September 13, 2006

The Mandarin Oriental, Prague, opened yesterday in the Czech Republic capital's Mala Strana district. The 99-room property, in a 14th-century monastery and showing Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance touches, contains a spa and meeting space for up to 80 people, including a 1,720-square-foot ballroom.

The Doral Forrestal is now the Princeton Marriott Conference Center at Forrestal in Princeton, N.J. The 290-room property offers a 35,000-square-foot meeting facility approved by the International Association of Conference Centers.

The fifth Hotel Indigo, a boutique brand from InterContinental Hotels Group, opens this week in Dallas. The 170-room property, built in 1925 by Conrad Hilton, has been restored to warrant its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. The hotel has 3,300 square feet of meeting space.

Two properties in Tempe, Ariz., have been sold. The 210-room Sheraton Phoenix Airport Hotel Tempe, two miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, will undergo a $5 million renovation and will be managed by Sage Hospitality Resources. The other property, the 190-room Holiday Inn Tempe, will be managed by Dolce Hotels, which plans to rebrand the hotel following a $5 million refurbishment. The new brand has not yet been announced.

Swissotel Hotels & Resorts last week inked a deal to manage a 208-room deluxe hotel occupying 13 floors of the Foshan International Plaza, the tallest building in the Chinese city of Foshan in Guandong Province. Slated for a mid-2008 opening, the property will feature four F&B outlets, an executive club lounge and meeting facilities (the square footage of which is not yet available).

Associated Luxury Hotels announced last week that Oahu's Turtle Bay Resort has been added to its portfolio of luxury hotels and resorts. Turtle Bay has 375 guest rooms, 26 suites, 42 beach cottages and more than 31,000 square feet of space.
A taste of Spain is coming to Omni Hotels. The chain will launch its latest food and beverage initiative Nov. 1, across its entire portfolio. Festive Flavors of Spain will feature authentic dishes from the country's Castilla and Leon regions, including Mencia wine-marinated pear in puff pastry, caramel flan and Castillian cheese crisps. In preparation for the launch, 30 of Omni's chefs visited the region to sample produce and take part in hands-on cooking instruction with local celebrity chef.

The 390-room Sheraton Orlando North celebrated its official opening last week following a multimillion-dollar renovation, which gutted and rebuilt the hotel. The property has 15,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 7,500-square-foot ballroom and a classroom with tiered seating for 50 people.

Ground was broken last week on a $45 million, 250-room hotel tower expansion at L'Auberge du Lac Hotel & Casino, which opened last year in Lake Charles, La. The new rooms, which will open next fall, raise the resort's count to approximately 1,000. The facility has more than 14,500 square feet of indoor meeting space.

The first Westin property in New Zealand will open in mid-2007. The Westin Auckland, Lighter Quay, will offer 173 guest rooms and 11,000 square feet of meeting space in the middle of the $300 million Lighter Quay district now under development.