December 20, 2006

According to the Houston Business Journal, the 977-room Hyatt Regency Houston, recently acquired by Starwood Capital Group, is undergoing a $30 million renovation. Details of the project are unavailable.

The 111-room Hotel Teatro in Denver has been sold for an undisclosed amount to DiNapoli Capital Partners. DiNapoli also owns several Four Seasons and Fairmont properties, among other hotels in its portfolio.

Dolce International will build a 250-room hotel and conference center outside Munich, Germany, in a partnership with KCL AG. The property, on land adjacent to the 107,000-square-foot BallhausForum meetings venue in Unterschleissheim, will offer 32,000 square feet of meeting space when it opens in 2008.

Hilton Hotels Corp. has added the Qasr Al Sharq property, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (also known by its English translation of Palace of the Orient), to its Waldorf=Astoria collection. The 46-suite hotel opened this past June as a Hilton Palace property.

Yesterday, Westin Hotels & Resorts opened its first hotel in Malaysia, the 202-room Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa. The property, which includes 20 oceanside villas, was formerly the Sheraton Perdana Resort. In Kedah state at the northernmost part of Malaysia, the resort has seven conference rooms and the Westin Grand Ballroom, which holds 180 for a dinner. Other amenities include a fitness room, a spa, a Westin Kids Club, two swimming pools, two restaurants, a lounge and a bar.
On Monday, Sheraton announced the opening of the Sheraton Ningbo Hotel in Ningbo, a business hub in China's Zhejiang province that soon will be connected to Shanghai via the Hangzhou Bay Bridge. The 380-room hotel, formerly known as the Portman Plaza Ningbo Hotel, features 40,000 square feet of meeting space, including the Xingyun ballroom. The property also has five restaurants, two lounges, a spa and a rooftop tennis court.

Members of UNITE HERE Local 2 in San Francisco ratified a new contract with the W San Francisco on Friday, 10 days after voting to authorize a strike at the property.

The 488-room Hilton Burbank (Calif.) Airport and Convention Center was reflagged last week as the Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel and Convention Center. Now undergoing a $24 million renovation, the hotel has more than 50,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 30,000-square-foot convention center and a 15,000-square-foot ballroom.

According to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel reached a tentative agreement last week with the ILWU Local 142 to compensate employees being laid off in early 2007 while the hotel closes to repair damages sustained from recent earthquakes. Details of the agreement, which workers will vote on today, were not disclosed.
A bankruptcy auction for the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, which is owned by Japan-based Azabu Buildings Co., has been scheduled for Feb. 1, according to the Pacific Business News. Hyatt Corp., which manages the property, already has made an offer of $445 million.

Homewood Suites by Hilton has announced it will launch Suite Selections beginning in the first quarter of 2007. The online, interactive program will allow guests to view a hotel's floor plan and select a room preference from photographs in advance of arrival. It will be available to Hilton HHonors Gold and Diamond members. The program will be made available to Silver-level members by year-end 2007.