September 19, 2007

French hotel group Accor will launch its new All Seasons budget hotel brand in France and Europe in January. The firm plans to operate 130 All Seasons hotels in Europe by 2010; the properties will have no meeting space.

The 371-room Arabella Sheraton Grand Hotel Frankfurt (Germany) is now the Westin Grand Frankfurt, following an extensive renovation. The property has 12 meeting rooms and a wellness center.

The 140-room Villa Massalia has opened in Marseille, France. The Concorde Hotels & Resort property has eight meeting rooms, a restaurant, a bar and a spa.

According to local news reports, a $15 million, 149-room Aloft Hotel will be built next to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Cheektowaga, N.Y. The eight-story property will feature indoor and outdoor meeting space, though specific dimensions are not yet determined. The company intends to break ground next spring and open by summer 2009. A spokesperson for Aloft Hotels confirmed Buffalo, N.Y., will be the site of the future hotel but declined to comment on the property's specific details.

The second phase of a $40 million renovation project has begun at the 393-room Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel (Calif.). Scheduled for completion in January, the revamp will include enhancing the property's 26,224 square feet of indoor meeting space with new decor. The hotel offers an additional 54,000 square feet of outdoor event space. Phase one included upgrades to all guest rooms and the lobby area, as well as the creation of an oceanview restaurant, a spa and a fitness center.

Last week, investment and development company Tribeca Associates LLC signed a 99-year ground lease for a $220 million redevelopment project in the Hudson Square neighborhood of New York City. Plans include a 171-room boutique hotel, 15,000 square feet of retail space and 292,000 square feet of office space. The existing eight-story structure will expand to include an environmentally sensitive hotel tower, which plans to seek Silver LEED certification. The hotel, yet to be branded, will feature a 7,000-square-foot rooftop event space, a rooftop pool, a sky bar, a signature restaurant, outdoor terraces, a conference center and a fitness center. Construction will begin in October, with commercial space slated for construction in January 2009.

The 388-room Radisson Hotel and Suites in downtown Kansas City, Mo., was acquired by management company The Hotel Group and reflagged as a Crowne Plaza. The hotel has 13,000 square feet of meeting space, and The Hotel Group plans to spend more than $12 million on renovations.

The first Loews property in Atlanta, the 414-room Loews Atlanta Hotel, will open in April 2010. The midtown hotel will offer 24,000 square feet of meeting space, a restaurant, a bar, a spa and a fitness center. The property will be part of 12th & Midtown, a mixed-use development featuring upscale shops, offices and residences.

The Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas, now is a member of Associated Luxury Hotels International. The 189-room property offers more than 18,000 square feet of meeting space.

The owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, Tom Hicks, is planning a $1 billion development called Glorypark Town Center in Arlington, Texas. To be built between the Ballpark at Arlington and the new Dallas Cowboys stadium that opens in 2009, Glorypark will offer 180 stores, a 350-room full-service hotel, a 150-room limited-service property, office space and residences. The projected opening of the first phase is spring 2009.

Westin Hotels & Resorts has launched an in-room spa program to bring the comfort and luxury of a full-service spa to the guest room. Forty minutes prior to the requested in-room treatment, a spa basket -- complete with a CD containing relaxation music, a healthy treat and a letter explaining the requested treatment -- will be delivered to the guest room. Also, guests will enjoy their in-room treatment on a custom-designed, portable in-room spa bed, the Heavenly Spa by Westin Nova. The new program is available at 64 Westin properties and is being rolled out worldwide.

The Hampton Inn & Suites Dulles Airport opens early next month. The 170-room property will feature high-speed Internet access in all guest rooms, as well as the new Hampton bed, a fitness center and a 24-hour business center.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Sony BMG Music Entertainment are partnering on a music and entertainment marketing initiative. The program, which will be offered across the Starwood portfolio, will include in-room TV offerings; customized music entertainment products, such as digital playlists and compilation CDs; programmed music for public spaces; entertainment for special events, and exclusive VIP events.

The 250-room Grand Cascades Lodge has opened at Crystal Springs Resort in Hardyston, N.J. The property, 47 miles from Manhattan, will offer 30,000 square feet of meeting space, including the 4,300-square-foot Emerald Ballroom, beginning in October. The resort has seven golf courses, as well as a golf simulator so that attendees can play a virtual round on Pebble Beach or St. Andrews.