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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

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

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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The Enormous Assembly Chef's Hall in Toronto

Toronto’s newest food sanctuary is the 18,000-square-foot Assembly Chef’s Hall which just opened in the city’s downtown. The massive venue is food lovers’ bazaar.  Open seven days a week, the food emporium is packed with close to 20 dining establishments.  The place is abuzz with activity already before it even opens its outdoor patio.  Here are some of the famed food outlets that are now calling the Assembly home. 

Bluenose Lobster.  Everything Nova Scotia lobster—from bisque to rolls to thermidor.
Bulldog Coffee.  If you are into specialty coffees, head to Bulldog and try Unique espresso-based drinks, made using beans from Africa, Central and South America.

Cherry Street Bar-B-Que.  BBQs anyone?  How about pit-smoked meats, including brisket, baby back ribs and pulled pork.  Don’t forget your side: mac and cheese, coleslaw, baked beans.

Mira Mira.  How about some healthy options:  Matcha-chia pudding, barbecued okra bowls and/or honey-kimchi chicken anyone?

Reyna.  Toronto is now such a cosmopolitan city.  How about some Mediterranean sharing plates and mezze, including charcuterie and Pintxos.

Shari.  Feel like some good sushi?  How about Chirashi sushi, assorted sushi ingredients placed over a bowl of seasoned sushi rice.

The Assembly Hall comes also with a Beer Hall, equipped with a DJ booth perfect for an event, live shows and TV broadcast.

Not to be missed is the Wine Bar, which serves a selection of wines and spirits. The whole space is licensed, so your guests can grab a drink at either bar and find a seat wherever they like.

To hold your event in a totally different venue with an exciting vibe, let GMS organize a dine-around for your group at the Assembly Chef’s Hall.   

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Of Art and Great Architecture

Architecture can say a lot about a city. Its oldest builds can tell a rich history; and the modern buildings seem to always find a spot in the city’s heart and skyline. Global Management Services found some really cool venues that you should check out for your next event if you find yourself in any of these cities.  So next time trade in the humdrum hotel ballroom for a place with real history.

New York City

Built in 1930, the Chrysler building was once the tallest building in the world until the Empire State Building was built just 11 months later. The Chrysler Building is one of the buildings that the entire world recognizes, even if they may have never stepped foot on American soil.  With its beautiful art deco style, it has made several cameo appearances in movies and TV shows. The lobby is open to the public, so stop by to look at the intricate details that the Art Deco was known for. Only the lobby is open to the public, but there are plenty of event spaces where you can get a great view of one the most iconic building in New York City.

Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim family was well-known for their influence on the art world as both artists and art collectors. Having so many connections to artist and architects alike, Frank Lloyd Wright deigned this museum. Opened in 1959, the Guggenheim Museum is a great example of contemporary art. You can even host your event there, with a variety of spaces to choose from. For something small, there is always The Wright, a café that can seat 75 people, or for a larger, grander event, there is the Ronald O. Perlman Rotunda, which can hold up to 250 people for a seated dinner, or up to 1,000 people for a reception.

World Trade Center

The World Trade Center was originally built in 1973, with the Twin Towers being the tallest buildings in the world upon completion. In 2001, the world trade center was attacked by terrorists, leaving the property destroyed. As a way of looking toward the future, the World Trade Center was—and still is—being built, with a memorial park and museum on the spot where the twin towers once stood. On the 100th, 101st, and 102nd floors is the one world observatory deck. There, you can take in some of the best views of Manhattan. There is even a restaurant and bar that you can stop by to wine and dine. The observatory is also available for private events, from meetings to holiday parties.

Boston

MIT Kresge Auditorium

Known as the Kresge Oval to MIT students, The MIT Kresge Auditorium is another great example of mid-century architecture. Designed by Eero Saarinen, it was meant to serve as a place for MIT students to come together in 1955. Today, it still hosts many events and brings people from all over the world to relish in beautiful design. Since this is considered a public space, it may not be suitable for an event. However, there is always the MIT Museum which is always available for events, even without a college sponsorship.

Old North Church

Founded in 1722, the Old North Church is one of the oldest churches in Boston; and service is still being held there. As a part of American history, this is the church were Paul Revere saw the signal of the British coming. On horseback, Revere rode what we now call the Freedom Trail that played such a pivotal role in the revolutionary war. You can have your own personal tour for an after-hours group event. Enjoy the gift shop and chocolate shop with authentic practices of making 18th century chocolate while having the option of renting the outdoor space or turning the gift shop into an event space for a cocktail reception. 

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