by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | February 13, 2012

A room at the recently renovated Park Hyatt SydneyOften overshadowed by Grand Hyatt, its larger and more glamorous sibling, Park Hyatt finally has begun to add weight to its brand. A slew of new openings in the past two years and talk of several major global developments are sure to to put this low-key, luxury contender higher on the radar for meetings.

Launched in 1980, Park Hyatt grew its portfolio steadily, albeit slowly, to 28 hotels by year-end 2011 — less than one hotel per year. But with an additional 14 properties in the works from Manhattan to Moscow, several of which are scheduled to open this year, the brand is poised to grow exponentially.

Key openings for 2012 include the 155-room Park Hyatt Sydney, on Australia's Sydney Harbor, across from the Opera House. Technically, this is not a new hotel, but it might as well be. Closed for more than a year for a top-down $60 million transformation, the property is finally ready to reopen next week — Feb. 13, to be precise. It is the first major renovation in the hotel's 20-year history, and absolutely nothing was left untouched, according to a Hyatt spokesperson at a recent showcase of luxury properties in New York City. Meeting planners can expect completely new event facilities, including the newly designed Guest House, which offers a presentation kitchen and a private outdoor terrace right on the harbor.

A rendering of the Park Hyatt RiyadhMeanwhile, for those who were counting down the days until this fall's opening of the new 210-room Manhattan Park Hyatt, housed in the first 20 floors of the 90-story new-build across from Carnegie Hall, you'll have to wait a tad longer. According to Hyatt executives, that property is behind schedule and a more reasonable opening date is likely mid-2013. No word yet on the total amount of meeting and event space, but there will be a grand ballroom, a full-service spa and 5,000 square feet of retail space.

And speaking of retail space, the 143-room Park Hyatt Vienna, which is scheduled to open by year-end 2013 in the Austrian capital's exclusive shopping district, will feature an enormous 15,000-square-foot flagship Prada store on the ground floor (planners will know where to find their missing attendees). The hotel also will feature close to 7,000 square feet of meeting space.

Park Hyatt's first property in the Middle East will be the 275-room Park Hyatt Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. Set to open in 2015, the hotel will feature 16,000 square feet of meeting space, including an 11,000-square-foot ballroom, as well as three restaurants, a fitness center and a business center.