Boots on, hat adjusted and eyes steeled, Texas is fixin’ on new horizons. From a vital new Dallas headquarters hotel to the state’s first—and the world’s largest—JW Marriott resort, the Lone Star State, in the spirit of the Chisholm Trail cattle drives, keeps marching ahead.
North Texas Metroplex
As North Texas readies for Super Bowl XLV, Dallas is preparing for the confirmed January 2012 opening of the 1,001-room Omni Dallas Hotel—its long-sought convention headquarters hotel. Monumental in its own right, the Trinity River Project is shaping up as one of the most ambitious public works and economic development projects ever attempted.
Conventioneers in multifaceted Fort Worth can look forward to even more diversions. Billed as "an urban village in the Cultural District," South of Seventh (So7) is a dynamic mixed-use project that includes the new Residence Inn by Marriott Fort Worth Cultural District hotel. The event-friendly Fort Worth Zoo opened its Museum of Living Art in March, while the renowned Kimbell Art Museum is breaking ground on a major new building.
Home to the Dallas Cowboys for 38 years, Irving bid farewell to iconic Texas Stadium this year. Now the city is preparing to say hello to the 275,000-square-foot Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas, opening in late 2010, with phase two, including a 300,000-square-foot entertainment venue, 215,000 square feet of restaurant, retail and cinema space, and a full-service hotel, slated for completion by late 2012.
Home to Cowboys Stadium, Arlington is the epicenter of Super Bowl XLV. With the opening of the new 103-room Hampton Inn & Suites North Arlington, the city, which welcomes some 6.8 million visitors annually, now has over 4,300 rooms.
The Grapevine CVB has broken ground on a new 40,000-square-foot headquarters and museum complex that will include meeting and function space. The complex is slated for completion in spring 2011. Home to DFW Airport—the world’s third largest—Grapevine’s destination appeal will grow with the anticipated 2011 openings of the Legoland Discovery Centre and the Sea Life Aquarium at the Grapevine Mills outlet center.
Four of the top 10 fastest-growing cities in the U.S. are in Texas—No. 1 is Frisco, where sports are the big play. Serving as cornerstone of the 62-acre SportsVillageUSA development, Frisco’s 145,000-square-foot Fieldhouse USA indoor sports center recently partnered with leading corporate team-building and events company Group Dynamix. The fall 2011 debut of a 100-room Wingate Inn lifts Frisco’s hotel capacity to 11 properties totaling 1,600 rooms.
Business-friendly Plano, the "Hot-Air Balloon Capital of Texas," has a new honor: The Plano Convention Centre was named the state’s best meeting and event venue for 2010 by the popular "Official Best Of" travel website.
South of the Metroplex, the Hilton Waco has completed its $17 million renovation, while boutique brand Indigo is debuting a new property in spring 2011. The Waco Convention Center’s ongoing $17.5 million renovation is slated for a summer 2011 completion.
In May, the 86-room Hilton University of Houston, with 25,000 square feet of meeting space, completed a $12.5 million renovation, including room expansions and a lobby refurbishment.
Scheduled to open in March 2011 adjacent to the George R. Brown Convention Center, a 262-room Embassy Suites Hotel will include 6,000 square feet of meeting and event space and a rooftop swimming pool.
At the InterContinental Houston near the Galleria, the new Table One chef’s table features executive chef Peter Laufer personally serving his globally inspired creations in the hotel’s kitchen.
In December, the event-capable Houston Zoo will open the $35 million African Forest, billed as the most ambitious undertaking in the zoo’s 87-year history. Debuting in January, Houston Ballet’s Center for Dance will be the largest professional dance company facility of its kind in the U.S.
Slated for completion by January, the Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center is undergoing an extensive guest room and meeting space renovation.
North of Houston on Lake Conroe, the recently remodeled La Torretta Del Lago Resort & Spa has been reflagged as La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa. The property features 70,000 square feet of meeting space, and its Chez Roux restaurant is a major culinary draw.
Home to the most AAA Four Diamond hotels in Texas—including the stylish Hotel Valencia Riverwalk and the soothing Westin La Cantera Resort—San Antonio’s latest distinction is the world’s largest JW Marriott resort. Unveiled in January, the 1,002-room JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa boasts over 140,000 square feet of meeting space, a 26,000-square-foot spa and two tournament-ready golf courses.
History was remade in April with the debut of the 91-room Hotel Indigo in San Antonio’s circa-1909 Gibbs Building. The same month saw the opening of the ultra-accessible Morgan’s Wonderland family fun park, designed specifically for individuals with special needs and including an 18,000-square-foot special events center.
The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center’s new Lonesome Dove Room can accommodate up to 500 guests, with access to the River Walk through retractable glass doors. This fall, the Culinary Institute of America opens its new 30,000-square-foot campus at the historic Pearl Brewery.
Home to superb Hill Country sanctuaries such as the award-winning Lakeway Resort and Spa on the shores of Lake Travis, Austin is now enhancing its urban profile with two newly opened, meetings-ready hotels in the Domain mixed-use project: the 340-room Westin and the 140-room Aloft.
The ultra-hip ArtHouse at the Jones Center will reopen in late 2010 with new space including an expansive rooftop patio with a movie screen. Early 2011 sees the opening of the new Austin City Limits Studio, part of a complex that will also include the rockin’ new 251-room W Austin Hotel & Residences, scheduled to open in December.
Near the Austin Convention Center, the revitalized Copper Tank Events Center is a historic venue with 12,000 square feet of rentable space.
Texas Gulf Coast
Lively Beaumont, home to premier convention destination Ford Park, is constructing a new downtown event center. Scheduled for completion by July 2011, the facility will include a 16,875-square-foot arena and banquet room accommodating up to 650 guests theater style. The lakefront venue will include a platform stage and 12-acre park for outdoor events. The city also welcomed three new hotels in 2010, including the 81-room Holiday Inn Express Beaumont.
Home to the world-class Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa & Convention Center, Galveston Island will debut a 125-room Four Points by Sheraton this month. Meanwhile, the Hotel Galvez is refreshing in preparation for its centennial celebration.
Featuring the new event-capable SeaWall beachfront cafe, The Omni Corpus Christi Hotel will begin an $8 million renovation project this year.
The culturally rich city of Laredo continues to grow its hotel inventory, now close to 4,000 rooms. The recently opened, 150-room Embassy Suites joins popular choices such as the Spanish Colonial-style La Posada Hotel/Suites in the heart of Laredo’s historic district.
Lined with bars, lounges and restaurants, McAllen’s new Entertainment District is a hit with convention delegates. The city will debut a new 112-room Hilton Hampton Inn & Suites near the McAllen Convention Center in late 2010.
Central and West Texas
In El Paso, the new $7.3 million canopy fronting downtown’s 122,000-square-foot convention center provides cover for outdoor meetings and events. Amarillo International Airport, now served by American Eagle, Continental Express, Delta Connection and Southwest, will open a new terminal in March 2011. Scheduled for completion in November 2011, a 100-room Courtyard by Marriott will debut in downtown Amarillo’s historic Fiske Building.
Opening eight new hotels in the past three years, Midland now offers over 2,700 rooms. The recently opened George H.W. and Barbara Bush Commemorative Center includes an aircraft hangar accommodating up to 600.
In Lubbock, the $4 million expansion of Texas Tech University’s Merket Alumni Center includes three new ballrooms, a reception center and an outdoor patio.