August 13, 2008

Larry Luteran, a longtime Hilton Hotels executive, has been promoted to senior vice president of group sales and industry relations. In his new position, Luteran continues to oversee the group component of Hilton Sales Worldwide in the United States and takes on a new role as Hilton's primary contact with all customer industry organizations, oversees the company's special events department and becomes responsible for sales contracts. Also this week, Luteran began his one-year term as chair of the board of directors for Meeting Professionals International.

Loews Hotels has promoted Michael Dominguez to the newly created position of vice president of global sales. Dominguez will oversee the chain's national sales offices and third-party relations and will be the "face" of Loews Hotels in the meetings industry.

The 367-room Radisson Plaza Hotel Lexington (Ky.) temporarily became the Lexington Downtown Hotel & Conference Center last week. The property has started a $13 million renovation of all guest rooms and public spaces and will be rebranded as a Hilton upon completion in September 2009. Connected to the Rupp Arena and the Lexington Convention Center via skywalks, the hotel offers 16,000 square feet of meeting space, the Bigg Blue Martini lounge and the Cafe on the Park restaurant.

With its debut this week, the 92-room Hotel Indigo Ontario Rancho Cucamonga, in Ontario, Calif., became the first of the InterContinental Hotel Group's boutique hotel brand to open in California and the 16th in the portfolio. Amenities include the brand's Phi restaurant, the Phitness center, two meeting rooms and wireless Internet access. In other Indigo news, the Inn at Somerset Hills in Basking Ridge, N.J., is now the 112-room Hotel Indigo with 2,250 square feet of meeting space.

The 443-room Allerton Hotel Chicago on North Michigan Avenue officially unveiled an $85 million renovation this week. The hotel has more than 13,000 square feet of meeting space.

Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, in collaboration with Tata Communications, is introducing high-definition videoconferencing rooms at five of its luxury properties. The Cisco TelePresence rooms have been completed at two properties in India, the 565-room Taj Mahal Palace & Tower in Mumbai and the 117-room Taj West End in Bangalore. The facilities at New York City's 200-room Pierre, the 273-room Taj Boston and the 86-room 51 Buckingham Gate in London will be completed by the end of the year.