24 February 2012

Celebrities invade Orlando for NBA All-Star game (Celebrities news headlines)


Celebrities invade Orlando for NBA All-Star Game
Orlando Sentinel reported

Mary J. Blige is staying in a downtown Orlando penthouse. At least one celebrity is renting a furnished house in Isleworth for $27,000 for two nights. Another star is bunking in a four-bedroom home in Winter Park for $30,000 for two nights.

And you can hardly rent a black luxury car.

With the NBA All-Star Game in Amway Center this weekend, Central Florida is bracing for an onslaught of celebrities and VIPs.

Top-selling recording artists Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown and Lil Wayne are among a host of big names scheduled to make appearances at venues across Orlando.

Add to that the nearby Daytona 500 on Sunday, plus Disney's popular Princess Half Marathon this weekend, which boasts participants such as ESPN anchor Sage Steele and WNBA player Lindsey Harding, and this promises to be a busy weekend for fans and celebrities gallivanting about Central Florida.

So busy, in fact, that the city is experiencing a shortage of black luxury cars — a common request of celebrities.

"It's bad right now," said Willie Fisher, who is managing more than a dozen star-studded events with his company Front-Line Promotions.

Sunday's NBA All-Star Game is one of the nation's most popular sporting events besides the Super Bowl, and Central Florida is planning to roll out its own red carpet for public — and private — events at Orlando-area clubs, hotels, event centers and even an airport.

The Ritz-Carlton — known to be a favorite brand of Kobe Bryant — has seen demand for its suite rooms. The $10,000-a-night Royal Suite, which comes with a 24-hour butler, is booked. So are the hotel's two presidential suites, which go for $7,500 a night.

The hotel, naturally, won't say who's staying there.

"The reason why these guests choose to stay with us is because they know that we're going to protect their privacy," said hotel spokeswoman Michelle Valle. Staff has training from the first days on the job on how to handle VIPs: no autograph or photo requests permitted.

But celebrities don't have to settle for luxury hotels.

The Vue fielded offers of up $20,000 a night for its penthouses but couldn't accommodate the requests because its condo documents don't allow penthouses to be rented by the night, said Cristian Michaels, director of sales and marketing for The Vue.

Mall at Millenia's Gucci store has flown in extra staff from across the country to help meet the expected onslaught of customers in town for the festivities, manager Jorge Cruz said. He wouldn't confirm whether his store had any private-shopping sessions scheduled for celebrity clientele but said the employees often deliver products to celebrity VIPs at their respective hotels.

Some high-profile customers might choose to skip the malls altogether and head to the Ballroom at Church Street for private pampering at the Luxe Lounge, presented by Jane Layne Events and Haute Living magazine. The invite-only event at the Ballroom includes spa pampering, a relaxation station and a Peroni beer garden, as well as high-end gifts to take home.
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