NEW AND IMPROVED

A Starwood property, The Westin New York at Times Square, New York City, opened ahead of schedule in mid-October. The 863-room hotel offers wireless capabilities and 32 technically advanced meeting rooms. There is a sushi bar, 24-hour room service, a fitness center and spa, and concierge and theater ticket desks. The closest full-service hotel to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, the Westin has more than 34,000 square feet of flexible meeting and function space. www.westinny.com

  • The 204-unit Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, Cherry Hill, N.J., recently opened. A former Sheraton Four Points Hotel, the property just completed a $5 million renovation of all guest rooms and public space. It has 20,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space, which can be divided into two ballrooms and can accommodate 1,000 people. The hotel is 13 miles from the Philadelphia International Airport, as well as 45 minutes from Atlantic City, N.J. www.choicehotels.com

  • At the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, a $25 million renovation and addition to its conference and meeting space is planned. Once complete, the 730-room-and-suite Biltmore will have more than 100,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, including the new 25,000-square-foot Frank Lloyd Wright Ballroom, expected to open in June 2003. The resort also has renovated its 15,000-square-foot pavilion, which recently reopened as the McArthur Ballroom; and has just completed $7 million in renovations to the lobby, conference center, and guest rooms. www.arizonabiltmore.com



BEYOND BORDERS

The 471-room St. Kitts Marriott Royal Beach Resort & Spa, St. Kitts, West Indies, will open during the first quarter of 2003. The resort will have 12,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including a 7,100-square-foot ballroom divisible into three sections; additional meeting rooms with 5,000 square feet of space; and a boardroom and terraces for prefunction events. A championship 18-hole golf course, operated by Marriott Golf, will be on site. www.offshoreresorts.com

  • On Mexico's Pacific Coast in Ixtapa, the 250-room MeliĆ” Azul Ixtapa Beach Resort & Conference Center has begun a $19 million expansion that will add 148 rooms and a convention center. Headed for an early 2003 completion, the property will then have 398 guest rooms. The new convention center will feature a 5,500-square-foot foyer and a 19,254-square-foot main meeting room, as well as 12 breakout rooms and an executive board room. The center will accommodate 1,800 people banquet-style. www.solmelia.com