by Sarah J.F. Braley | September 01, 2014
Why Here?
When the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center opened in 2004, planners despaired that its surroundings were bare. No more. The Boston Harborwalk, above, is a quick walk from the center, the restaurant scene there has exploded and a string of new hotels is on the way.

Gambling on Casinos
An item to repeal Massachusetts' 2011 Expanded Gaming Act will be on the ballot in November. The state's gaming commission had awarded the first of three casino-resort licenses in June to an $800 million Springfield project led by MGM; the license will become valid the day after the vote, providing the law is upheld. The second resort gaming license, in the Boston area, was expected to be announced at the end of the summer.

Wellness Ways 
InterContinental Hotels has launched a new healthy-living brand with the 129-room Even Hotel in Norwalk, Conn., whose rooms are outfitted with exercise equipment.

Incentive Gem
The Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse, on a private island in Maine's Booth Bay Harbor, has just two elegant rooms. Guests reach the landmark 1892 structure via a restored Navy whaleboat.
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Local Update

 In July, a $1.1 billion expansion of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center got the final go-ahead. Work on the 1.3 million-square-foot project could begin by the end of 2015. New exhibit and meeting space will be added, as well as a second, larger ballroom.  

 The Massachusetts Port Authority and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority are looking for a developer to finance, build and operate a 1,000-room headquarters hotel near the BCEC.  

 Renovations at the 428-room Seaport Hotel in the Seaport District added the Telkonet energy management solution to guest rooms, allowing better control of lighting and temperature. The Seaport's TAMO restaurant has been expanded and redesigned. The property offers more than 180,000 square feet of event space.

 Construction continues on two properties near the BCEC: A 330-room Aloft Hotel and a 180-room Element Hotel are scheduled to open sometime  in 2016.

 The 94-room Verb Hotel opened last month near Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. The property has an outdoor pool; a restaurant and bar will open this fall. While the hotel does not have meeting space, groups can use nearby spaces for events.

 In April, United Airlines and Massport opened a new 10-gate concourse at Terminal B in Boston Logan International Airport, consolidating United's Boston operations in one area.

 An $8.6 million renovation has been completed at the DoubleTree by Hilton Boston-Downtown, touching all 267 guest rooms and public spaces. The hotel now has subtle Chinese touches, reflecting its proximity to the city's Chinatown. The property offers more than 4,000 square feet of event space.

 A three-year renovation project has been completed throughout the 197-room DoubleTree Club by Hilton Boston Bayside. The Marketplace Café and Take Away eateries were added.

 In the Back Bay district, Loews Boston Hotel has completed a $10 million renovation. All 225 guest rooms were redone in business tones and fabrics such as herringbone and hounds' tooth; in-room technology also was upgraded. The six meeting rooms, including a new "half" ballroom that seats 100, honor the Boston Police department, which was headquartered in the building when it was built in 1925. New features at the property include the Precinct Kitchen + Bar and the Apothecary bar.