Sushi and Shiatsu, Please Here's a wonderful dining experience: Lead host Kikoso Tanaka at the San Francisco Marriott's sushi bar gives select guests complimentary neck and shoulder shiatsu massages as they near the end of their meal. A great way to finish a plate of unagi--or anything for that matter. Tanaka studied shiatsu in Japan and has been lending his special touch at the San Francisco Marriott since the hotel opened in 1989. The 1,500-room property, the second-largest hotel in the city, is next to the Moscone Convention Center.
Opening Numbers The Reno Hilton, northern Nevada's largest resort casino, recently opened its 47,000-square-foot Nevada Conference & Exhibition Center, bringing the Reno Hilton's total space to almost 200,000 square feet. The hotel offers 2,000 guest rooms, a health club and spa, a 50-lane bowling center, and a shopping mall, and a theater.
The 508-room Westin La Cantera Resort recently opened in San Antonio hill country. The resort's 39,000 square feet of meeting space includes the San Antonio Grand Ballroom and the Esparza Library. The courtyard has five interconnected swimming pools while La Cantera Golf Club, managed by Troon Golf, will soon have a second course, designed by Arnold Palmer.
Wyndham has renovated and reopened the historic Atlanta American Hotel as the 312-room Wyndham Atlanta. The hotel offers 14,000 square feet of meeting space.
The Clarion Plaza Hotel Orlando, adjacent to the 1.1-million-square-foot Orange Country Convention Center, has renovated its 810 rooms, which now feature data ports, iron and ironing boards, and work desks. The hotel has 60,000 square feet of meeting space.
Houston's Warwick Hotel, which opened in 1925, is being restored to its original grandeur. The project includes improvements to the lobby, ballroom, meeting rooms, elevators, and an exterior spruce-up as well. The Warwick offers 308 guest rooms.
Memphis Marriott Downtown has completed a renovation of its 400 guest rooms, the first phase of a $14 million refurbishment plan. Upcoming renovations will focus on the main lobby, ballroom and conference rooms, health club, and restaurants, all scheduled for completion by the end of October.
International Beat The Delta Meadowvale Resort & Conference Center, 10 minutes west of Toronto's Pearson International Airport, recently wrapped up a $15 million renovation project. The hotel's 374 guest rooms, which include large working desks, ergonomic chairs, two telephones, and data ports, were refurbished. "Business Zone" rooms provide features such as in-room fax machines, printers, and cordless phones. The property's 40,000 square feet of meeting space was also redone, including all 41 meeting rooms and prefunction areas, and the 9,100-square-foot Graydon Ballroom.
The Kerry Centre Hotel Beijing, managed by Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, opens at the end of this month with 487 rooms.
ON LOCATION Sheraton Boston Unveils New Look A group of about 40 meeting and event planners converged on the Sheraton Boston hotel earlier this summer for a pre-opening look at the hotel's spectacular $75 million renovation. Next door to, and connected with, the Hynes Convention Center, the hotel has been completely refurbished and redesigned. The brand new Constitution Ballroom (7,000 square feet) will cater to midsized groups too small for the hotel's 10,000-square-foot grand ballroom, but too large for its 4,000-square-foot Republic Ballroom. The newly designed and relocated lobby, with its chandeliers and hand-painted, vaulted ceiling, opens onto a capacious new porte cochere, and is centrally located to the hotels two towers (which contain 1,181 guest rooms, making it New England's largest hotel). On the lobby level, a Starbucks franchise, said to be the largest in the U.S., will open.
One floor up the escalator from the lobby, the new 9,000-square-foot prefunction area opens onto the ballrooms (which are divisible using double airwall construction). All meeting areas are wired with T1 and T3 lines for high-speed Internet connection.
Sheraton is touting its Sheraton Select Service, a new banquet service that allows meeting-goers three menu choices at their table. The four-course dinners for up to 2,000 guests will be prepared in the new state-of-the-art kitchen.
To keep pace with the hotel's renovation, 500 of the hotel's staff recently participated in a three-day intensive training program called "One Heart, One Mind." -Barbara L. Brewer
San Francisco Spruces Up Some 165 meeting planners plus 20 bureau staff, and hotel and other suppliers heard San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau president John Marks and San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown talk up the city's appeal as a convention venue in mid-May at the SFCVB's road show at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Arlington, Va. Work will begin this summer on the third phase of the Moscone Center expansion, which should be finished in February 2003, according to Marks. It will be a 300,000-square-foot, free-standing facility, bringing to 900,000 square feet the total amount of meeting and exhibit space.
To improve its appeal, the city has cleaned up its streets, authorized additional taxis, expanded the number of airport gates, and added an airport runway, Mayor Brown noted. The Moscone center is located within a 20-minute walk of 18,000 first-class rooms. Voters approved an extension of the current hotel tax to fund the expanded convention facility.-Roland Leiser, Washington correspondent