Fully open this summer, the Regal Airport Hotel Hong Kong at the new Chek Lap Kok Airport on Lantau Island is the ultimate airport property. That's right, ultimate.
Name another airport hotel that has its own airline passenger lounge (one where you can check your luggage before you leave for the airport itself), and the ability to organize secenic and cultural tours (try the visit to Tai O, a scenic fishing village described as a photographer's paradise), plus all the usual stuff like pools and Jacuzzis and saunas and steam baths and 11 restaurants and bars and so on.
The hotel opened with 385 rooms last November, but as of mid-summer will have 1,100 rooms--the largest in Hong Kong and enough to be any organization's headquarters hotel. In addition the property offers approximately 18,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space, including Hong Kong's largest ballroom, at approximately 10,000 square feet. The ballroom seats up to 850 persons, has a built-in stage with a ceiling-mounted projection screen, nine outlets for videoconferencing, and simultaneous translation facilities.
Every guest room comes equipped with Internet access via the room televison, and an international direct-dial telephone.
Even though the Regal is at the new airport, and therefore much further from Victoria than Kai Tak, there is an Airport Express rail service departing every eight minutes that takes guests to the city center in just under half an hour.
* Internet connections at the Greater Col-umbus Convention Center are about as speedy as it gets. The Center was recently wired with DS3 lines (a data connection equivalent of a T3 line), which can handle 45 Mbps (versus 1.5 Mbps for a T1 line). GCCC is also working on a major expansion. It broke ground this spring on a 120,000-square-foot exhibit space (bringing the total to 430,000 square feet), a 15,000-square-foot junior ballroom, and 11 new meeting rooms (for a total of 65).
* Disney is coming to the Windy City this summer, opening a five-story, 90,000-square-foot entertainment venue with plenty of high-tech twists. The new
DisneyQuest will feature virtual reality games, including a roller coaster, called Cyberspace Mountain, and a pinball machine, in which the player is the ball. Groups will be able to negotiate full or partial use of the facility.
* In Lisle, Ill., Marriott Hickory Ridge completed a technology upgrade this spring, switching from high-speed ISDN lines to digital fiber-optic lines in all 383 guest rooms and 100 meeting rooms.
* The Ritz-Carlton Chicago has added a Picture Tel videoconferencing system to the equipment on site in its Visual Communications department.
* If it's not the tented seating areas or giant Buddha in the lobby, maybe it'll be the blue leopard-print carpet that clues you in that Chicago's House of Blues Hotel, a Loews Hotel, isn't your standard business fare. But your attendees may not be either. The 367-room property opened last fall and last month completed its in-room technology installation. In addition to a two-line phone, fax machine, and VCR, guests can now get high-speed Internet access in two ways, either by using a TV-based service, called OnLine by LodgeNet, for $9.95 per day, or by plugging their own computer into the T1 connection built into every room. Up to 100 people can be accommodated in the hotel's two meeting rooms, and groups can also use
the House of Blues Restaurant and Music Hall.
* In April, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts opened its new flagship hotel on Chicago's "Magnificent Mile." The property features 12 meeting rooms and 417 guest rooms, each of which offers high-speed, direct Internet access. The hotel's 49 executive suites feature Inncom guest room control systems. Through a bedside console, guests can control lighting, room temperature, a do not disturb sign, and the television. It also reports time in major cities around the world and is programmed to speed-dial calls to your home and office.
* The Complete Meeting Package (CMP), the all-inclusive pricing that marks the conference center concept, has been updated at Chicago's Summit Executive Center. The CMP typically covers the cost of facilities, f&b, and audiovisual equipment, such as wireless microphones, VCRs, and overhead projectors, but now the Summit has added LCD projectors to its package.
* Hilton Madison (Wis.) at Monona Terrace broke ground in April. The 236-room property will become the headquarters hotel for the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center when it opens in spring 2001.
* Eagle Ridge Inn & Resort in Galena, Ill., has announced a multimillion-dollar program to enhance its inn and four golf courses, to be completed by the end of next year. Remodeling of the resort's four courses and refurbishing of the clubhouse have already been completed. The golf operation is managed by Troon Golf. The resort's 80 rooms and 350 villas are being modernized, and its 16 meeting rooms also are being upgraded. A possible expansion of meeting space is on the drawing board as well.
Southeast Asia Update * In December Singapore's Beaufort Sentosa Hotel opened its new conference center. Situated on 27 acres of tropical woodlands, the 214-room property's can host 400 people in the new two-story facility, which is situated atop a cliff overlooking the South China Sea. The property has a marketing and technical services alliance with Benchmark Hospitality based in The Woodlands, Texas.
* Hyatt International is on the move throughout the Pacific/Asia region. In the southeast region it has hotels coming on line in Thailand and Vietnam. In October 2000, the 204-room Hyatt Regency Hua Hin is scheduled to open in Thailand. In addition, the Park Hyatt Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City plans an early 2001 opening with 198 rooms.
* In Pattaya, Thailand, the 1,000-room Royal Cliff Beach Resort is building a new convention hall, expected to open in December. The hall is almost 53,000 square feet, divisible in three rooms.
* At Singapore's Westin Stamford & Westin Plaza, the 200-seat Szechuan Court restaurant reopened in February after a comprehensive, three-month renovation.
* The Peabody Orlando can now set you up to videoconference from your guest room. The property has added a Polycom 128 kbps mobile videoconferencing unit to its arsenal of telecom- munications tools and has the ability to patch its permanently installed ISDN lines to any of its 891 guest rooms
The tech-savvy property just opposite the Orange County Convention Center also features a fiber-optic backbone and category 5 copper cabling into most meeting rooms and ballrooms.
Convening in Oakbrook? Schaumburg? Rosemont? Wherever you're headed in Illinois, there's now a central source of meetings information. The state's Web site, www.enjoyillinois.com, has added a meeting planning feature, including a searchable database and links to CVBs.