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Georgia, Florida and the Swingin’ Medallions

Georgia, Florida and the Swingin' MedallionsFrom 1986 to 2010, a favorite annual event at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation was the big Georgia/Florida (or Florida/Georgia if you are so inclined) bash thrown the night before the big game featuring the “Party Band of the South”, The Swingin’ Medallions.

The tradition ended when the property changed ownership in 2010, BUT… Omni AIP has decided it’s time to bring it back! On Friday, October 31, 2014, The Swingin’ Medallions will return to kick off the weekend festivities with a poolside party from 7-11pm on the largest poolscape in Northeast Florida, and it will be open to the public!

Tickets are $25 per person and include two drinks, with additional food and beverage available for purchase.

Tickets are available by CLICKING HERE.

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Rotary Club Welcomed Tim Digby

Rotary Club Welcomed Tim Digby

Photo courtesy of www.cbadvertising.com

Contributed by: Deb Cottle

Amelia Island, FL – The Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise welcomed Tim Digby, the Managing Director of the Omni Amelia Island Plantation, to speak to the morning Rotary Club about the 90 million dollar redevelopment of the resort.

A year ago, the resort, with its 1,350 acres along 3.5 miles of the Atlantic Ocean beachfront, was filing bankruptcy. TRT Holdings, Inc., the owner of Omni Hotel and Resorts won the bid and purchased the resort for 67.5 million dollars. Renovations started in November of 2012.

Some of the many projects include:

    -155 new hotel rooms, for a total of 404
    -A 16,500-square-foot ballroom which will enable the resort to claim having the largest ballroom on Amelia Island.
    -A new arrival area
    -An addition of 200 new employees to add to the current 700
    -New hotel lobby and two new pools,/ul>

    The project is expected to be completed by March 2013, and reservations for corporate groups are being booked. The emphasis of the Omni Amelia Island Plantation is to focus more heavily on the convention market versus the vacation market.

    With conventions, the resort has a better chance of booking more rooms! “One convention can easily provide 250 hotel sleeping rooms per night”, according to Tim Digby.

    The Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise meets every Friday at 7:30am at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club. For more information about the club or to attend a morning breakfast meeting, please go to www.ameliaislandrotary.com.

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Omni Amelia Island Plantation breaks ground on $88m expansion

Omni Amelia Island Plantation 2011 Expansion

Omni Amelia Island Plantation 2012 Expansion and Renovation

A bit over a year ago TRT Holdings Inc., owner of Omni Hotels & Resorts in Texas, won a bidding battle and bought the famous with bankruptcy courting Amelia Island Plantation for $67.1 million. A sigh of relief was heard across the Island, where some 500-600 residents are employed at the resort. Disaster was avoided, but what’s more, in OMNI the island found a partner with vision and the means to follow through on that vision.

Today, with a ceremony scheduled to be attended by Florida Governor Rick Scott, the resort will begin an $88 million dollar expansion and renewal project that will turn the resort into the OMNI Group’s Flagship Resort.
The entire expansion and renewal includes:
• 155 new guestrooms with 20 suites for a total of 404 ocean view hotel rooms .
• Two new restaurants, including a Bob’s Steak & Chop House, bringing the total on property restaurants to 11.
• 20,000 additional square-foot of meeting space which along with other expansions will increase the conference center to almost 70,000 square feet.
• A consolidated new welcome center to improve and centralize visitor check in. This will be incorporated in a new oceanview lobby overlooking an infinity edge pool through floor to ceiling viewing windows, of course with an focus pointed oceanview bar.
• The Beach Club will furthermore be enhanced with 2 pools, 50% more water and expansive lounge decks that give space to additional food and beverage service points and expanded restroom facilities.
• The addition will add about 100 employees to the current 700 once it’s finished in the Spring of 2013.

Ocean Side Artist Rendering of OMNI Amelia Island Plantation

Site Plan of OMNI Amelia Island Plantation after Expansion Improvements

We were privy to a preview by General Manager Tim Digby a couple of weeks ago in City Hall, when he explained that the biggest challenge had been to tighten up the entire resort for the challenges of the future. Deep studies were done on tree preservation, how to better connect the various parts of the resort with better accessibility to the expanded retail village and parking solutions. Looking at the architectural drawing and site plans, OMNI has managed to find some quality solutions for the 1,350 acre resort.

Mr. Digby also revealed that the additions reflect a change in marketing philosophy for the resort.“With the group that was here prior,” he said, “the major emphasis on was social/vacation visitors and less on conventions. “We’re really focusing on the larger conventions.” Digby said the market for vacationers is fickle and highly competitive. It leaves hotels vying to book a room here and there. With conventions, you can book 250 rooms in one shot. The hotel’s target is to fill 70 percent of its rooms with conventions,” he said.

Considering that the total of island’s hotel accommodations are looking at an occupancy rate just other 60%, he just may be right with that objective.

Publisher’s Note: Apologies for the quality of photos as they were taken from the Powerpoint projection in the angle I was sitting to the screen.