In Kissimmee, Fla., Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention centers putting the finishing touches on a $50 million renovation. The new 10,000-square-foot Coquina Lawn features lush conversation pods and dramatic lighting, and it accommodates up to 1,000 people for a private reception. The area can be tented in inclement weather. All 1,406 guest rooms at Gaylord have been renovated and include updated amenities such as flat-screen TVs and ergonomic desk chairs. Wi-Fi is available in all rooms. Two new offices, perfect for meeting planners, are located close to the ballrooms. They provide conference seating for up to 18 people and come equipped with plasma television with cable and capability to connect to a computer. Meeting and exhibit space at the resort tops 400,000 square feet in total.
In Ohio, the $140 million Hilton Columbus Downtown is approaching completion for a fall 2012 opening. The 532-room, 48-suite hotel will have 22,800 square feet of meeting space (including a 12,000-square-foot ballroom). Being built to achieve LEED certification, the hotel is connected to the Greater Columbus Convention Center, with its 1.7 million square feet of space, via enclosed walkway. There are plenty of dining, shopping, and entertainment opportunities in the area. Close to the hotel and the convention center are the North Market, Goodale Park, the Arena District, and Short North Arts District.
The 428-room Hilton Tucson El Conquistador opened a new 11,000-square-foot conference center this spring. The Executive Conference Center features eight meeting rooms, including one permanent boardroom with a built-in 70-inch LED television for presentations. The conference center is designed for groups of 10 to 100 attendees. Most meeting rooms have windows, some offer balconies with spectacular views of the Catalina Mountains. The rooms also feature state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment, ergonomic seating, worktables with nonreflective surfaces and built-in electrical outlets, as well as specially designed energy-efficient lighting. The conference center is seeking certification from the International Association of Conference Centers.
Hyatt Regency Louisville (Ky.) has just completed a $5.8 million project. The lobby and front desk area were completely renovated, and the fitness center was doubled in size. The new Sway restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner focusing on fresh, locally grown and raised foods. The hotel, with 393 guest rooms and suites and more than 20,000 square feet of meeting space, is directly connected to the Kentucky International Convention Center.
The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort opened earlier this year, 15 minutes north of Miami's South Beach. The resort features touches such as butler service, a Remède Spa (exclusive to the St. Regis brand), and a world-class dining experience inspired by acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. All of the 243 guest rooms feature glass-enclosed balconies with floor-to-ceiling views of the ocean and white sand beach. A variety of outdoor function spaces are also oriented toward the stunning water views. The 11,200 square feet of meeting space includes a 7,800-square-foot ballroom and four boardrooms ranging in size from 250 square feet to 450 square feet.
The Hyatt Regency Minneapolis is undergoing a $25 million renovation of its guest rooms and suites, public areas, and restaurants.
In Las Vegas, Tropicana has completed a $180 million renovation and expansion that included new deluxe rooms and suites in the Paradise and Island Towers. Also added were a new casino, more than 60,000 square feet of meeting and function space that can accommodate up to 1,500 people, and new restaurants and bars. The new conference center features its own registration desk and private office; three ballrooms (including a grand ballroom with more than 25,000 square feet of space, divisible into nine breakout rooms), a pillarless 25,000-square-foot exhibit hall, and a full-service business center.