June 14, 2006

Last week saw completion of the US$4.5 million expansion of the Hampton Inn & Suites Toronto Airport Hotel. The property added 51 new guest rooms for a total of 200, making it Canada's largest Hampton Inn & Suites. The new 800-square-foot Laurier meeting room was added to the already existing 500-square-foot Pearson meeting room.

InterContinental Hotels Group announced on June 9 it will manage the 560-room Holiday Inn Resort Regent Beach Cha-Am (now known as the Regent Cha-Am Beach Resort & Spa), one-hour's drive from Bangkok, Thailand. The beachfront resort has a convention center comprising 11 meeting rooms that can accommodate groups of between 20 and 3,000 people. Upgrades are planned for the property's public areas, meeting facilities, restaurants and bars.

The 121-room Steigenberger Strandhotel Zingst has opened in the German Baltic Sea resort of Zingst. The resort property has a large spa and three meeting rooms.

At this year's Marriott International corporate awards, the San Antonio Marriott snagged top honors for diversity, but not for the usual barometers of measurement such as percentage of employees and suppliers from minority ranks. Instead, the hotel won for its yearlong efforts at incorporating guest services, accommodations, amenities, and food and beverage options that would appeal to Japanese guests. Why? Later this year, Toyota will open its sixth North American assembly plant in San Antonio, and company officials have chosen the hotel as its preferred lodging provider.

Hotel Angeleno, a 209-room boutique hotel, opened in Los Angeles last week as Joie de Vivre Hospitality's first property in Southern California. The hotel has four meeting rooms that total nearly 3,000 square feet. A pool, a fitness center and a restaurant still are under construction but are expected to open this month.
The Boston Redevelopment Authority approved a proposal last week for a mixed-use project that would construct an office tower and a hotel on top of Boston's downtown bus and rail hub, South Station. Plans call for a 40-story office tower, a nine-story office building, and a 13-story hotel with 200 guest rooms, and up to 195,000 square feet of residential space. An estimated $40 million would be invested in transportation-related improvements. Private investment in the project is expected to exceed $800 million. The proposal still needs approval from the city's zoning commission, which could come next month.

The Bermuda Hotel Association has created a hurricane guarantee, which states that individual travelers may cancel reservations without penalty if a hurricane is predicted to come within 200 miles of Bermuda, within five days. Any guest affected by such a storm will not be charged for accommodations or food while hotel services are compromised, and if a hotel is closed because of a the storm, guests will be given a complimentary stay when it reopens. The guarantee is valid at 16 island properties, including the large hotels. As for meeting guarantees, they must be worked out individually with the hotel.