November 07, 2007

Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced plans to open three new hotels in Peru over the next three years, in a franchise agreement with Immobiliaria Inversiones de Turismo S.A. Properties include the first Westin in South America, the 311-room Westin Libertador Lima Hotel in the country's capital. Slated to open in 2010, the property will offer 30,000 square feet of meeting space, a lobby bar and two restaurants. Starwood also will open two hotels as part of its new Luxury Collection: the 192-room Palacio del Inca Libertador Luxury Collection Hotel, in Cusco, and the 128-room Valle Sagrado Libertador Luxury Collection Hotel, in Urubamba. The Palacio del Inca, which will feature a spa and more than 1,900 square feet of meeting space, is scheduled to open in 2009. The Valle Sagrado, in a small town one hour outside of Cusco, will offer 4,200 square feet of meeting space and will open in 2010.

American Express and Clear, provider of registered traveler security express lanes at a dozen U.S. airports, announced a partnership yesterday that will give American Express corporate cardmembers preferred pricing on Clear's annual membership. Rather than the standard $99.95 for 12 months, Amex clients will receive 14 months for the same price, representing a 17 percent discount. Also, under the agreement, Clear will provide on-site enrollment to American Express clients where 50 or more employees are registering for the program.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has finalized a deal to build a W hotel 18 miles west of Tokyo in Yokohama, Japan -- the first W in the country. The property, which will open in 2010 in Yokohama's modern Shinko, or New Port, district, will have 245 guest rooms, two restaurants, a spa, the W Living Room Bar and 10,000 square feet of meeting space.

After a decade of waiting, county officials selected Hilton last week to build a convention center hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The plan is up for final approval by the county commission this week. Hilton would build a 1,000-room hotel to serve the Broward County Convention Center. The 27-story property will cost about $398.2 million and will feature an infinity pool and a 12,000-square-foot spa. It will open at the end of 2011.

The Palm Beach County Convention Center will get a 400-room Westin hotel and a parking garage for more than 2,500 vehicles. West Palm Beach city commissioners approved the final plan last week, and groundbreaking is scheduled for next April.

The former Hotel Ponchartrain in Detroit has been reflagged as the 367-room Sheraton Detroit Riverside, following a $35 million renovation. Next door to the Cobo Center, the hotel offers more than 10,000 square feet of meeting space.

The 200-room Pierre New York, operated by Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, will close its guest rooms on Jan. 1 to begin the second phase of renovations. All guest rooms, corridors, public spaces, the hotel bar and Cafe Pierre will be upgraded, at an estimated cost of $100 million. January 2007 saw completion of the first phase, which included a revamp to the Grand Ballroom, the Cotillion Room and foyer. All banquet facilities, which total more than 18,000 square feet of space, will remain open during the renovation. The property will begin taking reservations for the newly renovated rooms in late 2008, and the hotel will reopen in early 2009.

The 575-room Hyatt Regency Monterey (Calif.) is wrapping up a guest room revamp, the second stage of a $45 million, three-phase renovation. April of this year saw completion of phase one, which upgraded the hotel's TusCA Ristorante, the Fireplace Lounge and the lobby area. The final phase will add an 8,000-square-foot spa and health club, to be completed by the end of 2008. The property offers 40,000 square feet of meeting space and the 18-hole Del Morte Golf Course. Guest room amenities now include 32-inch flat-screen TVs, iPod-docking stations and Hyatt signature pillow-top Grand Beds.

The Gansevoort Hotel Group plans to open its second property in Manhattan, the 225-room Gansevoort Park, at Park Avenue and 29th Street, by spring 2009. The 19-story building will feature 8,000 square feet of public space, including bars, decks and a pool, on its top three floors. A 3,500-square-foot catering space, a private outdoor deck and a 2,000-square-foot spa will be available for guest use only. A 10,000-square-foot steak house will operate at the hotel ground level. A groundbreaking date has not been set.

London's famous St. Pancras train station reopened yesterday in a ceremony presided over by Queen Elizabeth II. Beginning next week, the refurbished Victorian terminal will serve as the city's Eurostar high-speed train station, with service to Paris and Brussels. Eurostar formerly ran from London's Waterloo Station.