Jamaica's newest luxury resort, Solís The Palmyra Resort & Spa, is set to open in Rose Hall this June, marking the brand's entry into North America. The debut is giving meeting and incentive groups plenty to get excited about. The property features 23,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, including a 6,000-square-foot lawn and a 5,000-square-foot ballroom for up to 400 seated guests. The 299-room property also boasts a 30,000-square-foot spa and three nearby championship golf courses, where guests get preferential tee times and special greens fees. Incentive groups and VIPs can book the resort's private villas, featuring personal concierge, butler, maid, and chef services. Groups can also take advantage of the resort's five dining venues and fitness center with ocean views. Located just 15 minutes from the Montego Bay International Airport, Solís The Palmyra Resort & Spa is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World.
Convention Center News
Raleigh Convention Center
The News: The new convention center opened September 2008.
Specs: 500,000 square feet of meeting space, including an exhibit hall, 20 meeting rooms, open reception areas, and a 32,000-square-foot ballroom with seating for up to 3,630
Extra: Adjoining the Raleigh Convention Center is a new four-star Marriott Hotel, which offers 400 guest rooms and ample meeting space. In addition, the Sheraton Hotel offers 355 rooms less than one block away.
Lancaster County Convention Center
The News: The new convention center is scheduled to open in spring 2009.
Specs: 45,000-square-foot exhibit hall, 9,000-square-foot ballroom, and 20,000 square feet of pre-function space
Extra: Together, the LCCC and Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square offer more than 90,000 square feet of meeting space.
Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center
The News: The $20 million center opened in January.
Specs: 24,000 square feet of flexible meeting and banquet space and eight meeting rooms for groups of up to 1,400. In addition, there are smaller meeting rooms that range in size from 774 square feet to 543 square feet.
Extra: The convention center is connected via skywalk to the Isle's Casino Hotel (which also manages the center), providing access to more than 500 hotel rooms and an additional 13,520 square feet of function space.
Vancouver Convention Centre
The News: The convention center is undergoing an expansion.
Specs: The center's expansion is constructed to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold standards and will be carbon neutral by 2010. The expansion project will more than triple the currently available space.
Time Frame: The convention center reopens in spring 2009.
Extra: The center's “living roof” got its finishing touches in November. It is the largest green roof in Canada, stretching over six acres, and is home to more than 20 species, totaling almost 400,000 indigenous plants and grasses.
Reno-Sparks Convention Center
The News: The center's Atlantis Sky Bridge project was completed last November.
Specs: The $12.5 million project connects the rooms, restaurants, and amenities of the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa to more than 500,000 square feet of space at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center via an indoor walkway. It is 650 feet long, spanning 110 feet over Peckham Lane, and is 18 feet wide on the inside.
Extra: The Sky Bridge offers views of the Sierra Nevada foothills to the east and Mt. Rose to the southwest.
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
The News: The center is planning a $10 million expansion.
Specs: The expansion will add 40,000 square feet of meeting space to the existing 130,000 square feet. The center also has 703,000 square feet of exhibition space and 52,000 square feet of ballroom space.
Time Frame: A proposal for the expansion has been submitted and must be approved by the D.C. Council before construction can begin.
Tinley Park Convention Center
Tinley Park, Ill.
The News: The center is undergoing an expansion.
Specs: The expansion will add 24,000 square feet of exhibit space for a total of 42,000 square feet. Also added will be 6,000 square feet of divisible meeting space for a total of 21,500 square feet; technology upgrades; a new business center; an expanded loading dock; a second kitchen; 450 additional parking spaces; and 68 additional hotel rooms (for a total of 270 rooms at the attached Holiday Inn).
Time Frame: The expansion will be complete in June 2010.
Qatar National Convention Centre
Education City, Doha, State of Qatar
The News: The new $1.2 billion center will be one of the Middle East's largest convention and exhibition venues.
Specs: The center, managed by AEG Ogden, will feature a multi-purpose hall with seating for 4,000 guests, a 2,300-seat auditorium, and 57 flexible meeting rooms. In addition, the QNCC will offer 430,000 square feet of exhibition space.
Time Frame: The QNCC is scheduled to open in 2011.
Jackson Convention Complex
The News: The 330,000-square-foot center opened in January, following a $65 million investment.
Specs: The two-floor complex features a 60,000-square-foot exhibit hall, a 25,000-square-foot ballroom, a 382-seat theater, and 10 meeting rooms. Also on-site: a business center, dual loading docks, and covered bus and vehicle drop-off lanes.
Extra: The convention center is pursuing LEED certification.
Phoenix Convention Center
The News: Phoenix Convention Center's five-year, $600 million expansion opened in December 2008, tripling the size of the facility.
Specs: It now has 900,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space, with a design inspired by the Grand Canyon and featuring solar panels, a water harvesting garden, and public artworks worth $3.2 million.
Extra: Complementing the expansion, the new 1,000-room Sheraton Downtown Phoenix opened in October. Connecting it all is the new $1.4 billion light-rail system. There are 38 stops on the 20-mile line, including one at the convention center.
Santa Fe Convention Center
Santa Fe, N.M.
The News: The center opened in September 2008, following nearly two years of construction.
Specs: The center offers 40,000 square feet of event space, including an 18,000-square-foot ballroom and 11 breakout rooms. It can accommodate groups of 20 to 2,000 and was designed to a LEED Silver certification.
Extra: Located in downtown Santa Fe, the convention center is surrounded by 1,500 hotel rooms.
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
The News: The center scaled back its renovation plans from $1.7 billion to $1 billion.
Specs: The construction will add 60,000 square feet of space to the convention center.
Time Frame: The project is scheduled for completion in November 2012.
Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
Prince George's County, Md.
The News: The resort and convention center opened in April 2008.
Specs: 2,000 guest rooms, 470,000 square feet of convention space, 20,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, and seven restaurants
Extra: Located in National Harbor, the property offers easy access to Washington, D.C., with an hourly shuttle service as well as shuttle service to Ronald Reagan National Airport.
The Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa in Calif. has appointed Michael DiFrancesco as the new director of sales and marketing. In this role, DiFrancesco will oversee conventions, group, leisure, and catering sales.
Benchmark Hospitality International has hired Richard Pauley as director of sales and marketing for The Chattanoogan, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Pauley was previously director of sales at French Lick Resort Casino in French Lick, Ind.
Las Vegas Meetings by Harrah's Entertainment has promoted Jordan Clark to vice president of sales for Bally's Las Vegas, Caesar's Palace, Flamingo Las Vegas, Harrah's Las Vegas, Imperial Palace Las Vegas, Paris Las Vegas, and Rio All-Suite.
JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, Phoenix, as named Shane Allor as director of sales. Allor is responsible for group sales in the western U.S. Allor comes from Camelback Inn, a JW Marriott Resort & Spa, in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Joy Whiddon was named director of sales at the new Lorien Hotel & Spa, a Kimpton Hotel, which opened in February in Alexandria, Va. Whiddon comes to the hotel from The Fairmont Washington, D.C., where she was the director of business and travel industry sales.
Benchmark Hospitality International has appointed John Branciforte director of sales and marketing for the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs, Colo. Branciforte most recently served as director of sales and marketing for the Omni Orlando Resort at Champions Gate.