When Pelican Grand Beach Resort was built in 2004, designers reminisced on the good ol’ days of early Fort Lauderdale, Florida, creating a relaxing Caribbean-inspired design with white, beachy furnishings and tiered ceilings straight out of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” Now, after a multimillion-dollar expansion completed in June 2015, the hotel is more glamorous than ever with two new ballrooms and outdoor rooftop spaces.
Among the additions are the Oceanview Terrace on the 11th floor and the Oceanview Ballroom, which has 180-degree views of the Atlantic, a private balcony and blackout shades for presentations. “You’re king of the hill within our hotel with the intimate services we provide,” says Bob Keesler, general manager.
As one of the few beach properties in the city, and only 75 feet from the ocean, the AAA Four Diamond hotel has ocean views from most of its 10,000 square feet of meeting space and 156 guest rooms. The property’s oceanfront restaurant, Ocean2000, serves small bites such as baked goat cheese and sauteed mussels. Planners can coordinate a dinner in the adjoining veranda, or do as one group did and organize a pig roast on the sand dunes, using low tables with soft pillows for seating.
Off-site, groups can take in eclectic art pieces at the historic Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, which has a waterfront meeting space (with swans!) accommodating up to 350 guests for a private event. Planners also get discounted rates through the hotel for private art classes held at Nova Southeastern University—a great option for an intellectual teambuilding event, says Keesler.