August 11, 2004

John Q. Hammons Hotels is buying land to build a 10-story, 300-suite hotel on the other side of the Water Gardens from the Fort Worth Convention Center. The company expects to open the property, which will be branded an Embassy Suites hotel, by the fall of 2006 or spring of '07.

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels is considering adding casinos to some of its larger U.K. hotels if gambling is deregulated by Parliament (which is expected to happen soon). Among the properties most likely to add casinos are the 832-room Copthorne Tara in London and the Copthorne Effingham Park (also the name of the town), near Gatwick Airport.

A spokesperson for Four Seasons Hotels denied a rumor that the chain is looking to manage Claridges', the 203-room landmark London property that is currently part of the Savoy Group.

Ground was broken Thursday on an $8 million hotel, water park and convention center complex in Ottertail, Minn. The Thumper Pond development will include a 78-room Comfort Suites hotel, an 8,500-square-foot water park, a full-service restaurant and a 300-seat conference center. Together, the restaurant and conference center will accommodate 600 people. Construction will be completed in April 2005.

Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts is expanding into Croatia with the redevelopment of a 381-room hotel in the Adriatic city of Split. The seafront hotel will reopen in early 2006 and will have three restaurants, four bars, a spa, indoor and outdoor pools, a casino and 20,000 square feet of meeting space. Work on the former Grand Hotel Lav will begin in the fall.

The Radisson Plaza Resort Tahiti welcomed its first guests on Aug. 9. The 165-room resort borders a black sand beach and features a spa, 32 guest rooms with private Jacuzzis and 86 guest rooms with ocean views. Also on site are a restaurant, three meeting rooms, an oceanview terrace and a pillarless ballroom for 700 people.

The 189-room Clarion Hotel Fifth Avenue will change its name Aug. 23 to Hotel 5A, an independent property. In January, Hotel 5A will embark on a $3 million renovation program aimed at creating a residential atmosphere. The hotel has no meeting space but does work with groups to find off-site space.