Teeing Off for Conservation, Garra de Leon (Lion's Paw), the championship golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones II for the Melib Playa Conchal All-Suite Beach & Golf Resort in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, has become the first course in that country to receive the Environmental Steward Award. The eighth annual award was presented by The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, which recognizes golf course superintendents for overall management excellence including resource conservation, wildlife/habitat management, and education/outreach. Garra de Leon received the award in the resort category. The course also has been certified by Audubon International in the first of six phases toward becoming a fully certified Audubon Cooperative course. The resort features 39 two-story villas offering 308 suites. More than 5,000 square feet of meeting space is available.
Transformations Ground was broken in late May for the 1.7-million-square-foot Boston Convention & Exhibition Center on its 60-acre site in the heart of the South Boston waterfront. BCEC will offer 600,000 square feet of meeting space on one level, plus a 50,000-square-foot ballroom, a 20,000-square-foot junior ballroom, and 80 meeting rooms. A 1,120-room Sheraton hotel will be built on the grounds as well. Completion of both is set for late 2003.
The Hyatt Regency Dallas has completed its $70 million expansion and renovation, the highlights of which are a new 30,000-square-foot ballroom with a 30-foot ceiling, a 40,000-square-foot dedicated exhibit hall, and 183 new guest rooms. The project increased the hotel's meeting space to 160,000 square feet and its total guest rooms to 1,122.
The 347-room Chicago Marriott Oak Brook recently spent $5 million to renovate its lobby, meeting rooms, and guest rooms, all of which now offer two-line phones and high-speed Internet access. Meeting rooms and the Grand Ballroom, which seats up to 1,000 guests, have been enhanced for multimedia presentations.
The City of Denver has agreed to finance a $212.7 million convention center hotel to support the expansion of the Colorado Convention Center, which is doubling its size by adding 292,000 square feet of exhibit space, 60,000 square feet of meeting space, a ballroom, and a 5,000-seat auditorium. The 1,100-room hotel, to be operated by Marriott International, will open along with the expansion in 2003.
The 252-room Hilton San Diego Gaslamp Quarter has opened near San Diego's Waterfront Convention Center. Guest rooms offer ergonomic work desks, two-line phones, and high-speed Internet access. Six meeting rooms offer 6,000 square feet of meeting space.
Holiday Inn Pasadena (Calif.) has undergone a $4 million renovation to become the Sheraton Pasadena. The 320-room hotel has 12,000 square feet of meeting space and is next to the Pasadena Convention Center.
The 286-suite Embassy Suites Convention Center Las Vegas has opened three blocks from the convention center. The nongaming hotel features suites with two-line phones, data ports, and Web TV. Also available: 6,500 square feet of meeting space and a spa and fitness center.
The Mainstay Suites and Sleep Inn, two hotels under the same roof, opened recently in King of Prussia, Pa., less than two miles from the Valley Forge Convention Center. The property combines 69 suites (with full kitchens) and 79 traditional hotel rooms with an integrated front desk system. There is also a business center, indoor pool, and exercise room.
Houston's Astrodomain Complex continues to grow as the city breaks ground on the new Harris County Exposition Center. The 1.4-million-square-foot facility will open in May 2002 with a total of 706,213 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, which is divisible into five separate halls ranging in size from 40,000 to 168,000 square feet. The center also will have 72 meeting rooms, the largest more than 22,000 square feet.
The City of Branson and Taney County, Mo., have taken the first step in building a convention and expo center: choosing a location. The 40-acre site is across from the entrance to the Factory Shoppes at Branson Meadows. The next phase of the project is a two-month feasibility study.
Ocean Walk Village, the $200 million oceanside district leading the revitalization effort on Daytona Beach, has announced the expansion of the Adam's Mark Daytona Beach Resort. With the $45 million addition, the resort will offer a total of 742 rooms and 60,000 square feet of meeting space. Opening in phases through winter 2002 along blocks of boardwalk, Ocean Walk Village is a collection of resorts, a water park, and boutiques.
The 1,033-room Anaheim Marriott, adjacent to the Anaheim Convention Center, this year is renovating all guest rooms and refurbishing its 54,000 square feet of meeting space. Plans include installation of high-speed Internet access in each guest room.
Beyond Borders The Singapore Expo Centre was officially opened this spring on the opening day of the Food & Hotel Asia exhibition, the first event to occupy all six halls at the Singapore Expo. The center offers 645,000 square feet of column-free exhibit space, along with 270,000 square feet of outdoor exhibition space. Also available are nine meeting rooms seating up to 140 people, and four conference halls that can be combined to seat up to 1,100.
The 487-room Great Eagle Hotel on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong harbor has completed a $30 million renovation. Meeting space accommodates up to 550 guests. The hotel is located close to Kowloon's clothing manufacturers and the famed Nathan Road shopping district. In-room features include data ports and safes large enough for a laptop.
This spring Westin Hotels & Resorts more than doubled its presence in Europe with the addition of nine properties. In Italy, the newly branded hotels are the 216-room Westin Palace, Milan; the 168-room Westin Excelsior, Florence; the 185-room Westin Europa & Regina, Venice; the 321-room Westin Excelsior, Rome; and the 196-room Westin Excelsior, Venice Lido. In Spain, Westin now manages the 465-room Westin Palace, Madrid; the 146-room Hotel Alfonso XIII, in Seville; and the 136-room Hotel Maria Cristina, in San Sebastian. Also added to the portfolio is the 140-room Hotel Bristol in Vienna, Austria.
The J.W. Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) has opened. Meeting space includes a ballroom that holds 1,200 guests for a reception, plus an Executive Conference Center with 13 meeting rooms. Also on property are a business center and a spa with fitness equipment.