March 14, 2007

Vail Resorts will spend $1 billion to build Ever Vail, a LEED-certified green resort village. The 9.5-acre site, currently known as West LionsHead, will offer residences, a hotel, offices, shops, restaurants, a new gondola and a public park. The announcement follows Vail Resorts' purchase last year of 152,000 credits of wind energy to offset by 100 percent the electricity used at its five mountain resorts. The plans for Ever Vail still are being finalized and must be approved by the Town of Vail.

The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach (Fla.), has reopened following an eight-month shutdown for renovations that upgraded guest rooms and added a new pool, a restaurant and a 3,000-square-foot oceanfront terrace. The 286-room hotel also has implemented its "five senses resort turndown," which includes changes in lighting, decor, sound and color every evening to create a better night ambience. The property has more than 20,000 square feet of indoor meeting space and several outdoor venues.æIn other brand news, the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans' Iberville Suites has reopened after a post-Katrina renovation. The suites add 230 rooms to New Orleans' hotel inventory.

Owners of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas have announced a major renovation and expansion plan that will add 950 guest rooms, including a 15-story, all-suite tower, bringing the hotel's total number of guest rooms to 1,500. Other new elements include 60,000 square feet of new meeting space, for a total of more than 68,000 square feet; 35,000 square feet of casino space; a new spa and health club; and a live entertainment venue. The estimated cost of the project is $750 million. Work is expected to begin later this year, with renovations of the existing hotel wrapping up early next year and the additions opening in mid-2009.

The Stardust Resort and Casino in Las Vegas was demolished Tuesday to make way for Echelon Place, a $4 billion mixed-use project being developed by the Boyd Gaming Corp. Echelon Place will have four hotelsæ-- the 3,300-room Echelon Resort, 1,000-room Mondrian, a 400-room Shangri-La and 600-room Delano. The 350,000-square foot Las Vegas ExpoCenter also will be built, featuring 200 meeting rooms, four spas, two theaters with 1,500 and 4,000 seats, and 350,000-square feet of retail space. Echelon Place is expected to open in late 2010.

Ambassadors International has reached an agreement to acquire Windstar Cruises from Holland America Line, a unit of Carnival Corp. Windstar's fleet comprises three ships, the 312-passenger Wind Surf, the 148-passenger Wind Star and the 148-passenger Wind Spirit. Ambassadors acquired Delta Queen Steamboat Company last April; with the addition of the Windstar ships, the company will have 10 vessels in its fleet. In addition to its cruise group, Ambassadors has a meeting, incentive and travel division.

Maritz has released new results from a study done last fall, suggesting that different rewards have different effects on employees, depending on their personality type. The findings identified six types of employees: "award seekers," who are motivated by monetary and trophy value; "nesters," who prefer rewards that don't take them away from home; "bottom liners," who care most about the monetary value of their reward; "freedom yearners," who prefer a flexible work environment over any other reward; "praise cravers," who are most interested in being acknowledged for their work; and "upward movers," who don't care about rewards and would rather have opportunities to make a greater impact within the company. For more information on the study, visit