November 24, 2004

The lockout at 14 San Francisco hotels was called off yesterday for a minimum cooling-off period of 60 days, following negotiations between hotel management and employee union Unite Here. Workers first returned for a 10 p.m. shift last night at properties that include the Four Seasons San Francisco Hotel, Grand Hyatt Union Square, InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco and Westin St. Francis.

Recovering from hurricane damage, the 340-room Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa Grand Cayman reopened 300 of its rooms Nov. 20, the day air-travel restrictions were lifted from the island. The 210-room Courtyard Grand Cayman opened 200 of its rooms on the same day. The remaining rooms at both properties will open mid-December. Elsewhere on the island, the 289-room Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman will reopen Dec. 15, and the 309-room Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort opens March 15. The opening of the long-awaited 365-room Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, has been postponed until next fall.

The $280 million expansion of the Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City opened yesterday. The main highlight is the new Havana Tower, with 502 rooms, giving the property a total of 2,126 rooms, the highest room count in New Jersey. The Tropicana also opened its new three-story entertainment complex, The Quarter, which links the property's four hotel towers and features a spa, 25 stores, nine restaurants, an Old Havana theme and 2,400 extra parking spaces. The property has 45,000 square feet of meeting space.

Last week, the Greater Akron Lodging Council announced it was suspending its boycott of the Akron/Summit County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Since Sept. 1, 24 properties have participated in the boycott against the bureau, demanding greater accountability and adherence to performance standards of the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus. Leaders of the Greater Akron Lodging Council said progress had been made in these areas. "Greater Akron and Summit County hoteliers are offering an olive branch by suspending this unfortunate boycott. It is now up to the ASCVB and the GALC board of directors to work collaboratively to ensure the successful implementation of this strategic plan," said Keith Stephenson, executive vice president of the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association.

Last Wednesday, officials from the Greater Toronto Airports Authority announced plans to build a $1.7 billion airport in Pickering, Ontario, 20 miles east of Toronto's city center. The airport would serve greater Toronto and relieve overflow from Pearson International, Canada's busiest airport. The Pickering airport will open in 2012, and planners of the development predicted 11 million passengers would use it by the year 2032. Canadian officials are expected to make the final decision on moving forward with the project within three or four years.

Rome's ES Hotel will be reflagged early next year as the Radisson SAS Rome. The property, which opened in 2002, has 235 guest rooms, three large meeting rooms, a spa and a fitness center. Also, the 150-room Crowne Plaza Hotel Biarritz (France) will be reflagged as Radisson SAS Hotel Biarritz in January. The property has seven meeting rooms and a wellness center.