Grand Openings April 2015

JW Marriott Austin

 The Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando has completed a revamp of its 650 guest rooms, including the addition of music-related artwork and full-length mirrors that show the heights of famous musicians. The hotel has 6,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, with 140,000 square feet of function space nearby at the Hard Rock Cafe and Hard Rock Live venues at Universal CityWalk.

 The Delray Sands Resort in Highland Beach, Fla., has completed a renovation of its 115 guest rooms and lobby, and has added the oceanfront Latitudes restaurant.

 In California, the 17,000-square-foot, 3,029-seat Pasadena Civic Center has reopened following a complete restoration. The landmark center opened in 1932.

• In Massachusetts, the 419-room Boston Marriott Burlington has completed the final phase of a multimillion-dollar, 18-month renovation encompassing its meeting space, fitness facilities and lobby. The property now features Marriott's signature "Greatroom," a reimagining of a traditional lobby marked by a large fireplace, a U-shaped bar, charging stations and media pods for casual meetings. Dedicated meeting space at the hotel has been increased to 14,570 square feet, including three new meeting rooms, and an upgraded 9,000-square-foot ballroom.

• The 264-suite Hotel Contessa, on the banks of San Antonio's River Walk, has completed a nine-month renovation that included new furnishings throughout the guest rooms and enhancements to the property's 10,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space, including the 2,277-square-foot Contessa Ballroom and 10 conference rooms.

• The 339-room Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago has debuted three new event spaces. The Riverside Gallery (2,000 square feet) is an elongated space with ornately framed mirrors lining the walls; it can host receptions for up to 240 people and plated dinners for 144. The art deco Riverside Room (1,800 square feet) features a 12-foot-high ceiling punctuated with Swarovski crystal-encrusted fixtures and can hold 200 for a reception and dinner for 144. The Bridgeview Room (2,800 square feet) overlooks the Chicago River and can accommodate receptions for 250 and dinners for 204.

Texas Newcomer
The 1,020-room JW Marriott Austin has opened just two blocks from the Austin Convention Center. The hotel has 112,000 square feet of its own meeting space, plus three restaurants, a fitness center, a spa and an outdoor pool with an event deck. LEED Silver certification for the property is in the works.

More Debuts
 The 97-room DoubleTree by Hilton Galveston Beach has opened in the heart of the Texas island's dining and entertainment district, overlooking the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. Guest rooms, many with private balconies, all offer stunning ocean views. Features include a beachfront saltwater pool with swim-up bar, a 24-hour fitness center, two F&B venues and complimentary Wi-Fi in all public areas and guest rooms. The hotel has more than 2,600 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space.

 The 169-room Element Vancouver Metrotown has opened in British Columbia, overlooking the North Shore Mountains. The 15th entry in Starwood's eco-wise brand, the hotel has more than 6,000 square feet of meeting space with modular furnishing, free high-speed Wi-Fi throughout and a ChargePoint charging station for electric cars. Dining takes place at the Trattoria from Glowbal Group. Two more Element properties are slated for Canada in 2016, in addition to the Element Vaughan Southwest, already open near Toronto.  

 At press time, the 369-room Meliá Paris La Défense was set to open in the City of Light's business district. Meliá claims the property is the French capital's largest four-star hotel to open in 10 years. On-site are two restaurants (Spanish/international fusion and casual/deli)and the Skyline Paris Lounge & Bar. Meeting space totals more than 2,775 square feet of flexible space over eight rooms, which can accommodate up to 400 people.

• The 244-room DoubleTree by Hilton Dallas-Love Field has opened following its conversion from an older property, a $2 million effort that upgraded the north entrance, the parking lot and varous public areas. The hotel features two restaurants -- the Sports Page Grill and the Lobby Café -- plus 14,000 square feet of meeting space.

• The 122-room AC Hotel Paris Le Bourget has opened at Paris-Le Bourget airport, adjacent to Le Bourget Exhibition Park and the nearby Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center. The hotel has two meeting rooms, a restaurant, a rooftop bar and a fitness center.

• The Meliá Doha has opened in the high-end West Bay region of Doha, Qatar, just 10 minutes from Hamad International Airport and with easy access to the financial, shopping and diplomatic district. The property offers 317 guest rooms, including 37 suites, the largest of which is the 4,693-square-foot Royal Suite on the top (39th) floor. For meetings, three function rooms hold up to 60 people each, while the hotel's ballroom can accommodate 300.