Lufthansa began twice-daily nonstop service from Frankfurt, Germany, to London’s Gatwick Airport.
Virgin Atlantic will offer nonstop service between London and Vancouver, beginning in summer 2012.
In Buenos Aires, the Algodon Mansion and its restaurant Chez Nous became members of Relais & Chateaux. They are the city’s first hotel and second restaurant to be awarded this distinction.
The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre won the Best Green Initiative category at the national Exhibition and Events Association of Australasia’s Annual Awards for its environmental practices and role as an industry leader on sustainability issues. It is the fourth consecutive time the exhibition center has won this category.
The spa and gym at Vancouver’s Wedgewood Hotel & Spa are undergoing renovations to be completed by early 2012.
The Mission Hills Group has partnered with Marriott International to manage the new Ritz-Carlton and Renaissance hotels at Mission Hills on Hainan Island. Construction on both hotels is scheduled to begin early next year.
The Prague Convention Bureau launched a new meeting planners’ guide that can be downloaded from its website.
London’s Gatwick Airport completed a 73-million pound expansion project that will allow it to accommodate up to 20 million passengers a year.
The Aloft London Excel Hotel opened in the heart of the Docklands development, next to the ExCeL International Exhibition and Convention Centre with 252 loft-style rooms, a bar and five meeting spaces for groups of up to 15.
Marriott International is constructing a $45 million, $173-room hotel in Port-au-Prince that is expected to open in 2014.
The former Ristia Resort is expected to reopen next spring as the Le Méridien Bali Jimbaran with 123 suites and more than 2,000 square feet of meeting space.
The Tel Aviv Museum of Art opened the 195,000-sq. ft. Herta and Paul Amir Building, effectively doubling its size. The glass and concrete building features an 87-ft. high atrium and five levels of natural-light galleries. It will host the country’s largest permanent installation of Israeli art.
AEG Ogden convention and exhibition management company has been selected to operate the new Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre in Muscat. The center is expected to open in stages throughout 2014 and 2015. Amenities will include a 3,200-seat auditorium and 237,000 square feet of exhibition space.
The Aloft Bangkok-Sukhumvit 11 opened with 296 rooms, an outdoor swimming pool and more than 2,750 square feet of meeting space.
United Arab Emirates
The Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi & Villas opened with 306 guest rooms, including 39 suites and four luxury villas, and meeting space for up to 550.
The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa opened with 172 guest rooms, a championship golf course, full-service spa, three ballrooms, a conference center and boardrooms.
Megabus now offers daily express bus service to/from Atlanta and 11 other cities: Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile, Ala; Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga, Tenn.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Gainesville, Orlando and Jacksonville, Fla.
In Scottsdale, the Saguaro hotel (formerly the Hotel Theodore) opened after a $10 million renovation. Amenities include 194 guest rooms and 10,000 square feet of meeting space.
Also in Scottsdale, The Phoenician completed a $4 million renovation of its 25 suites, the final phase of an $80 million, three-year project that has refurbished the property’s meeting venues, public spaces and guest rooms.
The Grand Del Mar in San Diego received Forbes’ Five Star rating for its hotel, restaurant and spa.
Orange County’s John Wayne Airport completed a $543 million expansion and renovation project that added an international terminal (Terminal C), improved signage, expanded security access and added parking. Next year, Southwest Airlines (via AirTran) plans to launch service from the new terminal to Mexico City and Cabo San Lucas.
The Viceroy Snowmass opened a 10,000-sq. ft. outdoor meeting and event space called the Great Lawn.
The Omni Amelia Island Plantation is undergoing an $85 million redevelopment that will add 20,000 square feet to its conference center, 155 new guest rooms, a pool, an expanded beach club and a new lobby, as well as revamp menus and improve resort connectivity and parking. When renovations are complete, the resort will have 70,000 square feet of meeting space and 404 oceanfront guest rooms.
The Renaissance World Golf Village Resort and Convention Center in Jacksonville/St. Augustine opened Villagio, a casual Italian grill serving dinner nightly.
The Peabody Orlando celebrated its 25th anniversary last month. It is the largest non-gaming Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star, AAA Four-Diamond hotel in the United States, and has held the Forbes Four-Star ranking for 23 consecutive years.
Nonstop service between Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) and Aalborg, Denmark (AAL), has been postponed. Flights will begin in the summer of 2012.
Boat cruises and tours are now available between Captiva Island and the Edison and Ford Winter estates in Fort Myers, which offer year-round Spanish-language tours.
Downtown Fort Myers now has a wine trail with gallery-hosted wine and beer tastings, seminars, food tastings, chef demos, wine lunches and dinners, and live music.
A 1939 Trumpy yacht will be available for charter voyages departing the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo through April 2012. It accommodates up to 30 for meetings and events and six people for weekend-long excursions.
The Atlanta Airport Marriott added two compressed natural gas shuttle vehicles to its fleet, which already includes two similar vehicles and two traditional gas-powered shuttles.
The Atlanta Marriott Marquis installed guest-room occupancy sensors tied to lights and in-room thermostats. When guests enter, triggering the “occupancy” mode, they have control over the settings; otherwise, lights are shut off and temperatures are moved to “unoccupied” ranges automatically. Other sustainability initiatives at the property include a water reuse program that has recycled 37 million gallons of laundry water.
Georgia Tech’s Historic Academy of Medicine in midtown Atlanta is now available for public events. On the National Register of Historic Places, the academy features the chandelier used in “Gone With the Wind,” cutting-edge meeting technology, a 230-seat theater and six meeting event spaces.
In Braselton, Château Élan completed a $1.5 million renovation of its full-service spa’s guest suites. Recently, a $3 million renovation upgraded the spa’s treatment rooms and relaxation areas.
Visit Savannah launched a new mobile-friendly version of its website.
The $125 million, 334-room Radisson Blue Chicago opened downtown in the 81-story Aqua building.
The Swissôtel Chicago is undergoing a $10 million renovation of its lobby and meeting space.
The Hilton Wichita Airport Executive Conference Center will be rebranded a DoubleTree in January.
The 256-room Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel opened with 63 luxury suites and 13,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 7,500-sq. ft. ballroom. It is the first hotel built here in more than 40 years.
The Hyatt Regency Minneapolis is undergoing a $25 million renovation of its guest rooms, suites, public areas and restaurants. The project is scheduled for completion in spring 2012.
The Peppermill Resort Spa Casino in Reno earned the AAA Four-Diamond rating for hospitality industry excellence. The hotel offers online check-in for guests. Room keys may be picked up on property at the Express Check-In Kiosk. Other amenities include 1,635 guest rooms and suites, a full-service spa, nine restaurants, 16 themed bars and lounges, and meeting space.
The Golden Nugget Atlantic City hotel, formerly the Trump Marina Hotel Casino, is undergoing a $150 million rebranding and renovation project.
In Pittsburgh, the DoubleTree is now known as the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Pittsburgh Downtown.
Union Station Hotel in downtown Nashville joined Marriott’s Autograph Collection.
The new Embassy Suites Houston-Downtown earned LEED Silver certification for its sustainable design, construction and operation. The 262-room, all-suite hotel offers charging stations for electric vehicles, recycling programs and 6,000 square feet of flexible meeting space steps from the Toyota Center and Minute Maid Park.
Several new venues are expected to open in Houston next year, including the $48.4 million Asia Society Texas Center and the 22,000-seat Houston Dynamo Stadium. Downtown, the former Hotel ICON is undergoing a $5 million renovation in a conversion to a Marriott Autograph Collection luxury hotel.
The Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau gained accreditation from Destination Marketing Association International.
Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau joined the International Council of Tourism Partners, a global alliance of destination marketing organizations dedicated to sustainable growth.
The Hyatt on Main, Green Bay (formerly the Hotel Sierra Green Bay), reopened with 241 guest rooms and 17 meeting venues.