October 31, 2007

Five new luxury rooms have opened at the 93-room Snake River Lodge & Spa, a RockResort in Jackson Hole, Wyo. The Mountain Lodge Penthouse Floor offers three one-bedroom suites and two executive king rooms. All feature flat-screen TVs, fireplaces and a balcony looking out on the Gros Ventre mountains. The property also has a 17,000-square-foot RockResorts spa and more than 5,500 square feet of meeting space.

According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, a 270-room Hard Rock Hotel with retail and entertainment venues will be built near the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. Construction would start in mid-2008, and completion is set for late 2010.

The government of France has announced plans to revamp its hotel-rating scale by creating common standards for each level of accommodation and to include a five-star category for luxury hotels. Under the current scale, the top-rated category is "four-star luxury."

The Fairmont Mara Safari Club, a safari camp in Kenya, has reopened following an extensive renovation; the property has 50 luxury tents. Two additional Fairmont properties in the country -- the 165-room Norfolk, in Nairobi, offering a ballroom and four meeting rooms, and the 120-room Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, a resort with a nine-hole golf course -- currently are undergoing renovations. The Norfolk remains open while the club is closed until early 2008.

The 393-room Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel has completed a $7 million renovation that upgraded its guest room amenities and 37,000 square feet of meeting space.
Construction has begun on the 155-Aloft Minneapolis, the new brand from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. The hotel is across the street from the Guthrie Theater.

When it reopens early next year, the 161-room property previously called The Diegan will be known as The Setai San Diego. To be operated by The Setai Group, the luxury condo-hotel will feature a restaurant, a lobby bar, a 5,000-square-foot spa, a ballroom (dimensions are yet to be determined), seven meeting rooms, a 30-seat private screening room, a 7,000-square-foot pool deck and high-tech amenities in all guest rooms.

The 529-room Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco has completed a $33 million renovation. Notable additions are an expanded and redesigned lobby area, featuring a new food and coffee bar, a breakfast area, an outdoor living room for small gatherings and the 2,731-square-foot Embarcadero Room. The property's existing meeting space includes the 2,278-square-foot Presidio Ballroom and the 2,196-square-foot Marina Ballroom. In all, the hotel offers more than 9,000 square feet of flexible meeting space.

A $17.5 million renovation has been completed at the 168-room Royalton Hotel, owned by the Morgans Hotel Group. The hotel now offers Bar 44 (formerly known as the Round Bar), a new 100-seat restaurant dubbed Brasserie 44 and a redesigned and refurnished lobby area.

The 2,024-room New York-New York hotel casino in Las Vegas recently expanded its meeting facilities and redesigned its convention floor and now offers 21,000 square feet of space for groups of 10 to 300. Additions include the 2,200-square-foot Park Terrace room, with a view of the casino floor, and the 1,939-square-foot Central Park room, featuring a panoramic view outside the hotel and of the pool area below. LCD reader boards are now outside each meeting room, and wireless Internet access is available throughout all meeting areas.
Real-estate development, management and ownership company Buccini/Pollin Group acquired the 276-room Sheraton Raritan Center, in Edison, N.J., from Starwood Hotels & Resorts. The new owners will begin extensive renovations to the property in mid-2008, which they expect to complete by the end of next year.
The Villa Group plans a late summer opening of the 245-suite Villa La Estancia Beach Resort & Spa in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. Just north of Puerto Vallarta and on the southern end of what is now being called the Riviera Nayarit, the resort already has opened 50 of its suites. The second phase of the project will be completed in December, with the opening of approximately 35 additional rooms, an onsite restaurant and the main lobby. The adjacent 17,000-square-foot Flamingos Convention Center, which is open and fully functional, can accommodate events of 25 to 400 attendees.