May 21, 2008

The 219-room Hilton Sedona (Ariz.) Resort and Spa has added four 600-square-foot executive meeting rooms. The state-of-the-art spaces are soundproofed and offer ergonomic chairs, flat-panel screens and audioconferencing phones. The property now has 20,500 square feet of meeting space, three pools, two restaurants and a 20,000-square-foot spa.

Work will begin in the fall on a $10 million renovation at the 508-room Westin La Cantera Resort in San Antonio, Texas. The refurbished guest rooms, guest corridors and public spaces on the resort banquet level will be unveiled in spring 2009. The property features 44,000 square feet of meeting space and two top-notch golf courses.

On the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the 1,087-room IP Casino Resort Spa opened its new, 26,000-square-foot, land-based gaming expansion. The facility has 600 slot machines, 10 table games and a new video poker bar called The Cove. Also new is the pan-Asian restaurant Tien. The property's meeting space consists of an 18,000-square-foot ballroom.

Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group is ramping up expansion nationwide. The chain, which recently closed on a $246 million acquisition fund, said it plans to add $800 million worth of hotels in key markets by 2011. Part of that goal includes the $92.5 million Kimpton is spending on the 234-room Hotel Palomar Philadelphia, on which ground was broken in February. That property will feature 6,000 square feet of meeting space. A 2007 internal survey of Kimpton's customers revealed that 51 percent were corporate business travelers, and half of those were staying under corporate negotiated rates.

Plans for a hotel at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., have been canceled, leaving the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games without an anchor hotel at the park. A spokesperson for the facility said the developers could not secure financing in time to meet a deadline set by the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet. "This was done to avoid the risk of an unfinished hotel or unsightly construction remnants present during the World Equestrian Games," the spokesperson said in a statement. Two groups representing the developers, The Bluegrass Equine and Tourism Foundation and KHPWESLUX Inc., have in turn sued the cabinet, complaining no deadline was set in the contract. Officials at the park have indicated they will continue to work with the state to develop a new hotel.

The 334-room Ocean Edge Resort & Club in Brewster, Mass., on Cape Cod, is adding a 5,000-square-foot ballroom to its existing 15,000 square feet of meeting space. The resort reopened its golf course earlier this month following a revamp by Nicklaus Design, and the new Linx Pavilion, a 2,500-square-foot event venue along the 18th hole, debuted at the same time; both were part of an $18.5 million renovation. Construction began in January on the new ballroom, which will open next spring.