by Bryan Darrow | May 01, 2006

Plotting New Center
City officials are considering plans to build a new 2 million-square-foot, $455 million convention facility, to be called the Music City Center, on a site behind the Nashville Arena. The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center has embarked on a four-year, $45 million face-lift. The Doubletree Hotel Downtown recently wrapped up a renovation of its 21,000 square feet of meeting space as well as public areas.

Charlotte, N.C.
NASCAR and More
In March, the city won a competition to become the home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, beating out Atlanta and Daytona Beach, Fla. The $154 million project largely will be financed through a 2 percent increase in the hotel/motel tax, to 8 percent, effective May 1. The city will get three new hotels, an increase of 476 rooms, by year-end 2008. Making a mark will be a 150-room Ritz-Carlton with 13,600 square feet of meeting space, a 176-room aloft hotel and a 150-suite Twelve boutique property.

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FL, Orlando
The Lexington hotel opens this month with 227 luxury studios and suites. The property features a signature restaurant and lounge, a cyber cafe, a business center and a pool. A six-story spa and fitness center will open next March. The hotel has 4,400 square feet of meeting space.

IL, Chicago
The Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers completed a nearly $20 million renovation in March. In addition to revamped guest rooms and suites, the refurbishment included the lobby, the exhibition hall, the health club and the hotel’s new hot spot, Chi Bar. The hotel has approximately 120,000 square feet of meeting space.

KY, Louisville
The $26 million 21C Hotel/Museum, which opened in March, is a 90-room boutique property with a 5,000-square-foot museum of contemporary art in the lobby. The hotel also offers seven meeting rooms.

room at the Portland Hotal deLuxe

SEEING STARS. The Portland Hotel deLuxe will open in downtown Portland, Ore., this month, sporting a cinematic theme. The luxury property’s lobby, hallways and 130 guest rooms are adorned with glossy stills from classic Hollywood productions from the 1930s through 1950s. Groups can meet in the 1,240-square-foot Screening Room or the smaller Green and Editing rooms. (866) 895-2094;

NY, New York
The 80-room Rockefeller Center Hotel opens this month, featuring 458 square feet of meeting space. The building includes a private business club called Terrace Club and Johnny Utah’s Saloon and Steakhouse.

NV, Las Vegas
The Signature at MGM Grand
, a new luxury suite hotel, opens its first tower this month with 576 suites decked out with marble and granite bathrooms, Jacuzzis, flat-screen TVs and wireless high-speed Internet access. An unspecified amount of meeting space will open later this year. Two more towers will open by next spring.

PA, Hawley
The 58-room Lodge at Woodloch is set to open in June. Featuring a spa with 27 treatment rooms, including 14 massage rooms, the property is set on 75 wooded acres in the lake region of northeastern Pennsylvania. The lodge offers two meeting rooms.

TX, Fort Worth
The downtown Radisson Plaza Hotel Fort Worth completed a $10.5 million renovation last month and was rebranded the Hilton Fort Worth. The 294-room property features the new Skylight Court Lounge and approximately 35,000 square feet of meeting and ballroom space.

VA, Culpeper
A new 158-room Best Western Hotel opened in Culpeper in April. The property features a full-service restaurant, a cocktail lounge and two outdoor swimming pools. Conference and banquet rooms are available to accommodate up to 250 people.