August 06, 2008

Gaylord Entertainment Co. reported its second quarter 2008 results this week. The company’s hospitality segment saw total revenue increase 38.7 percent to $233.3 million in the second quarter of 2008, compared to the same period in 2007. Revenue per available room for second quarter 2008 increased 2.6 percent, compared to the same period in 2007. When contacted by M&C to confirm the report’s findings, Brian Abrahamson, vice president of communication for Gaylord, said reports by some trade organizations, such as Trade Show Week, that the company’s earning had dropped 91 percent were misleading, because they did not take into account the $140.3 million pre-tax gain from the sale of the company's investment in Bass Pro Group last year, which significantly boosted 2007 earnings.

Oregon's second Crowne Plaza hotel opened in Portland last week, following a $3 million renovation. The 241-room Crowne Plaza Portland-Downtown has been converted from a Holiday Inn, and in the process received a new lobby, furniture, beds, bathroom package and more. The property has free Wi-Fi, a fitness center, an indoor pool, and 10,000 square feet of meeting space.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts has opened the 136-room Aloft Charleston Airport & Convention Center in South Carolina. The property has one 526-square-foot meeting room.

The number of three- to five-star hotels in Vietnam has increased by nearly 50 percent and the number of hotel rooms in the upscale category has more than doubled in the past three years, according a study released by consulting firm Grant Thornton. Vietnam now has more than 5,200 rooms at 37 upscale properties. The average daily rate at those hotels rose 37 percent between 2006 and 2007, thanks, in part, to a more than 5 percent increase in the number of business travelers to Vietnam over the past two years.

As tropical storm Edouard made landfall on the upper Texas coast yesterday, properties on the state's South Padre Island, far south of the new storm, continued to recover from Hurricane Dolly. As of Friday, the 250-room Sheraton South Padre Island still had no power or water; the hotel will not reopen until Oct. 31. The 194-room Radisson Resort South Padre Island is closed until Oct. 1.

A stunning new outdoor pavilion opened Sunday at Sun Valley Resort in Idaho with a concert by the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. The venue seats 1,500 people under its sail-like cover and has room to seat another 2,500 on the surrounding grass. Debuting on Aug. 11 will be the White Clouds Golf Course, a nine-hole alpine links layout designed by Robert Trent Jones II architect Donald Knott; it joins the 18-hole Trail Creek course, a creation of Robert Trent Jones Jr. himself. A new 58,000-square-foot clubhouse for the courses opens on Aug. 20. The resort offers accommodations in the 148-room Sun Valley Lodge, the 109-room Sun Valley Inn, and various condominiums and cottages. Groups meet in about 26,000 square feet of meeting space.

The Meridian Cool Springs mixed-use development in Franklin, Tenn., will add a 225-room Westin hotel in mid 2010. Ground will be broken later this year on the property, which will offer 10,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 5,000-square-foot ballroom. Already open at the 65-acre project are seven restaurants and 68,000 square feet of retail space; debuting in November are the 122-room Courtyard Franklin Cool Springs and a 124-room Residence Inn.

In 2011, construction will begin on One Bayfront Plaza, a 70-story, mixed-use high rise in Miami. Spanning two city blocks, the spiral-shaped, two-tower structure will house a four-star, 850-room convention hotel, 120,000 square feet of meeting space, and 112,000 square feet of retail space. A hotel brand has not yet been attached to the project. The building aims to be silver LEED-certified and will open in mid-2014.

The Virgin Spa at Natirar development is proceeding, according to co-developers Sir Richard Branson and New Jersey businessman Robert Wojtowicz, who recently held an official groundbreaking at the site in Peapack-Gladstone, N.J. Branson intends to make the $90 million project part of the Virgin Limited Edition portfolio. The hotel-spa will be constructed on the 450-acre estate formerly owned by King Hassan II of Morocco, and currently on lease to Branson from Somerset County. As reported in the New Jersey Star-Ledger, the developers still lack the necessary permit to begin construction, as the application is still under review by borough officials.