November 14, 2007

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has signed an agreement with Lateral Holdings to develop a US$50 million luxury resort on the island of Mauritius in the southwest Indian Ocean. The 210-room InterContinental Mauritius Resort Balaclava Fort will have a ballroom, four meeting rooms, a business center and a spa. The property will open in late 2008.

The 232-room Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland, will unveil its new ESPA spa in late February 2008. The facility will have 20 treatment rooms.

Noted Boston restaurateur Michael Schlow will open a new eatery at the 471-room Renaissance Boston Waterfront. The hotel, with 21,000 square feet of meeting space, is slated to open in January in the city's seaport district, near the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Schlow also is developing a restaurant for the expansion at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, which will open in May.

The Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club has completed a $1.7 million renovation of its Island golf course. The resort now will expand the spa into a 12,000-square-foot, full-service facility with 12 treatment rooms, and add a new fitness center, to be completed in late 2008. Also being redone are the propertyÕs six pools, tennis center and 11 courts, clubhouses and four restaurants, to be completed by early 2009. The entire project will cost between $20 million and $25 million. The 900-acre resort, with 600 guest rooms, four golf courses and 65,000 square feet of meeting and event space, was purchased by Salamandar Hospitality this July.
Plans are in the works in New Orleans to restore the French Quarter's 19th-century Cosmopolitan Hotel, which now will be known as the Royal Cosmopolitan Hotel, converting the property into a condo-hotel. A 26-story tower will be built behind the existing structure; when finished, the hotel will comprise 107 condo suites in the tower and 24 renovated guest rooms in the old building. The new tower will have a rooftop infinity pool, as well as a 26th-floor lounge and restaurant with panoramic views of the city. This effort marks the first major renovation of a historic property in New Orleans since Katrina struck in August 2005.

The 1,275-room New Orleans Marriott, which is in the middle of a $38 million renovation, has unveiled its new, $8.5 million lobby and restaurant. In a nod to the hotel's address, 555 Canal St., the restaurant is called 5 Fifty 5. It is headed up by executive chef Mark Quitney and features all the city's famous cuisines -- French, Creole and Cajun. The New Orleans Marriott has 80,000 square feet of meeting space.

Developer Garfield Traub has been chosen by a Tucson, Ariz., selection committee to build a $200 million, 707-room Sheraton to support the Tucson Convention Center, which would be renovated while the hotel is built. The committee will make its recommendation to the mayor and city council next Tuesday. The group also will recommend that the city spend $45 million to buy and renovate the 250-room Hotel Arizona in the same part of downtown. The master plan for the district also calls for a new arena.

The first phase of a two-phase renovation has begun at the 244-room Westward Look Resort in Tucson, Ariz. About $10 million will be spent to upgrade the guest rooms, lobby area, and the Catalina and Sonoran ballrooms. The work, which will finish up in April, will remove bathtubs from 200 of the rooms and add 42-inch plasma TVs to all rooms. The Catalina Ballroom will be redesigned in a traditional Southwest style and its A/V will be upgraded. All other meeting space will receive cosmetic updates.

The 1,572-room Hilton Anaheim has completed of the first phase of a $60 million renovation with the reopening of its California and Pacific ballrooms. Each offers 28,500 square feet of event space, with newly upgraded wall coverings, carpeting, lighting and A/V equipment. The hotel's 51 breakout rooms will be revamped next. The guest room also are being upgraded, the lobby redesigned, the fitness center expanded, and a porte cochere and new restaurants added. Guest room work will finish by August; further completion dates will be announced in the coming months.

The 439-room Crowne Plaza Somerset-Bridgewater (N.J.) has officially reopened after being converted from a Marriott. The hotel, adjacent to the Garden State Exhibit Center, offers 22 meeting rooms with more than 14,000 square feet of meeting space, as well as a large health club, an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant and a lounge. Nearby, in Edison, N.J., a multimillion-dollar renovation is underway at the 169-room Crowne Plaza, slated for completion in the second quarter of 2008. In addition to offering more than 12,000 square feet in meeting and banquet space, the property will be home to an upscale steak house and lounge, a business center and a fitness room.

Donald Trump has signed a deal with Cherokee Investment Partners to become a partner in the New Jersey Meadowlands EnCap golf and housing development. According to a statement from Cherokee, the Trump Organization will take over operational management of the project, formerly handled by Cherokee subsidiary EnCap Golf Holdings. EnCap's handling of the project, a development of 785 acres of garbage-dump land, has been the source of public controversy and has resulted in numerous environmental violations. Trump, who had previously been approached by EnCap to invest, publicly criticized both EnCap's development process and golf course design. Trump will likely redesign the golf course, turning two courses into one; the project is also slated to include housing, office, hotel and retail spaces. The revised plans must be approved by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.