November 08, 2006

Moevenpick Hotels and Resorts will operate seven new hotels in Dubai, including two on the Palm Jumeirah island. All will open by April 2009.

The 146-room Hotel de Rome has opened in Berlin. The Rocco Forte Hotels property has a ballroom, five meeting rooms, a spa and a fitness center.

An $80 million development called River Market Place will be constructed in downtown Little Rock, Ark. The project will feature a 19-story tower with 152 condominiums and an eight-story, 120-room hotel. As part of the development, the ground floor of the existing Tuf-Nut Lofts building will be refurbished into 5,000 square feet of retail space, and an urban park will be added to the center of the project. Groundbreaking is scheduled for May, with an opening set for early 2009.
Workers at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki have ratified their new contract. Covering more than 500 employees, the contract includes wage increases of $2.40 an hour over four years for nontipped employees and $1.20 an hour for tipped employees.
Ground has been broken on the Westin Verasa Napa (Calif.), a 160-unit, luxury condo hotel with 5,320 square feet of meeting space. Construction will begin later this year and the property will open in 2008. A spokesperson for the hotel said all 160 units are likely to be in the rental pool.

The Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort & Spa will open Dec. 13. The 317-room property is owned and managed by Columbia Sussex, which owns and operates 85 other hotels, including the Westin Casuarina Grand Cayman. Features include a 10,000-square-foot spa; a casino; retail outlets; a swim-up bar; and 20,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including a 10,000-square-foot ballroom. In other St. Maarten news, a new US$90 million terminal opens Friday at the island's Princess Juliana International Airport. The new terminal replaces the old one and will accommodate 2.5 million travelers a year flying on American, Continental, Delta, US Airways, United, Air Canada, Air France and KLM. The airport serves both the Dutch and French sides of the island.

The South City Plaza Hotel has opened in Grenada. While the hotel has just 24 rooms, it offers a convention center with capacity for 100 people banquet-style. An additional 50 rooms are planned.

Hilton Hotels Corp. no longer will co-brand the four all-inclusive Coral Hotels & Resorts in the Dominican Republic. The Coral by Hilton name was launched three years ago as the first step to bring Hilton into the all-inclusive market, but the endeavor did not take off.