Bruce W. Duncan is serving as interim chief executive officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. while the board searches for a permanent replacement for Steven J. Heyer, who resigned last month.
Rick Colangelo was promoted to senior director of operations for Kimpton Hotels.
Jeff Doane was promoted to vice president of hotel sales, North America, for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.
Al Petrone was named chief marketing officer of Cruise West.
Stéphane Becht became corporate chef of Norwegian Cruise Lines.
David Galbaugh became director of sports and marketing for the recently created Sports Marketing Department of the Birmingham [Ala.] Convention & Visitors Bureau. Tonia Watley was named national sports manager and sports marketing specialist.
Sara Hamlin, vice president of tourism for the Birmingham [Ala.] Convention & Visitors Bureau, was named one of the “Most Influential African Americans in Hospitality” by Black Meetings & Conventions magazine.
Todd Berry was named executive chef of the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Darren Graichen was named rooms executive at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale [Ariz.].
Danna Holck was named general manager of the Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Ariz.
Penny Heudorf was named director of sales and marketing and director of group sales for the Quorum Hotel-Tampa, Fla.
Marcia Dmochowski was named general manager of the Hilton Tampa [Fla.] Airport Westshore.
D.T. Minich was named executive director of the St. Petersburg/Clearwater [Fla.] Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Mark Cox was promoted to general manager of the Villas of Grand Cypress in Orlando; Matt Butler was promoted to director of sales.
Jim Hogg was named hotel manager of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.
Alexander Michaels was named sales manager for the meetings and conventions department of the Daytona Beach Area [Fla.] Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Scott Flexman was named vice president of sales and marketing for the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.
ME Productions, an event production and destination management company based in South Florida, announced several new additions to its sales staff. Jennifer Freedman was named executive sales and event manager for social events; Lillian Dew was named corporate executive sales and event manager; and Wanda Floyd Jones was named business development manager for coporations, hotels, resorts and national organizations.
James Grevas was promoted to director of production for Atlanta’s The WOW Factory, a meeting and event company.
Matt Clouser, president of Atlanta-based Active Production and Design, received the Dale Riggins Humanitarian Award from the Atlanta International Special Events Society for his contributions to charitable organizations and the special events industry.
Jeff Fuller was named general manager of the Mansion on Forsyth Park in Savannah, Ga.; Jeff Homad was named director of sales and marketing.
Brian Young was named vice president, resort operations, at Sea Island, Ga.
New Orleans Fine Hotels announced several promotions. Andrea Hemperley was promoted to travel industry sales manager; Tiffany Taffaro became a sales manager; Jeannine Harjo was promoted to wedding coordinator; and Richard Gillespie became group rooms coordinator.
Germaine Sibley-Gordon was named sales manager of the Baton Rouge [La.] Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Dennis “Denny” Edwards was named president and chief executive officer of the Greater Raleigh [N.C.] Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Hymie Gonzales was promoted to acting manager of the Austin [Texas] Convention Center.
Michael Newcombe was named general manager of the Four Seasons Dallas.
The San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau hired two new assistant directors. John Solis was named assistant director, sales and marketing; and Steve DeLaHaya was named assistant director, finance and administration.
The National Trust Historic Hotels of America added six new hotels to its membership: Tubac Golf Resort in Tubac, Ariz.; The Sofia Hotel in San Diego, Calif; Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs, Colo.; Jumeirah Essex House in New York, N.Y.; and The Skirvin Hilton and Colcord Hotel in Oklahoma City, Okla.
The New Orleans CVB began a 10-market media tour with a series of events planned to promote the city as a meetings and leisure destination, and to bring the best of New Orleans culture to major metropolitan cities, including New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
In Birmingham, the Historic Tutwiler Hotel reopened after completing a full-scale renovation of its 149 guest rooms and signature restaurant. New amenities include a lobby lending library of films on the American Film Industry’s Top 100 list, a gallery with an audio tour of historic Birmingham photographs, complimentary hot and to-go breakfasts, flat-screen televisions, WiFi Internet and complimentary airport transportation.
The Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa in Hoover received an AAA Four-Diamond Award; was named top Renaissance hotel in the world by Marriott Hotels for guest satisfaction, style and golf; and was featured in Golf Digest for having one of the “50 Toughest [Golf] Courses in the Country.”
The 90-mile Battle of Mobile Bay Civil War Trail opened. The trail through Baldwin and Mobile counties documents the military movements during August 1864’s Battle of the Bay and the Overland Campaign (March-May 1865). Trail guides are available from BattleofMobileBay.com.
Scottsdale’s The Phoenician completed a $5.5 million enhancement of the 60 guestrooms, lobby, pool, cabanas and meeting space in the Canyon Suites building.
This month, the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale is scheduled to begin a 10-month, $40 million renovation project to add two restaurants, a new bar, a retail area and a new courtyard area, and expand its existing meeting facilities and conference space. During construction, meeting rooms and the 11,600-sq. ft. Pavilion will be available for group functions.
The three-acre retail, dining and cultural center SouthBridge is expected to open its first restaurant this month. The Foodbar is a European-style café serving simple, fresh and organic food for in-house or to go. Other restaurants expected to open in SouthBridge soon include The Estate House and Canal (run by Fred Unger), and Sea Saw, Shell Shock Mexican Standoff and Digestif (run by Peter Kasperski).
Ultimate Art & Cultural Tours now offers custom-designed tours for groups of up to 30 people in Scottsdale. Options include tours of working artists studios, private homes designed by local architects and of Native American art; planners also can create a private fashion show with beauty makeovers for attendees.
The 2007 Scottsdale Meeting & Travel Planners Guide and the Dining & Nightlife Discovery Guide are available from the Scottsdale CVB. (insert link: http://www.experiencescottsdale.com)
The Tucson City Council approved a plan to begin construction on a $130 million, 12,500-seat arena next year; a $64 million renovation of the Tucson Convention Center also was approved.
The Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa introduced a new room type: the deluxe junior suite. Amenities include flat-screen televisions, sleeper sofas, in-room spa toiletries and private balconies with water views. Meeting facilities also were upgraded with new décor. The resort has 32,000 square feet of meeting space, including new pre-function, meeting and outdoor poolside space.
Two Hilton properties are under construction in Orlando: a 498-room Waldorf-Astoria at Bonnet Creek and a 1,000-room Hilton Bonnet Creek Hotel. Both properties are part of a planned resort, scheduled to open in late 2009, near Walt Disney World. Planned amenities of the $500 million resort include an 18-hole Rees Jones golf course, a 900,000-sq. ft. conference facility, a 24,000-sq. ft. spa and fitness center and on-site dining.
Orlando’s Florida Hotel & Conference Center celebrated its three-year anniversary with the renaming of its ballrooms to honor law enforcement (Legends Ballroom), firefighters (Heroes Ballroom) and the armed forces (Traditions Ballroom).
Costa d’Este, a Benchmark Luxury Resort developed by Gloria and Emilio Estefan, is scheduled to open January 2008 in Vero Beach. Amenities of the 94-room property include a full-service spa, on-site dining, 1,170 square feet of meeting space and outdoor event lawns.
The $210 million Resort at Singer Island in Palm Beach County opened with 239 condominium hotel suites. All suites have kitchenettes and water views; additional amenities include workout facilities, 24-hour room service, 4,000 square feet of meeting space, and an 8,500-sq. ft. wellness retreat and spa.
The Palm Beach County CVB is offering a 2007 Savings Certificate booklet online (http://www.palmbeachfl.com/visitors/brochures/default.aspx?utm_source=events0704&utm_medium=email). Downloads are free; multiple copies are available with payment of shipping costs (call 800-554-7256 to arrange).
The 253-room Holiday Inn Miami Beach is scheduled to reopen this summer after completing a $2 million renovation of its interior architectural design and room décor. Amenities include complimentary WiFi Internet access and 1,600 square feet of meeting space.
The Emerald Pointe Hotel & Conference Center at Lake Lanier Islands Resort is scheduled to begin a $16 million renovation project in June to transform the 216-room hotel into a rustic lodge with upgraded amenities, and add six new executive cottages. Renovations are scheduled for completion by March 2008.
Atlanta Arrangements Inc. received a 2006 Association of Destination Management Executives (ADME) Achievement Award for Best Innovative Event ($25,000 and under) for its “Turning up the Heat” opening night event at the Meetings Exploration Conference, sponsored by the Sheraton Atlanta and Starwood Hotels. The Sheraton also received the 2006 Georgia Hospitality and Lodging Association’s Outstanding Special Event Award for the Hotlanta-themed event.
Atlanta-based Active Production and Design received an Allie Award for Best Special Effects for the fifth year in a row.
Dahlonega’s Frogtown Cellars won 11 medals at the prestigious 2007 Finger Lakes Wine Competition. In the past two-and-a-half years the winery has won 18 awards at California competitions for its white and red wines, more than any other East Coast winery.
The first-annual Georgia Mountain Roots & Music Festival will take place June 8-10 in Hiawassee, featuring local and national bluegrass, Americana and folk musicians, and arts and crafts.
The Lodge at the Retreat at Hammer’s Glen Golf & Country Club (host of the 2008 Georgia Open) opened in Northeast Georgia. Amenities include two-, three- and five-bedroom suites, banquet facilities, a conference room and kitchenettes.
The 220-room New Orleans Marriott Metairie at Lakeway opened; it is the first full-service Marriott hotel in the Metairie/Jefferson Parrish area. Amenities include Marriott’s new plug-in room panels, allowing guests to operate personal computers, DVDs, camcorders, video games and MP3 players through the room’s 32” plasma television screen. The hotel also has 6,500 square feet of flexible meeting space, including a 2,500-sq. ft. ballroom.
A 119-room Country Inn & Suites is under construction in Natchez, overlooking the Mississippi River and within walking distance of the Natchez Convention Center. The hotel is scheduled to open in spring 2008.
The Mississippi Blues Trail unveiled two new markers in Shaw and Stovall, honoring David “Honeyboy” Edwards and McKinley “Muddy Waters” Morganfield, respectively. Honeyboy is one of the few living original practitioners of the acoustic Delta blues style; Shaw is his hometown. Legendary musician Muddy Waters, the “King of Chicago Blues,” moved to the Stovall Plantation with his grandmother in 1915.
Albuquerque’s Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (IPCC) and the pueblos of Acoma and Zuni launched a series of new tours exploring the Native American experience. Options include tours of the pueblos of Acoma and Zuni; the Sky City Cultural Center, Haak’u Museum and historic “Sky City”; or to the Halona Idiwan’a (the Middle Village) with side trips to the Old Zuni Mission or A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center. All proceeds go to benefit cultural education programs run by the pueblos and the IPCC.
A 119-room Hilton Garden Inn opened in Raleigh by the Mayfaire Town Center.
A 125-room Hotel Indigo Durham is scheduled to open in April 2008 at the corner of Old Page Road and Central Park Drive, adjacent to Research Triangle Park. Amenities include a fitness facility, an indoor pool, a meditation courtyard, and 2,000 square feet of meeting and event space.
Naman Hotels plans to construct three new hotels with a combined 330 rooms on a 16-acre site by Ashley Town Center Drive in Charleston; the plan is on hold pending city council approval. The company currently is constructing a Hyatt Place hotel near the Charleston International Airport in North Charleston.
The SeaGlass Tower is scheduled to open this month in Myrtle Beach with 144 kitchenette suites, indoor/outdoor swimming pools and conference facilities.
Complimentary WiFi Internet service now is available throughout the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport.
The Renaissance Austin Hotel is offering a “Shoes, Bags and Beds” shopping package through fall 2007.
Every second Saturday, the art galleries of Boerne host joint openings from 5 to 8 p.m.; wine tastings also are part of the festivities.
The historic Gibbs Building in San Antonio will be converted to a 91-room Hotel Indigo at the Alamo. Renovations began last fall and will preserve the 100-year-old building’s original wood and marble interiors. New amenities will include meeting space for small groups or events, full fitness and business centers, and 24-hour front desk service.