November 28, 2007

According to the Mesa Tribune, Arizona's Gila River Indian Community broke ground last week on a $200 million casino and hotel on its land south of the Phoenix/Scottsdale region. The 241-room Wild Horse Pass Casino and hotel will open in 2009 in the development that already is home to the 500-room Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa, which offers more than 100,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space. The new property will feature a 1,200-seat entertainment center, a 100,000-square-foot casino, seven restaurants, a spa and meeting space.

Two Major League Baseball teams broke ground last week on a new training facility on the border of Phoenix and Glendale, Ariz. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox will spend their first spring training at the complex in 2009. Among the features will be a $76 million, 10,000-seat stadium; four Major League practice fields; eight Minor League practice fields; a hotel; a golf course; and restaurants, retail and residential offerings.

On Dec. 1, Kempinski Hotels will take over management of the Pragelato Village Resort & Spa, a property in Italy's Piedmont region. The 204-room hotel, which will be rebranded as the Kempinski Pragelato Village, has a spa and three meeting rooms. The spa will be expanded by next summer; meeting facilities will be expanded by late 2011.

Corinthia Hotels International will manage the 418-room Wyndham Port Lixus Resort in Morocco. The property, to open in 2010, will have a spa, three restaurants and meeting space (at press time, the size of meeting space had not been decided). It is part of the new Port Lixus complex, which will have two 18-hole golf courses and a marina.
After a $22 million conversion from the Clarion brand, the 374-room Sheraton Kansas City (Mo.) Sports Complex Hotel has opened with 16,000 square feet of meeting space. The property faces the Truman Sports Complex, home to the cityÕs professional football, baseball and soccer teams. An indoor water park will open onsite in the spring.

MSC Cruises will add a $6 per guest, per day fuel surcharge on all new bookings made Dec. 1 or later for departures after Feb. 1. No surcharge will be levied on the third and fourth passengers booked in the same stateroom.
The 311-room Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs was bought by Cooper Hotels last week and will remain open during a $35 million, 10-month renovation. Upgrades will spruce up the entrance, lobby and pool while adding a new restaurant, lounge and 2,500-square-foot fitness center. Guest rooms will receive new furnishings, redesigned bathrooms and plasma televisions.

Relais & Chateaux has added 34 independent hotels and restaurants to its member list, bringing its total membership to 470. The new entrants hail from countries such as Denmark, France, Greece, Italy and the United States. Properties of note from North America include the 35-room Castle Hill Inn & Resort in Newport, R.I., and the 83-room Wedgewood Hotel & Spa in Vancouver.

Emirates Hotels & Resorts has broken ground on its first property outside of Dubai, the $69 million Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa in Australia's Blue Mountains. The luxury resort will open in late 2009 with 40 free-standing suites and a main "homestead" building with restaurants, spa, pool and conference facilities. The property will take up 2 percent of 4,000 acres' worth of depleted farmland. The remaining 3,920 acres will be restored to its natural state by the reintroduction of native animals and plants.