[ON LOCATION] BARBARA SCOFIDIO
There are waterfront resorts and then there is Opal Sands Resort & Spa in Clearwater Beach, FL. While this hotel promises that each room offers Gulf views, I wasn’t prepared for just how close those views were: You literally feel like you’re on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean when you look out the window.
That was just the first of many sweet surprises I encountered at Opal Sands during Prevue’s Meet Well Summit, held Aug. 23 to 25. From the start, our partners embraced the event’s wellness theme, offering opportunities like a daily guided morning beach walk for attendees and bringing in representatives from the local YMCA of the Suncoast for a “Deskercise” class during one of the breaks.
Attendees were impressed by the creativity of the chef and banquet staff, who designed a menu that was just as healthy as it was delicious. Highlights included a lunch where the group created their own power bowls with a choice of base (quinoa, superfood slaw, soba noodles or jasmine rice) topped with a variety of proteins and veggies; a fruit smoothie break with no-bake granola bars; and a kombucha break featuring locally sourced kombuchas. The final evening’s dinner at Opal Sands’ nearby sister resort, Sandpearl Resort, was a raw seafood lover’s delight, with platters overflowing with soft shell crabs, oysters and shrimp.
Opal Sands’ “salons” (meeting spaces) overlook the water through floor-to-ceiling windows and there is also a 2,400-sf event lawn perched high above the ocean. Best of all, Clearwater Beach’s powdery white sand is literally just steps away.
As a long-time meeting planner, I appreciate established properties whose staffs have spent their careers there; many people on the teams at both resorts had been with the Opal Collection for years. Assistant director of conference services Lynne Grant is a seasoned pro who can practically read what you need without you asking—a true gift.
Just across the street from Opal Sands, Opal Sol has broken ground and will open in 2025 with 248 Gulf-front suites, three pools and a full-service spa, creating a combined 43,000 sf of combined event space with Opal Sands connected by a skyway bridge.
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