From the Ground Up In early August, the new Four Seasons Resort Aviara opened on 180 acres in Carlsbad, CA, with 331-rooms and suites. Part of the 1,000-acre Aviara master-planned community, the luxury property is Four Seasons' first ocean-view golf and tennis resort built on the U.S. mainland. In addition to an 18-hole golf course (which has been operating since 1991), six tennis courts, and spa, the resort offers 29,000 square feet of function space, including a 12,000-square-foot ballroom.

The Wyndham Old San Juan (PR) Hotel and Casino also opened in August. The new $41 million waterfront property is well situated to attract cruise passengers before and after their sailing. The 240-room property offers 6,200 square feet of meeting space.

The $98 million, 403-room Westin Savannah (GA) Harbor Resort broke ground in July overlooking the Savannah River. When it opens in 1999, it will be the centerpiece of a 700-acre, mixed-use development that will include the Georgia International Maritime & Trade Center. The hotel will have five meeting rooms and a 12,000-square-foot ballroom divisible into eight meeting rooms.

Construction has begun on San Antonio's Westin La Cantera Resort, a complement to the 18-hole golf course and Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme park already in place. The 500-room property on 60 acres will have more than 38,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 17,000-square-foot ballroom, when it opens in 1999.

Las Vegas is at it again. The Venetian, the newest mega-resort under way on the strip, promises canals, piazzas, and cobbled walkways to recreate the charm of Venice when it opens in 1999. Replicas of Campanile Tower and Rialto Bridge are to be among the icons that will set the stage for the property's 6,000 suites, two 100,000-square-foot casinos, and expansive meeting and exhibit space. The hotel is linked to the Sands Expo and Convention Center, which will be expanded in the project by 400,000 square feet, bringing it to a total of 1.6 million square feet. Meeting space includes an 80,000-square-foot ballroom.

Adding On The 640-room La Quinta Resort and Club, 19 miles southeast of Palm Springs in La Quinta, CA, is building a spa of approximately 18,000 square feet to open next spring. La Quinta, which takes its recreation seriously with 72 holes of golf and 30 tennis courts, is equally enthusiastic about its relaxation. The spa will offer hydro tubs, wrap rooms, an outdoor massage area, a skin-care salon, and a fitness area, among other facilities. The resort has 25 meeting rooms, the largest of which accommodates 1,465 persons.

Hamilton Park conference center, Florham Park, NJ, completed an expansion early in June that added two private dining rooms, a 1,450-square-foot meeting room, and ten guest rooms, bringing its total to 219.

Everything's big in Texas, especially the new ballroom under construction at the Adam's Mark Hotel Dallas. The 41,000-square-foot ballroom will be the largest in the state when it opens in October 1998 as part of a $150 million expansion. The project will add 60,000 square feet of exhibit space and five ballrooms and expand the guest room count from 505 to 1,825.

The Boca Raton (FL) Resort & Club opened a $12 million tennis and fitness complex with 18 Har Tru clay courts (with a below-ground "Hydrogrid" moisture system) earlier this year. The 6,200-square-foot health and fitness center occupies the ground floor of the two-story tennis clubhouse. Additionally, the property will complete in October a $3 million renovation of its Cloister and Tower guest rooms and suites, totaling 324. Also under way is a major reconstruction of the property's Resort Course, scheduled for completion December 15. But the really big news for conference organizers is the construction of a new $40 million meeting and conference facility, the Mizner Center. With a grand opening scheduled for January, the 128,000-square-foot conference center, styled as an extension of the original Cloister, will accommodate up to 1,800 persons in its 34 meeting rooms and four ballrooms.

Meanwhile, a bit farther south, the Westin Resort Miami Beach is in the midst of a multi-million dollar rejuvenation of this landmark hotel (formerly known as the Doral Beach), scheduled for completion in October. The famous Starlight Room on the top floor will be redesigned to showcase its water views, and all 40,000 square feet of function space will be modernized. All 420 guest rooms will be totally refurbished, and 33 rooms on the tenth floor will be converted to "Westin Guest Offices." In addition, the new Westin Athletic Club will open with a newly renovated, Olympic-sized pool.

Looking Abroad Marriott has a presence in Paris again, now that its 192-room Paris Marriott opened on the Champs Elysees. The first new hotel in the prestigious 8th Arrondissement since 1925, the property will offer 5,506 square feet of meeting space.

Hyatt is also making a move in Paris with the August opening of the Hyatt Regency Paris-Madeleine. While offering just two rooms for meetings, each of the boutique hotel's 86 rooms is equipped with two telephone lines and data port.*

Barb: looks like a wierd command just above the head Looking Abroad, although things look okay when printed out.... RM

In 1962, the Costa Smeralda on Sardinia's northeast coast, was without roads, electricity, water, and telephones. The land was devoted primarily to the grazing of the livestock of the native farmers who occupied the more valuable farmland in the interior of the island.

Enter a group of investors, including the Aga Khan, who bought 34 miles of coastline with plans to develop it in harmony with nature, strictly limiting development. Thirty-five years later, this stretch of the island's coastline is still one of the most beautiful in all the Mediterranean. Today's visitors can expect upscale resorts blending with the landscape, including five ITT Sheraton hotels, three of which (Cala di Volpe, Hotel Pitrizza, and Hotel Romazzino) are members of its Luxury Collection.

The first hotel built was the Cala di Volpe ("Bay of Foxes"), a gem of a hotel in which all 123 rooms have tile floors, private terraces overlooking the hotel's namesake bay, and trompe l'oeil wall paintings. The hotel has an Olympic-sized, saltwater pool set in an emerald-green lawn; a fitness center; and a private beach and harbor. The presidential suite occupies the entire third floor, and above that, located on the roof, is an open-air swimming pool and pool-side cabana for the exclusive use of the suite's guests.

At the northern extreme of the Costa Smeralda, the Hotel Pitrizza's 51 rooms and suites are scattered in several stone bungalows sited on a slope sweeping down to the sea. Each suite has a view of the sea and islands below. The central clubhouse, with its alfresco restaurant, is next to the hotel's saltwater pool, which is carved out of the rocks and blends almost invisibly with the sea beyond.

The whitewashed 90-room Hotel Romazzino, the most family-oriented of the three hotels, is set on green expanses of a lawn that slopes down to the sea. Its arches, pergolas, and patios are surrounded by flowers, and its elegant, yet simple, rooms and suites each have their own private terraces. The Pervero Golf Club, with its 18-hole course designed by Robert Trent Jones, is just across the valley (and equally convenient to the Cala di Volpe--although from all the hotels, the course is an easy shuttle ride).

The primary town and busiest port on the Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo, has a new conference center that opened as an adjunct to the Cervo Hotel in June, and will remain open year round. The Cervo Hotel & Conference Center is a short walk from the port and the center of town. While the hotel has 108 guest rooms, the conference center can host up to 600 persons for meetings.

And finally, in Porto Rotondo at the southern end of the Costa Smeralda, the Hotel Sporting, a converted country villa, has 27 charming rooms in the midst of an active port town.

This year ITT Sheraton is extending the season of its Sardinian hotels, which will open as early as March 10. From October 20 through the end of the year, the hotels will offer a choice of attractively priced golf packages.

--Barbara L. Brewer

In the northern part of the state, the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport is located in Covington, KY, but its proximity to boomtown Cincinnati (20 minutes) enables the friendly, smaller town of Covington (15 minutes from the airport) to draw on big-city attractions and entertainment. The 204,000-square-foot Northern Kentucky Regional Convention Center is under construction in Covington. It will have a 50,000-square-foot exhibition hall, 23,000 square feet of meeting space, and a 23,000-square-foot ballroom when it opens in July 1998. This regional center will place the needs of small groups first, according to Betsy Baugh, convention center events manager. A $60 million, 14-story, 326-room Marriott Hotel on the river front will be connected to it by a walkway and will be part of a new $54 million Madison Place Complex, with offices and luxury condominiums, also under development.

Newport, across the river to the east, has new restaurants and has begun to build a $40 million aquarium and the $100 million, 1,083-foot Millennium Freedom 2000 Tower. When completed, it will be the world's 11th tallest structure and will include shops, restaurants, observation decks, historical exhibits, and a 2,000-bell carillon to ring in the millennium.

In the heart of Boston's new Seaport District, the latest phase in the revitalization of Boston's waterfront is the construction of the Seaport Hotel and Conference Center, scheduled to open next May. The 427-room, 16-story hotel was designed with the business traveler in mind, with state-of-the-art communications technology; a full fitness center; two concierge levels; and a business center with private workstations accessible after hours with a room key. Topping it all off are the most spectacular skyline and harbor views in Boston.

The Seaport Hotel and Conference Center is being marketed along with the neighboring World Trade Center as Seaport Boston, a top-notch event destination. The Seaport District Committee, a collection of waterfront merchants, is aiming to create a whole new neighborhood--the Seaport District--supported by new shops and restaurants, a new subway stop, a new Federal Courthouse opening in 2001, and expanded meeting and hotel facilities. This includes not just the Seaport Hotel, but Boston's new convention center, planned for a nearby site, and several new hotels.

The 17,000 square feet of meeting space at the Seaport Hotel is a tech-lover's dream, with a fiber-optic network extending to all meeting rooms and ballrooms providing instant access to the Internet via T3 lines. In addition, advanced LAN capabilities allow high-speed connections to and from any jack complex-wide. A guest also will be able to have calls to the phone in her room in the Seaport Hotel forwarded to her exhibit booth at the World Trade Center or to a mobile phone in her pocket.

And here's a truly special feature: a partnership with BostonCoach allows guests to check in to the Seaport Hotel on their way from the airport when they use BostonCoach's Executive Sedan Service.

Meanwhile the interior of the World Trade Center has been completely refurbished over the past five years to bring it up to the standards of the new Seaport Hotel. Taking its place alongside the elegance of luxury yachts and the bustle of a working fish pier, the World Trade Center location is unique and lively. It offers 250,000 square feet of meeting space including a 120,000-square-foot exhibit hall, a videoconferencing facility, and a real showpiece--the 418-fixed-seat fully equipped amphitheater. --Alison Hall