June 20, 2007

Omni Hotels has launched a new online program, similar to that offered by the airline industry, which will allow guests to check in 48 hours in advance of their stay and within at least two hours of their arrival. Guests receive a confirmation number by e-mail and a receipt, which they can exchange upon arrival for their prepared room key and a welcome packet. The new program is available at all 40 Omni hotels.

The 200-room Le Meridien at Beverly Hills has closed and will undergo a complete transformation into the SLS Los Angeles, the first of a new brand from SBE Hotel Group. Due to open in March 2008, the SLS Los Angeles will be managed by Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide and will be a member of the Starwood Luxury Collection.

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts is upping its food and beverage offerings with a new signature wine, Canvas, that will be featured at all of its properties. The wine is being developed in partnership with Napa Valley, Calif.-based Folio Fine Wine Partners, whose president of wine-growing is Robert Mondavi.

A $120 million, 110,000-square-foot expansion of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa (Fla.) is now underway. A new upscale restaurant and 50,000 square feet of additional casino space are scheduled to open in August, followed by a second restaurant, a parking garage and a $2 million "video waterfall" installation later this year.

Tribal owners of Thunder Valley Casino near Sacramento announced plans last week to build a 23-story, 650-room resort hotel at the casino. The United Auburn Indian Community said the expansion also will include a 3,000-seat performing arts theater, a spa, three new restaurants and two ballrooms totaling 30,000 square feet. Construction will begin next year, and the hotel should be open in 2010.