicknames (in a recent blog we discussed one as the “Athens of the South”). But one cannot ignore Nashville’s reputation and heritage for music—hence “Music City, USA.”  That immediately brings to mind such renowned attractions as the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Grand Ole Opry that draw in plenty of tourists as the must-see sights in Nashville.  In that previous blog we presented the Parthenon.  Here is the rundown of the other five must-see attractions perfectly suited as event venues.  

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Music and history lovers can mix and mingle over the exhibits found at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. As an event venue, your guests can peruse the plaques dedicated to country music's best-known names and walk among artifacts like Jimmie Rodgers' guitar and Elvis Presley's solid gold Cadillac limo. Cocktails in hand, your group can admire browse the two-story wall plastered with every gold and platinum country record produced, and then head to Studio B. One of the world's most influential recording studios and a Music Row Landmark, Studio B produced more than 35,000 songs by legends like Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings and Roy Orbison. For a history lesson on the roots and evolution of country music, your group can walk through the "Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music" exhibit, which spans two floors of the museum.

Grand Ole Opry

It was this radio show, which began broadcasting in the 1920s, that put Nashville on the map as the "Country Music Capital of the World." Although its venue has changed over the years, the Grand Ole Opry continues to host top country performers. And a trip to Nashville isn't complete without stopping by the Grand Ole Opry House for a tour to look back through the ages. Your guests will get a behind-the-scenes look with a daytime backstage tour or a post-show VIP tour.   

Ryman Auditorium

There's no better place to start absorbing Nashville's musical heritage than the Ryman Auditorium. It's no longer home to the Grand Ole Opry, but the auditorium continues to host well-known contemporary acts. GMS can arrange for a private tour to show your group behind-the-scenes glimpse of the legendary music venue. Sit in on the "Soul of Nashville" screening for a multidimensional experience that uses archival images and footage of performers from the Ryman's past to illustrate its role in music history. Plus, the group can learn about the auditorium's backstory with its "Workin' on a Building" exhibit, which displays artifacts from the Ryman's construction. What's more, your participants can test out their own pipes at the Ryman's recording studio and record a CD to take home as a souvenir.

While a tour of the Ryman Auditorium is informative, your group may find it more enlightening by enjoying a concert there (that can be organized exclusively for your group). 

The Johnny Cash Museum 

Uncover the enigma behind The Man in Black with a visit to The Johnny Cash Museum. The museum, which opened in April 2013, boasts the world's largest collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia, including films, handwritten notes and letters penned by Cash himself along with more than 25 costumes made famous during the music legend's career. Exhibits spotlight different periods in Cash's life, including his years in the Air Force, his marriage to June Carter and his famous prison concert tour. And because the museum is officially endorsed by the Cash family, the group is bound to stumble across other personal mementos not available to the public anywhere else, like a stone wall excavated from Johnny and June's Hendersonville Lake House that's been repurposed into one of the exhibits. The museum makes a perfect venue for a cocktail party even if some participants may not be Johnny Cash fans.  

Belle Meade Plantation

Constructed in 1853 in a breathtaking Greek Revival style, the Belle Meade Plantation is known as the "Queen of the Tennessee Plantations." At the center of the plantation is the mansion (its columns are peppered with bullet holes from the Civil War). Your group can just have a tour of the mansion's antebellum-style interior or have a cocktail party or dinner there. Your guests are invited to explore the grounds, which are home to the country's first and best thoroughbred breeding farms as well as the renowned Iroquois Steeplechase, the oldest in the United States, or we could arrange for a picnic for the group on the grounds. 

Whether or not your group is a music fan, Nashville now has a wealth of venues for that memorable incentive program. Let GMS put together a custom-tailored program for your next incentive trip. 

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A Touch of Authentic Europe

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A Touch of Authentic Europe

Choosing a perfect destination for your group can be a real challenge.  Maybe a historic city with centuries-old architecture is appealing, but you need a high-tech convention center for your tradeshow.  Or maybe you want to be near upscale farm-to-table dining, but also want to explore the wilderness, far from any metropolis. 

Would you believe us if we told you that you can have all of that and more in just one city?  Quebec City is a city filled with surprises – between the rich history, modern facilities, bustling food scene and being surrounded by Canadian wilderness, everyone in your group is sure to find something In Quebec City to fall in love with!  While there are countless reasons to visit this incredible city, we’ve narrowed it down to 5 main reasons:  

History – Being one of the oldest European settlements in North America, Quebec City is the only city North of Mexico who’s fortified city walls still exist.  Inside Old Quebec City, a UNESCO world heritage site dating to the 17thcentury, charming cobblestone streets take you through a maze of Greystone shops, restaurants, churches, and historical monuments. For a real sense of Old Quebec, stay at the famous Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, the crown jewel of Quebec City.  Opened in 1893, the Chateau Frontenac is a lavish Chateauesque-styled building that has been graced by visitors such as Charles Lindbergh, Charles de Gaulle, Alfred Hitchcock, and representatives of the British Royal family. 

Modernity – Despite maintaining the Old-World charm of ages past, Quebec City is a modern-edge city with all the conveniences required and expected in the 21stcentury. Rather than tear down and replace the iconic historic buildings, Quebec City architects specialize in repurposing old buildings, updating the interiors without destroying the exterior beauty. The famous Quebec City Armory, for example, suffered a tremendous fire in 2008, destroying nearly everything except some of the exterior walls.  The city of Quebec rebuilt, however, and restored the exterior of the building to exactly duplicate its original splendor. Inside, the armory is now a state-of-the-art events venue featuring exceptional acoustics, high-speed internet, and in-house A/V. Another example of the city’s dedication to staying ahead of the technological curve is the massive downtown Quebec City Convention Centre. Not only does the Convention Centre offer exhibition space, meeting space, breakout rooms, exhibit halls, convention halls, boardrooms, an outdoor terrace, and a total capacity of 9,000 attendees, but they also offer free WiFi to all groups and in-house catering.

Food – The wave of farm-to-table, local and foraging food trends that have become so popular in recent years are just as prominent in Quebec City as any big city.  While you can still find a big comforting bowl of poutine or Canadian maple syrup-slathered pancakes, you can also enjoy locally caught wild boar, quail, house-smoked salmon, venison steaks, foraged mushrooms, apple ice cider, and rabbit croquets.  One restaurant took the concept of local food to an entirely new level. Chez Boulay: Bistro Boreal, located at the luxurious Monoir Victoria hotel in Old Quebec, uses only local, in-season ingredients in their dishes.  And when they say only, they mean only local foods.  For example, since olives do not grow in Canada, they do not use olive oil.  Instead, they find an alternative oil or fat that is native to the area.  It is truly a taste of Canada!

Nature – One of the hardest things to find in a bustling city is green space.  Feeling the energy of a big city through its food, entertainment and fast-paced nightlife is great, but being able to enjoy the outdoors is a welcome respite. Canada is known for its vast expanses of wilderness. Located either in the city itself or only a short drive away, there are countless outdoor activities to enjoy year-round in Quebec including hiking, biking and zip lining. Enjoy beautiful rolling hills on the Plains of Abraham located in Old Quebec, take a kayak tour down the St. Lawrence River, or take a short drive to see Montmorency Falls – a waterfall even taller than Niagara! 

Winter – You may think that travelling to Canada in the winter months is a bad idea.  The truth is that Quebec City is an amazing winter destination!  Locals wait anxiously for the first snowflakes to fall each year, as winter is when everyone bundles up, and heads outdoors!  Ice hockey, skiing, snow mobiling, ice fishing, and of course, the famous Quebec City Winter Festival!  Maybe test your bravery by staying overnight at Hotel de Glace, the ice hotel!  Or, if that’s a little too adventurous for you, maybe just grab a drink at their ice bar. 

Interested in learning more about this amazing city?  Let the professionals at Global Management Services send you a proposal customized to fit your groups’ exact needs!    

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The Roaring Saltwater City

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The Roaring Saltwater City

Consistently ranked as one of the top five cities in the world for livability, Vancouver is one of the most sought-after destinations for incentive programs.  A coastal city in western Canada, Vancouver is the most populated city in the Province of British Columbia and the third largest city in Canada. The city’s popularity has been outpacing many other metropolitan areas in North America, making it one with the highest population density in Canada—and the fifth in North America—and one with one of the most culturally-diverse inhabitants in the world.   

Rising from humble beginnings, Vancouver has fast become one of the most popular destinations for meetings and events of any sort and size. The city is now blessed with a very vibrant waterfront dotted with luxury hotels and a state-of-the-art cruise terminal.  The city’s spectacular landscape has become a draw for the film industry, gaining it the designation “Hollywood North.”  

There is so much to do in Vancouver, making it one of the most “activity-rich” incentive destinations. Take, for example, Stanley Park—which has been compared to New York’s Central Park.  This nearly 1,000-acre park on the tip of Vancouver's "thumb" (just north of the City’s West End) is home to some of the city's favorite, most-visited attractions. In fact, those so inclined, could easily spend more than a day here and still not see everything this urban oasis has to offer. For a group activity, we suggest a bicycle tour of the park around the nearly 20-mile-long Seawall that hugs Vancouver's waterfront. 

Or for a more vibrant activity, how about a dine-around on Granville Island?  This former industrial site is now one of Vancouver's most beloved neighborhoods. Practically a mini-city, Granville Island's former factories have now been transformed into trendy restaurants, galleries and theaters. But the main draw here is the Granville Island Public Market, often described as one of the best open-air markets in North America. While on Granville Island, we always include a visit to Canada's first microbrewery—Granville Island Brewing, where our guests get to enjoy daily tours and tastings in the taproom. 

No trip to Vancouver is complete without a tour of Gastown, the original settlement that became the core of the creation of Vancouver. Today, it's a national historic site, at the northeast end of Downtown Vancouver.

For a group that is into sun and sand, a trip to the Spanish Banks Beach is a must.  The beaches at the Spanish Banks are the perfect place to unwind after a day packed with meetings.  Aside from the usual volleyball courts on the beach, we encourage our groups to try their hand at skimboarding—a cross between surfing and skateboarding.  

Intrigued?  Whether it is a meeting, convention or an incentive trip that you are planning for, let GMS organize what could be a most memorable excursion to this fascinating city on the west coast of Canada.  

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A Very Special Grand Canyon Dinner at the South Rim

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A Very Special Grand Canyon Dinner at the South Rim

Grand Canyon

As a boutique event planning company, we crave opportunities that challenge our creativity—clients that are looking for events with an extraordinary dimension.  Over the years, we have had the good fortune of working with clients that seek out-of-the-ordinary event venues to impress their super VIP guests.  So, when we were asked by our A-List German client for such a venue for a one-of-a-kind memorable dinner, we rushed with our gem of an idea: Dinner atop the world—or close to—i.e., the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.   

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is within Grand Canyon National Park. The Scenic views and vistas are what some could be waiting a lifetime to see.  As with all sides of the Canyon, the South Rim features astounding views of what took Mother Nature millions and millions of years to create. And that’s why it has earned the distinction as one of the world's Seven Wonders.  However, no visit to the Grand Canyon is complete without experiencing the sunset from Hopi, Yaki or Mather Points. 

While visitors to the park get to watch spectacular scenes from many angles, only a very privileged few gets to have an intimate corporate dinner with that setting as a backdrop—and that’s precisely what our client got to experience.  

Having flown on private aircrafts, our demanding yet discerning client arrived just before sunset for a spectacular viewing of Nature’s fireworks of colors as day gave way to an idyllic dusk complemented with an abundant of bubbly beverages flowing only to be followed by a sumptuous dinner fit for kings—a dinner that could otherwise only be experienced in a Micheline-star restaurant. There is nothing like stepping out of the custom-created tent to be wowed by nature’s display of bright twinkling stars in the desert’s dark night sky—and to be rewarded with a divine sense of solitude—albeit short-lived.        

While the South Rim of the Grand Canyon attracts over 5 million visitors each year and by far is the most visited side of the Canyon, only a very special few get to dine atop this nature’s marvel.  GMS was honored to have had the opportunity to showcase this extraordinary venue for such a deserving client.    

 

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Three Perfect days in Montreal

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Three Perfect days in Montreal

Are you craving to go to Europe but don’t want to leave the continent?  Let’s try a piece of Europe just around the corner—Montreal.  With its stunning architecture, trendy nightlife, and mouth-watering food scene, Montreal is a slice of Europe next door.  That’s why when our good client in Brazil asked for a very unique destination for their incentive program, we proposed a trip to the “Belle Province,” where they were able to pack three fun-filled days in this exquisite city.  With their Google translate in hand, everyone was functioning in French right off the bat.   

Arrival

We greeted our VIP guests (a group of 40 retail executives) at the Aéroport de Montréal: International Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau and whisked them to their hotel in the heart of Old Montreal.  In a city of neighborhoods, with an abundant of first-rate hotels, we chose to book the group at the trendy boutique Hôtel Gault (a former cotton factory) for its intimate vibe. 

Day 1

After a hearty breakfast, we put the group in horse-drawn carriages for their short trip to downtown Montreal—a great place to get acquainted with the city, with its lively collection of bars, restaurants, theaters, art galleries, and department stores complemented with some spectacular historical churches dotted along the way.  After our colorful city tour, the group was treated to a serving of the legendary poutine before heading to the world-famous Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, which is not only one of Canada’s oldest museums, but also has the best collection of Canadian art anywhere in the world.  Poutine, French fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds, is undoubtedly the most famous grub throughout the province of Quebec.  There are plenty of places to enjoy this dish in the city, but we took our special guests to Au Pied de Cochon, with its wide-ranging poutine options ranging from the high-end foie gras poutine to la Classique.  In the end, the group got to sample many of the restaurant’s nearly 30 variety of the famous food. 

 After their excursion to the Museum, we had a group of very hungry guests on our hand and what better place for them to experience another Montreal tradition than Joe’s Beef, where they were able to sample some of the best locally-produced and hearty meat dishes the city has to offer including the smoke meat on rye for which the city is well known.

The group’s visit coincided with Montreal’s famous Jazz Festival.  So, after lunch, they went for a stroll along the Rue St-Catherine, home to the city’s many excellent jazz bars.  The entire St-Catherine Street seemed to have been turned into one nonstop jazz club, with plenty of free live performances, beer gardens, and street food.  In the evening, we took the group to a famous jazz bar, Upstairs Bar and Grill for some hearty food complemented with good jazz. 

Day 2

We started our second day with a hike up to Parc du Mont-Royal, the city’s main park, and where the city got its name—a relaxing respite from the noise of the city. At Parc Mont-Royal, one can explore several different hiking paths, picnic sites in the open lawns, and even ski in the winter. But our ambitious goal was to make it to the top of Mont-Royal itself. Having made it there, we entered the Chalet Du Mont-Royal, where the group was rewarded with an unforgettable view of the city, the river, and the mountains beyond.

 ou can’t be in Montreal very long without someone asking your opinion on the classic Montreal bagel—which is quite different from the New York-style bagels.  The Montreal bagels are baked in a wood-fired oven, and are smaller, thinner, and sweeter than their New York counterparts. We took the group to the famous St-Viateaur Bagel & Café so that they could taste the difference for themselves—which turned out to be a huge success.  The group watched in admiration the bakers at work.  The group then headed to Boulevard St-Laurent to explore the area’s funky and eclectic shops.

Our active group was expecting excitement in this vibrant city.  So, they were treated to an evening of cocktails at La Distillerie No. 1 followed by some heavy-duty clubbing in Quartier Latin. 

Day 3

We started off our final day with brunch in Mile End, an up-and-coming neighborhood in the city. The group got to have breakfast at Lawrence which offers a modern take on the traditional English breakfast, along with some excellent homemade scones and clotted cream.

No visit to Montreal is complete without fully exploring the old city, known as le Vieux-Montreal. A quaint and lively mix of churches, chapels, and cobblestones streets, this is where French settlers first built the town in 1642.  Just the architecture and atmosphere here make the trip to the city well worth it.  Strolling through the cobblestone streets we stopped at the most famous cathedral in Montreal—and all of Canada—the stunning Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Montréal, followed by a visit to la Musée d’Arachéologie et d’Historie (Montreal’s history museum) with its famed spooky archeological exhibition that shows the actual foundations of the city.

Finally, we were at the Old Port, where the group got to take one last view of the St. Lawrence River and thus came to an end a most fun filled three days for this group of world travelers.

For best recommendations on where to take your next group, let professionals at Global Management Services, Inc. do the research.

 

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Miami at Its Best: The Perfect Event Spaces for Your Group

Miami is now so much more than the world-famous Ocean Drive—one of the most photographed stretches of Miami Beach.  It’s also neon lights and sidewalk cafes.  More importantly, Miami is now a sought-after destination for corporate groups of any size and from anywhere in the world.  Instead of simple hotel function room, why not try one of these fabulous event spaces for your next event:

1.   The Versace Mansion

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Nestled amid low-rise Art Deco hotels, and the best-known property on Ocean Drive, is the Villa Casa Casuarina—better- known as the Versace Mansion. The former home of late fashion designer Gianni Versace is now a museum and a hotel.

If your group is too large to stay at the famed mansion turned hotel, they can indulge in the villa's Baroque grandeur with a dinner at Gianni's, and an aperitif in the intimate, clubby Onyx Bar, in the space that used to be Versace's kitchen.

2.   The Temple House

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With a capacity for a group of up to 600 guests, the award-winning corporate event venue, the Temple House, comes with a beautiful  indoor space with 25-foot high barreled ceilings or with a stunning outdoor space for those warm Miami nights.   

3.   The Event Space at 1306

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The Event Space at 1306, with its white gallery walls, comes with beautifully-finished indoor and outdoor spaces for groups of up to 400 guests. The venue is a blank palette for event of any nature or needs.

4.   STK Rebel

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The STK offers a number of gorgeous event and private dining spaces, enough for 180 guests for cocktails and 108 guests for a seated dinner. Above the main dining room, the mezzanine level has three private entertaining suites for intimate get-togethers, which can be combined for larger events.

5.   The Moore Building

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Built in 1921 as a furniture showroom for the company Moore and Sons, the historic Moore Building is located in the heart of the Design District.  Perfect for larger groups, the Moore Building can accommodate over 1,000 guests for a seated dinner or over 4,000 guests for a reception in the building’s central atrium

6.   MAPS Backlot

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Functioning as photo studios, MAPS Production House is home to one of Miami's unique event venues.  Made up of two stunning event spaces, MAPS Production House is the perfect setting for the chic and trendy events—be it a product launch or a gathering of techies.

7.   Vista Lago Ballroom

Perfect for glamorous events, Vista Lago is an elegant venue space that comes with natural lighting, 24-foot high ceilings, 5 beautiful crystal chandeliers, hardwood floors, a 20-foot high illuminated lake fountain and a great view to Hidden lake.   

8.   The Alfred I. Dupont Building

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Opened in 1939, the historic Alfred I. Dupont Building’s mezzanine level is one of the city's most spectacular event spaces. With 22,000 square feet of event space, the landmark DuPont Building’s grand art décor design will be admired by all your guests.

9.   La Jolla Ballroom

Located in the Coral Gables area of Greater Miami, La Jolla Ballroom is a graceful landmark building. Built in 1928, the 6,000-suare-foot Ballroom can accommodate upwards of 400 guests for a cocktail reception or 220 guests for a seated dinner.

 10. Private Key Club

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Located in the artsy Wynwood District of Miami, the Private Key Club is a 5,000-square-foot event venue with high-end tech touches. The Club is the perfect setting for events involving arts and creativity.      

To dazzle your next corporate group in Miami, let professionals at Global Management Services showcase (GMS) showcase some of Miami’s hidden gems. 

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Sweet Sophistication: Everything You Need to Know About the Candytopia Pop-Up in NYC

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Sweet Sophistication: Everything You Need to Know About the Candytopia Pop-Up in NYC

Imagine visiting a magical land where you can gaze at a replica of Van Gogh’s Starry Night created entirely out of sugary sweets, jump into a gigantic ball pit filled with fluffy marshmallows, and experience colorful, larger-than-life candy displays perfect for Instagram photo ops. Sounds too good to be true? Think again! At Candytopia, an interactive, candy-themed pop-up, dreamed up by Jackie Sorkin (CEO of The Hollywood Candy Girls Inc., esteemed candy stylist to celebrities like Kim Kardashian West and Oprah Winfrey, and star of the hit TLC TV show Candy Queen), you can traverse through more than a dozen immersive art installations and exhibits that were created using thousands of different pieces of candy. 

Since Candytopia’s grand opening in LA on December 15, the pop-up has drawn in candy fans from across the globe, and on August 15, Candytopia is relocating from Santa Monica, CA, to Midtown Manhattan in New York City’s Penn Plaza so that those on the East Coast can experience the charm and wonder of this “sprawling sanctuary of confectionary bliss” for themselves. 

Read on for a rundown of everything you need to know about Candytopia, from the best exhibit spots for like-worthy Instagram photos to what you can expect to see, smell, taste, and touch in this whimsically sweet art installation.  

A Feast for the Eyes

Upon entering the Candytopia lobby, guests are greeted by expert tour guides and entertainers who are as friendly and fantastical as the colorful characters from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. 

Photo by Mathew Tucciarone, courtesy of Candytopia

On social media, Candytopia has been deemed an Instagram-lover’s paradise, and with good reason—some of the highlights of this immersive, candy-coated experience include a room filled with sugary recreations of some of the world’s most popular art pieces and landmarks, like the Great Sphinx of Giza and The Mona Lisa, a beach-themed room where visitors can strike a pose on a surfboard placed next to a giant candy shark, and a Victorian steampunk parlor where you can find a life-sized suit of armor made entirely out of candy! 

Make sure to get a whiff of each piece of artwork as you view it—since all the installations in Candytopia are made of real candy, they’ll smell just as good as they look!

Don’t worry about running out of time to take the perfect photo while visiting Candytopia; one of the biggest perks of this interactive candy installation is that each guest is granted a full 15 minutes to spend in Candytopia’s most popular attraction area, the marshmallow pit, and in the rest of the exhibit rooms, visitors are free to roam as they please for as long as they’d like. Let the photoshoots begin!

Sweet Treats Galore

As you make your way through each of Candytopia’s one-of-a-kind interactive rooms, prepare for your sweet tooth to be satisfied like never before! An assortment of gummies, hard candies, chocolates, and other sugary confections will be generously distributed to visitors throughout the course of the Candytopia experience.

After exiting the installation, keep the sweet streak going by stopping by Candytopia’s colorful gift shop, where guests can find rare, imported candies and chocolates, authentic Candytopia merch, and even a pick-and-choose candy wall so you can grab a bag of all your favorite sweet treats from Candytopia to-go! 

Whether you’d like to include a visit to Candytopia on the itinerary for your next incentive trip, or you’re hoping to host a private corporate event in this rainbow, candy-themed wonderland, contact GMS today for a personal proposal to make your next special event in NYC very sweet! 

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Chasing Stars: 4 Luxurious LA Venues Celebrities Can’t Get Enough Of

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Chasing Stars: 4 Luxurious LA Venues Celebrities Can’t Get Enough Of

In picturesque Los Angeles, members of the Hollywood elite understand that finding the perfect balance between work and play is the ultimate key to succeeding in the biz. 

Finding a fabulous venue to host a business lunch, networking conference, or fundraising event can be the difference between a so-so event and a stellar one.  So we’ve made it our mission to put a spotlight on out-of-this-world venues in the Los Angeles area that are ideal for everything from client dinners to charity auctions.

One more upside to visiting these amazing LA venues? They’re some of the most star-studded spots in California! Keep your eyes open wide when you go to these vibrant venues and you just might see some celebrities! 

Chateau Marmont

The legendary Chateau Marmontis Los Angeles’ secret slice of paradise; since its creation in 1929, it has entranced some of LA’s most-adored celebrities, including the likes of Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, and the late Anthony Bourdain. 

A-listers flock to this magnificent venue for its grandiose amenities, 5-star dining options, and perhaps most notably, its elusive location— the hotel is tucked discreetly behind an elegant canopy of lush foliage along the Sunset Strip, making it the perfect location for celebrities to temporarily step away from the hustle and bustle of the red carpet and embrace all of LA’s luxuries at a relaxed, more indulgent pace.

An extensive list of amenities are provided to the Chateau Marmont’s guests, including a heated private pool on the hotel’s sun patio, in-room massages, access to an intimate dining room and garden terrace for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, luxury pet amenities for furry friends of the Chateau, and much more!  

With a prime location less than two miles away from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Madame Tussauds, the Dolby Theater, The Magic Castle, and the Roxy Theatre West Hollywood, this extravagant LA venue is one that lovers of the limelight will treasure forever. 

Nobu Malibu

This hip, high-class eatery is known just as much for its mouthwatering Japanese cuisine as it is for the highly-coveted oceanfront view of Malibu that guests are treated to when dining here. 

Nobu Malibuis one of the most instagrammed restaurants in the world—and with good reason—everything on the menu, from the juicy tuna cilantro salad to the perfectly-cooked Maine lobster with spicy garlic, is crafted to look visually impeccable while simultaneously dazzling one’s taste buds like never before. 

This venue is a favorite of some of LA’s brightest stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kris Jenner, and Robert De Niro (who loves Nobu Malibu so much, he even co-founded the restaurant!) have been spotted dining within Nobu’s sought-after Private Fireplace Den by fellow restaurant patrons on more than one occasion. 

@Nobu Malibu

@Nobu Malibu

Gjelina

If you’re an Italian food aficionado, then you’ll love Gjelina—this trendy restaurant on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, one of the hottest spots in the Venice neighborhood, boasts an impressive wine list, a delectable selection of cheeses, salads, and oysters, and above all else, some of the best thin-crust pizza pies that Los Angeles has to offer.

From Gjelina’s traditional dining options (like their beloved mixed mushroom and rosemary pizza) to the more adventurous (their caramelized fennel salami and mozzarella pizza, for instance), Gjelina offers up something deliciously unique for everyone. 

This venue’s interior serves up charming, rustic décor, like large wooden tables and plenty of natural light, and a lovely outdoor patio area perfect for enjoying a picture-perfect afternoon brunch with associates.

Paparazzi have been known to catch the occasional snapshot of members of LA royalty enjoying Gjelina’s delicious pizzas, including stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Natalie Portman, Tom Hanks, and many more.

CATCH

CATCH has a renowned status as one of the toughest restaurants to get into in Los Angeles, but if you can manage to snag a reservation at this elite rooftop seafood haven in West Hollywood, it’ll most certainly be worth the effort.

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Catch

West Hollywood

A-list models and music moguls like John Legend, Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and Chrissy Teigen have flocked to CATCH to take in breathtaking views of downtown LA underneath the venue’s retractable rooftop while enjoying the restaurant’s marveled-after dishes that feature local and sustainable ingredients and unbeatable flavors. 

This restaurant is home to a raw oyster bar, a stellar wine and cocktail menu, and delicious, signature dishes like vegan sweet potato gnocchi with crispy kale and flavorful lobster mac & cheese with mascarpone, freshly grated parmesan, and breadcrumbs. 

CATCH has an assortment of one-of-a-kind private and semi-private spaces in the dining room area with elegant, contemporary décor perfect for hosting meetings and events that will leave guests in awe.

To host your next event at any of these unique venues, let GMS do the arm twisting to get you in.

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A Whimsical 3-Day Weekend in the Heart of Toronto

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A Whimsical 3-Day Weekend in the Heart of Toronto

Setting foot in the colorful city of Toronto is like being dropped right into the center of a live-action avant-garde painting.

Expecting the unexpected is the name of the game in this larger-than-life city known for its diversity and creative flair, so when a group of top-performing business executives came to us in hopes of planning a uniquely-tailored program that would provide their team members with the most memorable incentive trip possible, we knew Toronto would be the perfect destination to provide the group with the ultimate wow-factor experience.

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Morning 1:

After the super-VIP 18-member board of directors arrived at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, they were immediately picked up and whisked away to Shangri-La Toronto, a luxury 5-star hotel known for its grandiose amenities, ornate Asian-inspired décor, and jaw-dropping skyline views. 

After taking the morning to relax and unwind from the comfort of their lush executive hotel rooms, the group reconvened and headed to Bosk, the hotel’s signature restaurant, to enjoy a tantalizing assortment of show-stopping brunch dishes: decadent servings of butter-poached Atlantic lobster, house-made chorizo served with tomato fondue, and perfectly-crispy fried chicken on a bed of fluffy buttermilk waffles, delicately drizzled in authentic Canadian maple syrup, just to name a few.  

Afternoon 1:

After brunch at Bosk, the group headed a few blocks north to the Art Gallery of Ontario and spent the afternoon admiring an eclectically eye-catching selection of artwork made by some of the brightest creative minds the world has to offer.

Night 1:

A few hours later, the group traveled to Edulis, a quaint cottage restaurant that prides itself on utilizing authentic, naturally delicious ingredients to their fullest potential. 

Much to the group’s surprise, it happened to be truffle season while they were visiting Toronto, so along with a menu consisting of rich seafood dishes and fresh vegetables, the group was treated to an elite selection of high-end truffle dishes as part of their meal, like braised brioche with pine nuts and white truffle.

Morning 2:

On their second day in Toronto, the group spent the afternoon at theElgin and Winter Garden Theatres, a gorgeous historic site that is home to the only remaining pair of Edwardian stacked theatres in the entire world. 

They were particularly enchanted by the Winter Garden Theatre, an indoor theatrical venue with storybook charm that houses a picturesque canopy of dried leaves and floral blossoms elegantly aligning the walls and ceiling.

Afternoon 2:

Upon leaving the theatres, the group enjoyed fresh boxed lunches made with produce from a local Toronto market in the city’s famous Grange Park while admiring the area’s sleek public artwork, valuable green space, and infectious air of carefree sophistication and flair present amongst the Toronto locals. 

Night 2:

After an afternoon spent lounging by the hotel’s cascading lap pool, the group then headed to DaiLo, a high-end bistro that puts a modern, award-winning twist on classic forms of Asian cuisine. The group savored every bite of deliciously-unique dishes like buttery pumpkin dumplings, Singapore curry cauliflower, and even a few more adventurous menu options, like their personal favorite dish of the evening: crispy octopus tacos! 

Morning 3:

All good things must eventually come to an end, and so was the case with the VIP group’s 3-day weekend in picturesque Toronto. 

We weren’t ready to let them say goodbye without one last hoorah, so after a quick breakfast at Bosk, the group headed to  Soma Chocolatemaker, a funky and fun specialty chocolate factory that specializes in creating beautiful chocolates with bold, scrumptious flavors. 

After sampling an assortment of satisfying sweet treats, the group stocked up on toffees, pastries, and of course, chocolates, as a way to bring home an authentic piece of Toronto culture to share with loved ones upon their return. 

Travel Home:

After a jam-packed weekend in the charming city of adventure, novelty, and cultural prestige, we rushed the group back to the hotel to pack up their luggage and take one last look at the gorgeous Toronto skyline view before heading to the airport for the journey back home.

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CHICAGO VENUES LIKE NO OTHER

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CHICAGO VENUES LIKE NO OTHER

Looking for a venue that will wow guests at your next event? Check out these extraordinary venues you’ll only find in the “Windy City.”  Chicago is the only US city blessed with eventspaces ranging from sky-high perches with amazing views in some of the world’s tallest buildings to lakeside venues that take full advantage of Chicago’s stunning waterfront. 

Millennium Park

Millennium Park is Chicago’s downtown playground for the arts, creating a giant expanse of green space in the city center (“the Loop”). There are several event venues located throughout this sprawling park, including the stage of the architecturally- (and acoustically-) impressive Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the Rooftop Terrace that offers dazzling skyline views and the tree-lined Chase Promenades, just steps from Michigan Avenue and overlooking the popular Cloud Gate sculpture. Millennium Park can accommodate up to 7,000 people, with many spaces for smaller groups.

Navy Pier

This iconic Chicago landmark dramatically juts out into Lake Michigan, providing sweeping water and skyline views. Navy Pier offers two exhibit halls and 36 meeting rooms. But the real stunners are the nostalgic 18,000-sq.-ft. Aon Grand Ballroom, which is original to Navy Pier’s 1916 construction and features an 80-foot-tall domed ceiling (accommodating up to 1,100 for dinner, with additional seating for 300 in the balcony); and the seasonal Rooftop Terrace, a 27,000-sq.-ft. space equipped with a 50-by-100-ft. tent that can accommodate 350 for a sit-down dinner or 1,000 guests on the entire terrace.

The Crown at Tribune Tower

This hidden gem venue is located 25 stories atop the historic Tribune Tower, at the juncture of North Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River. The private outdoor veranda nestled within the flying buttresses of the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower’s 25thfloor provides your guests with dramatic views of the city. The venue also includes an indoor lounge featuring a copper-topped bar decorated with vintage printing plates from the venerable Chicago Tribune newspaper. The Crown can accommodate up to 150 people for cocktails.

Adler Planetarium

This waterfront space-science museum offers out-of-this world venue options. The spectacular Solarium features floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Lake Michigan. Book the Solarium (370 seated dinner/477 cocktail reception) and guests will have access to the adjacent outdoor terraces with spectacular Chicago skyline views. The Grainger Sky Theater is perfect for presentations or cocktails (195 theater seating/400 reception), and features a dramatic 36-foot-tall domed ceiling. The Clark Family Welcome Gallery features futuristic architecture and colorful customizable lighting, making it the perfect spot for an intimate dinner or reception (80 seated/150 cocktails). Arrange for a thrilling private sky show or high-tech telescope viewing in the Doane Observatory.

360 CHICAGO

Located on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center (the fourth-tallest building in the city), 360 CHICAGO was named one of the Best Views in America by Travel + Leisure, offering panoramic views of the city, Lake Michigan and four states. 360 CHICAGO offers four flexible event spaces that can accommodate groups as small as 10 and up to 550. Each space offers stunning views, with vistas of the cityscape, lakefront and The Magnificent Mile below. Or do a full buyout of the entire 94th floor and bask in true 360-degree views.

Willis Tower Skydeck

Take your next meeting or event to new heights at the 99th-floor Willis Tower Skydeck, located in the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Your guests will be treated to jaw-dropping panoramic views that can span up to four states and nearly 50 miles on a clear day. The flexible venue space can be set up theater, classroom or reception style, accommodating up to 175 seated/300 for a reception. Time your cocktail event at sunset to see the city transform from day to glittering night. You can also arrange for private VIP access to The Ledge, composed of glass balconies that extend four feet beyond the building to create an unforgettable viewing experience from 1,353 feet up in the air, located on the 103rd-floor Skydeck Chicago (the highest observation deck in the United States).

GMS Global Management Services, Inc. is a leading destination management and event planning company with offices throughout the US and Canada.  We specialize in custom-tailored programs for meetings, events and incentives throughout North America. Let us showcase our services in planning your next special event in the US or Canada.

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Toronto as an Incentive Destination

Toronto, Ontario is a cosmopolitan metropolis of entertainment and culture that is revered by city slickers and nature lovers alike. This thriving community provides visitors with the best of both worlds—its combination of jaw-dropping high-rise views and lush, verdant green spaces make this bustling city one unlike any other, so it should be no surprise that travelers from all walks of life have come to regard the city of Toronto as a captivating, enriching, and life-changing incentive destination. 

Toronto has something for everyone; the possibilities for fine dining, sight-seeing, entertainment, and relaxation are virtually endless, so read on to learn what exactly it is about this jack-of-all-trades city that makes it a favorite incentive destination for corporate groups everywhere.

Lights, Camera, Action! 

One of the city’s most popular attractions is the annual Toronto International Film Festival. Drawing in roughly half a million participants from all around the world each year, this innovative festival not only offers film screenings, but is also home to lectures, Q&As with prominent filmmakers, workshops, and much more! 

Many influential, award-winning films have premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, including crowd-pleasers like American Beauty, Black Swan, and 127 Hours. This year’s festival will take place from September 6thto September 16th, so it’s not too late to book your ticket for 2018! 

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Take Fashion and Style to New Heights

Toronto, Ontario is also home to the bi-annual Toronto Fashion Week. This city is regarded as the pinnacle of high fashion and culture, hosting avant-garde, influential, and experimental designers that include the likes ofHilary MacMillan, one of Toronto’s most popular cruelty-free womenswear designers, and Luis Sequeira and Ann Steel, costume designers for Guillermo Del Toro’s 2018 Academy Award-winning film, The Shape of Water.

If you decide to attend Toronto Fashion Week, you can expect to see bright, out-of-this-world fashion prints, sleek elements of sophistication and street style, and fun, vibrant runway trends that will leave you feeling more inspired and invigorated about the world of fashion than ever before! 

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Have a “Ball”

If fashion and film aren’t your cup of tea, not to worry! Toronto also has a thriving professional sports scene, and is represented by major league sports teams in football, hockey, baseball, basketball, and soccer. 

If you’re a fan of baseball, take a trip to the Rogers Centre, the home field of Toronto’s Major League Baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays. The Rogers Center is the first stadium in history to feature a fully retractable motorized roof, and also provides a stunning view of Toronto’s spectacular CN Tower, a 553-meter-high observatory located downtown. Go team!

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America's Best Kept Secret: 3 Hidden Speakeasy-Style Bars You Can Visit Today

During the charmingly-controversial era in the 1920s in the United States—best known today as roaring twenties—skirts got shorter, parties grew livelier, and men and women all across the nation were free to spend their time dancing the night away as vivacious melodies of toe-tapping jazz tunes echoed through the walls of speakeasies: hidden bars established during the Prohibition era so that alcoholic beverages could be secretly sold and enjoyed by the people of our nation without repercussions.

Fortunately, enjoying a delicious artisanal cocktail is no longer something that must be kept secret; however, speakeasy bars have recently made a resurgence in America as the hottest new spots for connoisseurs of culture to order a drink, catch up with friends and colleagues, and take in the enticing atmosphere of our nation’s best “hidden gem” bars.

Read on to learn the ins-and-outs of 3 of the trendiest speakeasy spots in our country, then contact GMS for step-by-step assistance in planning your own stellar speakeasy event! Leave the tough stuff to us; all you need to do is pull up a bar stool, grab a drink, and relax as you travel back in time to a period of glamour, excitement, and entrancing mystery.

Birds & Bees

This secluded speakeasy lounge located in Los Angeles, California, relies on chic lounge décor and classic cocktails with a modern twist to draw in faithful patrons. Locating this hot spot may not be easy for the average bargoer, but speakeasy aficionados know that Birds & Bees can be found underneath LA’s Broadway Media Center; the building even comes complete with a hidden entryway door!

The drink menu boasts an impressive list of mouthwatering cocktails, beer, and wine that are certain to leave your taste buds tantalized, some of which are named after the Jazz Age’s greatest icons; one of their most popular drinks, the Ella Fitzgerald, is a dirty martini with a delicious twist—a splash of pickle juice just as unique as Ella herself!

The Patterson House

The Patterson House was developed by Benjamin Goldberg, a dedicated entrepreneur hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, who dreamed of creating a speakeasy bar with an air of southern charm and hospitality.

Their drink menu features some of the most innovative cocktails around; the house special, a Bacon Old Fashioned, is made with rich, sweet maple syrup, coffee pecan bitters, bacon-infused bourbon, and a hint of orange peel for extra zest. The Patterson House is also known for their creative take on interior décor; perhaps the most highly coveted seating area in the speakeasy is the 20-meter saloon-style bar. 

The Broken Dram

This eclectic speakeasy-style bar located in Portland, Maine, is the epitome of mystery and charm; patrons enter the bar through a secret entrance located behind a fake bookcase found deep within another bar, Portland’s famous Blyth & Burrows, and leave the bar through a hidden back alley exit.

The Broken Dram’s guests can enjoy signature cocktails and delicious drinks named after famous duos like Elvis and Priscilla or Kurt and Courtney while taking in the speakeasy’s dark, sophisticated, and incredibly elegant atmosphere.

Reach out to GMS today to start planning a speakeasy-inspired incentive trip your whole group will adore. Contact us for your personal proposal.

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Saint Patrick's Day

Saint Patrick's Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, "the Day of the Festival of Patrick"), is a cultural and religious celebration held on March 17th, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland.  What began as a religious feast day in the 17th century, has evolved into a variety of festivals across the globe celebrating Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, and a whole lot of green.

Celebrate Irish culture and tradition in Chicago with its deep-rooted Irish heritage.  From raucous pub crawls to lively parades, there’s nothing quite like Saint Patrick's Day in Chicago.  Irish taverns are packed with revelers and jovial crowds jam the city streets.  However, the spectacular sight is reserved for the dyeing of the Chicago River that sparkles brilliant shades of emerald green.

Dyeing of the Chicago River

On Saturday, March 17th, you are in for what might be one of the world's most famous Saint Patrick's Day rituals—when the Chicago River turns an emerald green. Actually, at first glance, the eco-friendly (yet secret formula) dye used appears orange on the river's surface—but don't panic. Thanks to a little leprechaun magic (or, well, science), the hue transforms and seeps in until the whole river is a bright, beautiful green. Dating back to over 50 years ago, the dyeing of the river remains a cherished tradition for many generations of Chicagoans and draws almost ½ million spectators to the city center eager to catch a glimpse before taking in the parade that follows. The Chicago River keeps its color for about five hours only, so don't miss it!

Saint Patrick’s Day Parade

Chicago is home to one of the largest St. Patrick's Day parades in the US.  Join in the Chicago tradition that dates back to over 60 years ago.  Rain or shine, don your best green outfit—or a kilt if you dare—and embrace all Chicago has to offer for those Irish at heart. You will be witnessing an array of colorful floats waving their green flags high, troops of Irish step dancers in their requisite curls, booming marching bands and bagpipers.  A sight not to be missed.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! 

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Find Luxurious Amenities, Serene Views, and Can't-Miss Entertainment at the Newly-Renovated Roxy Hotel

Last week, The Roxy, a historic New York City hotel known for its unparalleled location in the heart of Tribeca, one of Manhattan’s trendiest, liveliest, wealthiest, and most architecturally stunning neighborhoods, announced their nomination for the Travel + Leisure 2018 World's Best Awards. This nomination arrives following the hotel’s completion of $15 million dollars in renovations toward The Roxy’s dazzling public spaces, rooms, suites, and entertainment venues!

Thanks to The Roxy Hotel’s unrivaled array of options for dining, shopping, relaxation, and entertainment, there are endless opportunities available for those looking to enjoy a travel experience with their group at The Roxy that is truly one-of-a-kind.

Perhaps the biggest draw of The Roxy Hotel is The Django, a hip, cult subterranean jazz and cocktail lounge where guests can take in the sweet, soulful melodies of saxophones and grand pianos while enjoying wine, spirits, specialty cocktails, appetizers, and gourmet desserts in the comfort of The Django’s plush, low-lying leather and velvet seating.

After you take in toe-tapping tunes played by the best jazz musicians NYC has to offer, stop by The Roxy Hotel’s Roxy Cinema, an intimate 118-seat cinema in downtown Manhattan that features stunning, Art Deco-inspired design elements, mouthwatering craft cocktails, and a lavish, gourmet concession stand filled with delicious meals and treats to eat as you enjoy your film. Unlike traditional movie cinemas, The Roxy Cinema prides itself on showing unique films that cannot be found elsewhere; first-run independent films, 35mm cult classics, and rare archival prints are just a few of the standout film selections available for viewing at Roxy Cinema.

The excitement doesn’t have to stop there! The ground level of The Roxy Hotel is also home to Jack’s Stir Brew, a premium coffee shop that brews unique, organic fair trade coffee (using a special stir brew technique to produce drinks with richer flavor), loose leaf teas, high-quality espressos, and delicious, vegan baked goods.

After you fill up on The Django’s hand-shucked oysters and specialty cocktails, enjoy an independent film at Roxy Cinema, order a shot of Jack’s famous triple ristretto espresso, and take in some of the sights and sounds of New York City that aid in making The Roxy so special, it’s time to go back to your luxury hotel suite to relax and unwind. Fortunately, resting into a state of calm and tranquility is quite simple at The Roxy Hotel! The Roxy is home to 201 exquisite guestrooms, 40 grand multi-bedroom suites, and Penthouse 8, the stunning, two-story pied-a-terre complete with private access to an exclusive rooftop terrace, 900 square feet of areas to relax, work, and sleep, and stellar floor-to-ceiling windows that provide guests with a panoramic view of the most stunning skyline sights in Lower Manhattan.

For groups seeking travel incentive opportunities that combine the best of art, entertainment, nightlife, dining, and relaxation in a luxurious city setting rich with vitality, history, and culture, The Roxy provides guests with a slice of New York City paradise that is certain to make your next corporate event one that will be remembered forever! Contact Global Management Services today for your personal proposal. 

(All photos courtesy of The Roxy Hotel website).

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Product Launch of a different sort

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Product Launch of a different sort

When the word got out that a luxury auto manufacturer was about to introduce a new vehicle type to the North American market, naturally a fierce rivalry broke out amongst leading event production companies vying for the enviable honor to showcase their ware and flair.  After all, such opportunities don’t come by often.  GMS decided to throw its name in the hat too.  The deciding factors were all very exact, demanding and revolved mostly around uniqueness and creativeness of ideas.  To our delight, the client elected to award the project to GMS. 

Now the hard work started.  Luckily, the client had already selected Chicago for this momentous event.  Situated on the confluence of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River, Chicago is blessed with an impressive urban landscape.  We immediately thought that the Chicago River could offer extraordinary opportunities as an unconventional “road” to transport the model vehicle for this project.  We just had to construct a way of incorporating the River into our proposal—and that we did.  We proposed to have the new vehicle brought in for the reveal on a barge floating on the Chicago River and had the barge docked close by the event venue we had already scouted—the Chicago Lyric Opera.  And not just anywhere at the opera house.  We designed to have the car nowhere by on the stage of the famed opera house. 

The invitees, the company’s dealers from across North America, arrived like royalty and unaware of what to expect.  Upon entry, guests were treated to sumptuous canapés and champagne as they strolled over the theatre’s red carpet admiring the theatre’s grand surrounds as the jazz quartet entertained the visibly excited patrons.  Once introductory festivities were at their height, to the amazement of just about everyone in the audience, unexpectedly lights dimmed, the velvet curtains slowly lifted, and there it was—the brand-new model vehicle—on the centerstage like the rightful star of the show.  Jaws dropped and then, as if in collective awe, the audience broke into an enthusiastic applause—like it had been rehearsed for months.  Admirations were afloat—both about the car as well as the striking way it was revealed.  Many of the dealers had previously witnessed a new vehicle roll off the assembly line, but no one had ever experienced seeing it on the performing stage like a singular star of a Broadway show.       

The participants’ authentic reaction was acclaim enough for us.  But our client showered us after with genuine words of praise—that we accepted with gratitude and humility.  Product launches pose special challenges for event planning companies.  Only careful and measured analysis of the client’s objectives and the product in question can act as a good roadmap to success.  We were gratified to take the bow.   

GMS is the leading producer of special events in the US and Canada    

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Chicago Ranks as the No 1 City in the World

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Chicago Ranks as the No 1 City in the World

According to Time Out’s annual City Life Index, Chicago is once again the top city in the world.  It’s hard to believe it as Chicagoans dig out from under 20” of snow, but over 15,000 respondents from around the world think so.  Two years in a row, the Windy City has grabbed the top rank away from all major metropolitan areas from around the globe.  The Index looked at 6 variables to reach its ranking.

1.     Dining Options

Chicago is blessed with so many food options and ranked in this category only behind Tel Aviv.  Ask any Chicagoan and they will agree with you because on average the Windy City dwellers dine out once a week and don’t mind waiting for a table for an hour. 

2.     Culture, Culture, Culture

The wealth of museums, concert halls and theaters make Chicago the mecca for cultural diversity.  On average, Chicagoans go to a cultural venue once a month. 

3.     Warm and Friendly Residents

As the heart of the Midwest, Chicago is populated with the warmest and most friendly residents. Holding the door for you comes naturally for every Chicagoan as does thanking for anything you do for them.

4.     Chicago is Inexpensive

As the third largest city in the US, and one of the biggest cities in the world, Chicago remains very affordable.  Ranked only behind Philadelphia, it is still possible to own your own home, dine out or enjoy the cultural activities in Chicago without having to take a second mortgage on your home.   Eat your heart out London—or Paris!

5.     Chicagoans are Happy

While no Bhutan, Chicago ranks as one of the happiest people in the survey.  More than 90% of respondents were happy to be living in this Metropolis—harsh winters notwithstanding. 

6.     Quality of Life

Chicagoans are content to be living here.  They cite good public transportation and easily accessible amenities as some of the reasons.  The “L” train does a great job taking away people’s frustration with driving.  The city’s infrastructure makes for an easy place to get around.  Try that in Los Angeles.

 

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Viceroy arrives in Gold Coast

After opening hotels in Saint Lucia, California, Colorado, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates, the Viceroy Hotel Group had been on a hunt for a perfect location in Chicago since 2014. After three long years of picking a site, getting the permits, and finally constructing the 180-rooms, Viceroy Chicago finally opened its doors on September 1st to great acclaim.  Let’s take a peek at what this new boutique luxury hotel has to offer the Windy City.

Accommodation

Viceroy has 48 King guestrooms, 79 Executive guestrooms, 11 Double Queen guestrooms, 5 Junior suites, 12 one-bedroom suites with a view of Lake Michigan, and a suite that’s made up of a two-bedroom penthouse! No matter which room you choose to stay in, you’re assured a great view and such amenities as:

·       WiFi

·       In-room Safe

·       Nespresso machine with complimentary coffee

·       Refreshment center

·       Bedside and desk charging ports

·       Business desk

·       Luxurious body and hair products

·       Sleek rain shower

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Dining  

Two new restaurants come with Viceroy Chicago:  Somerset and Devereaux. Both restaurants will be led by executive chef Lee Wolen, who is a Chicago favorite with a Michelin Star to his credit. Somerset will be on the ground floor of what used to be The Cedar Hotel.  Specializing in American cuisine, Somerset offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day of the week, while brunch is only served on the weekend. Devereaux will be on the 18th floor, along with a rooftop pool and lounge. It’s the perfect place for cocktails and a bite to eat with a gorgeous view of Lake Michigan and the Gold Coast.

Somerset Restaurant

Somerset Restaurant

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