The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana opened in the Dominican Republic. It’s the first all-inclusive Hard Rock property and the brand’s first in the Caribbean.
An on-site Nature Discovery Center has opened at the Amanyara luxury resort on the northwest end of the Turks and Caicos island of Providenciales.
InterContinental Hotels Group is planning to launch a new midscale brand in North America, to be named later this year. The hotel chain currently has seven brands, including three midscale: Holiday Inn; Holiday Inn Express; and Candlewood Suites. IHG also plans to revitalize its Crowne Plaza brand much like it did with its recent $1 billion renovation and re-launch of the Holiday Inn brand.
On May 15, Great Lakes Airlines will add new direct flights between Moab, Utah’s Canyonlands Field Airport and Page (Ariz.) Municipal Airport, with connecting service to Las Vegas McCarran International.
Birmingham’s Highlands Bar and Grill was a finalist for the James Beard Award for best U.S. restaurant for the third year in a row. For the fourth time in five years, Chris Hastings, owner and chef of the Hot and Hot Fish Club, was a Beard Award finalist for best chef in the southern region.
The Casino Del Sol Resort, Spa & Conference Center is scheduled to open in Tucson in November 2011; bookings for groups of up to 200 rooms per night are currently being accepted for dates beginning in early 2012. The resort will have an 18,000-sq. ft. ballroom, a boardroom and two breakout rooms as well as 40,000 square feet of outdoor event space and a 5,000-sq. ft. open-air concert venue.
The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, a family friendly railroad-centric museum with hands-on exhibits, completed a $2.2 million expansion that added a 10,000-sq. ft. exhibit building to the campus built to LEED Gold-certified standards (certification is pending).
The San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau and the San Diego North Convention & Visitors Bureau have agreed to merge to jointly represent the 43 hotel properties located throughout La Jolla, Carmel Valley, Rancho Bernardo and other communities.
Scheduled for completion this spring, the 598-room Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa is undergoing a $6.5 million renovation that will remodel meeting spaces, add new deck areas, pools, and a beachside restaurant and bar.
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, Disney’s only oceanfront property in Florida, now has a 325-sq. ft. boardroom and a full-service spa.
In downtown Atlanta, construction on The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is scheduled to begin in October 2011. The new center will be at Pemberton Place, adjacent to Centennial Olympic Park, Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola, and is expected to open in late 2013. Also expected to open downtown in 2013 is the College Football Hall of Fame, which will break ground this August.
Construction will begin later this year on an electric streetcar that will link the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site to Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta. Scheduled to open in 2013, it will connect downtown attractions to the Peachtree Center Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) station. City officials hope to later extend the line to the midtown and Buckhead neighborhoods.
A new 160-room boutique hotel is being developed at Perimeter Summit in metro Atlanta. Projected to open in second-quarter 2013, the property will provide accommodations for special event facility Villa Christina, an Italianate conference center with two ballrooms, two private dining rooms, a full-service restaurant and outdoor event spaces. The $35 million hotel project will feature a full-service spa and double the amount of green space available at Villa Christina.
The 400-room Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center is scheduled to undergo a complete renovation and expansion project that will add 3,400 square feet of meeting space.
Four New Orleans hotels received the AAA Four Diamond Award: The Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel; Hilton New Orleans Riverside; Omni Royal Crescent Hotel; and New Orleans Marriott Metairie at Lakeway.
The 527-room Ritz-Carlton New Orleans will undergo a $9 million guest room renovation.
The last original train depot in Tunica County is being restored and repurposed as the Gateway to the Blues Visitor Center. More than 500 blues music artifacts from the Harrah’s Collection will be showcased at the center and its attached 4,000-sq. ft. museum.
The Inns & Spa at Mill Falls in Meredith is scheduled to complete an expansion project in May that will add 1,700 square feet of new lakeview meeting space.
The 463-room Conrad New York, the first Conrad hotel in New York City, is scheduled to open in late 2011.
The $25-million Hotel 718 is scheduled to open in Brooklyn in November 2011 with 128 rooms within walking distance of the borough’s historic downtown area and cultural amenities.
The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center is undergoing its first expansion and renovation project in 25 years. To complete the project without disrupting operations, two new structures were built: Javits Center North, a 98,000-sq. ft. structure with a 160-ft. clear span for shows; and The Link, a 260-ft. long connector to the main Javits Center. Now that work on the north building is complete, renovations are underway at the main Javits Center to upgrade the facade, repair the roof and upgrade building systems and interior components.
The newly expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia will celebrate its grand opening in June 2011. The $787 million expansion project gives the center the ability to host two conventions simultaneously. It now has more than 1 million square feet of useable space and the largest contiguous exhibition space in the northeastern United States.
The Chattanoogan hotel hired two new sales managers: Traci Parker (state association and government) and Lauren Gillespie (corporate sales, Georgia).
The Hilton Anatole in Dallas completed a $125 million renovation of its 1,600 guest rooms, atrium and meeting spaces. Scheduled for completion in May, the $2.3 million Trinity Corridor project will build an enclosed and air-conditioned passageway connecting the hotel with the Trinity Ballroom and Exhibit Hall spaces.
The Moab Regional Hospital opened in January 2011. It has an educational wing with three meeting rooms (two 375-sq. ft. and one 528-sq. ft.) for Continuing Medical Education (CME) events.