Just Opened In May, Portland, OR's new Fifth Avenue Suites Hotel opened downtown with 82 guest rooms, 135 550-square-foot suites, and four grand suites. The property is being constructed in the 1912 Lipman Wolfe building, most recently a department store, and will offer 4,500 square feet of meeting space as well as a fitness center and spa.
The Key West Hilton Resort & Marina opened in January overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, with 178 guest rooms and 5,200 square feet of meeting space. The resort provides shuttle service to Sunset Key, a private island 500 yards off the coast with a sand beach and beach club.
Coming Attractions The Hyatt Regency Wichita broke ground in March, with plans to open its doors in fall 1997. The 300-room, 18-floor property will be adjacent to the Century II Convention Center on the east bank of the Arkansas River. Facilities will include 12,000 square feet of meeting space, two Regency Club floors, a health club and swimming pool, and two restaurants.
Disney's Garden Pavilion will open in May offering convention groups a new Lake Buena Vista special event venue. Designed by Michael Graves, the open-air facility has two connected, circus-tent-p;style pavilions-8,500 square feet and 13,500 square feet in area-next to Disney's BoardWalk Resort.
Time for a Face-lift The Princess hotel in Hamilton, Bermuda completed a $4 million renovation in May that reduces the pool wing from 102 rooms to 64 rooms, 33 of which are oversized with living rooms, separate shower and tub, and balcony or terrace.
Hyatt Regency Atlanta completed in February a $35 million expansion and renovation of its meeting and public spaces. The 1,279-room downtown property has added a 30,000-square-foot Centennial Ballroom, a 40,000-square-foot exhibit hall, and 19 meeting rooms.
This summer, the 735-room Marriott's Marco Island Resort and Golf Club will complete a $5.1 million renovation and expansion that includes 2,400 square feet of new meeting space. The project also will update the property's soft goods and renovate the Grand Ballroom.
A major renovation of the 1,407-room Grand Hyatt New York began in early April and is scheduled for completion at the end of August, including a new health club in the 35th-floor penthouse.
Joining Folds San Francisco's Parc Fifty Five Hotel has a new name. The Crowne Plaza Parc Fifty Five is now the largest in Holiday Inn Worldwide's Crowne Plaza line, with 1,009 rooms and 21,000 square feet of conference space. . . . The St. Anthony Hotel in San Antonio, TX has also rebranded as a Crowne Plaza property.
Princess Hotels International has taken over management of Glitter Bay and Royal Pavilion resorts in Barbados. The properties will be marketed collectively as Pemberton Princess Hotels.
The Grand Hotel in Washington, DC, became The Westin Hotel, Washington, DC in February, bringing Westin back to the capital after a six-year absence.
What do you do when the biggest hotel in town completes a $52 million renovation during the town's 50th anniversary year? If the hotel is the Sheraton Bal Harbour, and the town is the little Florida Gold Coast enclave of Bal Harbour, you throw a party, of course. And what a party: rock'n'roll stars, a Gianni Versace fashion show, fireworks, skydivers, cigar-rolling demonstrations, champagne tasting, magicians, and mermaids-with all proceeds to support the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, a leader in spinal injury research.
The most immediately obvious change to the property is the beachfront area. The huge swimming pool and sunbathing areas have undergone a $12 million transformation into a water theme park, complete with water slide, flume, and waterfall. The new pool snakes like a river around gazebos and under pedestrian bridges, creating a series of separate areas for outdoor functions. The design permits three or four small groups to hold cocktail receptions or dinners in the same area without feeling as though they are on top of each other.
All 655 rooms and 53 suites have been renovated, as have the hotel's five restaurants and lounges. The Bal Harbour Beach House, a 250-seat oceanfront bar and restaurant, and al Carbon, an upscale South American/Mediterranean theme restaurant with an Argentine chef, are new.
The hotel's 73,000 square feet of meeting space have also undergone renovation, including the 17,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom and the 20,000- square-foot Nautilus exhibit hall. Ten meeting rooms, a junior ballroom, and an executive center with four rooms for board meetings comprise the rest of the breakout space.
With the renovations have come new policies for booking meetings and incentives. In years gone by, Sheraton would allow groups to book the entire hotel. Now, the hotel plans to limit group sizes to 300 during peak season (roughly January through April) and to 450 during low season. -David Erickson