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by Kaylee Hultgren and Michael J. Shapiro | March 01, 2010

The following resorts accompany the story Opening a New Resort Today, by Kaylee Hultgren and Michael J. Shapiro

Aria Resort & CasinoLas Vegas
(866) 359-775; arialasvegas.com
Opened: Dec. 16, 2009
Guest rooms: 4,004
Meeting space: 300,000 square feet

MGM Mirage and Infinity World, joint-venture partners in the development of the massive, $8.5-billion CityCenter, overcame potentially crippling financial issues and opened Aria, as planned, in the final weeks of 2009. The 4,004-room, Cesar Pelli-designed resort and casino is the largest hotel in the mixed-use development -- and the only one to offer gaming.
 
The contemporary luxury resort offers a cornucopia of dining options -- 14 restaurants and lounges, in fact. Among the entries are new outposts from a who's who in celebrity restaurateurs, including American Fish (Michael Mina), Bar Masa/Shaboo (Masayoshi Takayama), Jean Georges Steakhouse (Jean-Georges Vongerichten), Julian Serrano (ditto), Sage (Shawn McClain) and Sirio Ristorante (Sirio Maccioni). The property also features an auditorium built specifically to accommodate a new Cirque du Soleil production, Viva Elvis, along with the Gold Lounge, an accompanying Elvis-themed venue that can serve groups of 50 to 300.

Aria provides 300,000 square feet of meeting space on three levels, including four large ballrooms and 38 meeting rooms. Unlike many facilities in town, Aria's meeting space incorporates a good deal of natural light and doesn't require attendees to walk through the casino. The LEED Gold-certified property underscores its many sustainable initiatives with touches like indoor gardens and meeting rooms named for local flora. 

Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain
Marana, Ariz.
(520) 572-3000; ritzcarlton.com/dovemountain
Opened: Dec. 18, 2009
Guest rooms: 250
Meeting space: 44,000 square feet

Spread over 850 acres in the high Sonoran Desert northwest of Tucson, the 250-room Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, is a secluded resort that offers a tranquil setting as well as access to a range of outdoor recreational options. More than 20 miles of hiking and biking trails cover the mountain terrain, and the nearby White Stallion Ranch offers a variety of rides and ranch activities to guests of the resort. Also available are 27 holes of golf, a 45,000-square-foot clubhouse, 17,000-square-foot spa with 14 indoor/outdoor treatment rooms and three swimming pools, including a 230-foot water slide.

The resort's 44,000 square feet of meeting space includes three ballrooms, of 9,000 square feet, 5,000 square feet and 2,100 square feet. Four meeting rooms and an executive boardroom also are available, as are several scenic outdoor venues. The property offers five dining options on-site, including the upscale, casual CORE Kitchen & Wine Bar, the Ignite pub and Cayton's, which serves Southwestern and American comfort cuisine. All venues offer indoor and outdoor dining and highlight sustainable, regional and organic fare.

Westin Houston Memorial City(281) 501-4300; starwoodhotels.com
Opening: March 2011
Guest rooms: 267
Meeting space: 29,000 square feet

The 267-room Westin Houston Memorial City will open in September within the 200-acre mixed-use Memorial City development, a $500 million project featuring sports facilities, retail, performance spaces and dining. The hotel will be connected to the 200-million-square-foot Memorial City Mall, near the massive mixed-use CityCentre development. A Westin Workout center, a restaurant and lounge, an infinity pool and 29,000 square feet of meeting space will be among the offerings.