Heather Doughlin became director of the Convention Industry Council’s Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) program.
Junior Tauvaa was named vice president, member care and chapter business management, of Meeting Professionals International (MPI).
Christopher Nassetta was named chief executive officer of Hilton Hotels Corp.
Daniel J. Rowe was named chief executive officer of the Panama City Beach [Fla.] Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Mike Speicher was named general manager of the Westin Imagine Orlando; Bob Geller was named director of sales and marketing.
Chet Surmaczewicz became general manager of the Embassy Suites Lake Buena Vista, Orlando.
Rolando Aedo was promoted to senior vice president of marketing and tourism of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Michael Hammond was named general manager of the Hyatt Place North Point Mall (formerly the Amerisuites North Point) in Alpharetta, Ga. Melissa Ashurst was named director of sales; Dacia Coleman was promoted to sales manager.
Mark Spanka became general manager of the Atlanta Marriott Alpharetta [Ga.].
Tiffany Woods was named director of sales of the Wingate by Wyndam in Alpharetta, Ga.
Steve Richer, the executive director of the Gulf Coast [Miss.] Convention & Visitors Bureau, is retiring; he will join the National Tour Association’s government and industry relations team as a consultant.
Brett Miller was named general manager of Nashville’s Union Station Hotel.
Mike Tester will become executive director of the Austin [Texas] Convention Center in January.
Mark C. White was named director of sales for the Wintergreen Resort in Wintergreen, Va.
Delta will begin seasonal nonstop service between Aspen, Colo., and Atlanta on Feb. 16.
Skybus Airlines will begin nonstop service between Columbus, Ohio, and Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss., on Dec. 5. American Airline’s regional affiliate will begin nonstop service between Chicago-O’Hare and Gulfport-Biloxi on Dec. 13. Myrtle Beach Direct Air will offer nonstop flights between St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla., and Gulfport-Biloxi, beginning Dec. 20.
Sacramento [Calif.] Convention & Visitors Bureau has formed a sales partnership with the Fort Worth [Texas] and Baltimore [Md.] convention and visitors bureaus. The coalition offers discounts for booking a multiyear package in any or all of the three cities.
NYLO Hotels launched a new Web site, nylohotels.com, which has links to retail, music and online art galleries as well as profiles, information and booking engines connected to NYLO properties.
The Travel Business Roundtable (TBR) and Discover America Partnership (DAP) plan to merge with the Travel Industry Association (TIA), forming a single organization by 2009. TIA will absorb DAP’s staff and create a new public affairs program with TBR.
James Beard Award-winning chef Robert McGrath, 2001’s Best Chef in Southwest and Phoenix’s 2007 No. 1 Chef, will open restaurant REM in Scottsdale on Jan. 1, serving California continental cuisine in the Smoke Tree Resort.
Also opening in Scottsdale by the new year is The Estate House, a three-level, mansion-inspired, dinner-only establishment with a champagne bar, fresh seafood, artisan cheeses, pastries and coffees, located in the $41 million South Bridge development.
The Denver International Airport will launch Clear Registered Traveler lanes in late December/early January.
The Museum of Contemporary Art opened in Denver’s LoDo neighborhood at the corner of 15th and Delgany streets. The museum has five gallery spaces, three classrooms, and indoor and garden event space.
NYLO Interlocken is scheduled to break ground in second quarter 2008 and open in mid-2009 in the Denver/Boulder technology corridor. The property will have 176 loft-style rooms, a high-tech gym, 24-hour healthy onsite dining, and a business center. The property will be part of the 575 Interlocken multi-use development and be adjacent to 13,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space.
District of Columbia
The Washington Convention Center was renamed the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, in honor of the city’s first elected mayor.
Hotel Washington, the city’s oldest continuously operating hotel, will close its doors on Jan. 1 to undergo a 12-month renovation, reopening as the W Washington D.C. in 2009. Amenities will include a signature restaurant and spa, 24-hour concierge service, a rooftop bar and terrace, and more than 13,000 square feet of flexible meeting space.
The Water Street Hotel & Marina opened in Apalachicola with 40 beds and two conference rooms overlooking the Apalachicola River.
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens opened the $1.9 million, 1.6-acre Trout River Plaza garden event space overlooking the Trout River.
The Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village is to complete its $8 million renovation next month. Improvements will include remodeled guest rooms, lobby atrium, main ballroom, restaurant, bar and meeting rooms, and new lighting.
The Tallahassee Antique Car Museum is scheduled to move to a new 95,000-sq. ft. building by the end of this year near I-10 and Mahan Drive.
The Orlando World Center Marriott Resort & Convention Center opened the pillar-free, 105,000-sq. ft. Cypress Ballroom, bringing the property’s total meeting space to 450,000 square feet. It is the largest pillar-free resort ballroom in the U.S.
The Renaissance Orlando Resort at SeaWorld completed a $27 million renovation of it 781 guest rooms and 185,000 square feet of meeting space.
The Westin Imagine Orlando, a 12-story, 315-room hotel, is scheduled to open in April 2008 with 7,200 square feet of meeting space with five function rooms, outdoor event venues, onsite dining and a lagoon-style pool.
The Universal Orlando Resort received Associated Luxury Hotel’s (AHLI) Chairman’s Award for displaying leadership with its property, exemplifying commitment to performance in the marketplace and epitomizing the partner relationship with ALHI.
Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando joined the Florida Green Lodging Program, an organization that establishes environmental guidelines for hotels and motels to conserve natural resources and prevent pollution. Member hotels must implement water conservation measures through low-flow plumbing fixtures, have a linen reuse program, install Energy Star appliances and programmable thermostats, provide recycling opportunities, buy in bulk, purchase recycled materials, recycle ink and toner cartridges, and use green cleaners and high-efficiency air filters.
The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club has completed a $40 million expansion project and is scheduled to complete a soft-goods renovation by the end of this month, replacing bedding and furniture in all 318 guest rooms.
A 400-room Westin hotel anchoring the Palm Beach County Convention Center is scheduled to break ground next April in West Palm Beach.
Palm Beach’s e-Boat Charters.com added the Marina Jack II yacht to its fleet. The boat holds up to 110 guests and is available for private and corporate events.
The 311-room Crowne Plaza Hollywood Beach Resort opened near historic downtown Hollywood along the Intracoastal Waterway. The property has indoor and outdoor dining, three presidential suites, a tiki bar, a fitness center, a business center and 10,000 square feet of meeting space.
The $205 million W Fort Lauderdale Hotel and Residences is scheduled to open early next year with a 346-room hotel overlooking both the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway.
The 1,000-room anchor hotel for the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center will be a Hilton, to open in 2012. Plans for the hotel call for a 27-story building overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway with an infinity-edge pool, 12,000-sq. ft. spa, and 50,000 square feet of ballroom and meeting space. HIlton will pursue LEED Silver certification for the new hotel.
The Fontainebleau Miami Beach is scheduled to complete a $1 billion renovation/expansion in mid-2008 that will add 700 new studio and one-bedroom suites, bringing inventory up to 1,504 luxury rooms.
The W South Beach Hotel and Residences is under construction in Miami. It will have meeting space, more than 500 guest rooms and a full-service spa when it opens in 2009.
The W Atlanta Midtown is scheduled to open in February 2008 with a Bliss Spa, 467 guest rooms, a full-service 24-hour business center, and 36,000 square feet of meeting, banquet and pre-function space. Also onsite will be a Whiskey bar and a Spice Market restaurant.
The Hyatt Place North Point Mall in Alpharetta (formerly the Amerisuites North Point) will complete a total renovation project this month.
Hyatt Place Windward (Alpharetta) completed a total renovation.
Peachtree City’s Aberdeen Woods Conference Center is now being managed by Dolce International. The International Association of Conference Centers (IACC)-designated facility has 233 residential-style guest rooms and 54,000 square feet of meeting space, including 64 meeting rooms, an auditorium and two amphitheaters.
Newnan Village Crossing, a $150 million mixed-use development 25 miles south of Hartsfield-Jackson airport, will break ground this month. The 125-acre development will have three hotels, and numerous restaurants and retail in a pedestrian-friendly environment; phase one will open in 2008.
The Partridge Inn in Augusta now offers a sportsman’s team-building package for groups with activities such as golf clinics or tournaments, boat tours, and trap or skeet shooting.
The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island was ranked the No. 1 resort in the United States by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler.
The Canopy Bluff Hotel & Residences is under construction in Jekyll Island on the site of the former Buccaneer Beach Resort. The future LEED-certified property will have 301 guest rooms, 127 condominiums and 17,000 square feet of meeting space.
The Astor Hotel in New Orleans will be converted into a condominium hotel, with construction beginning early next year. The $50 million renovation will add a 26-story, 259-ft. tower behind the current building.
The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino will open Dec. 20 in Las Vegas with more than 3,000 guest rooms and 450,000 square feet of retail. The property is part of the Las Vegas Sands Megacenter, which has a total of 2.2 million square feet of meeting space. Its grand opening is slated for Jan. 17-19, 2008. Other amenities will include restaurants by celebrity chefs such as Wolfgang Puck, Charlie Trotter and Emeril Lagasse; Broadway-style entertainment; and a sports bar/lounge.
The 147-room Proximity Hotel opened in Greensboro and is seeking LEED platinum certification, the highest level available. If approved, it would be the first such hotel in the U.S. Amenities include 7,000 square feet of meeting space and on-site dining.
For the 12th consecutive year, The Dining Room at Woodlands in Summerville received the AAA Five Diamond Award. It is the only restaurant in South Carolina with that designation. For the 11th consecutive year, Woodlands Resort & Inn received the Five Diamond ranking for its lodging.
The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort near Charleston was awarded the AAA Five Diamond award for the second consecutive year.
The Hotel Indigo West end opened in Nashville near Music Row, Vanderbilt University, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Tennessee State Capital. Amenities include seven function areas, a 24-hour business center and a 3,000-sq. ft., two-bedroom Skyline Suite with a fully equipped chef’s kitchen, two balconies, a living room and a dining room.
Nashville’s Hermitage Hotel received the AAA Five Diamond Award for the fifth consecutive year.
The 600-room Memphis Marriott Downtown completed a $5 million guest room renovation. The hotel has 13,000 square feet of meeting space, including two ballrooms and 10 breakout rooms, and is connected to the 300,000-sq. ft. Memphis Cook Convention Center.
The Crossings, near Austin, opened its Leadership Retreat Center to provide training, coaching, consultation, facilitation and assessment services to corporate groups and their employees. Other amenities of the wellness resort include a/v equipment, a full-service spa, hiking trails, accommodations and healthful dining options.
Austin’s Town Lake was renamed Lady Bird Lake in honor of the former first lady, who dedicated much of her time to beautifying Austin’s parks and gardens.
NYLO Plano at Legacy is scheduled to open Dec. 18 in North Dallas with 176 loft-style rooms, more than 1,800 square feet of meeting and event space, a business center, bar, fitness center, onsite dining and a hypoallergenic floor of guest suites.
San Antonio’s Westin La Cantera resort will undergo a $250 million renovation and expansion, to be completed in 2011. Improvements will add nearly 500 guest rooms and increase meeting space from 39,000 square feet to 160,000 square feet.