Gaylord Entertainment Co. has announced plans to buy the Westin La Cantera Resort in San Antonio, double its room count, and rebrand it under the Gaylord flag.

The $252 million acquisition, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008, would be the first purchase of an existing hotel by Gaylord. The 508-room hotel--with 39,000 square feet of meeting space and two golf courses--will undergo a major expansion. Gaylord purchased 90 acres adjacent to the hotel on which approximately 500 rooms and 120,000 square feet of meeting space will be added, giving the hotel 1,000 rooms and 160,000 square feet of meeting space. The $250 million expansion will be completed by 2011.

“San Antonio is a top 10 convention destination, and we will be entering the area with the premier property in the market, which will serve as an important component of our successful rotational strategy where our loyal customers book meetings at multiple properties over several years,” said Colin Reed, chairman and chief executive officer at Gaylord Entertainment.

The Gaylord San Antonio will be the company’s fifth resort, joining Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas, near Dallas; Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, Fla.; Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tenn.; and Gaylord National in National Harbor, Md., opening in April 2008 just outside Washington, D.C.

Gaylord will continue to grow its brand through expansions of existing properties as well as buying, building, and renovating new locations in top-tier destination markets. The company is looking at several additional locations across the country that would be a good fit for its expansion strategy, says Stacey Udell, Gaylord spokeswoman.