June 21, 2006

As of next month, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide will manage the Astir Palace Hotel complex near Athens, Greece, which includes three luxury hotels. Through the move, the 199-room Arion Hotel will become the Arion Hotel and Villas, a Luxury Collection Resort, and the 162-room Nafsika Hotel will become the Westin Nafsika Resort. The third property, the 165-room Aphrodite Hotel, will undergo extensive renovations before becoming the W Aphrodite in 2008.

The 252-room Domina Rome Hotel & Conferences will open in late 2006 near the Italian capital's Ciampino Airport and the new Rome Fair exhibition center, also scheduled to open later this year. The property will have four meeting rooms.

The 283-room Hilton London Canary Wharf has opened in the British capital. The property has nine meeting rooms.

Breezes Runaway Bay in Jamaica will close from Aug. 15 to Dec. 15 for a $20 million expansion, which will add 32 rooms for a total of 266. Additionally, 30 rooms will be expanded, the spa will be renovated and rebranded, and two restaurants will be added.
The Fern Tree Spa will open in early 2007 at Half Moon, the 402-room luxury resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The spa will comprise 68,000 square feet indoors and out, including a library where the "Spa Elder" (the spa director's new title) will consult with guests on treatments. Also, six spa suites will be built next to the spa, allowing guests to enjoy treatments in their rooms.

The 276-room Biltmore in Coral Gables, Fla., completed a $40 million renovation on June 16. Included in the work is the new Biltmore Spa. The resort's 18-hole golf course has been spruced up and now includes an extra 10 acres, and a new restaurant called Cascade has opened. The property has a 40,000-square-foot conference center, 33 meeting rooms and three ballrooms, among other business-related amenities.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts will open a W Hotel in Doha, Qatar. To debut at the end of next year, the W Doha Hotel & Residences will have 292 guest rooms, as well as 154 private residences, several upscale restaurants and an undetermined amount of meeting space.
The 393-room Renaissance St. Louis Airport hotel has been acquired by RockBridge Capital and the Davidson Hotel Co. for an undisclosed amount. Davidson will invest $6 million for renovations to the hotel, which has more than 37,000 square feet of meeting space.

Plans have been announced for a 525,000-square-foot condominium hotel and water park resort in Hoffman Estates, Ill., north of Schaumburg, Ill. Waterpark H2otels USA plans to break ground on the 400- to 500-room Sun Island Resort and Conference Center later this year, with opening set for 2008. The site is adjacent to the 11,000-seat Sears Centre, which opens this October. The hotel will have 31,000 square feet of meeting space.

Ground was broken last week on the Grand Waikikian, a 38-story time share and retail development at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort on Oahu. Projected to include 331 units, the Grand Waikikian will feature 34 floors of one-bedroom and two-bedroom time share suites, plus an additional four floors of retail, office and guest amenity space. The Waikikian project, marked for a late 2008 completion, will also include a shopping arcade, a beachside restaurant and pool with three slides.
The Marriott Louisville Downtown has been sold to a group controlled by Robert L. Johnson as part of a $1.7 billion deal with White Lodging Services Corp. that involves several other hotels. White Services will continue to manage the 617-room.

LaSalle Hotel Properties has spent $38 million to acquire the 109-room Alexis Hotel in downtown Seattle. The hotel has several dining options, a business center, a salon and spa, a fitness center, and 2,900 square feet of meeting space. The Alexis will continue to be managed by San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group.

The W Dallas-Victory opens today. The 252-room property offers dinner at Tom Colocchio's Craft, drinks at the Ghostbar and conferences in 11,000 square feet of meeting space, including the 5,000-square-foot Great Room.

Last week, Atlific Hotels & Resorts announced it will manage the Hotel Indigo Ottowa, a 106-room property now nearing its final phase of construction in Ottawa's central business district. The propertyÕs two meeting rooms together provide maximum seating for 80 people. Other amenities include a restaurant, an indoor swimming pool and a fitness center. The hotel is slated to open in mid-fall.
On June 18, Marriott International announced a deal to manage its third Renaissance-branded hotel in Shanghai, China, to be called the Renaissance Shanghai Yuyuan hotel. The hotel, set for a 2008 opening, is in the Huangpu district of Puxi, close to the Yuyuan Ming-era garden. The Renaissance Shanghai Yuyuan will feature 5,769 square feet of meeting space, including a 3,605-square-foot ballroom and three breakout rooms. The property will also feature two F&B outlets, a lounge and bar, a health club and an executive lounge with two small meeting spaces.