Four world-class resorts, a golf club, and the city of Indian Wells, Calif., have joined forces to offer a campus-style environment for large meetings. The group includes Hyatt Grand Champions Resort, Indian Wells Resort Hotel, Miramonte Resort, Renaissance Esmeralda Resort, and the Golf Resort at Indian Wells, which together offer 1,275 rooms and suites, 100,000 square feet of meeting space, three spas, four fitness centers, 36 holes of golf, 38 tennis courts, and 10 restaurants. The resorts are a five-minute walk from each other. Visit www.indianwells.org for more details.
Transformations An expansion at the Chattanooga Convention Center broke ground in January and will give the facility more than 100,000 square feet of contiguous, column-free exhibit space when it is completed in early 2003. The expansion also will increase meeting space to 23,000 square feet, banquet space to 18,000 square feet, and pre-event areas to 40,000 square feet.
The 640-suite Pointe South Mountain Resort in Phoenix has completed the Paseo, an outdoor promenade connecting the resort's three main buildings. The Paseo adds 16,000 square feet of outdoor function space to the existing 95,000 square feet of meeting space, which also includes a 20,000-square-foot ballroom and a 20,000-square-foot outdoor exhibit pavilion.
Salt Lake County officially opened the $48 million South Towne Exhibit Center this past December in the town of Sandy. The center offers 243,000 square feet of exhibit space and 15,000 square feet of meeting space. Meanwhile, downtown Salt Lake's Salt Palace Convention Center provides 370,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space.
The Hyatt Regency Tampa has completely renovated its 521 guest rooms and suites, which now include workstations with ergonomic chairs and convenient power outlets, plus dual-linephones with data ports. The hotel's 30,000 square feet of meeting space includes the 14,500-square-foot Regency Ballroom and 21 breakout rooms all on one floor.
KSL Recreation Corp., owners and operators of such deluxe destination resorts as La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA West in La Quinta, Calif., and Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa on Maui, has purchased The Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix from Florida-based Boca Resorts Inc., which has owned the resort since 1998. The 730-room resort has 64,000 square feet of dedicated meeting space and a 22,000-square-foot spa.
The Wyndham Palace Resort & Spa in the Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Fla., has completed a $12 million renovation of its meeting facilities. The 1,014-room hotel offers wireless capabilities in all ballrooms and public areas as well as high-speed Internet access in all guest rooms and suites. The resort's 90,000 square feet of redesigned meeting space features state-of-the-art technology in lighting, sound, video, and networking capabilities.
The Loews New York hotel has become the Metropolitan Hotel, after the first phase of a $17 million makeover. The 722-room Manhattan property will create 260 business-class rooms by April 2002, and a conference center is planned.
Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle accommodates meetings of up to 2,000 people. Its newest meeting space is the 12,000-square-foot Elliott Hall, which has rolling doors that can open to reveal sweeping views of Elliott Bay.
Beyond Borders Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts recently announced three new management agreements in China. The 460-room Shangri-La Hotel Dingshan, which is located in Nanjing, will open early this year with a 12,912-square-foot ballroom; the 264-room Shangri-La Hotel Zhongshan, in southern China, which will be open late this year, will be 90 minutes by ferry from Hong Kong; and the 280-room Shangri-La Hotel Zhengzhou, in the Henan province, will open in early 2002.
Dolce International has acquired Norton Manor Training and Conference Centre in Hampshire, England, from Fanfare Hotels. The center is 45 minutes from Heathrow Airport and just over an hour from London. It offers 64 guest rooms, 16 meeting rooms, and the historic Manor House, which is the centerpiece of the property. A $4.6 million renovation of the property is planned for early this year, along with an expansion to 100 rooms expected by January 2002.
Hotel Guanahani Once you weather the short, white-knuckle flight from St. Maarten to St. Barthelemy - the small, chartered plane slipping through a narrow gap between two mountains to ease itself onto the runway and stopping just short of the narrow beach dotted with sunbathers - island time begins. A 15-minute van transfer over a lush landscape takes you to Hotel Guanahani, a perfect island getaway for small meetings.
Set on its own 15-acre peninsula, Guanahani has two sandy beaches, one facing a tranquil lagoon, one looking out to the open sea. The hotel's 75 brightly colored bungalows, each with a terrace and lush, private garden, sprawl from beachside to the top of a breezy headland with spectacular views. Several bungalows feature private pools and private outdoor Jacuzzis. There are water sports, a full-service spa, and two lighted tennis courts.
For groups of eight or more, the hotel's off-season package (April through October) includes accommodations in an ocean-view room, breakfast, and lunch or dinner, and use of the hotel's meeting room (at 500 square feet, it holds up to 22 people, classroom-style).
St. Barthelemy (or St. Barth) is part of the French West Indies, so exquisite dining abounds, including the Guanahani's two restaurants. Bartolomeo, a casually elegant restaurant with live piano music in the bar and al fresco dining on the terrace, is reminiscent of Casablanca with its ceiling fans and bamboo furniture; L'Indigo is a stunning, open-air dining space for breakfast and lunch, overlooking the edgeless pool and the blue Atlantic.
Boutique-style, duty-free shopping is a short drive away in Gustavia (U.S. dollars accepted everywhere). In the unlikely event that you grow weary of the hotel's beaches, the island is ringed with lovely white-sand strands and secluded coves (those on the south side face the Caribbean; on the north, the Atlantic). In the French style, many are clothing-optional.
Guanahani is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. For more information, call (800) 223-6800.