June 15, 2005

In San Francisco last week, an estimated 750 union workers left their hotel posts and marched along a route that began at the Four Seasons San Francisco, wound around the Argent Hotel San Francisco and ended at The Palace Hotel. Unite HERE Local 2 leaders organized the march in response to the latest offer from the Multi-Employer Group, a negotiating body of 14 area hotels, including the three picketed properties. On May 31, the MEG proposed a contract cutting health-care copays from $15 to $10 for office visits and from $75 to $20 for emergency-room care. Concerning the proposal, local union president Mike Casey said, "To say our people were unimpressed is an incredible understatement." The other 10 hotels in the Multi-Employer Group are the Crowne Plaza Union Square, Fairmont San Francisco, Grand Hyatt San Francisco, Hilton San Francisco, Holiday Inn Civic Center Hotel San Francisco, Holiday Inn Express San Francisco Hotel, Holiday Inn San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf, Hyatt Regency San Francisco, InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco, Omni San Francisco Hotel and Westin St. Francis.

More than $1 million is being spent to renovate the Golden Door Spa at the Wyndham Peaks Resort in Telluride, Colo. All areas- including the treatment rooms and Japanese Tea Room -- will be completely refurbished and couples treatment rooms will be added. When finished in November, the spa will have 46 treatment areas.

According to the New Mexico Business Weekly, The Sheraton Old Town hotel in Albuquerque, N.M., is going independent. Owned by New Mexico Heritage Hotels, the 188-room property is being renamed the Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town. A 12-story condo building with a $3 million penthouse villa will be built, retail shops added, and about $1 million will be spent upgrading guest rooms and bathrooms. The work might begin as early as this fall, to be completed in mid-2006.

Vail Resorts plans to build a Ritz-Carlton Residences at the base of Vail Mountain in Colo. The project will have 108 luxury condos and a small amount of meeting space. Owners will be able to place their condos in a rental pool; the number of units that will be available for rental will be determined after the condos are sold. No construction timeline has been set.

JurysDoyle Hotels will knock down its three hotels -- the 300-room Jurys Ballsbridge, 106-room The Towers and the 186-room Berkeley Court -- in the Ballsbridge section of Dublin. Five of the seven acres the properties currently occupy will be sold, and the company will build a new Berkeley Court property on the remaining two acres. At present, no date was set for the move.  

The 160-room Hilton Garden Inn Providence Airport/Warwick in Rhode Island held its grand opening last Tuesday. The hotel has two meeting rooms for a total of 1,512 square feet.

Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces will take over management of The Pierre in New York City effective June 30. M&C previously reported that Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, the current management company, was in discussion with the property's owners to determine when the management contract, originally scheduled to run through 2012, would end.