October 12, 2005

Westin Hotels & Resorts has partnered with Reebok to develop "WestinWORKOUT Powered by Reebok" rooms at its Asia Pacific properties. Designed for the international traveler who wants to stay fit while traveling, the rooms will come equipped with an exercycle or treadmill, yoga mat, stability ball, and a library stocked with books and magazines on fitness. Staying fit will come at a price, though. Room rates, which will vary by market, will start at $20 above market rates.

The 243-room Le Meridien Khao Lak Beach & Spa Resort in the Phuket area of Thailand will reopen on Oct. 15. It closed 10 months ago after sustaining damage from last December's tsunami.

Asian chain Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts will manage a new property in Miami. The 147-room Shangri-La Hotel, Miami, will open in 2008 on Biscayne Bay. Amenities will include a 50-berth marina, 105 private residences and a 20,000-square-foot spa.

InterContinental Hotels Group has opened the Holiday Inn Manahawkin-Long Beach Island in Manahawkin, N.J. The hotel company says the property is one of the first of its "Next-Generation Holiday Inns," which have been "developed to be more efficient to build, operate and maintain." The 116-room hotel offers an indoor pool, a gym, a business center and 18,000 square feet of function space.

Columbia Sussex Corp. has renamed the former Caesars Tahoe in Stateline, Nev., on the border of Nevada and California, the MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa. Columbia Sussex bought the 440-room property from Harrah's Entertainment in June. A renovation with a French Alps theme will include a spa, four nightclubs and seven restaurants.

The Doubletree Hotel, Albuquerque, N.M., has been sold to American Property Management. The 295-room hotel, to be managed by American Property Management, will undergo a $5 million renovation. The property offers about 6,000 square feet of meeting space.

An infusion of $12 million has transformed Pittsburgh's Ramada Plaza Suites into the Doubletree Hotel Pittsburgh City Center. The 316-room hotel offers wireless Internet access throughout and 13,500 square feet of meeting space.

The 511-room Omni San Diego Hotel has opened a 7,000-square-foot meeting space-cum-gallery just across the street from the property. The venue, which accommodates up to 350, brings the property's total function space tally to 27,000 square feet.

Hawaii's Aqua Hotels & Resorts launched its new Aqua Boutique Hotels line last week, according to several local papers. Three of the chain's five Waikiki properties -- the 200-room Aqua Palms, 90-room Aqua Bamboo & Spa and 202-room Aqua Aloha Surf -- will be repositioned under the new line, while the chain's other two hotels -- the 250-room Aqua Kuhio Village and 110-room Aqua Marina -- will remain under the general Aqua brand. Early plans for new properties under the boutique line are also in the works.

Palm Springs, Calif.'s city council has voted to work exclusively with development firm Nexus Cos. on a Hard Rock Hotel across the street from the Palm Springs Convention Center. Although Nexus has 12 months to negotiate the final details with the city, initial Hard Rock plans included 250 rooms, a 12,000-square-foot-spa, and 18,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and nightclub space.

Donald Trump is partnering with major United Arab Emirates developer Nakheel to build several projects in Dubai, beginning with the Palm Trump International Hotel & Tower, which will be a giant tulip-shaped hotel on the main stretch of the emirate's palm-tree-shaped island, the Palm Jumeirah. Following this are plans for the Trump Plaza and Marina Residences, also on the Jumeirah, as well as future development on Nakheel's 300-island complex, The World. "We anticipate a long-term relationship between The Trump Organization and Nakheel," Trump said in a statement last week.

Starwood Capital signed an agreement with California's Mammoth Mountain Ski Area last week to buy a majority interest in the ski resort, which lies about 300 miles north of Los Angeles and was valued at $365 million. The group's work now is focused on elevating the surrounding real estate to that of a high-end destination.