New Hotels For Small Meetings In December, just in time for the ski season, the Pinnacle Resort at Whistler opened in Whistler, BC. The mountain destination's first "boutique" hotel, the Pinnacle has 84 suites, each with its own Jacuzzi tub, fireplace, kitchen, and mountain view. The resort is located in the heart of the village, within walking distance of the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain ski gondolas. It features a Mediterranean-style restaurant called Quattro, an outdoor lap pool and hot tub, plus a meeting room for up to 120 persons.

Opened in 1996, the Echo Valley Ranch Resort is a luxury wilderness property at the base of Marble Mountain, near Clinton, BC. It is a half-day's drive north of Vancouver or a one-hour flight from the city in the ranch's private amphibious aircraft. Echo Valley is a working ranch where 170 head of cattle roam the 10,000 square acres.

Echo Valley's main lodge, a grand log structure, has sweeping views, decks, and a hot tub under the stars. There are six individually designed bedrooms, plus two luxury cabins that sleep an additional eight guests. A private business center provides office services, as well as meeting rooms for small seminars, teambuilding programs, and incentive groups. There is also a health salon, plus horse riding (on Tennessee Walking Horses, bred at the ranch), hiking, wildlife safaris, flight-seeing, fly-fishing, and rafting.

Hotel Changes Around the Country ITT Sheraton added to its roster in November the Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel in Vancouver, formerly the Wall Centre Hotel. The 428-room hotel is the anchor for the mixed use, twin-tower Wall Centre, which occupies a city block in Vancouver's downtown business and shopping district. The 35-story hotel includes a 5,000-square-foot ballroom, 15 conference rooms, and a lap pool and health club (named by Runner's World magazine as the best fitness center in Vancouver). Plans call for a third tower to be added to the Wall Centre. The tower would include an additional 600 guest rooms, making the Sheraton Wall Centre the largest hotel in Vancouver. The hotel is the 21st ITT Sheraton Hotel in Canada.

The former Hotel Plaza II is now the Radisson Plaza Hotel Toronto. The hotel is located in the city's fashionable Yorkville area. Employees at the hotel will now participate in Radisson's "Yes, I Can!" program, designed to translate the chain's philosophy of hospitality excellence directly to the front line. A new business center will be added to the main lobby. The hotel is equipped to handle meetings of up to 400 persons.

Also in Toronto, Wyndham Hotel Corporation this summer purchased and took over the management of the Bristol Place Hotel, now the Wyndham Bristol Place Hotel at Toronto Airport. The 287-room hotel has an indoor-outdoor pool, health club, and facilities for functions for up to 500 persons. It is near the Canadian Exposition and Conference Center, as well as six major shopping centers. Wyndham will spend more than $3 million to renovate the public areas and upgrade all bathrooms.

Hilton Canada has renewed the management lease for the 393-room Montreal Bonaventure Hilton for 20 years and is in the process of a $20 million program of major renovations for the property. Begun in August, the project is expected to be completed in the spring of 1997. Guest rooms at the 20-year-old Hilton will soon be equipped with work desk, computer outlet, adjustable lighting, and a large-screen television, as well as a renovated marble bathroom.

In addition, the Bonaventure's 42,000 square feet of meeting and reception rooms are being remodeled and the audiovisual systems upgraded, while the two-and-a-half acres of green space on the roof of the building is being transformed into a Japanese-style garden with fountains. A granite pool is being added, and the fitness room expanded with massage service offered. The entrance to the hotel is also being upgraded.

Rocky Mountain Railtours Publishes Group Brochure Customized group travel brochures are now available from Rocky Mountain Railtours. The four-page publication details the company's one-stop shopping services and in-house group travel expertise for rail tours on western Canadian itineraries. For more information, call (800) 606-7245.

Hotels Adopt Choice Program Six Canadian hotels are acting as pilot properties for the testing of the "Courtesy of Choice" program, developed by the International Hotel Association to accommodate both smokers and nonsmoking hotel guests. The program combines the effective use of ventilation with staff education and guest communication, according to the association.

The six hotels in the pilot program include The Toronto Hilton, Toronto Airport Hilton, Novotel North York, Novotel Montreal, Delta Vancouver Airport Hotel, and Chateau Louis in Edmonton. After the first phase of the pilot program is completed at these hotels, the Hotel Association of Canada will roll out the program nationally later in 1997.

News from Canada's Capital Region The Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull has made two additions to Canada Hall, a centerpiece of the museum that leads visitors on a journey through a thousand years of Canada's social history. The Canada Hall is available for group events of up to 80 persons.

In Ottawa, the Carmichael Inn and Spa, formerly the Cartier House Inn, opened in August after being renovated from top to bottom. The inn's 11 guest rooms, some with fireplaces and whirlpools, are all appointed with antiques. Spa facilities include massage therapy, reflexology, and aromatherapy.

The Novotel Hotel Ottawa is undergoing a renovation that will upgrade the hotel's lobby, bar, restaurant, and 283 guest rooms, plus add a business center and guest room voice mail and computer hookups.