November 29, 2006

Regent Hotels & Resorts will open its first hotel in Latin America in early 2009. The 150-room Regent Papagayo will be in Costa Rica's Guanacaste province, close to the country's second largest airport, which is in Liberia. Guests will have access to two private beaches, three restaurants and a spa, among other facilities.

In a joint venture, Hilton Hotels Corp. will build 50 to 75 hotels in India over the next seven years with New Delhi-based real estate company DLF. The partnership, to be called JV, will represent several Hilton brands such as Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Hilton Residences. The initial stage of the joint venture will involve 20 Hilton Garden Inns in key locations, including Chandigarh, Chennai and Kolkata.

According to statistics released this week by PKF Hospitality Research, gross profits for the U.S. hotel industry grew by 13.1 percent for the first half of 2006 over 2005. Likewise, occupancy rates increased 1.9 percent, and average room rates climbed 8.5 percent. On the flip side, however, hotel operating expenses grew 7.8 percent, more than twice the U.S. inflation rate of 3.8 percent.

The historic Majestic Hotel Resort & Spa in downtown Hot Springs, Ark., was sold last week to the nonprofit ARC Arkansas. The organization plans to restore and revamp the Majestic complex into a multiuse facility that likely will include 150 apartments along with the current restaurants, spa and meeting space.

The Pan Pacific Seattle has opened in the South Lake Union neighborhood. The 160-room hotel includes a "library" lounge, fitness center, full-service spa and 5,405 square feet of meeting space. The hotel is part of a new development called Vulcan's 2200, which will eventually include 261 condominium homes, several restaurants, retail space and a spa.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group will manage a resort opening in late 2009 on Dellis Cay, an uninhabited island in Turks and Caicos. The Mandarin Oriental Dellis Cay, Turks and Caicos, will be built on 35 acres and will feature 25 suites and 95 condotel units, comprised of 17 freestanding villas and 78 apartments. The resort also will feature infinity pools, four restaurants and bars, and a 22,000-square-foot spa built over a lake. More than 5,000 square feet of meeting space will include a 2,365-square-foot ballroom, divisible by three. The resort will be part of the O Property Collection, a new portfolio of luxury residential resorts to be built around the world.