July 21, 2004

Soft goods will be replaced starting in August at the 504-room Marriott Frenchman's Reef and Morning Star Beach Resort in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Also, 80 rooms will be closed Aug. 14 to Sept. 17, while balconies are renovated. The resort has 60,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space.

Last week, Magna Hospitality Group announced its purchase of the Holiday Inn and Suites Milwaukee Airport from Great Lakes Companies Inc. The 130-room property is less than one mile from Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport and six miles from downtown. It offers a boardroom for groups of two to 14 and a 24-hour business center.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide will add the 59-room Hotel Convento do Espinheiro in Evora, Portugal, to its Luxury Collection in mid-2005. The property, part of a 15th-century convent, is in the process of being converted to a hotel. It will offer a full-service spa and meeting space for up to 350 people.

The sale and $13 million renovation of the 430-room Fort Worth [Texas] Plaza Hotel has stalled. The contract for the sale of the property, which sits across from the newly renovated Fort Worth Convention Center, has expired, but top executives for Realty Capital Partners and Harrell Hospitality Group, who were to purchase the hotel, have told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that they will continue to pursue the deal.

The Sheraton Phoenix East-Mesa in Mesa, Ariz., is now a full-service Marriott. Now called the Phoenix Marriott Mesa, the 273-room property has undergone a $7 million upgrade following its purchase last August by Pacifica Host Hotels. The hotel offers 52,000 square feet of meeting space.

Now that a successful pilot program has concluded, Hilton Hotels Corp. will launch round two of its self-service kiosks in 45 North American properties over the next 12 months. The web-based check-in kiosks will be installed in the chain's entire portfolio, including Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites, Hampton Inns, Hilton Garden Inns and Doubletrees.

Representives of the 3,000-member Los Angeles local of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees union return to the bargaining table this week. The talks, which involve nine city hotels, broke down several weeks ago, when the union demanded a two-year contract. The hotels are asking for a five-year contract.