Throughout his tenure with Hilton, Edd Karlan never opened a new hotel—until now. The 20-year veteran of the brand left his post with Hilton Atlanta to accept a position as director of sales with Hilton West Palm Beach. All the work he’s put in over the last nine months or so comes to a head today, as the West Palm Beach, Florida, property opens its doors for the first time. Here’s his take on whether it will be a hit with meeting profs.
Besides being the only hotel directly connected to Palm Beach County Convention Center, how is Hilton West Palm Beach different from others in the area?
We like to call it Hilton 2.0. We’ve tapped into what we consider the new style: a combo of Palm Beach flair with a nautical theme that caters to both a meetings customer and a leisure customer. It’s tapping into the local community and partnering with it for artistry, lighting fixtures, culinary, art and music. Even for our coffee, we’re using Rabbit Coffee Roasting Co., a fantastic local producer.
What sets us apart even more is our location. We’re better than many others because we are 3 miles from the airport and directly across the street from CityPlace, yet still only 2 miles from the beach. [Meeting planners] have been most excited about the shopping and dining across Okeechobee Boulevard.
What activities are available for groups?
We have a lot of interest from groups coming in April and May that want to take advantage of our glow-in-the-dark lawn games for about 150 people. As far as themed breaks, we are offering a peppermint bar, which has infused peppermint products as well as coffees and snacks, encouraging attendees to refresh between long sessions. We’re also working with CityPlace on scavenger hunts with different outlets and restaurants.