May 26, 2004

The 1,067-room Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta unveiled its new East Plaza last Thursday. The new wing connects the Omni's North Tower, which opened last November, to the Georgia World Congress Center. The hotel, which has approximately 120,000 square feet of indoor function space, plans to use the 66,000-square-foot space for events.

EnCap Golf Holdings LLC broke ground last week on a $1 billion mixed-use complex in the Meadowlands of northern New Jersey. Over the next four years, 785 acres of brownfield wetlands will be remediated, 100 of which will be developed into a 750-room resort with two 18-hole public golf courses, public recreation facilities, retail space, homes and offices. The project will take seven to 10 years to complete, though the golf courses might open within three years.

The 880-room Le Meridien Heathrow, at London's Heathrow Airport, has been reflagged as the Park Inn Heathrow; it is now under the management of Rezidor SAS Hospitality. The property, which completed a $26 million renovation of 415 guest rooms, will undergo further remodeling over the next two years.

On June 1, Rezidor SAS Hospitality will take over management of seven hotels in France that have been acquired by Darthall B.V., a financial group. The two largest are the 245-room Le Meridien Part-Deux in Lyon and the 120-room Park Hotels Aix-les-Bains, which have been rebranded Radisson SAS Hotel Lyon and Radisson SAS Hotel Aix-les-Bains, respectively. The remaining properties, located in Macon, Orange, Nancy and Arcachon, will be rebranded as Park Inns. The addition of these seven properties brings the number of properties in France under Rezidor SAS management to 12.

Last Thursday, Hyatt Hotels Corp. announced a new brand bed. The Grand Bed includes a Sealy Posturepedic 720 Series mattress on a box spring and solid bed base (to keep anything from rolling under the bed. The bedding is down blanket with 250-thread-count sheets, and a decorative cummerbund at the foot of the bed. The bed will be in all 1,336 rooms of the Grand Hyatt New York by September, and will be rolled out in the top Hyatt markets by the end of the year, with a plan to put the bed in every Hyatt hotel room.