Gaylord Hotels celebrated in a big way on April 25, the grand opening of its newest property, the $865 million Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md. The largest combined hotel and convention center on the Eastern Seaboard, it has 2,000 guest rooms. Its 470,000 square feet of meeting, convention, and exhibit space includes the 50,000-square-foot Potomac Ballroom and the 180,000-square-foot Prince George's Exhibit Hall. On-site are seven restaurants and eateries; the 20,000-square-foot Relâche Spa & Fitness Center, with 12 treatment rooms, massage rooms, and a health club; Pose, a nightclub on the 18th floor with floor-to-ceiling windows featuring dramatic vistas of the Potomac River and Washington, D.C.; and a private marina on the Potomac (water taxi service runs continuously throughout the day).
Venues News: New & Renovated
Fairmont Avanterra Palm Desert
Palm Desert, Calif.
The News: Fairmont has announced plans for the new hotel as part of the $2.5 billion master-planned Avanterra community.
Specs: 300 rooms and 125 Fairmont Residences; 26,000 square feet of function space, including a 7,000-square-foot ballroom; and a 45,000-square-foot spa
Time Frame: Groundbreaking expected in 2009, with completion planned for 2011.
Westward Look Resort
The News: The first phase of a $10 million renovation of the lobby, guest rooms, and meeting space is near completion.
Specs: 244 guest rooms, two restaurants, the Sonoran Spa, more than 20,000 square feet of meeting space, eight tennis courts, hiking trails, on-site stables for horseback riding, and multiple pools
Time Frame: Phase one began in November and should be complete by late summer.
Extra: The second phase of renovations is in the planning stages and will include the spa, fitness center, and restaurants.
Hotel Monaco Alexandria
The News: The Hotel Monaco Alexandria, a boutique hotel, opened in January.
Specs: 241 guest rooms — including four two-story suites and 28 rooms with terraces that overlook the hotel's courtyard — with Frette linens, flat-panel LCD TVs, ergonomic work areas, and iPod docking stations; 5,000 square feet of meeting space and a 3,000-square-foot outdoor courtyard; indoor pool; and fitness center
Extra: The hotel is within walking distance of shopping, art galleries, restaurants, and historic sights, and offers easy access to Washington, D.C.; Mount Vernon; and National Harbor.
JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa
The News: The resort opened the $2 million Starr Canyon River and Monsoon Falls Water Slide March 28. It is the first lazy river in southern Arizona.
Specs: The slide is 16 feet above pool level, and one lap in the lazy river takes about six minutes. Two patios can host 500 guests for a reception. The resort has 575 guest rooms, 88,000 square feet of meeting space, a 20,000-square-foot spa, four pools, and a 27-hole Arnold Palmer Signature golf facility.
Extra: The resort's eco-theme extends to its Primo restaurant, which serves only organic and jet-fresh fish, and to the Hashani Spa.
The Fairmont San Jose, Calif., has installed two giant plasma screens that display arrival and departure times at San Jose International Airport. The hotel is the first in Silicon Valley to partner with the airport to provide this information. The hotel will also print guests' boarding passes.
Thomas Storey has been appointed president of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. He succeeds Chris Cahill, who will become COO for Fairmont. Storey has worked with Fairmont for the past seven years, most recently as executive vice president, development.
Kyle Stevens has been hired as director of sales and marketing for the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa, San Antonio. He is a 17-year Hyatt veteran and most recently was director of sales and marketing for the Hyatt Regency Phoenix.
Ann Walker has been named director of sales and marketing of Tucker's Point Hotel & Spa, opening April 2009 in Bermuda. Prior to coming to the hotel, Walker served as senior director of national sales for The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando has appointed John Pate as national sales manager. Pate brings more than 25 years' experience in the hospitality industry to the role.
Elizabeth Sinnott has been named catering and convention sales manager at the International Plaza Resort & Spa in Orlando. Previously, Sinnott served as catering sales manager for the Bay Point Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Panama City Beach, Fla.
Benny Baez has been named director of group sales at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. For the past 15 years, Baez has been vice president of sales and marketing at the Palm Beach County Convention & Visitors Bureau.