Brand New * The 2,914-room Paris-Las Vegas Casino Resort, Hilton's largest construction project ever, opens next to Bally's on the Las Vegas strip in late 1999. The Paris-themed property will include a 50-story replica of the Eiffel Tower. Meeting space includes the 85,200-square-foot Paris Ballroom; the 17,385-square-foot Cham- pagne Ballroom; and the 7,685-square-foot Versailles Ballroom. Prefunction space is modeled after Versailles' Hall of Mirrors.
* DiamondHead All Suite Beach Resort is set for completion in November in Fort Myers Beach, Fla. The 12-story building will occupy the last vacant beachfront land and act as anchor to a new shopping, dining, and entertainment complex, Main Street USA. The 124-suite resort, being developed by SunStream Hotels & Resorts, will offer five meeting rooms and a boardroom, totaling 7,000 square feet of meeting space.
* Accor will build its second Sofitel hotel in downtown Chicago, set to open in 2000. The 400-room Hotel Sofitel will offer 10,000-square-feet of meeting space.
Renovations and Expansions * The Dallas City Council has allocated $125 million for an expansion and renovation of the Dallas Convention Center. The center will add more than 200,000 square feet of exhibit space, creating more than 800,000 square feet of same-level space. A new ballroom and meeting rooms will be added to the existing two ballrooms and 105 meeting rooms. The new center opens in summer 2002.
* Funding has been approved for the expansion of the Minneapolis Convention Center. Set for completion in spring 2001, the two-story expansion will bring the center's meeting, exhibit, and support space to 1.3 million square feet, including a new, 4,200-seat plenary hall.
* Pittsburgh is set to begin expanding the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, more than tripling the size of the center and adding a 40,000-square-foot ballroom that overlooks the Allegheny River. Meeting and exhibit space will total 340,000 square feet at the new center, opening in 2002.
* Value Investors Inc. has purchased the 1,200-room Concord Hotel in Kiamesha Lake, N.Y., 90 minutes from New York City. Renovations will turn it into a luxury property centered around the nationally ranked Monster Golf Course and the International Golf Course on site. The Imperial Room holds 2,400 for a reception and the Towers Conference Center offers 18 meeting parlors and suites. Total meeting space tops 170,000 square feet.
* The Sagamore, in Bolton Landing, N.Y., is in the midst of a three-year enhancement program. Recently completed was the redecoration of all 240 lodge rooms and suites and the addition of a canopied event venue. *
Fling open the window and lean out for a breathtaking view of a beautiful Italian Baroque church, La Chiesa Santa Maria della Salute, just across the Grand Canal from the Hotel Europa & Regina, one of five Sheraton hotels in Venice and Lido.
The Europa & Regina is the product of joining five 18th- and 19th-century houses. It is here during the autumn of 1908 that Claude Monet sojourned. The views out across the Grand Canal from the hotel (then the Hotel Britannia), were the inspiration for his famous Venice series of paintings.
After a renovation last July, the hotel became part of Sheraton's Luxury Collection. Elegant public areas feature marble and mosaic flooring and walls, Venetian decor and furnishings, and chandeliers of hand-made Murano glass.
Its two meeting rooms accommodate up to 200. There are 168 rooms and 17 suites, many with windows opening directly onto the Grand Canal. Bed sheets are pure linen. Ten rooms are Smart Rooms, with fax, printer and copier, two phones with modem hookup, work desk, and ergonomic chair.
The hotel's restaurant, La Cusina, has its own entrance from Calle del Traghetto and is popular with locals and visitors alike for its classic Venetian cuisine. The restaurant's banquet hall holds 90 guests.
Guests at the Europa & Regina have cross-privileges with the other four nearby Sheraton properties: the Hotel Gritti Palace and the Hotel Danieli (both in Venice proper), and the Hotel Excelsior and the Hotel des Bains (on the Lido across the bay, only minutes from Venice's Piazza San Marco by complimentary hotel launch). All have meeting accommodations. Sheraton's two Lido properties can host larger groups than the Venice properties (the Excelsior can accommodate 600 in its congress center, 1,000 for receptions). Besides the famous beaches, the properties offer a nearby 18-hole golf course, tennis, and horseback riding.
Guests at the Europa & Regina, the Danieli, and the Gritti Palace are only a few minutes' walk from famous Piazza San Marco. The city, of course, is a maze of fascinating streets, bridges, canals, and little hidden squares waiting to be explored (getting "lost" in Venice is practically a requirement for visitors).
Across the Grand Canal is the wonderful Guggenheim Museum, in the palazzo where Peggy Guggenheim lived with her husband, Max Ernst. Her impressive art collection includes works by Pollock, Picasso, Braque, Chagall, Dali, de Chirico, and many other masters, all on display in this gem of a museum. The entire museum can be rented, after hours, for receptions.