November 21, 2007

With a $700 million expansion already under way at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn., resort officials have announced they will spend an additional $55 million to improve the existing facilities. The plan calls for two new restaurants by David Burke and a new retail corridor near the entrance to the skywalk that connects the hotel and the 825-room MGM Grand, now being built with 115,000 square feet of meeting space. All construction should be finished in May.

A 1,000-room Hilton will be built as the headquarters hotel for the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center in Florida. The property, scheduled to open in 2012, will feature 50,000 square feet of meeting space, a 12,000-square-foot spa and an infinity pool. The hotel is planned to be a silver-certified LEED project. In other area news, a $30 million renovation has been completed at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale. All 384 guest rooms were redone, as were the lobby, the 7,500-square-foot Crystal Ballroom and the 3,000-square-foot Pier Top event venue. Two new outdoor decks, new private poolside cabanas and a redesigned courtyard round out the enhancements.

The Buccaneer Beach Resort on Jekyll Island, Ga., was demolished last week to make way for the new Canopy Bluff Hotel & Residences. The $120 million project will offer 301 hotel rooms and 127 condominiums, as well as five pools, 17,000 square feet of meeting space, a fitness center and a restaurant. The property will be a LEED-certified hotel.

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has unveiled design details for the 120-room Rosewood Sand Hill, currently under construction on a 22-acre site in Menlo Park, Calif., a mile west of Stanford University. The property will include a 16,000-square-foot spa with 13 treatment rooms, a fitness room, an outdoor pool, the Madera restaurant, a lobby lounge and 8,000 square feet of event space. The property will open in early 2009.

Passkey has launched RoomList Express, a secure online platform for maintaining rooming lists for hotels and meetings. Planners can use the tool to upload their lists so that hoteliers can import the information directly into their reservation systems. The software can handle lists of any size, in any CSV or Excel format. Planners working with the Passkey product, who are also working with a licensed hotel, can use the RoomList tool for no extra charge.

Wyndham Worldwide Corp. has launched the Wyndham Grand Collection. Properties making up the chain's top-tier portfolio will be chosen for their distinctive location, architectural design, culinary experiences, spa and wellness offerings, and attentive service. So far, Wyndham has named 10 properties to the collection, including the Wyndham Grand London Chelsea Harbour and the Wyndham Grand Rio Grand Beach Resort and Spa in Puerto Rico.

Atlanta-area hotels are conserving water to help offset the area's drought by turning off water in fountain decorations, asking guests to reuse towels, only serving water upon request in restaurants, canceling window-washing services and not watering outdoor plants. "These measures can save millions of gallons of water," said Mark Vaughan, executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer for the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We've had a few clients contact us to make sure their attendees can still have a good experience in Atlanta, but no meetings have canceled. Other meeting planners want to know how their attendees can help while they are in town."