May 17, 2006

The Morgans Hotel Group has signed an agreement to acquire the 647-room Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas along with an adjacent 23-acre parcel of land, from Peter Morton, founder of the Hard Rock brand, for $770 million in cash. The acquisition represents Morgans' third in the Las Vegas market. Earlier this year the company announced a joint venture with Boyd Gaming to develop Echelon Place. The project, opening by the end of 2010, will be anchored by two MHG hotel brands, Delano and Mondrian, totalling 1,600 rooms. MHG will manage the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, which will keep its name. The 23-acre parcel of land will be held for future development.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group will manage a 120-room hotel opening in Dallas in 2009. The property will take up the first 11 floors of the 43-story Victory Tower. A 30,000-square-foot Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Dallas, also is planned, along with 9,000 square feet of meeting space.

Gemstone Resorts International will manage the 107-room La Posada de Albuquerque in New Mexico, which is closed while undergoing a $12 million restoration. The property, which was opened in 1939 by Conrad Hilton, will reopen in the beginning of 2007.

The 328-room Maritim Hotel Dresden (Germany) opened Monday. The property is connected to the International Congress Center Dresden, which has 21 meeting rooms.

A $65 million, 174-room Renaissance ClubSport, a boutique hotel and fitness resort, will be built in Aliso Viejo, Calif., near Laguna Beach. The hotel will feature 3,000 square feet of meeting space, a restaurant and a full-service spa. Groundbreaking is planned for May 31 and the project is expected to be completed in December 2007.

Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc. has agreed to sell the 444-room Marriott Ranchos Las Palmas in Rancho Mirage, Calif., for $56 million to KSL Resorts. The property will no longer fly the Marriott flag, but a new name has not been selected yet. The hotel, which has 41,000 square feet of meeting space, is expected to undergo a $30 million renovation.

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will manage the San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, Calif., a 20-minute drive from the Santa Barbara Airport. The 500-acre resort has 40 accommodations ranging from single rooms to a 2,200-square-foot, single-level country house. The resort has two meeting rooms and a private dining room, but the space currently is unavailable while the property undergoes restoration. Limited meeting space will reopen this fall.

Lowe Enterprises will pay more than $50 million for the 307-room Marriott at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. The deal is expected to close by the end of the month.