The Ritz-Carlton, Rose Hall Take a Caribbean destination rich in reputation for fun in the sun and a new resort located minutes from an international airport, situated on a beach that begs to be walked on. Add the charm of Old World Jamaican architecture, the exclusivity of a concierge floor, a Robert von Hagge-designed golf course, and the assurance of a Baldrige Quality Award-winning brand. What you get is a glimpse of the new 430-room Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall Resort in Jamaica.

In January, Tracey Fentem, director of marketing, created the Rose Hall Ritz-Carlton Insurance Advisory Committee, inviting insurance planners to get a taste of a revitalized Jamaica and the fourth Caribbean Ritz-Carlton. The group saw the resort in its final stages of construction and will see the finished product during a return trip this summer.

Janie Prevost, Phoenix Home Life; Angie DeVito, CNA; Marilyn Sylvester, Equitable; Mary Jane Hartman, Prudential; and Jerry Schmidt, CMP, Trustmark, joined Fentem along with Alexis Romer, regional director of sales, New York; Pamela Ferguson, director of insurance sales, Midwest; and Doug Brooks, general manager of the Rose Hall property, on a tour of the island. Marcia Bullock of the Jamaican Tourist Board joined the group in discussions of how the resort and the destination can meet the needs of the upscale insurance and related markets. Summary in a word: VISIT! --Jerry Schmidt

Benchmark Hospitality is building a new conference resort at North Carolina State University near Raleigh's booming Research Triangle. The 250-room conference resort will include 29,500 square feet of meeting space, including a ballroom overlooking Lake Raleigh. Other features include a health club and an 18-hole Tom Fazio-designed golf course. The projected opening date for the property is February 2002.

In other Benchmark news, the Big EZ Lodge and Conference Center in Big Sky, Mont., recently opened, catering to high-end executive retreats. With 13 luxury suites, the center can accommodate 25 guests. A meeting room and all guest rooms offer in-room computers with high-speed Internet access.

Dolce International has assumed management of The Hastings Hotel, A Dolce Learning Center, in Hartford, Conn., formerly the Hastings International Conference Center. The 271-room property offers 55,000 square feet of meeting space, including three amphitheaters and four dedicated computer-training rooms. A $6 million renovation in 1998 focused on public areas and dining outlets, and added a business center and media center.

In other news from Dolce, Tarrytown House, a conference hotel in Tarrytown, N.Y., has begun its $13.5 million expansion. The project will add 72 rooms, bringing the total room count to 210. A new registration center will be constructed, and high-speed Internet access will be installed in all meeting and guest rooms.

Doubletree Guest Suites Downers Grove (Ill.) has assumed management of the former Amoco Management Learning Center, an IAAC-approved conference center. Renamed The Esplanade Conference Center, it features two classrooms with tiered symposium seating for 90 people, in addition to three general session rooms and 13 breakout rooms. Doubletree Guest Suites Downers Grove is located in The Esplanade at Locust Point and features 247 suites and an additional 8,405 square feet of meeting space, including a 5,200-square-foot ballroom.

Whispering Woods Hotel and Conference Center in Olive Branch, Miss., recently renovated its 181 guest rooms, public space, fitness room, and its 35,000 square feet of meeting space, which includes a 125-seat amphitheater. The facility is 14 miles from the Memphis International Airport.