November 24, 2004

Newly opened in Horseshoe Bay, Texas, just west of Austin, is the Horseshoe Bay Resort Marriott Hotel on Lake LBJ. The 6,500-acre property offers 349 rooms; 22,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 12,000-square-foot ballroom; four outdoor pools; access to three golf courses designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. (Ram Rock, Slick Rock and Apple Rock); and its own runway for private planes.

Multimillion-dollar renovations have been completed at two Embassy Suites properties in Arizona. At the 229-room Embassy Suites-Phoenix Airport, upgrades were finished on 71 rooms left over from a 2003 renovation, a new meeting room was added and the fitness center was moved and upgraded. The hotel now has 9,200 square feet of meeting space. Work at the 119-room Embassy Suites-Flagstaff included redesigning the lobby and upgrading bathrooms in the guest rooms. The property offers 1,400 square feet of meeting space.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Albuquerque is dropping its chain status, becoming the independent Nativo Lodge, following a $1.5 million transformation of the property's look. The 150-room hotel's meeting space, which totals 7,000 square feet, will get an A/V upgrade. The work will be completed in April, in time for the city's tricentennial celebration.

Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts announced on Nov. 22 that it will open a new hotel in China by the end of 2007. The Shangri-La Futian, Shenzhen, will have 596 rooms and will complement the chain's existing 553-room Shangri-La Futian, Shenzhen. Shenzhen is a major port in China's Pearl Valley, close to Hong Kong. Two ballrooms and an auditorium are planned for the new hotel.

Germany-based Kempinski Hotels & Resorts announced on Nov. 19 that it will open a property in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, in 2006. With views of the city's cathedral and castle, the 107-room hotel will occupy a 19th-century building; two guest-room wings will be added to the original structure.

The Cumberland in London has completed a refurbishment of its 900 guest rooms and 26 meeting rooms. The property, formerly part of the Le Meridien chain, is the first property in Thistle Hotels' new upscale brand, "Guoman."

Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 on Nov. 21 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Camden, N.J. This marks the second time the hotel company has gone bankrupt; the first was in 1992. Trump Atlantic City Associates, the 90 percent shareholder in the company, listed the hotel and casino company as having $1.3 billion in debt and $1.5 billion in assets. Trump's casinos include Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino and Trump Marino Hotel Casino, all in Atlantic City, N.J.

The Peninsula Group, which has seven luxury properties in Hong Kong, Beijing, Manila and the United States, says it will move into Europe as part of a long-term strategic plan, with London being the first choice. The chain, which has not announced when it will enter the London market, currently is developing a US$361 million property in Shanghai, which is scheduled to open in 2010.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts has broken ground on the 150-room Four Points by Sheraton SoHo Village in New York City, to open July 2006. The property will have a small amount of meeting space.

The $400 million auto racetrack/convention center and headquarters hotel complex proposed for Plainfield, Conn., was voted down by the local Planning and Zoning Commission last Thursday. According to first selectman Don Gladding, a prime supporter of the controversial complex, the developer hopes to reapply for zoning changes in the future.