On Location Ojai Hideaway Having spent $22 million to build a luxurious, world-class spa and to remodel its 207 guest rooms, the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa in Ojai, Calif., has renewed its reputation as an elegant hideaway in a green valley setting so beautiful it was used to depict the mythical Shangri-La in the movies
"The spa really completes the property and lets us go out to the insurance and incentive market with a property that has something for everyone," says Chris Gilbert, director of sales and, who hosted a small group of insurance planners there in November.
The new spa offers a full slate of massages, facials, scrubs, wraps, and classes for men, women, and couples. The 31,000-square-foot complex includes a fitness center, heated pool, art studio, and salon. All treatment rooms are gorgeously decorated--many even have fireplaces gently crackling to enhance your massage experience. The spa is open to the public Monday through Thursday but reserved for Inn guests Friday through Sunday.
Ojai's 12,000 square feet of meeting space includes a newly divisible 4,800-square-foot ballroom, a 3,600-square-foot pavilion looking out on the mountains, plus charming courtyards and breakout rooms. The Village of Ojai is a 25-cent trolley ride down the road; the Santa Barbara Airport is 45 minutes away; it's 90 minutes to LAX.
The Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco will be part of a major mixed-use development on Market Street. The 227-room hotel, slated to open in 2000, will offer 16,000 square feet of meeting space and will be directly connected, with private entry, to a 100,000-square-foot sports club.
The Rancho Las Palmas Marriott Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif., intends to come aggressively back into the meeting and incentive market this year. The 20-year-old hacienda-style property will retain its old-world charm and tranquillity while adding a first-class spa, a new 10,000-square-foot Fiesta Ballroom (with the 10,000-square-foot rooftop Starlight Terrace offering stunning views of the Santa Rosa mountains), and a pool complex. The 20,000-square-foot spa opens this month with a full range of treatments. In addition, all 450 guest rooms will be completely redone by this summer. After the expansion, meeting space at Rancho Las Palmas will total 41,000 square feet.
The $40 million, all-suite Doubletree Sedona Resort, the first new resort in Red Rock County, Ariz., since the 1980s, opened in November. The 225-suite hotel offers a 10,000-square-foot Executive Meeting Center, a full-service spa, and access to the Gary Panks-designed Sedona Golf Resort Course.
The Milwaukee Hilton has started construction on a 20,000-square-foot water theme park. Called Paradise, the theme park is part of a $40 million expansion project to include a tower with 200 new guest rooms, 4,000 square feet of meeting space, and a skywalk connecting the hotel to the new Midwest Express Convention Center. When the project wraps up in the summer of 2000, the hotel will have 750 guest rooms and 30,000 square feet of meeting space.
With a new 500-room tower, the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort will become the largest hotel in the Marriott portfolio. The addition, to be completed late this year, brings total rooms to 2,000 and meeting space to 160,000 square feet.
The Renaissance Orlando Resort at Sea World has refurbished its 3,500-square-foot Coral Ballroom along with all board and breakout rooms. The resort, which offers 185,000 square feet of meeting space, also is redoing its 780 guest rooms and suites.