The new 255-room Dolce Munich-Unterschleissheim is scheduled to open in Germany this April after undergoing a year and a half of construction. The $70 million hotel will offer 18,000 square feet of meeting space certified by the International Association of Conference Centers to complement the existing 33,000 square feet of space at the Dolce BallhausForum conference center next door.

The hotel will feature a 3,520-square-foot conference room, eight breakout rooms, and three executive lounges on separate floors. Also available on site will be a fine-dining restaurant, lobby bar, and a buffet-style restaurant. The hotel's Dolce Vital Spa will feature an indoor pool, fitness center, and sauna.

Dolce Hotels & Resorts, which currently manages five properties in Europe (in Spain, France, Belgium, and Germany), is committed to expanding its reach into other European cities. “Dolce Munich is just the beginning,” said Philippe Attia, senior vice president of Dolce Hotels and Resorts in Europe. “Currently we are conducting negotiations on locations in the environs of large European cities such as Hamburg, Vienna, Amsterdam, and London.”

Venue News

Conference Centers

The Wyndham Princeton Forrestal Hotel & Conference Center Plainsboro, N.J.

The News: The hotel completed a $7 million upgrade to its conference center, guest rooms, and public spaces in February.

Specs: The conference center features 64 meeting rooms, now with video teleconferencing, rear-screen projection, and closed circuit video network; 62,000 square feet of IACC-certified function space; and a 360-seat tiered auditorium with professional projection booth and keypad response system.

Crowne Plaza Fairfield Hotel and Conference Center Fairfield, N.J.

The News: The property completed a $12 million renovation in September.

Specs: The renovation added Wi-Fi access throughout the property, while guest rooms, public spaces, and meeting facilities all received an upgrade. The 204-room hotel offers 16,000 square feet of meeting space.

Extra: To celebrate the hotel's complete makeover, meeting planners who book new corporate or social events through December 31, 2009, will receive a 5 percent savings on their total banquet bill.

Fairmont Le Château Montebello Montebello, Québec

The News: A conference center was added to the resort in September, following a $6.2 million investment.

Specs: The new facility adds 6,000 square feet of meeting space to the previous 11,300 square feet of space. The resort offers 211 guest rooms, a health club, spa with eight treatment rooms, two restaurants, two bars, and an 18-hole golf course.

Extra: The resort is located halfway between Montréal and Ottawa.

Georgetown University Hotel & Conference Center Washington D.C.

The News: Aramark took over management of the hotel and conference center last September. The facility had been managed by Marriott Hotels.

Specs: The 146-room facility, which houses 14 meeting rooms and a 10,500-square-foot ballroom, can accommodate groups of up to 1,600 guests. Also on site is a fitness center, business center, and three restaurants.

Extra: All guest rooms and meeting rooms feature high-speed, wireless Internet access.

The Westin Beach Resort, Fort Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The News: The resort completed the second phase of its renovations in July, while its new conference center will open this December.

Specs: The new conference center will add 32,000 square feet of meeting space to the property. The 433-room resort now offers a Heavenly Spa by Westin and a 24-hour fitness center.

Extra: The resort has earned a AAA Four-Diamond award.

Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center Punta Gorda, Fla.

The News: The new $19.7 million facility opened in January.

Specs: Three conference halls offer space for 112 exhibit booths or 1,500 people in theater-style seating. Additional meeting rooms can accommodate up to 388 people.

Extra: 300 additional hotel rooms will come online in the area by the end of 2009.

Waterpark News

CoCo Key Water Resort at the Holiday Inn Waterbury, Conn.

The News: The 50,000-square-foot indoor waterpark opened at the Holiday Inn Waterbury in late 2008. The hotel offers 282 guest rooms, 22 meeting rooms, and nearly 39,000 square feet of meeting space.

The Cascades Cortland, N.Y.

The News: A 41,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, part of Hope Lake Lodge Resort at Greek Peak, is scheduled to open this fall.

Schlitterbahn Vacation Village Kansas City, Kan.

The News: A 40-acre waterpark is now open, with 13 attractions, including 24 slides, chutes, rivers, and beaches. The park is phase one of a development that will include a hotel and a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex.

Great Wolf Lodge Concord Concord, N.C.

The News: A new 402-room resort with an 80,000-square-foot waterpark opened in April. The resort features a 20,000-square-foot conference center with five meeting rooms.

Waves of Fun Sandwich, Ill.

The News: A 50,000-square-foot indoor waterpark adjacent to the Best Western Timber Creek Inn & Suites is scheduled to open in late 2009.

Specs: The water park will be open to the public and to registered hotel guests of the Timber Creek Inn & Suites. The hotel has 100 guest rooms and 25,000 square feet of meeting and convention space.

Kalahari Resort Sandusky, Ohio

The News: To complement its water attractions, the resort has added the Safari Adventures animal park. The park offers educational and interactive encounters with giraffes, zebras, ostriches, and more.

Theme Park News

Universal Orlando Resort Orlando

The News: Music Plaza is Universal Orlando Resort's new outdoor concert venue. Music Plaza was designed in the spirit of the iconic Hollywood Bowl and complements Universal Orlando's new roller coaster, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. Music Plaza is available for group rentals.

Walt Disney World Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The News: The largest expansion in the history of the Magic Kingdom will vastly increase the size of Fantasyland by 2013.

Specs: New attractions will include flying with Dumbo above new circus grounds and a new The Little Mermaid attraction, among others. Guests will also be able to dine in one of three “enchanted rooms” inside the Beast's castle library.

Worlds of Fun Kansas City, Mo.

The News: Prowler, a sprawling wooden roller coaster tangled within the forested terrain of the Worlds of Fun theme park, has opened. The $8 million attraction sends riders through elevation changes of 102 feet along 3,074 feet of track.

Hersheypark Hershey, Pa.

The News: The park has expanded its Boardwalk section with two new attractions. The Shore wave pool blends fresh and filtered water to simulate the ocean's currents; the Intercoastal Waterway is a lazy river-style attraction.

Kalahari Resort Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

The News: The convention center resort has added a 110,000-square-foot indoor theme park to go along with the its 18 indoor waterparks. The $20 million theme park includes a six-story Ferris wheel, a go-cart track, a carousel, laser tag, a ropes course, and more. The resort has 100,000 square feet of meeting space.

Freestyle Music Park Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The News: Hard Rock Park opened last season and later declared bankruptcy. New owners have reopened the park this year with a new name: Freestyle Music Park.

Kings Island Mason, Ohio

The News: Diamondback, a 5,282-foot-long, 230-foot-tall steel roller coaster, features stadium-style seating with excellent views from every chair. Kings Island is the first park in the United States to introduce this style of coaster.


Hilton Hotels Corp. has hired former Walt Disney Co. executive Kenneth Svendsen to head its global sales efforts. Svendsen was most recently senior vice president of worldwide travel operations and consumer direct sales for Disney Destinations.

Boston-based Longwood Events has named Gwendolyn DeLugas director of sales and business development. She comes to the company from Meeting & Incentive Management in Las Vegas.

Laurie Vitagliano has been named regional director of sales and marketing at Antlers Hilton Colorado Springs (Colo.) Prior to joining the hotel, Vitagliano served as regional director of sales and marketing at Pyramid Hotel Group in Boston.

David Casey has joined Hyatt Regency Bonaventure Conference Center & Spa as the director of sales and marketing. Most recently, Casey served as vice president of sales and marketing for a hotel development and management company.

Dolce Hotels and Resorts has appointed Carol Bullock-Walter as vice president of field sales. Bullock-Walter most recently was regional director of marketing and sales for the Marshall Hotel Group in New York.

The Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas, has named Brett Boreing director of sales and marketing. Boreing comes to the hotel from the Hotel Contessa in San Antonio.