ARIA Resort & Casino is getting ready to make its mark in the Las Vegas skyline. The new property, scheduled to open this December on The Strip, is part of CityCenter, an urban resort community under construction between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo resorts. Once complete, ARIA will be CityCenter's only resort and casino and will eventually be joined by two non-gaming hotels (Vdara and Mandarin Oriental), residential buildings, a retail and entertainment district, and a $40 million public fine art program.

The resort — which is accepting reservations for December 2009 and beyond — will feature 4,004 guest rooms with panoramic views; an 1,800-seat theater; celebrity-chef inspired restaurants; an 80,000-square-foot, two-level spa; three pools with 50 cabanas; 150,000 square feet of gaming; 300,000 square feet of meeting space; four ballrooms accommodating up to 5,000 attendees; 38 meeting rooms; and more than 500,000 square feet of retail and dining options just outside the hotel.

Venue Updates

Gaming News

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas

The News: A $750 million expansion and renovation was completed in April.

Specs: The 860 new guest rooms bring the total to 1,525 rooms and suites; 75,000 square feet of new meeting space bring the total to 82,000 square feet; and The Joint, a new concert and events facility, holds 4,000 guests.

Extra: Nearly 50,000 square feet of casino space and a pool will be added in late 2009.

Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem
Bethlehem, Pa.

The News: The Las Vegas Sands Corp. is opening its first property on the East Coast.

Specs: Plans call for a 300-room hotel, 200,000 square feet of retail space, nearly 50,000 square feet of meeting space, 3,000 slot machines, and a variety of dining establishments.

Time Frame: Scheduled to open May 22, 2009

Extra: The resort is located 60 minutes from Philadelphia and 90 minutes from New York City.

Palms Place
Las Vegas

The News: The new hotel opened in May 2008 as the latest addition to the Palms Casino Resort.

Specs: 599 suites, including studios, one- and two-bedroom units, and penthouses. Also on site: the 2,500-seat Pearl Concert Theater and a 14,000-square-foot ballroom

Extra: The property boasts the only Las Vegas location of L.A.'s Sunset Tan. Guests have access to the Palms Casino Resort via SkyTube, an elevated, enclosed walkway.

MGM Grand at Foxwoods Resort Casino
Mashantucket, Conn.

The News: The new standalone property opened in May 2008 to the tune of $700 million. It is connected to Foxwoods Resort Casino by a pedestrian concourse.

Specs: MGM Grand offers 825 guest rooms, 115,000 square feet of meeting space, a 4,000-seat MGM Grand Theater, a 21,000-square-foot spa, and dining, retail, and gaming amenities. The casino features 1,400 slot machines and 53 game tables, as well as two lounges available for private events.

Tulalip Resort Casino
Seattle, Wash.

The News: A new hotel and spa opened at the property last summer.

Specs: 370 guest rooms; 30,000 square feet of meeting space (including a 15,000-square-foot ballroom); the 14,000-square-foot T Spa, featuring group treatment rooms; and four restaurants

Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa
Michigan City, Ind.

The News: A $130 million expansion was completed in January.

Specs: The expansion features the 22-story, 302-room Spa Blu Tower, increasing the total number of guest rooms at the property to 486. Also added: a spa; a 20,000-square-foot entertainment, meetings, and special-events space; and two restaurants

Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel
Traverse City, Mich.

The News: The $80 million hotel opened June 2008.

Specs: 137 guest rooms, four restaurants, Level 3 Lounge nightclub, 54,000-square-foot gaming floor, 4,500 square feet of meeting space.

Extra: Private dining is available in the hotel's Bourbons 72 restaurant.

Greektown Casino-Hotel

The News: The new hotel opened in February.

Specs: The 400-room hotel offers 10,000 square feet of meeting space, two restaurants, 1,100-seat theater, and a 25,000 square feet of gaming space.

Extra: When the hotel's Events Center opens in 2010 on the upper level of the casino, it will have 15,000 square feet of additional space.

Harrah's Resort Atlantic City
Atlantic City, N.J.

The News: The first 12 floors of the new 960-room, 44-story Waterfront Tower opened in March 2008. The remaining 32 floors opened in July 2008.

Specs: New rooms are 504 square feet in area, with 42-inch LCD flat-screen TVs and iHome systems. The resort now has a total of 2,590 rooms, as well as 25,000 square feet of meeting space in eight rooms. Amenities include a 23,000-square-foot Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, a new 620-seat Waterfront Buffet, and a 172,000-square-foot indoor pool complex.

M Resort Spa Casino
Las Vegas

The News: The new $1 billion resort opened its doors in March.

Specs: The property offers 390 guest rooms, nine restaurants, five bars, a 92,000-square-foot casino, a 100,000-square-foot pool and entertainment piazza, 60,000 square feet of conference space, a 17,400-square-foot ballroom, the 23,000-square-foot Spa Mio with 16 treatment rooms, and a fitness center.

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Las Vegas

The News: The casino hotel completed a $60 million renovation to the Bellagio Tower's 512 suites in April 2008.

Specs: 3,933 guest rooms including 512 suites, 100,000 square feet of gaming, five outdoor pools, 52 private cabanas, and 200,000 square feet of meeting and convention facilities, including a 45,458-square-foot ballroom

Peppermill Reno
Reno, Nev.

The News: The resort completed a $400 million expansion in November 2008. The property also recently remodeled its Montego Bay Wing rooms.

Specs: The resort offers 1,635 rooms and suites, more than 106,000 square feet of meeting space, the 62,000-square-foot Tuscany Ballroom, 11 restaurants, 17 bars and lounges, a nightclub, two pools, fitness center, 30,000-square-foot spa, and casino.

Venue News

South Central States

Oread Inn
Lawrence, Kan.

The News: The new property is under construction and will open in January 2010 on the northern edge of the University of Kansas campus.

Specs: The 108-room property will include an amphitheater, two ballrooms with capacities of 325 and 350, and three boardroom/conference room/private dining spaces with capacity for up to 60 guests.

InterContinental Kansas City at the Plaza
Kansas City, Mo.

The News: The hotel completed a $15 million renovation in March 2009 of all guest rooms, meeting rooms, and public spaces.

Specs: 366 guest rooms, 29,000 square feet of meeting space, 12 meeting rooms, The Oak Room restaurant, outdoor pool, and 24-hour fitness center

Extra: The hotel is steps away from the Country Club Plaza entertainment district.

Big Cedar Lodge
Ridgedale, Mo.

The News: The resort opened the new Grandview Conference Center in March 2009 and is now renovating its Top of the Rock golf course.

Specs: The 246-room property offers 31,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. Its largest meeting room is 10,900 square feet. Also on-site are tennis courts, indoor and outdoor pools, a lazy river pool, spa, fitness center, and a golf course. The Grandview at Big Cedar can accommodate groups up to 1,000 attendees.

Extra: The resort is 10 miles south of Branson, Mo., in the hillsides of the Ozark Mountains.

The Kansas City Marriott Downtown
Kansas City, Mo.

The News: The city's largest convention hotel wrapped up the final phase of a two-year, multimillion-dollar makeover in December 2008.

Specs: The two-tower complex offers 946 guest rooms and 37 suites, nearly 100,000 square feet of function space, 42 meeting rooms, and a restaurant and lounge.

Venue News

The Caribbean

Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino

The News: The new resort opened in February. It is the island's first branded hotel in 15 years.

Specs: The resort, which is connected to the 19th century Rif Fort, features 237 guest rooms, a 15,000-square-foot casino, and will include a mall with six theaters and 50 shops, a spa, and 8,600 square feet of meeting space.

Moon Palace Casino, Golf & Spa Resort
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The News: The latest addition to the Palace Resorts line of all-inclusive luxury properties completed a soft opening in January, with additional facilities opening throughout 2009.

Specs: 1,791 guest rooms, a spa, 13 pools, 11 restaurants, 7 bars, a theater, lazy river, nightclub, 45,000-square-foot casino, and a convention center with more than 60,000 square feet of flexible meeting space

Extra: Once complete, Moon Palace Casino, Golf & Spa Resort will be the largest resort in Punta Cana.

Montego Bay Convention Centre
Montego Bay, Jamaica

The News: Construction is under way on the center, located east of the city between the Half Moon Golf Course and Rose Hall Great House.

Specs: The facility will offer 50,000 square feet of exhibition space, 20,000 square feet for banquets, and 11,000 square feet of meeting space.

Time Frame: Completion is planned for late 2010.

Sheraton Puerto Rico Convention Center Hotel
San Juan, Puerto Rico

The News: The new $209 million hotel is scheduled to open by the end of 2009 as the anchor hotel for the convention center.

Specs: Along with 503 guest rooms, a casino, and entertainment complex, the hotel will offer 35,000 square feet of function space, including the 16,300-square-foot San Juan Grand Ballroom — the largest hotel ballroom in San Juan.

Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa, A Wyndham Grand Resort
Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

The News: The property is undergoing a $40 million capital improvement project over the next two years, which will include upgrades to the guest rooms, public areas, restaurants, and golf courses.

Specs: The 627-room resort offers 48,000 square feet of function space, a 7,000-square-foot casino, two 18-hole golf courses designed by Tom and George Fazio and Greg Norman, a 7,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, 11 restaurants, an international tennis center, and more.

JW Marriott Hotel & Resort at Coco Beach
Puerto Rico

The News: The hotel is scheduled for a 2011 opening.

Specs: The $250 million hotel will feature 371 guest rooms, a 17,775-square-foot spa and fitness center, casino, executive lounge, and 24-hour room service. The property will also offer 20,919 square feet of meeting space, including a 12,000-square-foot ballroom.

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The Westin Le Paradis Beach & Golf Resort
St. Lucia

The News: The new property is scheduled to open in 2011.

Specs: Once complete, the 192-room resort will include more than 23,000 square feet of function space encompassing two ballrooms, six conference rooms, and two outdoor pavilions. The resort sits on 554 acres with a one-mile coastline and will feature a Greg Norman-designed golf course.

Extra: Future plans call for the addition of a marina.

News Makers:

  • Ashly Gabri has been promoted to vice president of incentives and strategic accounts for Associated Luxury Hotels International. Gabri previously served as director of incentives for ALHI and is based in Atlanta.

  • Montage Hotels & Resorts has appointed Bud Campbell, director of sales, West Coast; Michelle Treistman, director of group sales, East Coast; and Kurt Diekhoff, director of group sales for Montage Deer Valley, Park City, Utah.

  • John Atkisson has been appointed national group sales manager for the Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key, Fla., overseeing the corporate market. He was formerly director of sales and marketing at the Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center in St. Petersburg, Fla.

  • The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., has named James Gelfand director of group sales. Gelfand was most recently vice president of sales, marketing, and revenue development at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

  • Lancaster (Pa.) Marriott at Penn Square, opening in May 2009, has named Lindsey Tellez executive meetings manager, focusing on small corporate meetings. Tellez comes to the property from The Yorktowne Hotel in York, Pa.

  • Gainey Suites Hotel, in Scottsdale, Ariz., has appointed Christine Tetrick as sales manager, focusing on national and regional corporate accounts and small meetings. Tetrick most recently served as marketing coordinator for JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix.