December 19, 2007

Construction has begun on the Cougar Canyon Golf Resort and Spa in Trinidad, Colo., due south of Denver, near the New Mexico border. The 117-room luxury resort will accompany the Cougar Canyon Golf Links, designed by Jack Nicklaus, and will offer 3,000 square feet of event space and a spa. The opening is scheduled for spring 2009.

A $4.2 million renovation begins Jan. 2 at the historical Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas. All 189 rooms will be redone, adding more usable workspace, and the 1886 Cafe & Bakery will be redesigned. All work will finish up by the end of the summer.

A 229-room W Hotel will open in the Foshay Tower in downtown Minneapolis in late 2008. The W Minneapolis-The Foshay will have 7,000 square feet of meeting space.
An Element hotel will open in Houston's Vintage Park in spring 2009. The extended-stay spinoff of Westin Hotels & Resorts will have 123 guest rooms with Westin Heavenly Beds and kitchens featuring Energy Star rated appliances. Element Houston Vintage Park will have 800 square feet of meeting space.

Two 136-room Aloft hotels will open in the Indianapolis metropolitan area in late 2009, each with 700 square feet of meeting space. The Aloft Venu will open downtown, and the Aloft Metropolis will open near the Indianapolis International Airport in Plainfield.
The 147-room Embassy Suites Tampa Brandon opened Monday in Brandon, Fla. The hotel offers 3,000 square feet of meeting space, a pool, a spa, and fitness and business centers.

A 280-room W Hotel will be built in Amman, Jordan. The hotel, which will be the fourth W in the Middle East, is scheduled to open in 2011 with 4,000 square feet of meeting space, a spa and fitness center called SWEAT, indoor and outdoor pools, and a restaurant.

The Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, has been rebranded as the Fairmont The Norfolk, following a top-to-bottom renovation. The property has 168 guest rooms and three meeting rooms.

BlueBay Hotels & Resorts, a new brand owned and operated by Spanish company Hotetur Hoteles, has opened its first two properties. BlueBay Grand Esmeralda, in Mexico's Riviera Maya, and BlueBay Villas Doradas, in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, are the first resorts in the luxury, all-inclusive chain planned for Mexico and the Caribbean. BlueBay Grand Esmeralda renovations should be complete in January, at which point the hotel will have 984 rooms, a spa, a 6,000-square-foot meeting and convention facility and a 600-seat auditorium. The 245-room BlueBay Villas Doradas, next to the 18-hole Playa Dorada Golf Course in Puerto Plata's Playa Dorada complex, offers a spa, a gym, three swimming pools and three tennis courts.
Hotel Indigo has expanded into Mexico with the opening of the 50-room Hotel Indigo Merida Hacienda Misne in the state of Yucatan. A 100-year-old hacienda, the property is a short drive from downtown M}rida, a colonial city within easy striking distance of the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. Each guest room is an individual villa facing a central courtyard. The boutique property also offers 10 suites. A Hotel Indigo in Mexico City will open in 2009. In other Indigo news, ground has been broken on a 164-room Hotel Indigo in Brooklyn, N.Y. Features of the property will include a Phitness studio, a 24-hour business center, high-speed Internet access in all guest rooms, a rooftop lounge, an indoor bar lounge and restaurant, and meeting space. Completion is expected in early 2010.

Last week, the 120-suite, 110-unit condo-hotel, Westin Monache Resort, Mammoth, opened in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. Amenities include a bar/restaurant, a WestinWORKOUT fitness facility and 2,000 square feet of meeting space. All guest rooms include a gas fireplace, a kitchenette, a 32-inch HDTV, high-speed Internet access and Westin Heavenly Beds.

Work has begun on The Grand, a $3 billion, 3.6 million-square-foot mixed-use development project in downtown Los Angeles. The project's centerpiece will be a 48-story tower, which will include a 295-room Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Additional features are a 19-story residential tower, a 250,000-square-foot retail pavilion and an array of landscaped garden areas to be housed in a 16-acre civic park. Demolition of the existing parking garage at Grand Avenue will begin in February, with the transformation of the existing County Mall into the civic park to begin next fall.

The 178-room Sheraton Stockton (Calif.) Hotel at Regent Pointe has opened in Northern California, one hour from both Sacramento and Oakland International airports. The hotel features a fitness facility, a 24-hour business center, outdoor pools, the Hippo Bar and Restaurant, and 10,000 square feet of meeting space.
The 444-room Westchester (N.Y.) Marriott Tarrytown is adding a 2,970-square-foot ballroom to its 22,000 square feet of meeting space. The space will accommodate 180 for banquets and 350 for theater-style seating. Completion is expected in spring 2008.