February 07, 2007

Three hotels bearing Starwood Hotels & Resorts brands are coming to West Houston as part of the mixed-use Memorial City Project. Construction will begin this summer on the 250-room Westin Houston, Memorial City, and the 155-room Sheraton Houston, Memorial City. The Sheraton will open in 2009; a timeline for the Westin has yet to be determined. Extensive renovations have begun to the existing Radisson Houston, which will reopen as the 170-room Four Points by Sheraton Houston, Memorial City, this summer.

A ban on smoking in most public places went into effect throughout France last week. The restriction won't apply to cafes, clubs, restaurants and hotels for another year, but France's 15 million smokers can't light up in workplaces, airports and other closed and covered public spaces. Some 175,000 agents, who can fine errant smokers $88 and employers up to $975, have been deployed to enforce the ban.

Dolce Le Hulpe Brussels, with 264 guest rooms, has opened on the outskirts of the Belgian capital. The conference center, which has been approved by the International Association of Conference Centers, has 25 meeting rooms, including two auditoriums seating 500 and 150, respectively; two restaurants; a fitness center; and outdoor sports facilities for tennis, horseback riding, jogging, mountain biking and volleyball.

The 443-room Allerton Crowne Plaza Chicago has been rebranded as the Allerton Hotel-The Landmark on Michigan Avenue and will operate as an independent hotel managed by Kokua Hospitality. Oxford Lodging Advisory & Investment Group and Perry Capital purchased the property in November and are in the middle of a $10 million renovation to the guest rooms, public spaces and meeting space, to be completed before the end of the year. The amount of meeting space will increase from the current 11,000 square feet, but new totals are not yet available.

International flights will begin at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn., just north of Hartford, on July 1. Northwest Airlines will operate daily nonstop service from Bradley to Amsterdam's Schipol Airport.

The 1,100-room Hyatt Regency O'Hare reopened on Feb. 1, following major structural changes to the property, although the $60 million renovation is not yet complete. The hotel's 110,000 square feet of meeting space will reopen March 1, and all finishing touches will be completed by April.