February 07, 2007

Luxury hotel company Jumeirah will manage the Southlands project, a 300-room waterfront resort on 37 acres in Bermuda. The Jumeirah Southlands is scheduled to open in mid-2008, with a variety of restaurants, bars, pools and retail boutiques, plus an equestrian center and an executive conference center.

Sandals Resorts, celebrating its 25th anniversary, has unveiled a number of new developments. Announcements include Swim-Up River Suites at the Sandals Negril and Sandals Royal Caribbean, with a river pool that abuts guest-room patios; circular Rondoval Suites at Sandals Grande St. Lucian; a 180-room Mediterranean Village coming in June to the Sandals Grande Antigua; and a new partnership with Beringer Vineyards, bringing new wines to Sandals' 12 resorts.

The 334-room Houston Sofitel Hotel is now the Crowne Plaza Houston North Greenspoint. The property, which offers 15,000 square feet of meeting space, will undergo a $12 million renovation.

The former James Hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., reopened Jan. 30 as the 194-room Mondrian Scottsdale following a $5 million upgrade. The new look has a Garden of Eden theme. The property offers 10,000 square feet of meeting space.

Ground has been broken on the 283-room Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in San Marcos, Texas. When finished in October 2008, the property will offer 40,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 28,000-square-foot ballroom. The complex is owned and managed by John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts.

The developers of Wilderness Resort, a large waterpark in Wisconsin, expect to break ground in April on a 236-room hotel in Sevierville, Tenn., that will be connected to the Sevierville Events Center.  The new property, to open in early 2008, will include a 20,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, a restaurant, a coffee shop, a fitness center and several conference rooms, in addition to the 100,000 square feet of exhibit and function space at the Events Center. Also in the works is an adjacent six-story condominium resort.

Outrigger Enterprises Group will manage a new luxury resort project to be built on the island of Koror in the Republic of Palau, a Pacific island nation. The $40 million Outrigger Palau Resort, Spa and Hotel, tentatively set for completion in 2009, will offer 100 rooms, 10 over-water bungalows and 50 villas/condominiums. Plans also call for several restaurants, retail shops and function space.

Marriott International is eliminating trans fats from the fried foods prepared at its more than 2,300 hotels in the United States and Canada, starting Feb. 15. According to Marriott officials, the move is a culmination of an eight-year effort to remove trans fats from the vast majority of food served at the hotels, which started with the elimination of trans-fat oils from all of its breads, salad dressings, and pancake and waffle mixes. Marriott estimates it produces more than 6 million pounds of French fries annually. Omni Hotels also is going trans-fat free at its 40 properties, beginning March 1. Marriott and Omni join Loews Hotels, which also has banned trans fats from its properties.

According to an article in the Asian Times, The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd. is considering expanding the Peninsula chain of luxury properties to cities such as London and Paris. Currently there are eight Peninsula hotels, four each in Asia and the United States; several projects are in development in Shanghai and Tokyo.