*CHANGING FACES Nancy Homeyer has been named National Sales Manager for Orient Express Hotels, North America. Homeyer will be based in Charleston, S.C., but she will represent Orient Express worldwide. Over the previous eight years, she held sales management positions with Hyatt Hotels; before that, she was a manager with Kiawah Island Golf and Tennis Resort.
Destination Hotels & Resorts has opened two national sales offices. The New York office is being led by Patti Mottolese, regional director of sales. Mottolese was director of global insurance sales for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Before that, she served as director of insurance market development for Westin Hotels & Resorts. Meanwhile, Charysse Wiley, regional director of sales, will head the San Francisco office. She had been director of national accounts for the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.
Fred J. Kleisner, president of Wyndham International Inc., has been named to the additional position of chief executive officer. He succeeds James D. Carreker, who will remain as chairman. Kleisner was previously president and chief operating officer of the Americas Hotel Group of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. Carreker previously served as president of The Trammell Crow Co. Other executive changes are the naming of David Johnson as executive vice president, sales and marketing and Michael D. Welly as senior vice president, resort operations,
Sawgrass Marriott Resort, located between Jacksonville and St. Augustine in Florida, has named Marian Bennett as sales manager. Bennett was most recently the national sales manager at the Ritz-Carlton in Phoenix, Ariz.
Hilton New Orleans Riverside announces the addition of Sherril T. Cohn and Jean L. Kelly as sales managers. Cohn was most recently a sales manager at the Westin Canal Place in New Orleans; Kelly comes to the Hilton from Texas, where she was an account executive for Hilton Direct USA in Dallas.
Kathryn Stapleton has been named director of group sales for the Westin Galleria and Oaks, Houston, Texas. Prior to this appointment, she served as director of group sales at the Sheraton North Houston.
Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, Conn., has appointed Jill Fleury Glynn as northeast national sales manager. Previously, Glynn served as national sales manager at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
Tom Santora has been named director of marketing for the new Renaissance Hollywood Hotel scheduled to open in fall of 2001 in Washington, D.C. Santora's most recent position was market director for the Event Booking Centers in the Western Region of Marriott International.
David Boyd has been named chief operating officer and general manager of Fripp Island Resort, S.C. Boyd was previously president and managing director of the Sonesta Beach Resort in Bermuda. For the past three years, he worked as a consultant.
Edgewater Beach Resort in Panama City Beach, Fla., has brought Lynda Walsh aboard as conference sales manager. Prior to joining the resort, Walsh served as the Sandcastles restaurant manager at Hilton Sandestin Beach & Golf Resort in Destin, Fla. Edgewater also appointed Debra Abrams as director of convention services. Abrams joins the resort after working as convention service manager at the Sheraton Biscayne Bay Hotel in Miami.
Marriott's Renaissance Esmeralda Resort appointed Mary Ryan Joyce director of national accounts, Midwest market. Joyce previously served as director of marketing for Newport Beach Marriott Suites in California and as national account executive in Marriott's Midwest national sales office.
GOING PLACES Rockresorts, the very upscale hotel brand created by Laurence Rockefeller in the 1960s, has been resurrected, at least in name and spirit. The new Rockresorts number four: Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada in the Florida Keys; the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla; La Posada de Sante Fe, N.M.; and Rosario Resort in Eastsound, Wash., in the San Juan Islands. Scottsdale, Ariz.based Olympus Hospitality Group last year acquired the Rockresorts signature and "intellectual property." The new Rock- resorts are smaller, with 200 rooms or fewer and meeting space. Each takes advantage of its natural setting and local cuisine. By year's end, all four resorts will have full-service spas.
Atlanta's Sheraton Buckhead Hotel has completed a $5 million renovation of all 369 rooms. The hotel's next project is a solarium overlooking the pool and garden area that will hold the hotel's fitness equipment. The Sheraton Buckhead offers 30,000 square feet of meeting space.
The 234-room Hilton Fisherman's Wharf has opened in San Francisco after a multimillion-dollar renovation. The hotel has 3,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 1,450-square-foot ballroom and a 24-hour business center.
The 190-room Holiday Inn Select Atlanta Airport South is aiming to redefine the airport hotel with features designed for medium-sized meetings. Rooms are equipped with data ports and high-speed Internet access, plus two phone lines with caller ID. The hotel's 3,500 square feet of meeting space includes the Bass Learning Center, which can train up to 40 people at networked computer terminals. The Georgia International Convention Center is within walking distance, and on-demand shuttle buses take hotel guests to the airport and its MARTA rail station.
BEYOND BORDERS The St. Regis Beijing (formerly the Beijing International Club Hotel) opened recently in Beijing, China. The hotel has 273 rooms (half of which are suites) and meeting space that accommodates up to 250 guests for a banquet.
Maverick CEO Richard Branson recently announced the Limited Edition by Virgin, a collection of unique hotels that have been "hand-selected" by Branson for their style and service. The collection includes the 64-room Hotel La Residencia in Mallorca, Spain; the 12th-century, 43-room Palazzo Sasso on Italy's Amalfi Coast; Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, a 32-room manor house in the Oxfordshire countryside, England; the two-lodge Ulusaba Private Game Reserve in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve at the western border of Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga Provice, South Africa; and finally, Necker Island, Branson's private island, which can accommodate a total of 26 guests.
In Cannes, France, the Palais des Festivals has announced the addition of "Espace Riviera" to its collection of world-class meeting and exhibition spaces. With this addition, the Palais des Festivals has approximately 270,000 square feet of meeting space, and the possibility of 215,000 square feet in one continuous block. The ability to combine exhibition space with up to 26 conference rooms allows the facility to accommodate functions ranging from 35 to 2,300 people.
The Sandton Convention Centre in Sandton, South Africa, opens in September, symbolic of South Africa's ongoing bid to attract an international mix of meetings and conventions. The city of Sandton is between the capital city of Pretoria and the business center of Johannesburg. The center, which will be managed by the Southern Sun hotel group, will have two exhibition and two convention levels. Above the ballroom
is the pavilion level, which can host everything from product launches to pop concerts.
Hilton Hotels Corp. announces the opening of the Hilton Montreal/Laval in Quebec, Canada. The 170-room hotel offers approximately 5,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and nine executive boardrooms.
The Ritz-Carlton, Sharm El Sheikh has opened with views of the Red Sea on Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. The 307-room hotel is the first Ritz-Carlton in Africa. It offers facilities for meetings of up to 75 guests.
The J.W. Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur opened recently in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The hotel's meeting space includes a ballroom that can accommodate up to 1,200 guests for a reception, plus an executive conference center with 13 meeting rooms that can hold up to 150 people. Also featured on the property are a full-service business center and a spa with sauna and fitness equipment.
Fregate, Dolce International's conference and golf resort in Provence, France, has completed a $7 million renovation and expansion project. The 133-room property now offers 14 meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 200 people. Included in the expansion project was the construction of the 2,500-square-foot Fregate Room, which holds up to 200 people for a banquet.
On Location Tampa Marriott Waterside In late April, Marriott Chairman and CEO J.W. Marriott Jr. welcomed a crowd of media, customers, staff, and local luminaries to the opening ceremony for the Tampa Marriott Waterside, designated Marriott's 2,000th hotel. "I think I'm the only one here who was also at our first hotel ribbon-cutting 43 years ago," he said. (That ceremony was for the Twin Bridges Motor Hotel in Arlington, Va.) "It's been a long road."
Local officials are thrilled that Marriott's road led to Tampa, as the city aims to become a top meeting destination. Paul Catoe, head of the Tampa Hillsborough CVA, called the new hotel a "catalyst" for downtown development projects, including Channelside, a major waterside shopping and entertainment center; luxury condos; and other retail and residential plans.
The $105 million, 717-room Marriott has 50,000 square feet of meeting space and is adjacent to the Tampa Convention Center, which has 600,000 square feet of space. The hotel's dramatic, two-story lobby features graceful wrought-iron details, an indoor/outdoor lobby bar, and numerous seating areas for impromptu chats between meeting sessions. Waterfront windows on the lobby level and along pre-function areas on the meeting level look over the Garrison Channel and out to Tampa Bay. Unexpected in a convention hotel is the 6,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, which offers facials, massages, and salon services.
Tampa Mayor Dick Greco, a major force behind the Marriott project (a meeting room is named for him), likened the downtown renaissance to that of another southern city: "San Antonio took a little creek and turned it into the Riverwalk," he said during a luncheon address in the hotel's elegant Florida Ballroom. "We had parking lots on our working waterfront; now we're going to have boat slips, parks, open spaces. This whole area is going to come alive."
Already very much alive in Tampa is Ybor City. The area was established by Cuban immigrant Don Vicente Martinez Ybor, who fled his native country and built a cigar empire in Tampa. He was joined by other Cuban, Spanish, Italian, German, and Jewish immigrants who worked in the 200 cigar factories or built their own businesses--some of which are still run by later generations of those same families. Such is the case with the area's most famous restaurant, the Columbia, whose 11 dining rooms cover an entire city block. The restaurant's traditional Spanish fare is accompanied by cigar-rolling demonstrations and flamenco dancing; the establishment is run by the fourth generation of the founding Hernandez family. Ybor City's restaurants and clubs are the centerpiece of Tampa's nightlife--and its popularity will only increase with this summer's opening of Centro Ybor, an entertainment complex to include movie theaters, retail outlets, restaurants, and Steven Spielberg's Sega Game Works, a high-tech game room. Plans call for a historic trolley traveling along a 2.3-mile track from the Tampa Marriott Waterside to Ybor City to begin operation in late 2001. --Alison Hall