BREAKING GROUND Construction began this summer on a new 32-story hotel linked to Chicago's McCormick Place convention complex. When completed two years from now, the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place will offer 750 guest rooms, 50 hospitality suites, a 12,000-square-foot ballroom, and two boardrooms. The hotel will be connected to the center's Grand Concourse, which links to all three of the center's exposition buildings (including the new South Building, slated for completion in December).
UP, UP, AND AWAY Planning adventures in the Southwest for your qualifiers? Chino Valley, AZ-based Kenai Helicopters opened a new full-service heliport this summer near the South Rim entrance to the Grand Canyon. Working with two dozen pilots and 40 support staff, Kenai can handle small groups and organized tours.
RENOVATION TIME Erawan Garden Resort in Indian Wells, CA is no longer. The property was acquired by Marcus Hotels and Resorts in mid-August, and its new owners plan to close the property immediately for extensive renovations. When it reopens, the 226-room resort will have a new name (as yet undisclosed), increased meeting space, at least one entirely renovated pool (it has two), and 80 two-room suites.
Fertitta Hospitality purchased The San Luis Resort and Conference Center at the beginning of the year from The Woodlands Corporation and is investing $10 million in the Galveston, TX property. While the entire complex is being upgraded, the focus is on the property's 224 guest rooms.
By the end of the year, Chicago's Hyatt Regency O'Hare expects to complete renovations on all 733 guest rooms. The property has more than 92,000 square feet of meeting space.
The 250-room Peachtree Executive Conference Center located in Peachtree City, GA has added "and Resort" to its name and plans $1 million in renovations through the end of the year. The upgrade will focus on guest room corridors, the lobby, two restaurants, and a new phone system.
INTERNATIONAL SCENE The 600-room Southampton Princess is working with Dolphin Quest, the marine mammal organization that runs the dolphin encounter program at the Hilton Waikoloa Village in Hawaii, to open a similar program at the Bermuda resort by this fall. Princess has built a three-acre habitat for six bottlenose dolphins that will now call the Princess home.
Presidente Inter-Continental Hotels, Mexico has acquired the 414-room Hyatt Regency Guadalajara. Now called the Presidente Inter-Continental Guadalajara, it's the second commercial property for a chain best known for its resorts.
The Savoy Group has opened a New York sales office. In addition, a regional sales manager will be based in Los Angeles by October.
After completing a two-year, $45 million renovation, London's Royal Garden Hotel reopened last spring at its central location overlooking Hyde Park and Kensington Palace. After a top-to-bottom refurbishment, the property, now under the management of Goodwood Group of Hotels, Singapore, features phone, fax, and modem link in all 403 guest rooms, ten conference rooms, and a 24-hour business center.