May 03, 2006

A new 240-room hotel with a 65,000-square-foot conference center will be built in Norman, Okla. The $50 million project is part of the University North Park mixed-use development that was unveiled in December 2005.

According to the May 2 edition of Gulf News, the newspaper of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai soon will begin to build the world's longest hotel strip at a cost of US$27 billion. Comprising 139 million square feet in an area dubbed Dubailand, the project will have 31 hotels and more than 29,000 rooms. The highlight will be a hotel named Asia-Asia, which alone will have 6,500 rooms.

The 185-room Steigenberger Hotel de Saxe has opened in Dresden, Germany. The property has 10 meeting rooms.

The 235-room, Italian-styled Hotel La Mela opens later this year in New York City. One unique service of the upscale Midtown property will be a podcast featuring hotel information and updates on things to do while in the city. There will be no meeting space, except for a 3,000-square-foot restaurant. The property will be a member of the Desires boutique portfolio, which also includes the 84-room San Juan Water & Beach Club Hotel in Puerto Rico and a number of petite hotels in Miami Beach.

GLA Hotels, the management behind such luxury boutique hotels as the Lancaster and Bel-Ami in Paris and Cotton House on the Caribbean island of Mustique, has announced it will manage the 124-room Discovery at Marigot Bay, to open in September on St. Lucia. Doubloon International Ltd, the resort's owner, previously had selected Sonesta Hotels, Resorts & Nile Cruises to manage the property but terminated the contract in February because "Sonesta is not recognized as an operator of luxury boutique hotels," explained John Verity, managing director of Doubloon International. "The separation has been amicable, and we learned a great deal from their experience," he added.

Owners of The Mount Washington Resort at Bretton Woods (N.H.) have agreed to sell the resort to CNL Income Properties Inc. and Celebration Associates for approximately $90 million. A spokesperson for the resort said the new owners have discussed developing 900 condominiums and town houses on the land, and creating a Òbase villageÓ with shops and restaurants. The purchase includes the Mount Washington Hotel, 900 acres of surrounding land, the Bretton Woods Ski Area, the 18-hole Mount Washington Golf Course, the Lodge at Bretton Woods and the Bretton Arms Country Inn. The transaction is expected to close this summer.

Renovation of Detroit's historic Book-Cadillac hotel is back on track after the Ferchill Group, which is developing the property, received a $15 million loan from the city's Police and Fire Pension Fund. According to local news reports, the new hotel will have at least 455 renovated rooms and 66 luxury condominiums.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide will manage the 315-room Four Points by Sheraton Shanghai, Daning, in China. The property, set for a mid-2008 opening, will offer 11,840 square feet of meeting space, three eateries, a health club, an indoor swimming pool and a business center. The hotel will be the 50th Starwood property in China, with 25 existing hotels and 25 more in development.