October 18, 2006

Howard "Butch" Kerzner, CEO of Kerzner International Holdings, which owns and operates One&Only Resorts as well as Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas, died last week in a helicopter crash in the Dominican Republic while looking for new resort sites; he was 42. Kerzner is survived by his wife and two young children, as well as his father, Sol Kerzner, who founded the company. Paul O'Neil, on the board of Kerzner International Holdings, has been appointed acting CEO.

About $40 million will be spent to renovate and expand the 167-room Omni Tucson National Golf Resort & Spa. When the project is completed at the end of 2008, the property will have 239 rooms, an expanded 15,000-square-foot spa and a new 7,500-square-foot ballroom that will bring the meeting space total to about 16,000 square feet. A new golf pro shop will support the resort's two courses.

The 248-room Wyndham Gettysburg Hotel opened its doors this week in Pennsylvania. It is the first new-built Wyndham to open since Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, unveiled its new design and marketing strategy earlier this year under its newly formed parent company, Wyndham Worldwide. The Gettysburg property features 16,000 square feet of meeting space.

InterContinental Hotels Group opened the sixth hotel in its new chain of Indigo hotels on Oct. 13. The Hotel Indigo Sarasota, Fla., is the first new-build for the chain and has 95 guest rooms, a restaurant, complimentary wireless Internet access and 1,100 square feet of meeting space.

Sol Melia Hotels & Resorts has opened the first hotel in a new chain called ME. The 192-room ME Madrid Reina Victoria took over the site of the former Hotel Reina Victoria. The property offers 4,000 square feet of meeting space.

Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts will open a new hotel in Abu Dhabi, UAE, next February. The Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi, will span 21 acres and have a 3,300-foot-long private beach; 214 guest rooms, all with sea views; 161 studio to four-bedroom serviced apartments; and seven four- to six-bedroom villas, each with a private pool. Six restaurants will complement a souk -- an Arabian marketplace that will feature shopping, more dining, a spa, a health club, five pools and a 2,296-foot-long waterway along which Arab-style gondolas will transport guests around the property. For meetings, there will be a 2,950-square-foot ballroom and four breakout rooms.

The 270-room US Grant hotel reopened in downtown San Diego on Tuesday following a $52 million renovation. The hotel has 33,000 square feet of meeting space, plus two 4,000-square-foot terraces on the eighth floor.

Dolce International will manage a new destination resort in Bend, Ore., which is being built by Arrowood Development. The Hotel Tetherow will open in spring 2009 with 150 rooms, 50 cabins, a spa, a restaurant, meeting space, two outdoor swimming pools, a fitness center and an 18-hole golf course designed by David McLay Kidd.  
Real estate investment trust Equity Inns Inc. signed a contract last week to buy four Kentucky hotels, including the 140-room Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Louisville, for $52.8 million. The other three hotels are in the Lexington metropolitan area: the 90-room Courtyard in Hamburg, the 91-room Residence Inn in Hamburg and the 108-room SpringHill Suites in downtown Lexington.   
On the heels of a labor agreement with the Hilton Hawaiian Village, UNITE HERE Local 5 has signed a new four-year contract that covers about 2,500 employees at the Sheraton Waikiki, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, Sheraton Moana Surfrider and The Royal Hawaiian. The agreement, which still requires ratification by the union, calls for average wage increases of up to $2.40 an hour over four years.
The La Quinta Inn & Suites-Little Rock Downtown will undergo a major renovation beginning this month.  La Quinta, which purchased the 260-room hotel in Arkansas last May, plans to spend more than $4 million to upgrade the guest rooms, lobby, meeting space and public areas. The renovations will be completed by March 2007.  
Following two major earthquakes on Hawaii on Sunday that triggered power failures lasting most of the day on the Big Island, Maui and Oahu, all hotels closest to the largest quake off the coast of the Big Island now are open. Several experienced minor damage, including the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, ResortQuest Kona by The Sea, the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and the Four Seasons Hualalai.