March 14, 2007

Choice Hotels International has announced that its Comfort Suites brand will become smoke-free effective May 1. There are 433 Comfort Suites in North America; 10 percent of them already are smoke-free.

Hyatt Place opened two hotels this week in Atlanta. The 127-room Hyatt Place Atlanta, Alpharetta Windward Parkway, and the 123-room Hyatt Place Atlanta, Cobb Galleria. Another 120 Hyatt Places in the pipeline are scheduled to open by year-end, including locations in Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, Nashville, Tampa, Miami, Orlando and Detroit.

The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, has opened a Cliff Drysdale Tennis Center. The facility features three outdoor hard courts overlooking Nichupte Lagoon, custom-designed individual and group classes, technical instruction, a personalized video critique service and a pro shop.

European hotel group Stein Hotels and Resorts plans to take on North America. Stein is looking to bring its product, 200-room luxury boutique hotels, to urban gateway markets and resort locations in North America, such as Laguna Niguel and Los Angeles, Calif.; Miami; New York City; and Scottsdale, Ariz. The group currently operates 17 luxury properties in Europe, including Amsterdam, the French Riviera, London and Tuscany.

On Tuesday, Golden Tulip Hospitality Group reflagged its first hotel in China, the 283-room Golden Tulip Shanghai Riverside. The property, in the northern part of Shanghai, features a conference area, a business center, a sauna and a salon, as well as entertainment areas featuring chess, karaoke and card games. The property formerly was the Shanghai Eastern Airline Hotel.
A 320-room John Q. Hammons resort, Chateau on Lake of the Ozarks, will be built in Osage Beach, Mo., with 100,000 square feet of meeting space. Construction is expected to begin next spring; the property will open in 2010.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority has approved a proposal for the first midpriced hotel in South Boston near the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Although the plot of land is only 30,435 square feet and irregularly shaped, the plans call for a 505-room, 24-story hotel with 9,000 square feet of street-level retail space. The developer, Madison Seaport Holdings, plans to break ground before the end of the year.

The 146-room Hilton Garden Inn Fort Washington, 13 miles from downtown Philadelphia, reopened last Wednesday. Formerly a Sheraton, the fully renovated property offers complimentary high-speed Internet access, a heated indoor pool, fitness and business centers, lounge and 3,000 square feet of meeting space.    

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has signed an agreement with Thornsett Group Ltd. to develop the first Aloft hotel in Europe, the 150-room Aloft Brussels, Belgium. The property will be part of a mixed-used development that will include 108 one- and two-bedroom apartments and retail space. The hotel, with 1,000 square feet of meeting space, will open in fall 2009.