Michael King became general manager of the Ritz-Carlton Denver, Colo.
Rus Heise, managing director at RBC Capital Markets, became the 2007 chair of the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.
David Craig was promoted to general manager of Denver’s Hotel Teatro.
Thomas G. Ailstock Jr. was named golf sales manager of Daytona, Fla.’s Bahama House and Best Western Aku Tiki Inn.
Clifford Higgins was named general manager of the recently re-flagged Americas Best Value Inn and Suites in Kissimmee, Fla.
Gary C. Sain was named president of the Orlando/Orange County [Fla.] Convention & Visitors Bureau Inc., effective Feb. 12, 2007.
Bill Davis became president and CEO of the Universal Orlando Resort.
Robert Janes was named chairman of the Lee County [Fla.] Tourist Development Council.
Julie Musselman became executive director for the Georgia Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus.
Carrie Bohannon was promoted to convention sales manager for the Athens [Ga.] Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Kenneth Jones, CMP, Lisa Ross-Faust and Mary Lynne Thompson formed Atlanta-based dynami, an organization dedicated to meeting and event management, consumer event marketing, incentive programs and destination management services. Kate Larry will head dynami’s destination management branch, Monarch Event Management; Maia Ritter will head dynami’s Boston office.
C. Robert McEleney was promoted to president of Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga.
Stefan Maronge was promoted to national sales manager of New Orleans Fine Hotels, a collection of nine hotels; Kenny Truxillo was promoted to director of travel and tourism.
David DuBois became the new president of the Fort Worth [Texas] CVB.
Michael Newcombe was named general manager of the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas, Texas.
Kristin Howsley was named president and managing director of the Fairmont Hotel in San Antonio, Texas.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida’s bid to purchase Hard Rock Hotels was approved by shareholders; transfer of ownership is expected to be completed by March.
Morgan Stanley Real Estate purchased eight high-profile resort properties from CNL Hotels & Resorts for $4.2 billion. Properties include three Waldorf-Astoria collection hotels (including the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Ariz.), and resorts in Orlando and Miami, Fla., and Berkeley, Calif.
Loews Hotels announced a chain-wide ban on the use of trans-fats in food served in its restaurants, meeting facilities and room service.
Universal’s U.S. theme parks now offer healthy side dishes and trans-fat-free foods.
Royal Caribbean International’s fleet-wide ban on trans-fats begins on March 1.
A chain-wide smoking ban goes into effect for all Gaylord Hotels Feb. 12; affected properties include the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tenn.; Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, Fla.; and Gaylord Texan on Lake Grapevine in Grapevine, Texas.
Southwest Airlines is scheduled to add two daily nonstop flights between Birmingham and Dallas, beginning March 11.
Delta is scheduled to begin commuter air service between Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and the Florida Keys Marathon Airport on Feb. 15.
Landry & Kling Meetings At Sea launched a new Web site for event planners and incentive travel buyers at landrykling.com.
The Birmingham Museum of Art is hosting the Alabama Folk Art Exhibition from Feb. 12 through Dec. 30. The 10,000-sq. ft. exhibit features the art of famous local artists such as Bill Traylor, Thornton Dial, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Mose Tolliver, Charlie Lucas, Yvonne Wells and the Quilters of Gee’s Bend.
The AmeriSuites Birmingham is undergoing a conversion, scheduled for completion by fall 2007, to become a Hyatt Place.
The Sheraton Birmingham Hotel is undergoing a $17 million, 18-month renovation of its 757 guest rooms and lobby area. The hotel adjoins the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
The Historic Redmont Hotel is converting its top two floors into condominiums. The hotel also has been added to the Hank Williams Trail, which highlights significant locations in the life of the legendary country artist.
The 63-room Hotel Highland @ Five Points South in Birmingham, formerly the Pickwick Hotel, is closed for renovations until April, when it is scheduled to reopen as a luxury boutique property.
The $23 million, 120-room Marriott Residence Inn is scheduled to open in downtown Birmingham in February 2008.
The 200-room Lexington Collection Hotel is under construction as part of a $70 million development project on the site of the former Federal Reserve Building in downtown Birmingham. Built to U.S. Green Building Council standards, the hotel is scheduled to open by 2009.
A 347-room Renaissance Hotel is scheduled to open in 2008 in downtown Montgomery with a full-service spa, a performing arts center and an expanded convention show floor.
Two Hampton Inns are under construction in Montgomery; both are expected to open by the end of March. A new Sleep Inn hotel is scheduled to open this summer.
In Mobile, the Battle House Hotel and Riverview Plaza Hotel will be reflagged Renaissance hotels once renovations to properties are complete. The $32 million renovation of the Riverview Plaza Hotel is scheduled for completion by summer 2007; the $220 million renovation of the Battle House is scheduled for completion by April 2007.
Executive Chef Klaus Happel of the Renaissance Scottsdale Resort was named “2007 Celebrated Chef” by the National Pork Board for his contributions in elevating pork to the forefront of the latest menu trends. He also won the board’s Taste of Elegance Contest in May 2006.
The Radisson Phoenix-Chandler, formerly the Park Plaza Hotel, completed a $4 million renovation of its guest rooms.
The 123-suite Element, a luxury Westin-brand, extended stay property, is scheduled to open in Chandler in early 2008 as part of the Chandler Piazza mixed-use development.
The 235-room Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa and the 113-unit Westin Riverfront Mountain Villas are currently under construction in Avon as part of a Starwood Hotels & Resorts mixed-use project, scheduled to open in time for the 2008 ski season. Amenities will include a spa and fitness center, restaurants, a pedestrian-friendly retail plaza, an eight-passenger gondola to the Beaver Creek Ski Resort Area, and 4,700 square feet of meeting space.
The Democratic National Convention is scheduled to take place in Denver on Aug. 25-29, 2008.
The Curtis boutique hotel opened in Denver with 336 rooms and pop culture-enhanced public areas, featuring themed music, video art, video games, and novelty food and beverages.
The Ritz-Carlton, Denver, is scheduled to open in March 2007 with 202 rooms.
Other Denver hotels in development include the Hilton Garden Inn, scheduled to open in early 2007 with 221-rooms, and a Homewood Suites scheduled to open by 2008 with 125 suites. The Four Seasons, scheduled to open in 2008, recently secured funding for a 50-story building with 120 to 180 hotel rooms and 140 luxury condos.
The Gulf Alliance for Local Arts is presenting a Great Paint-Out May 10-20, with more than 20 nationally known plein air artists painting in multiple locations throughout Florida.
Construction is expected to begin on a $25 million arts development on the campus of St. Petersburg College within the next 30 days. The downtown arts hub will become the new home of the Florida Orchestra, the Palladium Theater and American Stage Theater.
The 2007 Meeting Facilities Guide is available from the Kissimmee Convention & Visitors Bureau.
In Kissimmee, Americas Best Value Inn and Suites, formerly the Hawaiian Maingate Inn, is undergoing a $3.5 million dollar renovation of its 445 guest rooms, lobby and exterior spaces, landscaping, and restaurant and lounge areas.
The 510-room Florida Hotel and Conference Center in Orlando completed a $23 million renovation of its conference center. Improvements include the addition of three new ballrooms, bringing the property’s total meeting space to more than 50,000 square feet.
Brad Brewer, of the Shingle Creek Golf Club in Orlando, was named one of Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers for 2007-2008.
Hawk’s Landing Golf Club at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort & Convention Center was named one of Golf Digest’s “Best Places to Play”; instructor Bill Madonna was named one of Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers. The resort is currently undergoing an expansion that will add an 105,000-sq. ft. pillar-free ballroom, bringing the resort’s total convention space up to 400,000 square feet.
The 341-room Sheraton Orlando Downtown Hotel, formerly a Radisson property, completed a $12.4 million renovation. Improvements include the addition of two floors of concierge rooms and a new on-site restaurant, Sixty South Bar & Trattoria, a contemporary Italian restaurant with private banquet space for 25 guests. Other amenities include 20,000 square feet of meeting space.
Tuscany Village by Hilton Grand Vacations Company in Orlando is scheduled to open 105 new units on February 15, bringing its total number of units to 600.
The Lee County Board of County Commissioners purchased Cayo Pelau, an 126-acre island off the coat of Boca Grande for conservation purposes; the island has 116 acres of wetland mangroves and 10 acres of uplands.
The newly converted Hilton Fort Lauderdale Airport opened with 388 guest rooms, 18,500 square feet of flexible meeting space, and complimentary airport transportation.
The Studios of Key West are offering group writing and visual art workshops from February through March and May, respectively.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) launched a new heritage tourism campaign, focusing on historic districts, Civil War battlefields and sites of cultural significance.
A new, 12,000-seat amphitheater for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is scheduled to open in Alpharetta in summer 2008. The Encore Park for the Arts will be operated by the Woodruff Arts Center; plans include a performing and visual arts complex and education center. The orchestra will continue to play in its Atlanta concert hall, becoming the first U.S. orchestra to simultaneously operate two major amphitheaters.
The Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau is hosting the Eighth Annual Diversity in the Hospitality Industry Summit February 15-16. Topics of discussion will include building minority success within the hospitality industry, strategies for hotel ownership, profitable event planning and effective workforce recruitment.
The Country Club of the South, in John’s Creek, was honored by Golf Inc. magazine for its $6 million renovation, placing second in the “Best Remodel/Renovation” category.
The Cool Car Festival will be held in Stone Mountain on March 31. Attractions include a car show, automotive competitions, rides and kid’s activities.
The 1,076-room Hyatt Regency New Orleans is currently undergoing an $120 million renovation of its guest rooms and meeting space (115,000 square feet). Reservations are being accepted for dates beginning in fall 2007, when the hotel is scheduled to reopen.
The 1,875-room Tropicana Casino & Resort in Las Vegas is scheduled to begin a $2 billion redevelopment project this fall. The project will add a 500,000-sq. ft. conference center and more than 8,000 rooms to the property.
The 2007 Santa Fe Visitors Guide is available from the Santa Fe Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Planning the Globe, a meeting and event production company based in South Carolina, opened its second regional office in Dallas. Its first regional sales office opened in Las Vegas last October.
Construction on the 250-room Westin Houston, Memorial City, and the 155-room Sheraton Houston, Memorial City, is scheduled to begin this summer. The Sheraton is scheduled to open in the first half of 2009. Renovations are underway at the Radisson Suite Hotel Houston West, which is scheduled to reopen as the 170-room Four Points by Sheraton Houston, Memorial City, this summer. The Memorial City Project is a mixed-use development in West Houston; attractions include sports facilities, medical buildings and a 2 million-sq. ft. mall.
PGA Tour players Sergio Garcia and Bruce Lietzke are assisting the course design at the Tournament Players Club of San Antonio. The 2,855-acre resort is scheduled to open in 2009 as a Marriott; PGA Tour Golf Course Properties will operate the golf facilities.