Hotel room taxes in San Francisco jumped two percent in July to 14 percent. The new monies will repay a lease revenue bond issued by the city to build a 300,000-square-foot addition to the Moscone Convention Center Complex, bringing it to a total of 900,000 square feet of usable space. The city expects to have the addition finished by 2000.
Something New In late July, Anaheim, CA and the Walt Disney Company unveiled major developments for the Anaheim Resort Area: a new $1.4 billion Disney resort and entertainment complex (called Disney's California Adventure) and a $150 million expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center as part of a $550 million area revitalization. Work is expected to begin early next year, pending final city approval. The center expansion should be complete by 1999, the first phase of the Disney project by 2001.
Denver International Airport's first luxury property plans to break ground early next year and is slated to open in late 1998. The 400-room Scanticon Colorado Hotel, Conference Center and Golf Club will be within a five-minute drive of the airport at the Colorado International Center.
The Grand Palazzo Hotel on St. Thomas, USVI will reopen mid-December as a Ritz-Carlton property. The beachfront, 15-acre Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas will have 148 guest rooms and four one-bedroom suites, all with balconies. Two 1,000-square-foot meeting rooms will be supplemented by five outdoor event areas. The property also will offer four tennis courts and the Lady Lynsey, a private, 53-foot sailing catamaran.
International Scene Presidente Inter-Continental Hotels, Mexico has acquired the 414-room Hyatt Regency Guadalajara. Now called the Presidente Inter-Continental Guadalajara, it's the second commercial property for the chain.
At the end of June, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts celebrated the soft opening of its beachfront Rasa Ria Resort in Borneo. The 331-room property is set at the edge of a tropical jungle yet offers guests the privilege of an 18-hole championship golf course and an 8,000-square-foot ballroom.
The 600-room Southampton Princess is working with Dolphin Quest, the marine mammal organization that runs the dolphin encounter program at the Hilton Waikoloa Village in Hawaii, to open a similar program at the Bermuda resort by this fall. Princess has built a three-acre habitat for six bottlenose dolphins.
Renovation Time Formerly called the DFW Hilton, the renamed DFW Lakes Hilton is in the midst of an $8.5 million renovation,
slated for completion in late fall. The property has been managed by Dolce International since August 1995.
In Charleston, SC, the historic Francis Marion Hotel has reopened following an extensive restoration. A year and $12 million after the project began, the ornate, turn-of-the-century hotel has taken its place on the National Register of Historic Places. The Francis Marion connects to the College of Charleston Conference Center.
The Huntington Hotel, on San Francisco's Nob Hill, broke with its tradition of individually decorating each guest room recently when it redecorated 33 of its 140 guest rooms. Three design schemes are used for the upgraded rooms.
The 250-room Peachtree Executive Conference Center and Resort in Peachtree City, GA plans $1 million in renovations through the end of the year.
By rights, the "dorf" (German for "ville") should have been dropped from Dusseldorf's name long ago. But the city's 567,000 residents do their best to maintain the small-town, friendly feeling. To get that small-town feel at full strength, a visitor must take a stroll through the Altstadt, or old city, on a weekend evening. An American visitor simply cannot believe that there is no special concert or show that draws the throngs of young, old, and middle-aged that crowd the waterfront. There's nothing for it but to hoist a Schlosser Alt (or any of the city's many other delicious local brews) and get into the spirit of things.
It's a lot more than beer and schnitzel, however. Dusseldorf's experience in thebusiness dates from 1811, when Napoleon held one here. And imagine how the great man would have marveled at the Dusseldorf Trade Fair, with its 15 exhibit halls and approximately 1.65 million square feet of usable exhibit space, along with its attached convention center, the Congress Center Dusseldorf (CCD), which was completely rebuilt and reopened last year. The CCD's approximately 22,000-square-foot main hall is packed with high-tech features ranging from height-adjustable floor sections that can be turned into podiums or stages to a pair of Barcodata 8100 long-throw video projectors that put up large, clear images from 200 feet away.
In addition to its technological prowess, the CCD has other advantages: There are 50,000 hotel beds (not rooms) within 30 miles; it is the only large hall in Germany that operates with nonunion labor; and, last but not least, it is in one of the most densely populated areas of Europe, with 12 million people living within one hour's driving distance.
Not far from the Trade Fair and CCD is the Swissotel Dusseldorf/Neuss, a 246-room property with an amazing 30,000 square feet of meeting space divided into 15 rooms, including a 14,000-square-foot plenary hall that seats 1,000 persons theater-style. The hall's stage will support an automobile, and the room has been used for a mini-circus, complete with elephants.
In the city are many business hotels with meeting and exhibition space, most notably the 309-room Radisson/SAS, with 17 meeting rooms, seven of which can be combined into a single 6,650-square-foot exhibit hall. The Radisson is conveniently located about midway between the Trade Fair and Dusseldorf's city center. Nearby is the 372-room Dusseldorf Hilton, with 18 meeting rooms, seven private dining rooms, and the Rheinland-Saal, a ballroom/conference hall that opens up to approximately 9,800 square feet.