Mark S. Hoplamazian is the new president and chief executive officer of the Global Hyatt Corporation.
Ted J. Kleisner became president and CEO of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts.
Jayna Leach was named director of marketing for Sterling Company’s resorts and realty divisions, representing luxury condominium resorts and homes in Northwest Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.
Laurel Amenta was named director of marketing for the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Rick Newman was promoted to resident manager of the Hilton Tucson [Ariz.] El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort.
Christopher Thomas was named director of sales for the Athens [Ga.] Courtyard by Marriott; Marques Goodwin was named assistant general manager.
Barry Gilliand became general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn Athens.
Chef Sam Lorenson was named executive chef of the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel in Athens.
Erica Qualls became general manager of the 1,675-room Atlanta Marriott Marquis.
Joseph Marinelli became president of the Savannah [Ga.] Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Richard Hillway of Colorado Springs’ Cheyenne Mountain Resort was honored with Benchmark Hospitality International’s annual Chairman’s Award of Excellence for his contributions to making the property, the community and the company better places to work and live.
Ryan O’Dowd and Lyn Hallaron joined the convention sales department of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau; Elizabeth George, CMM, became sales manager of the bureau’s newly created Northeast regional office.
New Orleans Fine Hotels, a collection of nine hotels, promoted Randy Parkins to the position of vice president, sales and marketing, and Edna Johnson to national sales manager.
Casandra Brown Matej, vice president of sales and services of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Jay Burress, vice president of sales and marketing, jointly assumed leadership of the bureau’s Sales & Services Division.
David DuBois became the president and chief executive officer of the Fort Worth [Texas] Convention and Visitors Bureau, replacing Douglas Harman.
Scott White was named executive director of the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau.
AirTran Airways began new air service to Palm Beach International Airport (PBIA) from Indianapolis, Ind. JetBlue Airlines began nonstop service to and from PBIA and Newburgh, N.Y., on Jan. 5. US Airways is scheduled to begin nonstop service to PBIA from to Las Vegas on Feb. 11.
AirTran Airways is scheduled to add three daily, nonstop, roundtrip flights between Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in February and March 2007.
New hotel projects in Birmingham include a $24 million, 150-room hotel, scheduled to open September 2008 at 20th Street and Third Avenue South; and a $23 million, 120-room Marriott Residence Inn, scheduled to open on 20th Street South. A $40 million renovation and construction project between Fourth and Fifth avenues along 18th Street is scheduled to add as many as 200 rooms to the city’s inventory.
Hotels currently undergoing renovations in Birmingham include the Tutwiler Hotel, scheduled to reopen in March 2007 after completing an $18.5 million renovation of its 149 guest rooms; and the Pickwick Hotel, scheduled to complete its $6.2 million room refurbishment project in fall 2007. The Sheraton Birmingham is undergoing a $17 million renovation of its 770 guest rooms, meeting space and public areas; renovations are scheduled for completion by the end of this year.
Scottsdale’s Camelback Inn is scheduled to break ground on a $35 million renovation April 30 that will reinvent the main building, events courtyard and 22,000-sq. ft. grand ballroom, as well as add two restaurants to the 452-room resort complex.
Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale became a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, an organization of independently owned luxury hotels and resorts maintaining high standards of quality and service.
The Royal Palms Resort in Scottsdale is scheduled to open its $12 million renovation project, the Montevista Courtyard and Suites, this month. The 70-room complex features a Mediterranean-style courtyard with a garden, reflecting pools and fountains, and spa villas and suites with European soaking tubs and steam showers.
Also scheduled to open this month is the Mondrian Scottsdale, formerly The James Hotel. Amenities include restaurant Asia de Cuba; the Skybar cocktail lounge; 183 rooms, 15 suites and two apartments; two swimming pools; a 24-hour gym; state-of-the-art technology and business facilities; and the full-service Agua Spa.
The Renaissance Scottsdale Resort completed the installation of new bedding packages in guest rooms featuring 300-count Persian bed linen, memory pillows, fluffy duvets and plush-top mattresses.
Bella Palazzo Private Estates added two homes to its special facilities portfolio. Camelback Vista has a negative edge pool and a dramatic Camelback Mountain setting; a new water feature and green space are expected to come online soon. Wright Influence sits on 13 landscaped acres and accommodates up to 800 people.
At least eight hotels are scheduled for construction or expansion this year in Tempe; the projects are expected to add up to 1,500 hotel rooms to the city’s inventory, an increase of more than 25 percent.
Several projects in Vail’s billion-dollar renewal plan were completed in the last half of 2006, including the $30 million redevelopment of the 62-room Tivoli Lodge; the $4 million renovation of the Sonnenalp Resort at Vail; the renovation of Vail Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa’s 8,300-sq. ft. ballroom; the $100 million mixed-use One Willow Bridge Road development; the $70 million, 5-star Vail Plaza Club Hotel Resort development; and $10 million of improvements to the Town of Vail’s streetscape.
Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando was awarded the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International’s (HSMAI) Gold Adrian Award for its brochure “The Heart of Shingle Creek,” which honors the more than 1,000 construction workers who built the luxury resort, which opened Sept. 9, 2006.
In Orlando, the $23 million Florida Hotel and Conference Center expansion opened last month in The Florida Mall shopping complex. Improvements include 20,000-sq. ft. of meeting space, including three ballrooms. The complex now has more than 50,000 total square feet of event space, five ballrooms, 13 breakout rooms, four executive boardrooms and 510 guest rooms in close proximity to the Orange County Convention Center, downtown Orlando and the Orlando International Airport.
The Villas at Seven Dwarfs Lane opened in Kissimmee. The gated resort has two-, three- and four-bedroom townhomes accommodating up to 10 people. Amenities include living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens and private master suites in each unit; a club house with a large heated pool; a recreation center; basketball, volleyball and tennis courts; a children’s playground; picnic areas; and complimentary WiFi Internet access in public areas.
First-phase expansion plans for Fort Myers’ two-part Harborside Event Center expansion have been approved. The first phase will add 23,000 square feet of meeting and event space, bringing the center’s total available space to more than 55,000 square feet.
A Hotel Indigo is scheduled to open in Fort Myers’ Historic River District by year-end 2007. The seven-story boutique hotel will have 62 guest rooms with renewable elements such as photographic murals, area rugs and duvets that will change seasonally; public spaces also will be updated seasonally with new artwork, music, murals and signage. Other amenities include two boardrooms, complimentary WiFi Internet and a rooftop outdoor pool.
The Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, where the Minnesota Twins spend spring training, is undergoing a $1.2 million renovation to add a sports bar and three new seating sections, including a VIP seating area behind home plate. Renovations are scheduled for completion by spring 2007.
The Homewood Suites by Hilton Palm Gardens is scheduled to open in July 2007 in Palm Beach County. The hotel will have meeting facilities and 94 pet-friendly, residential-style suites.
North of Miami in Sunny Isles, Kimpton Hotels opened Solé on the Ocean Resort & Spa, a 250-room luxury boutique hotel.
Le Méridien Sunny Isles Beach opened its 925-sq. ft. Ocean Terrace Room, which has an entire wall of windows overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and an outdoor terrace. The room accommodates 50 people classroom-style and 70 people banquet-style.
The Miami Skylift at Bayfront Park, a passenger-carrying, captive helium balloon ride, is expected to open this month.
The landmark Fontainebleau Miami Beach joined the membership of Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI). Scheduled to reopen in June 2008 after completing an $1 billion renovation and expansion, the property will have 1,500 guest rooms and suites, three ballrooms, 58 meeting rooms with 107,000 square feet of meeting space, 42,000 square feet of pre-function space, 51,000 square feet of outdoor function space, a 40,000-sq. ft. spa, and 11 restaurants and lounges. During the hotel’s closure, accommodations are available at the 460-unit Fontainebleau Suites Miami Beach, which opened in 2005 as part of the expansion project; additional accommodations will come online with the opening of the Fontainebleau Ocean Club, scheduled for late 2007.
Canyon Ranch Living, a residential and resort community franchised by the famed Tucson-based wellness center, is set to open in Miami Beach this year with 150 luxury suites, an 1,000-ft. beach, a fitness center and a full-service spa.
The Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami opened its $25 million, 60,000-sq. ft. Legends Ballroom facility. Amenities include a 24,000-sq. ft. ballroom, 12 breakout rooms, an interactive kitchen. A $3 million renovation of the resort’s spa was completed in October 2006; the Blue Monster golf course reopened after completing renovations in September 2006.
The Gansevoort South, a luxury, mixed-use development connected to New York City’s Hotel Gansevoort, is scheduled to open early this year on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach. Amenities include a 232-room hotel, 102 condo-hotel units, 259 luxury condos, a rooftop pool, a fitness center and full-service spa and a restaurant by Philippe Chow.
The Marriott South Beach completed a $1.5 million renovation of its 2,600-sq. ft. meeting space, and its 236 guest rooms and suites.
The Regent South Beach opened with 80 guest suites and signature restaurant Table 8 South Beach.
The Royal Palm Resort in South Beach is undergoing a $20 million renovation, scheduled for completion in February 2007. Improvements include the addition of Rande Gerber’s Maxim Lounge, a luxury spa by Sonya Dakar, on-site dining and 417 guest rooms, including 130 luxury suites and 35 poolside bungalows.
Designer Todd Oldham, and restaurateur Larry Levy and James Beard Award-winning Chef Tony Mantuano (both from Chicago’s Spiaggia Restaurant) plan to open The Fairfax, a luxury boutique and proposed fractional ownership resort in South Beach, in fall 2007 after renovations to the property are complete. Amenities will include a private dinner club and pool, a private beach club, a health club and spa, a 24-hour multi-lingual concierge, airport pickup and pre-arrival grocery shopping.
The University Golf Course in Athens reopened after completing a $2 million renovation of its greens. The Robert Trent Jones Jr. course is the only public golf course in Athens; its official grand opening celebration is scheduled for summer 2007.
Athens’ The Classic Center now has 29 breakout rooms for conferences and events and a pedestrian Skyway, providing a climate-controlled walkway across Foundry Street, which connects the convention center with the Foundry Street Ballrooms. Other improvements at the center include a renovated theater green room, star dressing facilities and a new Orchestra Shell.
Cartersville will host the 2007 and 2008 Miss Georgia USA pageants at its Woodland Performing Arts Theater.
The Atlanta Marriott Century Center, one of 90 Marriott hotels owned by RLJ Urban Lodging Fund, the largest African-American hotel investment company in the nation, completed a $15 million renovation of its guest rooms, and indoor and outdoor décor. Amenities include two dining rooms, 25,000 total square feet of flexible meeting space, 16 meeting rooms and two state-of-the-art amphitheaters.
Buckhead Life Restaurant Group’s Kyma Restaurant in Atlanta was named “Best Greek Restaurant in America” by Food Network star David Rosengarten in a recent edition of “The Rosengarten Report.”
A statewide, indoor smoking ban went into effect January 1, prohibiting smoking in almost every public space where alcohol doesn’t make up at least 51 percent of business profits. The law does not affect freestanding bars, casino gaming floors and tobacco shops.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines returned to the Port of New Orleans last month with its 2,400-passenger ship Grandeur of the Seas. Norwegian Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise Lines, Renaissance Cruises and RiverBarge Excursion Lines ships also are back in service. Carnival Cruise Lines will deploy the Carnival Triumph to New Orleans in August 2007.
The Ritz-Carlton and Chateau Sonesta properties reopened in early December 2006 after extensive renovations.
The Concord Convention Center & Embassy Suites Hotel Resort, which overlooks the Rocky River Golf Club, is scheduled to open this month in Cabarrus County. Amenities include 42,000 square feet of event space, 308 spacious two-room suites, an 11-story atrium with water features, a full-service spa, a fitness center, an indoor pool and whirlpool, full-service dining, and a cafe with high-speed Internet access. The new convention center is located 20 minutes from Charlotte Douglas International Airport, and is near Concord Mills, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and the world’s largest concentration of NASCAR race shops, museums and attractions.
The historic 1830 Gantt House in downtown Lexington has been refurbished and is available for events and meetings of up to 30 people.
Texas Tourism launched redesigned Web site TravelTex.com. Improvements include easier navigation and enhanced features such as international language landing pages, as well as a section focusing on Texas music.
The 492-room Renaissance Austin Hotel completed the final phase of a $6 million renovation of its lobby, restaurants, guest rooms and 30,000-sq. ft. exhibit hall. Other improvements include the addition of an Internet café and an expanded fitness center.
W Austin Hotel & Residences is scheduled to open in 2010 with 250 guestrooms and 200 residential condominiums on Block 21, an entire city block at the heart of the Second Street District. Amenities of the mixed-use development will include a 2,000-seat live music and event venue that will house the “Austin City Limits” public television music show; the new Children’s Museum; 25,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space; and outdoor function areas.
The Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas in Irving is scheduled to begin a multi-phase, $150 million renovation over the next 18 months that will add 40 new villas, 40 luxury condominiums, and upgrade the Cottonwood Valley Golf Course. Other improvements include refurbishment of guest rooms and public areas, sports club enhancements, expanded dining space, the installation of CAT6 Ethernet cable throughout the resort, and improved landscaping around a new pool area. The AAA Five-Diamond resort sits on 400 acres; other amenities include 397 guest rooms, more than 34,000 square feet of function space, world-class tennis facilities and a corporate golf school.