March 17, 2004

Joining the ranks of hotel chains such as Hilton, Marriott and Starwood, Caesars Entertainment Inc. this week launched its Best Rate Guarantee program. Guests who book through or related company websites are guaranteed the lowest rate available online. If a customer finds a lower rate through any other online outlet for the same dates and type of room, Caesars will match the rate and then give an additional 25 percent discount.

The 115-room Four Seasons Resort Provence at Terre Blanche opens next week. The French property has five meeting rooms and two 18-hole, Dave Thomas-designed golf courses.

Hilton International will make its first foray into Central America with the Feb. 1, 2005, opening of the Hilton Princess San Salvador in El Salvador's capital. The 204-room hotel, which has 13,000 square feet of function space, will remain the Hotel Princess Zona Rosa until the changeover. Central America-based Hoteles Princess will continue to manage the property as a Hilton franchise. Hilton currently is in negotiation with two other Hoteles Princess properties, one in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and one in Managua, Nicaragua.

The Sheraton Hanoi Hotel opened last week. The 229-room hotel is 25 minutes from Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport and overlooks the city's West Lake. The luxury property offers seven meeting rooms, each totaling more than 11,000 square feet.

The Mexico City Airport Marriott Hotel has been sold for $30 million to Camino Real. The 600-room, nine-story property is connected via air bridge to the Benito Juarez International Airport, Latin America's busiest. Purchasers expect the airport's current $350 million expansion to generate unprecedented business for the hotel, the largest airport property in Mexico City.

Hersha Hospitality Trust is taking over management of two Boston hotels by the end of this month, the Four Points by Sheraton Boston/Logan International Airport and the Residence Inn Boston/Framingham. The real estate trust announced last week that it had already acquired a joint-venture interest in the 180-room Four Points and had entered into preliminary agreements with the 125-room Residence Inn.

The Abu Dhabi-based Rotana Group has signed on to manage nine new properties in the Persian Gulf region. Of the nine, five properties will be in Dubai, and all are in varying stages of development. Set to open later this year is the first of the Dubai projects, the Al Murooj Rotana, a 353-room five-star hotel that the group acquired management rights to yesterday after signing with Dubai International Real Estate.

A $2 million renovation of 120 of the 232 rooms at Pennsylvania's Hotel Hershey finishes up this week. The project, begun in January, upgraded the soft goods, increased the bed size and gave the rooms a new look.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has approved plans by Pinnacle Entertainment to build a $200 million casino complex at Laclede's Landing, near the America's Center convention facility. Pinnacle proposes constructing a 75,000-square-foot, 40-table casino with 200 slot machines, to connect with a 14-story luxury hotel, retail space and a parking garage. The development will include a $50 million luxury condominium tower. Pinnacle Entertainment already operates casinos in Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Argentina. The company will seek final approval for the Laclede's Landing project when the Missouri Gaming Commission meets on March 31.