November 03, 2004

Le Marquis New York, a 123-room boutique hotel that opened in Sept. 2001, changed its name last week to Hotel Chandler.

On Oct. 29 the Louisiana Supreme Court reinstated a lawsuit concerning the $190 million conversion of New Orleans' defunct World Trade Center building into a 650-room Westin hotel. The Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association is arguing that the financing deal agreed to by the three parties involved in the real estate deal (the city, which owns the building; a nonprofit group, which leases it for a $1 a year, and the developers) gives a taxpayer subsidy to a competitor of the association by diverting funds that should go to schools or other public services. Earlier, an Orleans Parish Civil District judge had denied the GLH&A the right to challenge the deal in a trial. The city and the WTC argue the project would create much-needed construction jobs and bring future revenue to the city.

The Links at Divi Aruba, one of just three golf courses in Aruba, opened Oct. 29. The nine-hole, par-36 course is at the Divi Village Golf and Beach Resort. A clubhouse with pro shop and restaurants will be completed in the first quarter of 2005.

Hilton International announced Oct. 31 it plans to enter the U.K. gaming market, with a Las Vegas-style casino-resort in Blackpool, Lancashire, a northern seaside resort in England. Hilton said the approximately US$350 million property would go ahead if gaming laws in the United Kingdom are changed, as is expected.

The Tabani Group has purchased the 429-room Crowne Plaza North Dallas Hotel, in Addison, Texas, from the FelCor Lodging Trust. The new owners plan to renovate the hotel and retain the Crowne Plaza brand. Tabani will spend about $4 million on the work, which should be completed by first quarter 2005. The property offers 27,000 square feet of meeting space.