Tax Hike Hotel room taxes in San Francisco jumped two percent on July 1 bringing it to 14 percent. The new monies will repay a lease revenue bond issued by the city to build a 300,000 square foot addition to the Moscone Convention Center Complex, bringing it to a total of 900,000 square feet of usable space. The city expects to have the addition finished by 2000.
Just Opened An old rice mill in New Orleans's historic Warehouse District has a new calling. The turn-of-the-century building opened in May as the new Wyndham Riverfront Hotel. Just a block from the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the property offers 202 rooms and four meeting rooms.
The Crowne Plaza Hotel Washington, DC opened in June at 14th and K streets in the 1920s Beaux Arts-style building that was home to the Hamilton Hotel through the early 1970s. Converting the building from its decade-long stint as a corporate office building into a 318-room hotel with two club-level floors and 6,700 square feet of meeting space cost about $15 million.
In late August, the General Morgan Inn and Conference Center was expected to open in downtown Greenville, TN with 52 upscale guest rooms and meeting space for 400 persons. The property will be operated by Grand Heritage Hotels International, which also runs such historic properties as The Tutwiler in Birmingham and The Clift in San Francisco.
Coming Soon The Grand Palazzo Hotel on St. Thomas, USVI will reopen in mid-December as a Ritz-Carlton property. The beachfront Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, set on 15-acres, will have 148 guest rooms and four one-bedroom suites, all with balconies. Two 1,000-square-foot meeting rooms are supplemented by five outdoor event areas. The property also offers four tennis courts and the Lady Lynsey, a private, 53-foot sailing catamaran.
Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, MI begins construction this fall on its new 50-unit Inn at the Mountain. The first 28 rooms are expected to be completed within a year. The balance, plus new front desk and lounge areas, are part of phase two, for which a completion date has not been set.
In April, the digging began for the new Doubletree Hotel Atlantic City, a major new $87 million facility being constructed adjacent to the city's new Convention and Exposition Center. The hotel will complement the center with 500 rooms, a 12,000-square-foot main ballroom, a 3,800- square-foot junior ballroom, more than 4,000 square feet of meeting room space, and 37 hospitality suites. Expected to open in fall 1997, the hotel will serve as the new home of the Miss America pageant.
More choices in Orlando: Universal City Florida has plans on the books for two new luxury properties. The Portofino Bay Resort at Universal City Florida, a Loews in fall 1997, the hotel will serve as the new home of the Miss America pageant.
More choices in Orlando: Universal City Florida has plans on the books for two new luxury properties. The Portofino Bay Resort at Universal City Florida, a Loews Hotel breaks ground next year and will open in 1999 with 750 rooms, 65,000 square feet of meeting space, and a comprehensive spa. On its heels, The Royal Bali Hotel at Universal City Florida, a Loews Hotel breaks ground next year and will open in 1999 with 750 rooms, 65,000 square feet of meetin space, and a comprehensie spa. On its heel,s, The Royal Bali Hotel at Universal City Florida, a Loews Hotel is slated to open in 2000 adjacent to an 18-hole golf course and tennis club. It will have 1,200 rooms and about 175,000 square feet of meeting space.
International Scene Westin Hotels has joined in a partnership with Demeure Hotels, which adds seven European properties to its portfolio. The Westin Demeure brand hotels now include The Grand in Amsterdam; Le Parc, Baltimore, Castille, and Marignan Elysees in Paris; 47 Park Street in London; and Hotel D'Angleterre in Geneva. Westin also has projects under construction in Bangkok, Thailand; Rio Mar, Puerto Rico; Surabaya, Indonesia; Philadelphia; Oklahoma City, and at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
At the end of June, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts celebrated the soft opening of its beachfront Rasa Ria Resort in Borneo. The 331-room property, set at the edge of a tropical jungle, offers guests an 18-hole championship golf course and an 8,000-square-foot ballroom.
The Sonesta Beach Resort Bermuda has completed a $20 million renovation that completely refurbished all 400 guest rooms, the main lobby, pool area, and corridors and expanded three restaurants.
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.
Renovation Time The New York Marriott Marquis, the Times Square giant with 1,911 rooms, has launched a $20 million renovation. By May of next year, every room will be outfitted with "The Room that Works" business traveler amenities, which include a large console table and a mobile writing desk, two power outlets and a PC modem jack mounted on the console top, and adjustable ergonomic chair. In addition, the room furnishings will be replaced during the renovation.
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 171-room Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club in Durham, NC has added two boardrooms to its slate of meeting facilities. Each seats eight persons.
This spring, after an $8 million restoration, the Great Southern Hotel in Columbus, OH became the Westin Hotel, Columbus. The property offers 196 rooms and meeting space for up to 300 persons.