Opening of the Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort in western Maryland is less than a year away. The property, set on 260 acres within Rocky Gap State Park near Cumberland, will have 220 guest rooms and 14,000 square feet of meeting space in addition to its sports facilities: indoor swimming pool, two tennis courts, and an 18-hole Jack Nicklausdesigned golf course. The resort will be managed by the Buena Vista Hospitality Group.

In late February, the Broward County Commission approved construction of a 500-room, $53 million Crowne Plaza Hotel adjacent to the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. Construction begins in September and is expected to be finished by late 1999.

Charleston Place, an Orient Express hotel in Charleston, SC, has invested $4 million to renovate The Riviera, a 1938 Art Deco theater adjacent to the hotel. The theater offers planners a 4,000-square-foot ballroom and an amphitheater seating up to 280 persons.

In Early May, Swissotel New York, The Drake will open its new 8,000-square-foot executive conference center, with six meeting rooms, the largest of which seats 100 persons for a banquet; and two boardrooms. The larger, with a 20-person permanent boardroom table, has dataports at each seat. Videoconferencing is available in all meeting rooms.

In Maryland Heights, MO, 20 minutes from St. Louis, the huge Riverport Casino Center opened in March. A central 350,000-square-foot pavilion, themed as a turn-of-the-century Missouri riverboat-gambling town, offers restaurants, shopping, entertainment, and 10,000 square feet of convention space. The pavilion is anchored by the 291-room Harrah's St. Louis-Riverport and 120,000 square feet of gaming space in four casinos. n