█ CHANGING FACES

Hilton Hotels Corp. has named Frank Passante vice president, sales and marketing, for its University Hotel & Conference Center division, which is a collection of 20 dedicated conference hotels and campus-based hotels. Passante most recently served as regional director of sales and marketing for the Hilton Washington and the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. His office will remain in the D.C. area.

At Benchmark Hospitality, Mark Kontny has been named associate director of sales and marketing for The AT&T Learning Center in Basking Ridge, N.J. Previously, Kontny was director of sales and marketing and for The Founders Inn in Virginia Beach, Va.

Deborah Bailey is the new corporate sales manager, and Matt Swanson is executive meeting manager at The Stanford Park Hotel in Menlo Park, Calif. Bailey comes to the hotel from Meeting Solutions Inc., where she was a meeting and event planner. Swanson was promoted from restaurant manager for the Duck Club.

At Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Michael Hochman has been appointed director of sales. Hochman was previously director of corporate sales at the Philadelphia Marriott, where he was part of the hotel's pre-opening team.

Suzie Murley has been promoted to director of conference services for the Monarch hotel in Washington, D.C.'s, West End. Murley joined the Monarch staff as conference services manager in 1999.

At Embassy Suites Hotel Chicago Downtown-Lakefront, Knud Svendsen has been named director of marketing, and Colin Greene director of sales. Svendsen was a western regional director of sales and marketing for Hilton Hotels Corp. Greene was director of sales for Wyndham Hotel in Chicago.

Todd Frappier has been appointed director of sales and marketing at The Rosen Centre, adjacent to the Orange County Convention Center. Before joining the Rosen Center, Frappier was director of sales and marketing at the Rosen Plaza, also in Orlando.

Columbia Hospitality, a Seattle-based company that manages, among other properties, Seattle's Bell Harbor International Conference Center, the World Trade Center Seattle, and Aljoya Conference Center of Seattle, has announced several promotions: Shelley Tomberg is vice president of marketing, having been promoted from director of sales and marketing; Holly Shook has been promoted from marketing manager to director of marketing; and Lisa Gilbert was promoted to director of special projects from director of training and development. Gilbert previously worked for Benchmark Hospitality as director of conference services for the Resort at Squaw Creek; she opened AT&T's private conference center in Basking Ridge, N.J., for Benchmark; and she then joined Columbia Hospitality to help open Bell Harbor International Conference Center as director of conference services.

Steven R. Sampson has been appointed director of sales and marketing at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, on the island of Maui in Hawaii. Sampson had been director of sales and marketing for Carefree Resorts at The Boulders in Carefree, Ariz.

At The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Karen Bell has been appointed assistant director of sales. She will manage all corporate and incentive accounts. Bell had been senior sales manager for the hotel.

Mike Kennedy has been appointed director of sales and marketing for The Founders Inn in Virginia Beach, Va. Kennedy was director of sales at Princeton, N.J.'s, Doral Forrestal, formerly the Forrestal Hotel and Conference Center, then a Benchmark property.

Donald B. Engler has been appointed vice president, sales and marketing, at Smart City Networks, Las Vegas, a provider of telecommunication and Internet services to the convention, meetings, and trade show industries. Engler was most recently senior director, market development, for MobileStar Networks. Smart City has provided all connectivity to the five largest computer/electronic trade shows in the U.S., including COMDEX Fall.

█ GOING PLACES

The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common, opened in September with 193 luxury guest rooms and seven meeting rooms totaling 4,000 square feet of function space. All meeting rooms offer broadband Internet access and video teleconferencing; the boardroom features a plasma screen. The Ritz will also have available four of the adjacent Loews Theatres Boston Common's high-tech screening rooms, which will make meetings of 200 to 600 people possible. The property also offers 309 luxury condominiums, 62 extended stay apartments, and a 100,000-square-foot fitness facility. www.ritzcarlton.com

Boston's second new luxury venue, Nine Zero, will open in spring 2002. The 190-room property features a classic façade that masks a high-tech interior. Three multifunction meeting rooms will have state-of-the-art AV equipment and high-speed wireless Internet access. The third-floor private dining rooms will accommodate groups from six to 60 people. www.ninezerohotel.com

The 365-room Turnberry Isle Resort & Club, Aventura, Fla., opened the $10 million The Spa at Turnberry Isle, a 25,000-square-foot, three-level spa and fitness facility. The property offers more than 45,000 square feet of flexible meeting and function space. Turnberry Isle Resort is a Mandarin Oriental property. www.mandarinoriental.com

Dallas' Hotel Inter-Continental has launched phase one of a $10 million renovation. The first phase will refurbish the more than 100,000 square feet of meeting space, including the 25,000-square-foot main ballroom and its 10,000-square-foot foyer. Two additional ballrooms and a foyer will also see upgrades, and 1,100 square feet of retail space will be converted into a ballroom. Other meeting rooms will also see refurbishments. The second phase will begin this fall with upgrades to the property's suites. Phase three will add another ballroom, which will replace the indoor pool, and redecorate the evening restaurant. At present, the hotel has 24 meeting rooms, 529 guest rooms, and 39 suites. www.interconti.com

In Dana Point, Calif., the 400-room St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa opened on 200 acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The resort has a four-star restaurant, a 30,000-square-foot spa, an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., and 30,000 square feet of flexible indoor meeting space. Facilities have state-of-the-art AV technology, teleconferencing capabilities, Internet videoconferencing, and the ability to downlink satellite and broadcast information. www.stregismonarchbeach.com/

An 18-story, 405-room Courtyard by Marriott opens this month in San Francisco. The San Francisco Downtown Courtyard is steps from the soon-to-be-expanded Moscone Convention Center. Included in the property's 7,000 square feet of meeting space are two boardrooms, three conference suites, and seven meeting rooms. The space will accommodate up to 250 people. The hotel features on-site AV services, high-speed Internet access in all meeting rooms, and event management coordinators. Guest rooms have high-speed Internet access and two telephones with data ports. www.marriott.com

█ BEYOND BORDERS

The St. Regis Shanghai, China, a Starwood property has opened in the heart of the city's business district. The 40-story property features 318 guest rooms, including 48 suites. The hotel also features nearly 11,000 square feet of meeting space, a 24-hour business center, and fitness and health facilities. www.starwood.com/stregis/index.html

Just 210 miles southeast of Santiago, Chile, set beneath the Andes Mountains, is the new, 148-room Park Hyatt Mendoza & Regency Casino. The boutique property is in the town of Mendoza, Argentina, which has more than 500,000 acres of vineyards. The property offers a full-service spa, gourmet restaurants, and 5,862 square feet of meeting space. Its five meeting rooms include a boardroom and a 3,200-square-foot ballroom. www.hyatt.com