The Melia Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, has wrapped up the first phase of its $8 million renovation program. Half the property's 245 rooms have been redone and three meeting rooms, which accommodate up to 700 for a reception, have been renovated. Still to come: the Thalasso Spa & Fitness Centre will open later this year, more than 3,600 square feet of meeting space and a high-tech business center with four workstations will be added, and the remaining rooms and public spaces will be renovated.

The first phase of the Diplomat Resort & Country Club is nearing completion in Hollywood, Fla. The Diplomat Country Club, with 60 elite guest rooms, a 155-acre golf course, a 30,000-square-foot European-style spa, yacht slips, tennis courts, and 8,000 square feet of meeting space, opens this fall. The 1,000-room, resurrected beachfront Diplomat Resort, with 216,000 square feet of meeting space, will open in fall 2000. The former landmark property was imploded to make way for the new $600 million complex.

The 355-room Marriott Bay Point Resort Village in Panama City Beach, Fla., spent $7 million to renovate its guest rooms, meeting rooms, and public space. The resort offers 40,000 square feet of function space, including the 8,000-square-foot Grand Lagoon Ballroom.

Ocean Place Conference Resort in Long Branch, N.J., has refurbished its 254 oceanview guest rooms, added three meeting rooms (for a total of more than 30,000 square feet in 31 rooms), and expanded its extensive European-style spa. The conference resort, managed by International Conference Resorts, also added a media center with editing suite, and business center with computer and administrative support. In other ICR news, the Scottsdale Conference Resort has begun a $2 million refurbishment that will redesign the arrival area, replace soft goods throughout the property, add "computer friendly" work desks in all 326 guest rooms, and upgrade lighting in three of the resort's 50 meeting rooms.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held this summer for the 1,400-room Opryland Hotel Florida, opening in 2002 in Kissimmee-St. Cloud. As part of the event, meeting planners representing nearly a dozen advance bookings accounting for more than 52,000 room nights, simultaneously signed meeting contracts with the hotel.