Those looking forward to visiting the new Westin Roco Ki Beach & Golf Resort Dominican Republic in May will have to wait a bit longer. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. has pushed back the opening of the Westin, the first U.S. — branded resort in the Punta Macao region, to September.

But not to worry, the 337-room resort, set on a four-mile stretch of white sand beach on Macao Beach, which has been praised as one of the most exceptional in the world by UNESCO (the United National Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), promises to be even more luxurious than originally anticipated, and the delay means that there will be a Heavenly Spa at the facility.

The 11,500-square-foot spa will include 15 treatment rooms offering aromatherapy, body wraps, skin treatments, hydrotherapy, and massage that incorporate ingredients indigenous to the region.

A self-contained, 20,000-square-foot conference center will accommodate up to 700 guests. Five meeting rooms, all of which can be subdivided, will feature wireless Internet and state-of-the-art technology.

After your guests are finished with their meetings, they can play the championship 18-hole, Nick Faldo signature golf course with cliff-side and oceanview holes; a mangrove forest; lake, marsh, and lagoon water hazards; and the “Los Dos Rezos,” or Two Prayers 18th hole, with water carries and a challenging green. The course will be managed by Troon Golf.

Also on-site will be seven restaurants and four bars, tennis courts, four swimming pools, and an aquatic sports complex. The wildlife sanctuary and resort grounds will showcase the island's ecological variety.

Additional accommodations will include 32 bungalows, two- and three-bedroom condominiums, 20 cliff-side villas, and guest rooms and suites, most with ocean views.

Dining facilities will include Casibi, serving Caribbean and international cuisine; Amarti, an upscale Italian trattoria; and Sabor, a Nuevo-Latino specialty restaurant. Guests can enjoy steak at Anacaona Steakhouse or casual fare at Apito Verde, a bar and grill at the golf clubhouse. Poolside, guests can choose between El Risco, serving casual Caribbean fare and drinks, and El Bohio poolside bar and grill.

The resort will pay tribute to the Caribbean's pre-Columbian culture at its interpretive center, where it will display Taino Indian artifacts found on the site.

The property is owned by Macao Beach Resort Inc., a subsidiary of Geostar Inc.

News Makers:

Steve Garner has joined Walt Disney World Resort as sales director. He is responsible for sales to the incentive and Midwest corporate markets as well as Disney Cruise Line group sales and charters.

Kathy Van Vechten has been named vice president of sales and marketing for the new Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes, Calif., scheduled to open in 2009. Van Vechten comes to the Terrenea Resort from the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas.

Sharon Bianco has joined Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort and Spa as director of events, responsible for catering and banquet operations. Bianco most recently served as assistant director of events at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau has appointed Ann C. Murray to director of sales-Midwest. Murray was most recently director of worldwide accounts for the Chicago Worldwide Sales Office of Hyatt Hotels and Resorts.

Lois McLaughlin has returned to the Pennsylvania Convention Center as director of event services. She served on the event services team in 1993. McLaughlin was event services manager for the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Mary MacGregor has joined Chicago-based BCD Meetings & Incentives as vice president of marketing and business development. MacGregor was formerly vice president of business development at Minneapolis-based MotivAction.