June 07, 2006

M&C spoke with several leading hotel executives attending the 28th Annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference in New York City on their companies' expectations and positioning for the immediate future:
Jack Adler, president and COO of Loews Hotels,
said the supply chain "is muted right now, because of the high cost of construction and operating labor costs, which have gotten even worse since the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast has drained construction resources away." As a result, said Adler, meeting planners will not be seeing any major supply of new full-service hotels to ease up the demand crunch. But there is a silver lining: "Hotels will have to add value to meet the guest's increased expectation of what lies behind that high room rate."
Matthew J. Hart, president and COO of Hilton Hotels Corp., regarding labor relations in 2006, said, "People are looking to New York City as the linchpin. As that June 30 contract expiration date nears, you can expect the exhaling and showboating to increase. But I am optimistic we can work things out. I don't think anyone wants a bad outcome."
Raymond Bickson, managing director and CEO of Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces, said the growth of international chains in India will only continue. "Thirty years ago, there were no international chains in India. We did a good job of keeping the competition out. But now they are all coming to play in my backyard, which means Taj will have to go to theirs." Bickson said Taj Hotels would focus its growth in the U.S. Market on the West Coast, where the opportunity for luxury resorts is greatest.

Following a $2 million renovation, the former Wyndham Dallas Market Center has been reflagged the Doubletree Hotel Dallas Market Center. All 228 guest rooms received new beds, and the property's 7,000 square feet of meeting space was refurbished.

Ground will be broken next Tuesday on the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas. The eight-story property will have 404 suites, two restaurants, an Aveda spa and 10,000 square feet of meeting space. Also on site will be an 80,000-square-foot water park with nine waterslides and six pools.

Morning Star Hospitality Services is taking over management of the 306-room El Tropicano Hotel on the River Walk in San Antonio. The property currently is undergoing renovations, to be completed by September. All rooms are being redesigned and the public areas are being refurbished. The hotelÕs 37,000 square feet of meeting space already has been upgraded.

Zermatt Resort & Spa in Midway, Utah, opened last week. A Dolce International property, the resort offers the 226-room Hotel der Baer and 126 one-, two- and three-bedroom suites in the Chateau Hotel Villas, plus the 17,000-square-foot Spa at Zermatt. The 28,000 square feet of meeting space in the Matterhorn Conference Center has been approved by the International Association of Conference Centers.

A $100 million base village will be built at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort in Durango, Colo. Phase one, to open for the 2007-'08 ski season, will include the slopeside base lodge. Lodging, dining outlets and conference space will be constructed in phases two and three.

Donald Trump and partner Irongate will develop a luxury hotel-condominium, part of Outrigger Enterprises' Waikiki Beach Walk project on Oahu in Hawaii. Trump International Hotel and Tower Waikiki Beach Walk will include a 350-foot tower with approximately 460 luxury hotel-condominium units, a library, a wine cellar, a lobby bar, a cafe, a swimming pool, an indoor/outdoor dining and bar area, a fitness center and a spa.

Acqualina, a Rosewood Resort, opened June 1 in Sunny Isles Beach, just north of Miami. The 97-room property has four oceanfront meeting rooms, a lawn with an air-conditioned tent, and a 20,000-square-foot spa.

Ground has been broken on the Westin Jersey City. Facing New York City, the 26-story New Jersey hotel will have 429 rooms, a conference center and a 10,000-square-foot ballroom. It will open in mid-2008.

The 64-room InterContinental Mar Menor Golf Resort & Spa opened last week in Murcia, Spain. Facilities include a spa, six restaurants, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, five meeting rooms and a ballroom.

While damage still is being assessed from the May 27 earthquake on the island of Java that killed more than 5,700 people, press reports indicate that half the hotels in Yogyakarta, IndonesiaÕs second most visited area after Bali, were damaged. According to the Java Crisis Tourism Media Center, ÒThe disaster has threatened the tourism infrastructure in both Yogyakarta and Central Java provinces.Ó There are also positive reports: The Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta is in full operation and will resume offering its full inventory of rooms on June 16. Furthermore, according to the New York Times, many of the city's major tourist sites were unaffected, including Borobudur Buddhist Temple, a 1,000-year-old UNESCO World Heritage site. However, the entire area is under threat of an eruption by nearby Mount Merapi.
The 205-room Four Points by Sheraton Mississauga, Ontario, opened June 2. The property, formerly the Radisson Hotel Toronto Mississauga, has 11 meeting rooms, an indoor heated pool, a whirlpool and a fitness center.
The W Honolulu Diamond Head Hotel is renovating all 51 guest rooms, the lobby and the Diamond Head Grill and Bar. New fitness and business centers also will be built. An earlier transaction to sell the hotel was not completed, so Starwood Hotels & Resorts will continue to manage the hotel.

A St. Regis resort is coming to Puerto Rico, east of San Juan. The St. Regis Resort and Residences at Bahia Beach will offer 150 suites, a Remede Spa and the Bahia Beach golf course, which was closed last year for a complete redesign by Robert Trent Jones Jr. The golf course will reopen in early 2007, and the resort will debut in 2008.

In Midtown Manhattan, the 532-room Holiday Inn Martinique will become the Radisson Martinique on July 1, coinciding with a $10 million propertywide renovation. All the rooms will have flat-screen TVs by September, and a supper club will open in 2007. The hotel offers 14,000 square feet of meeting space; the intention is to add another 6,000 square feet.