Black Meetings and Tourism

Sep/Oct 2011

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AREA GUIDES U.S.V.I MEETING IN PARADISE BY SOLOMON J. HERBERT II The U.S. Virgin Islands is a paradise with somuchmore to offer than the tra- ditional beach vacation.Visitors wishing to immerse themselves in a profound cultural experience can enjoy historical tours, culinary encounters, artisan fairs, parades, storytelling and other special presentations. It's no secret. Location is everything and planners looking for an unparalleled destination will find plenty of choices in theU.S.Virgin Islands.The trio of breath- taking beauties—St.Croix,St. John,and St.Thomas—offer the perfect setting to enhance yourmeeting's productivity and create just the right inspiration your group will need. Each of the islands is unique in its offerings and cultural amenities. Whether planning for a group of CEOs or an incentive retreat with spouses and children in tow these set of islands have everything you need to plan an extreme- ly successfulmeeting.Venues range from impressive luxury resorts to smaller inti- mate locations,and provide a profession- al atmosphere for business with an extensive list of off-site locations for hosting functions. The Ritz-Carlton, St.Thomas special- izes in pairing idealmeeting venues with impeccable service. All indoor meeting rooms and event spaces have floor-to- ceiling windows with stunning ocean views, and unique outdoor settings abound. From exclusive board meetings to product launches or corporate-wide celebrations, the natural beauty of the tropics will ensure all your events are memorably excellent. Discover the many signature features of this Caribbean meeting resort, which include 10,000 sq. ft. of indoor and out- door conference and event space, a 2,500-sq. ft. Great Bay Ballroom, stun- ning views ofGreatBay and St.John and accommodations for up to 200 guests. 68 Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas Surrounded by lush green moun- tains and clear blue Caribbean ocean, St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa is an excellent choice for groups ranging in size from 10 to 200 atten- dees with flexible indoor meeting space of over 8,000 sq. ft., plus terrace and poolside areas of more than 5,000 sq. ft. The resort caters to corporate meetings and incentive groups, social groups, sports tournaments, and groups looking for a unique and memorable tropical experience. This resort offers complimentary high-speed Internet in all meeting rooms, audio / visual equipment and on site catering for all occasions. The aro- matherapy of the Caribbean Sea breeze embraces you with relaxation as your senses prepare to immerse into the dream of the Spa at Carambola. Select from a menu of massages, facials, mani- cures and pedicures as well as hair and body treatments. With business out of the way, it's time to indulge in the pleasures of the desti- nation, like the 18-hole championship golf courses on St.Croix and St.Thomas. Walking tours on St. Thomas and St. Croix feature the diverse architecture, evidence of nations that colonized the islands in the 17th and 18th centuries. If you're feeling energetic,walk one of the many street steps, themost famous being the 99 steps on St. Thomas, a common way of getting to higher ground. Your cultural journey continues with a look at the life and creations of artisans and crafterswho earned a living creating functional and decorative pieces. Restored greathouses now serving as museums, like Haagenson House on St. Thomas and Whim Museum on St. Croix, preserve this past, displayingmas- terfully created mahogany pieces, deli- cate linens and original art. Local craft cooperatives, art galleries and artist colonies present theworks of today's tra- dition-bearers. Annaberg Plantation ruins in St. John's National Park offers daily cultural demonstrations, including cooking the old-fashioned way – on a coal pot over an open flame. Remember to carve out some time for a shopping excursion.With a $1,600 duty-free allowance and discounts of 20- 40% on coveted items, you can take home something for everyone on your gift list. WHOYOUGONNACALL? U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism – (800) 372-USVI Black Meetings & Tourism September/October 2011: Photo Credit: U.S.V.I Dept. of Tourism

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