by Allen J. Sheinman | April 01, 2016

 Detroit's Cobo Center has finished a five-year, $279 million project that included the transformation of the former Cobo Arena into the Grand Riverview Ballroom and the creation of Cobo Square, an outdoor terrace that is part of 45,000 square feet of revamped outdoor space.

 The 339-room Peninsula Chicago has completed a refresh that brought hand-crafted floral art, custom-
designed Pratesi linens and more to guest rooms, along with interactive digital bedside and desk tablets that can be set to any of 11 languages.

 The 395-room Sheraton Oklahoma City Downtown Hotel has debuted the 2,600-square-foot One Broadway Ballroom with 29-foot ceilings and a capacity of 300 people.

 The 297-room Sugar Bay Resort and Spa in St. Thomas has completed a $20 million renovation of its guest rooms, public areas (including the atrium lobby), restaurants and conference facilities. The resort has more than 16,000 square feet of meeting and event space.  

 In Mexico's Riviera Maya, the 92-room Thompson Playa del Carmen, which opened last November, has debuted the separate 27-room (including 18 suites) Beach House, facing the Caribbean Sea. This addition features a private pool lined with cabanas and a waterfront lounge with daybeds, sofas and loungers. The entire property has more than 28,000 square feet of event space across seven venues.

 The 75-room Quirk Hotel, A Destination Hotel, in Richmond, Va., has added six new meeting spaces, including a 1,000-square-foot courtyard encased in a series of raw brick and angled glass walls atop a colorfully checkered marble floor, for receptions of up to 100 people. In all, the hotel offers 5,850 square feet of function space.

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Blooming in Minnesota. The Hyatt Regency Bloomington-Minneapolis has opened as part of the Bloomington Central Station mixed-use development, near the Mall of America. The hotel has 303 guest rooms and more than 15,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 7,080-square-foot ballroom that can host up to 840 people.

 In Texas, the 187-room Embassy Suites by Hilton El Paso has opened, a multimillion-dollar transformation of the former El Paso Suites. Less than three miles from El Paso International Airport, the hotel offers a heated indoor pool, complimentary Wi-Fi throughout, the Gateway Bar & Grill and the 24-hour Pavilion Pantry Market. For meetings, more than 5,400 square feet of flexible space can accommodate up to 200 people. On-site catering and A/V equipment are available.    

 The Opal Sands Resort has opened in Clearwater Beach, Fla., with all 230 guest rooms sporting private balconies overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Among the highlights at the 15-story luxury property are a zero-entry pool, a beach bar and a full-service spa. The resort offers approximately 25,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, including a 5,500-square-foot event lawn and nine breakout rooms with Gulf views. In-house diners can head to Sea-Guini for Italian-inspired dishes featuring fresh-caught seafood.

 Just minutes from Logan International Airport, the 330-room Aloft Boston Seaport has opened directly across the street from the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The property's 12,000 square feet of meeting space includes a 4,900-square-foot grand ballroom.

 In the Big Apple's trendy Lower East Side, the  261-room Four Points by Sheraton New York Downtown has debuted with a rooftop bar and 1,300 square feet for meetings.

 In Kentucky, the 175-room Aloft Louisville Downtown has opened within the city's historic Whiskey Row. The hotel has 2,978 square feet for meetings divided among four spaces, the largest of which spans 1,670 square feet and can host banquets for up to 139 and receptions for 160 people. The property is just seven miles from Louisville International Airport.

 The 225-suite Embassy Suites by Hilton Pittsburgh Downtown has opened on the top 11 floors of the landmark 25-story Henry W. Oliver Building. The hotel's main restaurant, Elevation, focuses on "American comfort food in a modern bistro atmosphere with fresh, locally sourced and sustainable ingredients." The Sky Lobby on the 25th floor provides panoramic view of downtown Pittsburgh from 348 feet up. With more than 6,500 square feet of flexible meeting space, the property can host up to 150 people for a banquet.

In the heart of Nicaragua's vibrant capital city, the 140-room Hyatt Place Managua has opened with more than 3,300 square feet of flexible, high-tech meeting and function space. Amenities include free Wi-Fi throughout, the 24/7 Gallery Menu & Market, a 24-hour StayFit Gym and a heated rooftop pool.