March 05, 2008

The 45 luxury villas at the Hilton Scottsdale (Ariz.) Resort & Villas have reopened. The two-bedroom, two-bath accommodations, which had been closed for nine years, recently underwent an $11 million renovation, according to the East Valley Tribune. Each villa now has three flat-screen TVs with Bose surround sound, wireless Internet access, full kitchens, wood-burning fireplaces, and washers and dryers. The property offers another 187 guest rooms and 40,000 square feet of meeting space.

Due north of Dallas in Frisco, the first phase of the Sheraton Stonebriar Hotel has opened with 119 rooms, 1,000 square feet of meeting space and a fitness center. Construction on phase two will begin in the fall, to add another 131 rooms and 26,000 square feet of event space. Also being built in phase two is a rooftop pool. The Sheraton's neighbor is the 301-room Westin Stonebriar Resort with more than 24,000 square feet of meeting space.

Ground has been broken on the 221-room Westin McKinney (Texas) and the 43,000-square-foot McKinney Convention Center, north of Dallas. The Westin will be the town's first full-service hotel and will offer a 6,000-square-foot Heavenly Spa by Westin and indoor and outdoor pools. The facilities will open in fall 2009.

Sarasota, Fla., will get a 225-room Waldorf=Astoria in 2010. The 18-story hotel will have 38,000 square feet of meeting space, a rooftop pool and a 12,000-square-foot spa. An 800-seat Nederlander performance hall, to be built by Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment, will be accessible via bridge. The hotel is part of The Proscenium, a mixed-use retail, dining and entertainment development in downtown. Construction will begin later this year.

The first phase of renovations has been completed at the 1,100-room International Plaza Resort & Spa in Orlando. Improvements include new landscaping, 120 remodeled guest rooms and enhancements to three pools. Future renovations include new business services added to the 60,000 square feet of meeting space, a new full-service spa and all remodeled guest rooms.

The 1,406-room Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Fla., received Florida's Green Lodging certification last week. The resort's new Eco-Logical program that includes installing electronic signage for meetings, sourcing food from local and organic farms for its restaurants and banquets, installing LED lighting and adding soon-to-launch green meetings packages.

Developers in Lexington, Ky., will build a $250 million, 40-story downtown tower that will include a four-star, 243-room hotel; condos; retail space, and a 10,000 square-foot restaurant on the top floor. The project, called CentrePointe, also will feature a theater and a 15,000-square-foot spa. Opening is set for 2010.

The 244-room Radisson Hotel Nairobi will open in Kenya's capital in early 2010. The property -- in Upper Hill, the city's new financial and business district -- will have a restaurant, a bar, a coffee shop, 10 meeting rooms, a ballroom and a fitness center.

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts will build the 400-room Wyndham St. Croix Golf Resort and Casino in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The luxury resort, Wyndham's first on St. Croix, will be the centerpiece of a 294-acre, $250 million development that will include a 25,000-square-foot casino, an 18-hole golf course, a 17,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, four restaurants and a 43,000-square-foot conference center. The resort is set to break ground this spring, with scheduled completion sometime in 2010.

Shea Properties will build three hotels in Legacy Park, an 820-acre mixed-use community in Tustin, Calif., south of Los Angeles. One of the properties will be a Kimpton hotel with 180 rooms, an upscale restaurant, a rooftop patio and bar, and conference facilities (dimensions are to be decided). The other hotels, which are yet to be branded, will offer 160 rooms and 140 suites, respectively. Also part of the development are 2,105 residential units and 6.7 million square feet of office space, retail shops and restaurants, as well as 170 acres of parks and open space. Construction is expected to begin later this year. An opening date has not been set.

The official grand opening of the new 960-room Waterfront Tower at Harrah's Resort Atlantic City will be celebrated tomorrow. Although only the first 12 floors of the 44-story addition currently are open, Thursday's ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring New Jersey governor Jon Corzine will mark the tower's public unveiling. Now the tallest building in Atlantic City, Waterfront Tower is due to be finished in July, at which point Harrah's will offer a total of 2,590 guest rooms.