by Morton D. Rosenbaum | September 01, 2004

New Orleans
Better and Bigger
The Downtown Revival Initiative, which includes a $15 million restoration of Canal Street, will get under way in spring 2005. It will involve an infusion of new restaurants, shops and entertainment venues. Scheduled to open in 2007 is the expansion of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, which will add 524,000 square feet of exhibit space, a 60,000-square-foot ballroom and 61 meeting rooms. The 331-room Marriott Convention Center Hotel and 155-room Country Inn & Suites will open later this year.

An Aquarium and More
The Georgia Aquarium, set to open in 2005, will include a 1,200-seat banquet room and reception space for up to 12,000 people. The InterContinental Buckhead opens next month with 450 guest rooms. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has filed plans with the city to develop an 828,000-square-foot mixed-use complex. An opening date for the project has yet to be set.

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CA, San Jose
The 193-room Park Plaza  reopened in July as the Clarion Hotel San Jose Airport, following a $12 million-plus renovation. Near San Jose International Airport, the property accommodates 200 in a 2,500-square-foot ballroom and has six additional meeting rooms, all with high-tech amenities such as Bose sound systems and one-touch screens.

CO, Colorado Springs
The 121-year-old Antlers Adam’s Mark Hotel officially became the Antlers Hilton Colorado Springs in late July. A $7.5 million renovation to guest rooms and meeting space will finish in March, and the property, in the city’s downtown district, will remain open in the interim.

CO, Vail
The 292-room Vail Cascade Resort & Spa completed a four-year, $20 million overhaul in July. In addition to refreshed guest rooms, the property offers 58,000 square feet of meeting space, as well as the 78,000-square-foot Aria spa and athletic complex.

The Conrad Miami

Conrad goes citrus. Miami’s Brickell Avenue submitted to the grand invasion of the 36-story, 203-room Conrad Miami in July.  The new property provides 15,000 square feet of meeting space (all on one floor), a 7,000-square-foot spa and health club, and a chic Spanish-Asian restaurant with seating for 80. A rooftop swimming pool rounds out the amenity list. (305) 503-6500;

FL, Tampa
The $45 million, 293-room Renaissance Tampa Hotel International Plaza opened in August. Highlights include 12,500 square feet of meeting space, a 152-seating Mediterranean restaurant and a lavish gourmet olive bar waiting for guests after check-in.

NY, Saratoga Springs
The 146-room Saratoga Springs Courtyard by Marriott opened in July, well in time for racing season. The new $11.5 million property provides 3,000 square feet of meeting space.

PA, Hershey
Renovations wrapped this month on the Monarch function space at Hershey Lodge and Convention Center. The 15,000-square-foot area has been divided into four separate rooms to accommodate smaller meetings, while the recently added 15,136-square-foot Chocolate Ballroom hosts larger groups.

WA, Bremerton
Just across the Puget Sound from Seattle is the new Kitsap Conference Center at Bremerton Harborside. Unveiled in August, the newcomer offers a 6,000-square-foot ballroom and three meeting rooms. The property is at the center of a larger waterfront development that also plays host to the recently opened 105-room Hilton Hampton Inn & Suites Waterfront.

Whistler, B.C.
Four Seasons opened the 273-room Four Seasons Resort Whistler in June. Guests can relax in the on-site spa, play in the 8,171 surrounding acres of skiable terrain and meet in the 9,855 square feet of function space.