August 23, 2006

Scott White, executive vice president of the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau, on Oct. 2 will become director of the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau, assuming the position once held by his Phoenix boss, Steve Moore. San Antonio has been without a director since Melvin Tennant resigned in May 2005. Currently in the early stages of construction is the city's convention center hotel, a 1,004-room Grand Hyatt, which will open adjacent to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in February 2008.

Chicago's Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which manages the McCormick Place convention facility, along with trade-show contractors and the United Steelworkers Local 17 Decorators Union, announced yesterday a new five-year labor agreement between contractors and decorators, to run through June 30, 2011. The new contract states that time worked on Saturday will be billed time and a half, rather than double time, and that the first four hours following the break of a show will be billed at straight time. Also, wages for workers will increase.

The 500-room Grand Casino Biloxi (Miss.) Hotel & Spa, a Harrah's Entertainment property, reopened Aug. 17. The resort, like all others on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, had been severely damaged by last August's Hurricane Katrina. The property's casino now is on land, rather than on a barge in the Gulf of Mexico. According to hotel officials, approximately 95 percent of the staff had worked at Harrah's Biloxi or Gulfport properties; the Gulfport resort will not reopen. Also in Biloxi, the completely renovated Beau Rivage Resort & Casino will reopen on Aug. 29, a year to the day after Hurricane Katrina hit. The 32-story property has 1,740 rooms, including 95 suites, as well as a 1,550-seat theater, an 85,000-square-foot casino, a spa and 11 restaurants. Meeting space measures 50,000 square feet.

The 28-story, 467-room Sheraton Midtown Atlanta Hotel at Colony Square will be converted into the W Atlanta-Midtown. The property, which has approximately 36,000 square feet of meeting space, will remain a Sheraton until the changeover in late 2007.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts plans to begin construction late next year on a resort on Monterey Bay in Seaside, Calif., to open in 2009. Set on 440 acres and built around the existing 36-hole Bayonet and Black Horse golf facility, the resort will include 24,000 square feet of meeting space and a 14,000-square-foot Willow Stream spa. Roughly half of the resort's 330 guest rooms will be spread among secluded bungalows. A name for the project has not yet been selected.  

Marriott International will manage the 1,000-room hotel at the Hong Kong International Airport, to open in 2008 as part of the SkyCity mixed-use complex adjacent to the airport's main terminal. The Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel will be constructed in two stages, with 658-rooms opening in Phase I. The SkyCity complex includes an exhibition center and arena with 753,474 square feet of rentable space, as well as office, retail and entertainment facilities. The Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott will be Marriott's fifth property in Hong Kong.