From the Ground Up In early August, the new Four Seasons Resort Aviara opened on 180 acres in Carlsbad, CA, with 331-rooms and suites. Part of the 1,000-acre Aviara master-planned community, the luxury property is Four Seasons' first ocean-view golf and tennis resort built on the U.S. mainland. In addition to an 18-hole golf course (which has been operating since 1991), six tennis courts, and spa, the resort offers 29,000 square feet of function space, including a 12,000-square-foot ballroom.

The Wyndham Old San Juan (PR) Hotel and Casino also opened in August. The new $41 million waterfront property is well situated to attract cruise passengers before and after their sailing. The 240-room property offers 6,200 square feet of meeting space.

The $98 million, 403-room Westin Savannah (GA) Harbor Resort broke ground in July overlooking the Savannah River. When it opens in 1999, it will be the centerpiece of a 700-acre, mixed-use development that will include the Georgia International Maritime & Trade Center. The hotel will have five meeting rooms and a 12,000-square-foot ballroom divisible into eight meeting rooms.

Construction has begun on San Antonio's Westin La Cantera Resort, a complement to the 18-hole golf course and Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme park already in place. The 500-room property on 60 acres will have more than 38,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 17,000-square-foot ballroom, when it opens in 1999.

Also in 1999, a Westin will open on San Antonio's Riverwalk. Breaking ground later this year, the Westin Riverwalk will offer river views in 60 percent of its 453 rooms and more than 18,000 square feet of meeting space.

Construction begins later this year on Loews Philadelphian Hotel, a 590-room property across the street from the Philadelphia Convention Center. The $105 million project will add 40,000 square feet of meeting space to the city's inventory when it opens in mid-1999.

Las Vegas is at it again. The Venetian, the newest mega-resort under way on the strip, promises canals, piazzas, and cobbled walkways to recreate the charm of Venice when it opens in 1999. Replicas of Campanile Tower and Rialto Bridge are to be among the icons that will set the stage for the property's 6,000 suites, two 100,000-square-foot casinos, and expansive meeting and exhibit space. The hotel is linked to the Sands Expo and Convention Center, which will be expanded in the project by 400,000 square feet, bringing it to a total of 1.6 million square feet. Meeting space includes an 80,000-square-foot ballroom.

This fall, Wyndham expects to open a 490-room, African-themed resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Wyndham Safari Resort will have 4,100 square feet of meeting space when it opens, and an additional 2,000 square feet by spring 1998.

Adding On The 640-room La Quinta Resort and Club, 19 miles southeast of Palm Springs in La Quinta, CA, is building a spa of approximately 18,000 square feet to open next spring. La Quinta, which takes its recreation seriously with 72 holes of golf and 30 tennis courts, is equally enthusiastic about its relaxation. The spa will offer hydro tubs, wrap rooms, an outdoor massage area, a skin-care salon, and a fitness area, among other facilities. The resort has 25 meeting rooms, the largest of which accommodates 1,465 persons.

Everything's big in Texas, especially the new ballroom under construction at the Adam's Mark Hotel Dallas. The 41,000-square-foot ballroom will be the largest in the state when it opens in October 1998 as part of a $150 million expansion. The project will add 60,000 square feet of exhibit space and five ballrooms and expand the guest room count from 505 to 1,825.

The Tutwiler Hotel, a historic property in downtown Birmingham, AL, this spring began a renovation of its eighth floor. The hotel is spending $1 million to create a 1,900-square-foot ballroom, 550-square-foot meeting room, health club, and 15 new guest rooms and suites, which will bring the guest room total to 162.

The Boca Raton (FL) Resort & Club opened a $12 million tennis and fitness complex with 18 Har Tru clay courts earlier this year. Additionally, the property will complete in October a $3 million renovation of its Cloister and Tower guest rooms and suites, totaling 324. Also under way is a major reconstruction of the property's Resort Course, scheduled for completion December 15, which will add extensive water features and a variety of elevation changes. But the big news for conference organizers is the new $40 million meeting and conference facility, the Mizner Center. With a grand opening scheduled for January, the 128,000-square-foot conference center will have 34 meeting rooms, four ballrooms, and will be capable of hosting up to 1,800 persons.

Meanwhile, a bit farther south, the Westin Resort Miami Beach is in the midst of a multi-million dollar rejuvenation of this landmark hotel (formerly known as the Doral Beach). The project is scheduled for completion in October, and will include a face-lift for the 18-story facade and the front entrance. The Starlight Room on the top floor will be redesigned to showcase its water views, and all 40,000 square feet of function space will be modernized. All 420 guest rooms will be totally refurbished, and 33 rooms on the tenth floor will be converted to "Westin Guest Offices," with speaker phones, data ports, and laser print-er/fax/copiers, among other amenities.

Looking Abroad Marriott has a presence in Paris again, now that its 192-room Paris Marriott opened on the Champs Elysees. The first new hotel in the prestigious 8th Arrondisement since 1925, the propery will offer a business center, fitness facilities, and 5,506 square feet of meeting space.

Hyatt is also making a move in Paris with the August opening of the Hyatt Regency Paris-Madeleine. While offering just two rooms for meetings or cocktail parties, each of the boutique hotel's 86 rooms is equipped with two telephone lines and data port. Fitness facilities are also available.