August 10, 2005

Ground has been broken on the 308-suite Embassy Suites Hotel and the adjoining Concord Convention Center in Concord, N.C.; the facilities will open in summer 2006. The convention center will offer 75,000 square feet of meeting space and supplement the $60 million hotel's 15,000 square feet. Close to the hotel site is the 167,000-seat Lowe's Motor Speedway, home to several NASCAR events.

Hilton Hotels Group will manage a new hotel in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. The 320-room Conrad Jakarta will open in the city's business district in 2008. The hotel also will offer six restaurants, a gym, tennis and squash courts, a rooftop garden with a pool and dining, a spa, a ballroom and 20 meeting rooms.

Renovations have been completed at the Avanyu Spa, part of the 157-room La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa in Santa Fe, N.M. The 4,500-square-foot facility offers eight treatment rooms, a new couples treatment area and a private eucalyptus steam room.

Orient-Express Hotels is increasing the meeting and function space at the 226-room Copacabana Palace Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, by 11,000 square feet. The $4 million project will be finished in March 2006 and will include the reopening of an area that has been closed for many years: the Casino Rooms, where singer Carmen Miranda was discovered. Currently, the hotel has 10 meeting rooms, including the ornate Golden Room for up to 450 people.

The 215-room Crowne Plaza Hartford-Cromwell opened in Hartford, Conn., last week. The hotel was reflagged following a $3 million conversion from the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center, Cromwell. The property is a 15-minute drive from the new Connecticut Convention Center and offers more than 30,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 10,000-square-foot ballroom.

The 225-room Park Hyatt Dubai has opened next door to the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club. Amenities include six restaurants and bars, an eight-treatment-room spa and five meeting rooms, including a 2,755-square-foot ballroom.

Honolulu-based Aston Hotels & Resorts has changed its name to ResortQuest Hawaii, taking on the name of its Tennessee-based parent company. The chain offers 28 properties in Hawaii: 12 on Oahu, nine on Maui, four on Kauai and three on the Big Island. Name changes for individual properties have yet to be determined.

Executive Hotel Seattle LLC has purchased the city's historical 160-room Pacific Plaza Hotel. The new owners plan a $4.5 million renovation to the property's guest rooms and public areas, set for completion by early 2006. The property, to be managed by Vancouver, B.C.-based Executive Hotels & Resorts, will be renamed the Executive Hotel Pacific.

A major guest room renovation, to be completed next spring, was launched yesterday at the 339-room Hyatt Regency Rochester (N.Y.). The updated rooms will feature Grand Beds, leather armchairs and new carpeting, artwork, desk furniture and light fixtures, along with granite vanity tops, cherry cabinetry and new tiling in the bathrooms. The hotel has 13,500 square feet of meeting space, including an 8,940-square-foot ballroom.