NEW AND IMPROVED Hyatt has been selected to manage the new $217 million headquarters hotel across the street from Denver's Colorado Convention Center. The 1,100-room hotel will serve the center, which is expanding to 600,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space. The Hyatt at the Colorado Convention Center will have a 30,000-square-foot ballroom, a 15,000-square-foot junior ballroom, and 25,000 square feet of additional meeting space. It is projected to open in September 2003.
* Destination Hotels & Resorts is the new management company of the Pointe South Mountain Resort (formerly the Pointe Hilton South Mountain Resort) in Phoenix. The 640-suite resort has embarked on a number of embellishment projects, including construction of an elaborate public promenade and a 2,000-square-foot suite, the West Pointe Penthouse. All guest rooms will be renovated by next summer. The resort offers 95,000 square feet of meeting space, including the 20,000-square-foot Grande Ballroom and a 20,000-square-foot exhibit pavilion.
* MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas recently renovated the 4,200 rooms in its Grand Tower. Each of the tower's rooms was redesigned to replicate an MGM Studios bungalow. Other recent renovation projects include the 380,000-square-foot, tri-level Conference Center, which offers two ballrooms and up to 50,000 square feet of pre-function space; the 22,000-square-foot Studio 54, MGM Grand's nightclub; and the 6.6-acre Grand Pool and Spa complex, which includes a 1,000-foot-long flowing river. The resort has a total of 5,034 rooms and suites.
* Marriott has purchased the 1,304-room Hawaiian Regent Hotel in Waikiki and will rebrand it as the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort. The hotel will undergo major renovations during the next two years. The landmark property currently has seven meeting rooms, two pools, a business center, and fitness center in two adjoining high-rise towers.
BEYOND BORDERS The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London has created a new stand-alone area for events of up to 300 delegates on the fifth and sixth floors of the center. The renovated rooms will overlook Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and the new London Eye. The seven-story center offers top-notch technical services, including videoconferencing, simultaneous interpretation, and wireless Internet access.
South Africa South Africa is now recognized as a world-class incentive and international conference destination, where phenomenal value for the dollar is matched by a diverse travel product. Coastal cities like Durban and Cape Town are picturesque and well-equipped to handle creative incentive programs. Durban's Convention Centre is one of the world's most beautiful - and most technologically advanced. Since its opening in 1997, the Durban Convention Centre has played host to hundreds of international conferences, including this year's International AIDS Conference, which attracted more than 10,000 delegates.
In September 2000, the four-level, 236,000-square-foot Sandton Convention Centre, able to accommodate up to 10,000 delegates, opened in Johannesburg. By early 2003, Cape Town will have its own $50 million convention center able to host up to 5,000 delegates.
For pre- or post-meeting adventures and incentives, South Africa offers safaris where guests can dine and sleep in luxury while exploring the untamed bush country. Luxury flying safaris on a vintage airplane are another option, as are five-star rail adventures aboard the historic Blue Train or on Rovos Rail, both of which are headquartered in the country's political capital of Pretoria, about an hour's transfer from Johannesburg. Other outings include a visit to the township of Soweto, on the outskirts of Johannesburg, where Nelson Mandela's family home is now a museum that traces the country's struggle against apartheid.
South Africa is also world-renowned for wines. In November, the Village at Spier debuted in the wine country of Northern Cape Town. It features 146 rooms and suites grouped around six private courtyards, each with its own pool and entertainment area. Gardens and waterways between 32 low-rise buildings harmonize with the rural setting in the midst of Spier's own vineyards. It also is one of the largest conference venues in Cape Town, able to accommodate up to 300 people.
The South African Tourist Office (SATOUR) in New York City has a designated meeting, convention, and incentive division. It can be reached at (212) 730-2929, or visit www.satour.org.