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Groups flying into St. Louis will have a new option for lodging and meeting with the launch of the Ramada St. Louis Airport.

The new 197-room propert.

The hotel offers an indoor heated pool, a business center, a fitness center and 2,326 square feet of event space. Guests can enjoy free Wi-Fi access, 24-hour shuttle service and continental breakfast.

The newly opened hotel participates in Wyndham Rewards, the free-to-join guest loyalty program of Wyndham Hotel Group, which offers members guaranteed rewards after one qualified stay.



A Hyatt Hotels affiliate has sold the 499-room Hyatt Regency Indianapolis to a private equity joint venture for approximately $71 million.

The joint venture members include Silverpeak Real Estate Partners, a privately held real estate investment advisory business, and executives of Davidson Hotels & Resorts, who plan to spend approximately $4 million in additional capital expenditures over the next three years. As part of the sale, a Hyatt affiliate has entered into a franchise agreement with the purchaser and the hotel will retain its Hyatt Regency branding.

The property is near numerous local attractions, including the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, Conner Prairie Interactive History Park and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and is just 10 miles from the Indianapolis International Airport.

Located at One South Capital Avenue in historic downtown Indianapolis, the 22-story hotel shares an atrium with the PNC Center and is connected via climate-controlled walkway to the Indianapolis Convention Center, Lucas Oil Stadium, Circle Center Mall and the Arts Garden.

Hotel amenities include more than 35,000 square feet of meeting space, indoor pool, 24-hour Stay Fit gym and cardio center and bicycle rentals. The hotel also offers four dining options: One South, serving breakfast and lunch, Level One lounge, a full-service Starbucks and the rotating Eagle's Nest rooftop.



The AAA Four-Diamond Chateau on the Lake Resort, Spa & Convention Center in Branson, Mo., has completed the renovation of its 301 guest rooms and suites, and the renovation of all of its smaller meeting rooms.

In addition, the resort added a new Executive Board Room with top-tier A/V and technology capabilities, and enhanced all of its meeting space (including its Great Hall ballroom) with new LED lighting, new flex-back banquet chairs, and new “linenless” meeting tables. Situated in the Ozark Mountains overlooking scenic Table Rock Lake, the resort features 43,500 square feet of meeting space all on one level.

The resort’s guest rooms and suites now feature all-new beds, Serta Perfect Sleeper plush mattresses, and bedding, including cherry wood headboards, custom-made toppers with down insert, two types of fluffy king-size pillows, and 300 thread-count sheets. In addition, guest rooms and suites also now feature such new furniture as granite-top desks and bedside tables, as well as new window treatments, custom-made shower curtains, new Gilchrist & Soames bathroom amenities, and two new desk and bedside phones. Guest rooms and suites now feature a new color scheme with rich tones of brown, beige and yellow.

The resort’s new 684-square-foot Executive Board Room features advanced audiovisual and technology capabilities that includes a 54” touch-screen HD television with speakers built into the boardroom table, which can seat 20 people.

In addition to the new meeting tables and LED lighting, the resort’s smaller meeting rooms also now feature new carpet, and new wall treatments.

The resort offers 20 meeting rooms, including the 32,000-square-foot Great Hall, and three corporate board rooms in addition to the new Executive Board Room. The resort also features a private 54-seat theater for special presentations, high-speed Internet access in all meeting rooms, a 24-hour business center, on-site Audio/Visual service with state-of-the-art A/V equipment and technology, complimentary Wi-Fi in pre-convene areas, and outstanding banquet and catering services.

Recreational options at the resort include the 14,000-square-foot Spa Chateau, which features 10 luxurious treatment rooms; customized body treatments; a soothing Infinity Tub that is filled from the ceiling; an opulent outdoor Roman Bath situated beneath a waterfall overlooking Table Rock Lake; a lake-view Movement Therapy Studio for Zumba, Yoga or Pilates; and a hair salon.

Other recreational options at the resort include the full-service Chateau Marina, which is open seasonally, offering an assortment of boat rentals, such as pontoons, ski boats, wave runners, and sea kayaks. Parasailing, catamaran and guided fishing excursions, scuba diving, and snorkeling, are among the many other available options.

In addition, the resort features a 24/7 fitness center, two lighted tennis courts, a 24/7 year-round indoor pool and hot tub (adults only after 10 p.m.), an outdoor (seasonal) hot tub and pool, hiking and biking trails, the indoor video theater, and full-service concierge. Golf at six area courses, which includes two of Missouri’s finest, also is available to groups and guests.

The resort’s dining options include Chateau Grille, and casual fare options include the Downstairs Deli (seasonal), serving bistro-style sandwiches, hand-made pizza, and “to go” box lunches; Atrium Café & Wine Bar, located in the lobby beside an indoor waterfall and stream; and The Sweet Shoppe, offering ice cream, baked goods, candies, and specialty coffees.




CANCUN, Mexico

Sunny Cancun just got even sunnier. Starting on February 1 of this year, all municipalities of Quintana Roo, including Cancun and Riviera Maya, have changed their time zone, adopting Eastern Standard Time (EST) and breaking away from Central Standard Time.

The change will result in an extra hour of sunlight during the winter and two hours more during the summer. Benefits will include saving energy and added hours for fun in the sun activities. CVB officials also believe the move will make Cancun more competitive with Caribbean locales on EST, and also potentially improve airline connections from popular ‘feeder’ locales in that time zone, including New York and Miami.

The official move follows two years’ of lobbying efforts by the Mexican state Quintana Roo, which includes Cancun, Cozumel and Playa del Carmen.



Virgin Hotels, the lifestyle hotel brand created by Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, is gearing up for a fall 2016 opening in the Music City.  

The group has revealed its Nashville, Tenn., building designs with local construction management firm D.F. Chase Inc. and the architectural firm BLUR Workshop from Atlanta. Virgin Hotels Nashville will be located at the start of the city's iconic Music Row, with the address One Music Row.

The property will feature 240 Chambers and Grand Chamber Suites, along with 15 penthouse residential units. The ground floor will include Virgin Hotels' signature space, The Commons Club, a hybrid, bar/lounge, laidback study and restaurant aiming for the vibe of a membership club but without the fees. A centerpiece bar, live entertainment venue, plus an outside veranda with sweeping views of the city will be among the other spaces featured.

The property will also bring another top-tier recording space to historic Music Row with a studio fully integrated into the facility.

 Other dining and bar options will be available for hotel guests and locals, including a rooftop pool that will offer an evolving food concept. Guests will also have access to a gym and wellness center, and 14,000-square-feet of meeting space will be available for events.

Virgin Hotels Chicago is now open and accepting reservations, with Virgin New York debuting in the summer of 2017.



With the final steps of the complete $20 million build-out nearing an end, the Holiday Inn Resort at Jekyll Island is readying for an early March 2015 opening after being closed since fall of 2013.

The newly reconstructed hotel features a quarter-mile of prime beachfront and unobstructed views of the Atlantic Ocean, and showcase contemporary furnishings in 157 guest rooms including 21 suites. A variety of amenities include an oceanfront fitness center, outdoor pool, Kids Club, nightly entertainment, a business center, a boardroom and outdoor event space, all less than a mile away from the Jekyll Island Convention Center.

Food and beverage venues include the poolside Rusty Anchor Bar and Grille and NorthShore Coffee & Cocktails, which is located on the third floor of the new lobby, offering sweeping views. A nautically decorated signature restaurant, Beach House, serving locally-sourced seafood and coastal fare, will open soon as well.

Island activities and group fun include dolphin and nature tours, stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, horseback riding on the beach, Segway tours, tennis and golf.


KRAKOW, Poland

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) has revealed some of the key statistics and highlights of their just-wrapped 2015 European Meetings & Events Conference (EMEC), hosted in Kraków, Poland.

The event drew more than 300 registered attendees excluding support staff, with 87 percent of registered attendees from Europe and 11 percent from North America; it delivered 50+ education sessions, including preconference workshops, deep dives and campfire sessions.


Special events included MPI Foundation’s Rendezvous fundraiser and networking event on the evening of February 2nd at the Hard Rock Café Kraków, which drew about 200 attendees, and the conference also hosted an intimate version of the inaugural MPI Hosted Buyer Program in Europe, which included 17 meeting planners and 16 suppliers.

Education and congress included MPI’s Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate (HMCC) course, held for the first time in Europe, resulting in 10 new HMCC holders, and the conference also convened MPI’s first European Chapter Business Summit (actually held prior to EMEC on January 31 – February 1).

As for mobile and social media activity, nearly 2,100 tweets using #EMEC15 were posted between January 31 and February 3, and the conference’s Global Event App had 375 total device activations, was opened 8,500+ times and was viewed more than 30,000 times.

MPI has announced Copenhagen as the host destination for EMEC 2016


FRESNO, Calif.

Hilton Worldwide and DoubleTree by Hilton have launched the DoubleTree by Hilton Fresno Convention Center, following a comprehensive $7 million renovation that includes design updates to the lobby, guest rooms, fitness center, pool areas and more.

The 321-room hotel is situated directly across from the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center and near the Tower District, home to restaurants, nightclubs, performing arts venues, galleries and other attractions; it also offers convenient access to Yosemite National Park, Fresno State University and Fresno Yosemite International Airport. The property was previously a Radisson conference hotel.

A highlight of the upgrade is the debut of a newly designed open atrium lobby, paying homage to the Central Valley's expansive outdoor landscapes. All of the hotel's guest rooms have also been revamped with contemporary furnishings and remodeled bathroom.

Property pluses include renovated pool and hot tub areas, renovated 24-hour fitness center, 24-hour business center and Wi-Fi throughout the hotel's public spaces and guest rooms.

 Several dining options are also available, beginning with the Atrium Lounge; The International Café offers a diverse menu, including classic American fare as well as flavors from around the world. Menu highlights include the chef's signature Baja Fish Tacos and Maple Glazed Stuffed Pork Chop. Guests can jumpstart their day at the hotel's Java Stop.

Planners and groups can work with over 27,000 square feet of flexible function space, including a main ballroom and 18 separate meeting rooms; the hotel is also ideally-suited to accommodate meetings, weddings and other events ranging anywhere from 10 - 1,500 attendees.

For smaller group meetings, the hotel offers the Meetings Simplified by DoubleTree by Hilton package from $39.95 per person, which includes the meeting room, basic meeting Wi-Fi, meeting room supplies including a flipchart, markers, extension and power cord, and all day non-alcoholic beverage service.



Wyndham Hotel Group, a subsidiary of Wyndham Worldwide, has acquired Dolce Hotels and Resorts, a manager of group accommodations with a portfolio of 24 properties and over 5,500 guest rooms across seven countries in Europe and North America, for $57 million in cash.

Wyndham has stated that the acquisition is consistent with its core asset-light strategy, and allows Wyndham Hotel Group to expand its managed portfolio by nearly 40 percent with a significantly larger presence in the group and meetings segment.

Wyndham is counting on Dolce's brand recognition among global meeting planners to boost Wyndham Hotel Group's portfolio, with significant group and transient cross-selling opportunities across Wyndham's existing managed and franchised operations. Wyndham Hotel Group plans to maintain and grow the Dolce brand along with its signature service, technology and F&B products as part of its existing portfolio of brands.

"Dolce is a terrific strategic fit for us," said Geoff Ballotti, president and CEO, Wyndham Hotel Group. "With over three decades of established brand equity, Dolce is a respected leader in the group space with outstanding destination properties and some of the best meeting product offerings available in the market today.

"In addition, Dolce has a long, successful history of award-winning innovation in conference planning and management. We look forward to continuing the growth of the Dolce brand and leveraging these Dolce attributes across the Wyndham global system while enhancing the Dolce owner and guest experience."

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to the seller in connection with the transaction.



InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has opened the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Scottsdale North-Airpark hotel.

Located just 15 minutes from Old Town Scottsdale, this 75,000 square-foot hotel, formerly a Wingate by Wyndham, is the newest addition to IHG's hotels in Arizona. In an effort to create a more contemporary space desirable to today's travelers, the hotel ownership financed a full renovation of all guestrooms and public areas.

The hotel, has 117 rooms, including 37 suites, and is nearby attractions such as Desert Botanical Garden, WestWorld of Scottsdale and Butterfly Wonderland. Businesses located nearby include GoDaddy and JDA Software.

The hotel's Raintree Café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and also offers the Holiday Inn Best-4-Breakfast menu, with signature items such as Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee, Cinnamon Supreme French Toast and Skillet Inspirations. In addition to the restaurant, the hotel includes flexible event space that can accommodate up to 64 people.

The hotel grounds, meanwhile, include a two-story water feature and a putting green.



Vancouver, B.C., is unveiling a snazzy new event venue in May, only 20 minutes from the city’s downtown core.

The city’s freshest event venue, the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre, is perched on an appealing stretch of land at the University of British Columbia. The 41,700-square-foot facility will be available to host meetings, conferences and other events for up to 400 attendees across a gamut of function spaces, including a boardroom with space for 30 people; other options include a lounge for less-formal functions and the dramatic Celebration Hall for larger affairs.

One of the venue’s true highlights is the campus’s gamut of adjoining offerings, including lush gardens and acclaimed museums like the UBC Museum of Anthropology and the Beaty Biodiversity Museum.

Planners can additionally coordinate professional development activities such as customized learning and guided tours of the campus. 



The Resort at Pedregal, one of Los Cabos' premier destination resorts, reopened its doors Saturday, January 31, 2015, making it the first shuttered luxury resort to reopen following Hurricane Odile.

The property spans 24 acres and offers 66 rooms and suites, and 22 multi-bedroom residential-style villas.

As The Resort at Pedregal continues to revamp, the property also unveiled the Champagne Terrace, complementing the resort's dining and beverage program. The Champagne Terrace sits cliff-side at the entrance of El Farallon overlooking the Pacific Ocean, where guests can enjoy premier champagne selections and cheese pairings. The Champagne Terrace will provide guests with the tools to explore and discover champagne through sensations linked to the soil, climate and aging process.

In addition to elevated culinary programming which includes new Baja-inspired menu items from Chef Yvan Mucharraz, The Resort at Pedregal has also substantially enhanced the spa and fitness offerings at Luna y Mar Spa. Placing a focus on health and wellness, the brand new signature treatments are indigenous to Mexico and surrounding regions, emphasizing natural healing techniques.

At the helm of the newly renovated property is a fresh, experienced leadership team including recently appointed General Manager Carlos Blanco, Food & Beverage Director Carlos de la Barra, Director of Finance Jose Luis Flores and Resort Manager Fernando Flores.

Event spaces include a spacious, flexible boardroom that can be used for meetings as well as receptions and other functions of up to 80 attendees.  



Hyatt Regency Tysons Corner Center, the newest Hyatt Regency-branded hotel in the Washington D.C.-Northern Virginia area in more than 20 years, is expected to open this spring.

The 18-story property will offer business and leisure travelers an upscale, dynamic hotel experience and feature rich design, modern guest rooms, and state-of-the-art meeting space  all in the heart of the trendy downtown Tysons Corner, Va.

The property is steps away from the Silver Line Metrorail Station – will connect to Tysons Corner Center shopping mall and offer easy access to the nation's capital, Northern Virginia's technology and corporate center, and two major airports.

The smartly configured lobby will allow guests to meet and connect with complimentary Wi-Fi and convenient access to power outlets, meals and snacks.

For guests who decide to venture out, the newly built hotel will easily connect them to the Tysons Corner Center shopping mall, one of the world's largest upscale shopping malls with more than 300 stores and restaurants; it will also be located about 15 miles from both Washington Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan National Airport.

Just a few steps outside of the hotel, guests will be able to experience a one-and-a-half acre elevated outdoor plaza that features year-round activities and events including family movies and concerts, festivals such as Oktoberfest, ice skating in the winter, life-sized board games, bicycle and walking paths, and a gigantic pirate ship playground for children to enjoy.

The hotel will boast 300 guest rooms, including 18 suites, a restaurant with a private dining area and seasonal outdoor seating, a bar and lounge, and a pool and fitness center. Additional amenities will include a lobby workstation Escape Bar, complete with two computer stations and a printer, and an exclusive Regency Club level for the discerning traveler.

The property will have more than 15,000 square feet of expansive meeting space for company meetings and special events, including 12 boardrooms and conference rooms to accommodate a variety of groups, with a 7,000-square-foot ballroom that can host events of up to 500.



Wyndham Hotel Group has completed the conversion of Hunt Valley Inn – A Wyndham Grand Hotel, located less than 20 miles from downtown Baltimore in scenic Hunt Valley.

The full-service, 392-room hotel and meeting destination is completing a $15 million renovation on all guest rooms and public spaces and features more than 30,000 square feet of event space accommodating up to 1,200 people, free shuttle service to nearby locations, on-site dining and close proximity to the area's major corporations and tourist attractions. The property has been operating as a Wyndham affiliate hotel since May 2013.

The extensive, newly renovated event space at Baltimore Hunt Valley Inn – A Wyndham Grand Hotel includes 18 flexible meeting rooms, a nearly 9,500-square-foot ballroom, top-tier audio visual equipment, high-speed wireless internet access and on-site catering for social and business events ranging from 12 to 1,200 guests.

Additional amenities and services include an indoor/outdoor pool, an on-site restaurant, a lounge, a café, a 24-hour business center and a fully equipped fitness center.

Nearby attractions include Baltimore's Inner Harbor, the Baltimore Convention Center, many of Maryland's vineyards, dining and shopping, including the open-air Hunt Valley Town Centre located just a short walk from the hotel.

Each of the renewed guest rooms features complimentary high-speed wireless internet, a 37-inch flat-screen LCD television and spacious, ergonomic work areas.



Greenwood Hospitality Group has opened the new Renaissance Hotel, a centerpiece of the Center City Lehigh Valley development in downtown Allentown, Pa.

The seven-story Renaissance Allentown Hotel is located adjacent to the PPL Center, a new 8,500-seat sports and events arena, in the heart of the development.

The historic Dime Bank has been transformed to serve as the hotel lobby and the Renaissance offers 170 full-service guest rooms and suites. It also includes 11,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 4,100-square-foot ballroom that overlooks Center Square. A Club Room and a fully equipped health club are also among the hotel’s amenities.

The Dime, an upscale restaurant and lounge, also sits on the campus and is located above the entrance to PPL Center. The Dime’s unique design features a two-story ceiling, an open kitchen and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Center City Lehigh Valley is one of the nation’s largest development projects, aiming to transform downtown Allentown into a regional hub for business and metropolitan living.

In addition to the Renaissance and PPL Center, the project also includes 170 luxury apartments, 650,000 square feet of office space and 100,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.



The measles outbreak that originated at the Disneyland theme parks has continued to spread, and has now reportedly infected victims in six additional states as well as Mexico.

The California Department of Public Health has reported that 79 of the 95 cases were in California, with 52 of those cases directly tied to Disneyland visits. Cases have also been reported in Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

While Disneyland had issued no clear plan of action as this article went to post, a statement from their Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Pamela Hymel, explains that the park has been testing staffers as a precaution and not returning any infected employees to work until they have been medically cleared. Additionally, all unvaccinated parties are advised to receive vaccinations before visiting.

The California Department of Public Health has urged those who are not vaccinated against the virus to do so, and has also advised any individual displaying signs of measles to immediately contact their health care provider. Symptoms can begin with a cold, runny nose, cough and fever before leading to the appearance of the rash.

The spread of the virus has thrown a particular scare into the Phoenix area, where the city will be hosting the Super Bowl this Sunday. Officials there in the outlying counties of Maricopa, Pinal and Gila are on the lookout for those who may have been exposed to sites visited by previously infected residents.

Meetings Focus will continue to monitor the situation as it develops.

Possible resources:
Message from Disney Parks Medical Examiner
Update from California Department of Public Health

Updated resource:
New York Times measles coverage and facts (with map)



Wyndham Hotel Group has debuted a new property in Roseville, Mich., only a 20-minute drive outside of downtown Detroit.

The 111-room Days Inn and Suites Roseville puts guests near Lake St. Clair, Metro Beach, shopping and casinos, and offers a business center, seasonal outdoor pool and on-site dining at Marco’s Restaurant, which serves Mexican and Italian fare daily.

Guests can enjoy free Wi-Fi access, a complimentary DayBreak continental breakfast and free parking for large vehicles and boats. The hotel is equipped with 3,000 square feet of flexible meeting space which can accommodate up to 180 attendees.

The newly opened hotel participates in Wyndham Rewards, the world’s largest hotel loyalty program as measured by number of participating hotels.



Frontier Development & Hospitality Group has announced that its latest acquisition, the 184-room Radisson Largo, will be transformed into the DoubleTree by Hilton Largo/Washington DC, effective May 1, 2015. The $19 million acquisition and transformation of the hotel will be managed by Crescent Hotels & Resort.

All 184 guest rooms will be redesigned and outfitted with a contemporary look and feel. The hotel’s public space, meeting rooms and food/beverage zones will also be reinvented. In addition, the hotel’s new design will feature a new exterior social zone that will be anchored by a fire pit. Finally, the hotel will have a new fitness center and indoor pool.

Event spaces include a ballroom with capacity for about 190 attendees reception-style.

The hotel will remain open throughout the transformation.



This week the Westin Arlington Gateway, near the Metrorail connection to Washington, D.C., completes a full renovation of its over 17,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

All nine meeting rooms, including a boardroom and all pre-function areas, have received a complete makeover, from the new carpet to the ceiling treatments. New artwork has been integrated as well and colors have been refreshed throughout the space. 

The Westin Arlington Gateway is located in the Ballston neighborhood of Arlington, just two blocks from the Ballston Metro Station, providing direct access to Washington, D.C.

The hotel offers 336 rooms and over 10,000 square feet of meeting and event space; it is the home of Pinzimini Restaurant & Lounge, a Westin Workout gym, New Balance Gear Lending, and an indoor pool. The property is under the management of Crescent Hotels & Resorts.



Starwood Hotels & Resorts has officially launched Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph.

The new hotel has opened its doors in downtown Columbus, Ohio, at 620 North High Street, in the Short North Arts District.

Owned and developed by The Pizzuti Companies and managed by Wischermann Partners, the new 10 story hotel has been designed by renowned Miami-based firm Arquitectonica to complement the unique historical aesthetic of Columbus' Short North neighborhood.

Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph features 135 modern guest rooms – including 10 Executive Suites, two contemporary Spa Suites, and a modern Presidential Suite. The hotel also offers nearly 7,000 square feet of meeting and event space (including the Michael B. Coleman Grand Ballroom, hosting up to 250 guests), Columbus' new lounge, Soul and a 24-hour fully equipped fitness center with views of the Short North and Downtown Columbus sectors.

The hotel's two-story lobby aims to blend art, design and architecture while featuring dramatic pieces by international artists KAWS, Rob Wynne, Nari Ward and Fred Wilson throughout the bar and reception areas. More than 31 new pieces of art from 15 Ohio artists have been commissioned for use in the hotel's guest rooms, hallways and lounges.

The hotel also is home to Cameron Mitchell's The Guild House, which features locally sourced, artisan cuisine combined with wines from around the world. The restaurant seats more than 140 guests, including unique dining spaces, a full-service bar and private dining room.



DoubleTree by Hilton has debuted the DoubleTree by Hilton Jacksonville Airport, located just 200 yards from the main terminal of Jacksonville International Airport.

Formerly an independent hotel, the property reopens to guests following a dramatic multimillion dollar renovation that includes modern design updates throughout the lobby, guest rooms, meeting spaces and restaurant. DoubleTree by Hilton Jacksonville Airport is owned by Jax Airport Hotel, LLC and managed by Pyramid Hotel Group.

The contemporary 201-room hotel features property-wide design updates that reflect the region's coastal flair, complemented by bright color themes and dark wood accents. In-room and lobby artwork is custom-made and highlights the area's beaches and attractions. Unique views of the nearby airport's runways are also be seen throughout the property.

Modern amenities include HDTVs and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel's public areas and guest rooms. Additional complimentary offerings include a heated outdoor pool and hot tub, 24-hour fitness center with Precor equipment, 24-hour business center, on-site parking and 24-hour shuttle service to and from the airport.

American cuisine is served all day long at the contemporary Frequency Restaurant, with signature dishes such as Southern Style Shrimp and Grits and Braised Lamb Shanks. Restaurant guests can enjoy lake and water fountain views, as well as outside patio dining. Guests can also relax with a cocktail before or after dinner at the Frequency Lounge, or enjoy a variety of in-room dining options.

With 11,000 square feet of function space covering three levels of the hotel, DoubleTree by Hilton Jacksonville Airport has options for meetings, banquets and other business or social events. Two ballrooms, two boardrooms and four breakout rooms are suitable for a wide range of purposes; and for smaller group meetings, the hotel offers the Meetings Simplified by DoubleTree by Hilton package, which includes the meeting room, basic meeting Wi-Fi, meeting room supplies including a flipchart, markers, extension and power cord, and all day non-alcoholic beverage service.

DoubleTree by Hilton Jacksonville Airport is located at 2101 Dixie Clipper Drive.


CANCUN, Mexico

Hard Rock International has announced its plans for Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Cancun, an all-inclusive resort that will be situated along the shores of the Caribbean Sea, just a 15-minute drive from the Cancun International Airport.

Set to open in late 2017, the oceanfront property will be the third Yucatan Peninsula property in the Hard Rock International portfolio and will feature 1,800 oceanfront guest rooms.

Plans call for six world-class restaurants, ranging from French-inspired to authentic Mexican cuisine, five bars and lounges, and multiple entertainment venues throughout the expansive property. The Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Cancun includes plans for an 8-million gallon, multi-acre, lagoon-style swimming pool, complemented by white-sand beaches.

For adventure seekers, the property will offer excursions, such as snorkeling and kayaking.

Additionally, the property will also feature more than 90,000 square feet of meeting and event space, for elegant banquets, themed parties and other events.

Family-centric experiences include a dedicated kids club, a private teen zone and designated family pool areas, while adults will indulge in exclusive gathering spaces encompassing a nightclub, private pools with outdoor terraces and numerous entertainment offerings.



Coral Hospitality, the hospitality management company operating The Lodge at Amicalola Falls and The Lodge and Conference Center at Unicoi State Park, has wrapped multimillion dollar renovations at each of the North Georgia lodges.

Lodge at Amicalola Falls

The Lodge at Amicalola Falls is located in Dawsonville and opened in 1991. It has received a major upgrade to its facilities including a new lobby with a charming panoramic rocking chair porch, completely refreshed guest rooms—including several that sport their own newly added patios—as well as extensive upgrades and improvements to all freestanding cabins.

Each of the 57 Lodge guest rooms now feature a fresh, designer look with new windows, flooring and wall coverings in rich earth tones complemented with natural wood and stone textures. Rooms also offer new luxury king and queen sized bedding with a plush linen package and upgraded bathrooms with new marble countertops. For additional comfort there is new lighting, new electronics and 42" flat-screen TVs.

The Lodge's 14 cabins are also receiving a remake with new carpeting, new furnishings, new bedding and refreshed bathrooms and kitchen upgrades as well as new flat screen TVs that are being added later this year. Amicalola Falls, also offers its popular hike-in only accommodations. The Lodge is a possible setting for group meetings, family gatherings and conferences with facilities that can accommodate up to 200 people, offering full catering facilities as well as the Maple Restaurant that is open year-round.

The Lodge is one mile from the Amicalola Falls State Park Visitor Center, where visitors can see live animals, check maps, view special exhibits and learn about the nearby Appalachian Trail.

Lodge & Conference Center at Unicoi State Park

The Lodge & Conference Center at Unicoi State Park has also completed a multimillion dollar renovation and refurbishment, which includes a new welcoming Lodge Lobby where guests can cozy up around the fireplace.

In addition, the expansive meeting space has all been remodeled with the addition of new pre-function space now sporting mountain views and a dedicated continuous break area.

There is also the addition of a Boardroom, all making this breathtaking destination even more desirable for corporate meetings, incentives, weddings, and social events.

For added comfort, each of the 100 Lodge guest rooms offers charming mountain style decor and newly enhanced amenities including a 42" flat screen TV, as well as an additional 16 king-bedded guestrooms, and 24 double queen-bedded guest rooms. Each of the Lodge's adjacent cabins have also been refreshed with new fabrics and furnishings, as well as the addition of a second bathroom in the larger three bedroom cabins.

Unicoi Lodge & Conference Center at Unicoi State Park is open year round and is situated on 1,050 acres nestled between the Chattahoochee Forest and the alpine village of Helen.

The park features 12 miles of nature and hiking trails, a 53-acre lake and trout stream for fishing; picnic facilities; a world class mountain bike trail; and a year-round schedule of activities, as well as comprehensive conference facilities.

For dining, guests and visitors may enjoy the Unicoi Dining Room featuring an expansive buffet, and an a la carte menu. Unicoi Lodge also offers Smith Creek Tavern, a possible spot for a casual meal, cocktails, or watching a game on one of the many large-screen TVs.



Hyatt Hotels has revealed details on Hyatt Centric, a new, full-service lifestyle brand it says is designed for both business and leisure travelers.

The Hyatt Centric name is reportedly inspired by the brand’s mission of putting its guest at the center of the action in the best destinations. More than 15 Hyatt Centric locations will debut this summer in the heart of some of the world’s most popular cities, including New York, Paris, Atlanta, Chicago and Miami.

The Hyatt Centric experience will focus on three main concepts:

  • An authentic entryway to the destination: Each hotel will offer a unique and modern take on its location. The artwork, furniture, food and beverages will let guests immediately get an authentic feel for the location.

  • A focus on thoughtful simplicity: Properties will aim to deliver the essentials in the easiest, most streamlined way possible. For example, at Hyatt Centric hotels, room service will be offered as a knock n’ drop service, which will allow guests to enjoy gourmet food in their rooms without formal delivery.

  • A human touch in a digital world: Hotels will strive to offer a balance of advanced digital capabilities but with the understanding that these experiences are even more beneficial when combined with a human touch.

For more information on Hyatt Centric hotels, visit



SECO Development, Inc. and Sellen Construction are partnering to design and build the Hotel at Southport, a 4-star 350-room luxury hotel that will be located just minutes from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The property will be built at a cost of $197 million and is slated for a spring 2017 launch.

The Hotel at Southport will reportedly offer 4-star accommodations, business and convention services, and will be within minutes of shopping, restaurants, outdoor and water activities.

The property sits on 5.5 acres of the 17.5-acre Southport Project on Lake Washington, and will mark the third of four construction phases. The already developed 383 luxury residential units, and 17,581 square-feet of commercial space is 95 percent occupied.

The Hotel at Southport will offer a 40,000 square-foot conference center, VIP lounge and gourmet restaurant, 20,000 square feet of waterfront courtyards and plazas, and four roof-top terraces; it is in line for LEED designation in building design and construction by the U.S. Green Building Council.



Executives of Davidson Hotels & Resorts and Silverpeak Real Estate Partners have announced that its joint venture has acquired the 499-room Hyatt Regency Indianapolis from Hyatt Hotels Corporation. 

Davidson, which facilitated the transaction, will also operate the hotel, marking the ninth full-service Hyatt branded hotel the company has managed.

The hotel has undergone significant renovations since 2012, and Davidson plans further upgrades to the hotel’s guest rooms and lobby, as well as enhancements to food and beverage outlets and meeting spaces.

The property is convenient to such local attractions as the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Conner Prairie Interactive History Park and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and just 10 miles from the Indianapolis International Airport.

Located at One South Capital Avenue in downtown Indianapolis, the 22-story hotel shares an atrium with the PNC Center and is connected via walkway to the Indianapolis Convention Center, Lucas Oil Stadium, Circle Center Mall and the Arts Garden.

The hotel offers more than 35,000 square feet of meeting space, an indoor pool, 24-hour Stay Fit gym and cardio center and bicycle rentals.  The Hyatt also offers four dining options: One South, serving breakfast and lunch, Level One lounge, a full-service Starbucks (also operated by Davidson) and the rotating Eagles Nest rooftop restaurant.



The newly formed Proper Hospitality group has announced the launch of Proper Hotels.

Led by CEO Brad Korzen, the creator and former CEO of the Viceroy Hotel Group, along with his partners Brian De Lowe and Alex Samek, Proper Hospitality will begin opening its eponymously named Proper Hotels in late 2015.

The initial properties are slated to open in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Texas, and Brooklyn, N.Y., and will aim to reflect their vibrant communities—and offer innovations in food, beverage, technology, art, music, fashion and wellness.

The first Proper Hotel will be San Francisco Proper, a 135-room boutique hotel scheduled to open next winter in a newly renovated historic building at the center of San Francisco's booming Mid-Market neighborhood.

It will feature three chef-driven restaurants on the ground floor, as well as a restaurant and bar on the rooftop with panoramic views of the San Francisco skyline.



Orlando hotelier Harris Rosen, president and COO of Rosen Hotels & Resorts, received the Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.L. Award at the 32nd Annual Salute to Greatness Awards Dinner recently presented by The King Center in Atlanta.

The award is given in honor of and in keeping with the spirit of the late Coretta Scott King and recognizes a youth or young adult and a youth organization/initiative which exemplifies exceptional leadership in the areas of peace, social justice and nonviolent social change. The honor was established and awarded for the first time in 2013.

Rosen was recognized for his more than 20-year commitment to the Tangelo Park Program, a three-fold educational community service initiative within the once drug- and crime-ridden Tangelo Park neighborhood of Orlando.  

The King Center, formally known as The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, was established in 1968 by Mrs. Coretta Scott King.

Rosen created the Tangelo Park Program in 1993, a personally funded concept that provides free preschool for every two-, three-, and four-year-old child living in the neighborhood and a full community college or four-year college or a vocational or technical school scholarship for every graduating high school senior. In addition, the program provides a Neighborhood Center for Families where parents can take parenting courses and obtain counseling and other resources to help them become positive role models for their children.

When Rosen created the Tangelo Park Program, the community's high school dropout rate was 43 percent higher than the national average. Not long after the program began, high school graduation rates soared with an almost zero dropout rate. To date, more than 280 young people have now attended college or vocational school on the program.

"I am so honored that the Tangelo Park Program has been recognized by The King Center and I am truly humbled to receive an award given in the spirit of Mrs. Coretta Scott King," said Rosen. "I am happy to accept the honor on behalf of the Tangelo Park community and especially all of the youngsters who have worked so hard over the past 20 years to better themselves through the gift of education."

Rosen Hotels & Resorts comprises nearly 6,500 guest rooms at seven Orlando hotels: three convention properties - Rosen Plaza, Rosen Centre and Rosen Shingle Creek, as well as four value-priced leisure properties - Rosen Inn International; Rosen Inn Closest to Universal; Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando; and Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista.

Related Content

Check out Tyler Davidson's recent profile on Harris Rosen that ran in the Jan. 2015 issue.



Located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan in a landmark 1895 Beau-Arts building, the 220-room Dream Midtown—previously known as the Dream New York—will introduce a new ground-floor lobby playscape, guest rooms and suites, including a 1,500-square-foot Presidential Suite, and nightlife offerings by TAO Strategic Group, including the introduction of bi-level rooftop lounge to open later this year.

"The property-wide transformation of our first hotel raises the bar for existing and future Dream locations," states Eric A. Danziger, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hampshire Hotels Management, guardian of the Dream Hotels brand. "It's a new day at Dream Midtown, and this renewed approach to service and design will be felt throughout the entire portfolio as the Dream brand expands in national and international markets."

Dream Midtown commissioned the award-winning Studio Gaia to lead the hotel redesign.

Anchored by a new cocktail bar and lounge, the reimagined lobby embraces the spirit of classic design with a modern twist. The guestrooms provide a dynamic, refined blend of architecture and artwork, with the focal point being an elaborate canopy-style headboard draped in luminescent floral patterned fabrics with subtle ruby, emerald and sapphire gemstone imagery.

Most notably, the corridors of the private guest quarters went from masculine brown and blue hues to more vibrant shades of violet and white, and polished mirrors flank the walls.

The new Presidential Suite will feature an expansive floor plan reaching 1,500 square feet with three bedrooms and three baths, expansive built-in bar, 80-inch LED flat screen TV, and magnificent skyline views of Columbus Circle and Central Park.

Designed for private parties and VIP events, the suite also includes personal concierge services, as well as a bartender and mixologist on call 24/7.



Gemstone Hotels & Resorts has entered into an agreement to operate Topnotch Resort in Stowe, Vt. The luxury resort looks out on Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak, and recently completed a $15 million renovation focused on guest rooms, two popular food and beverage outlets, meeting spaces and other public areas.

The property is a member of the Preferred Hotels collection and carries AAA's prestigious Four-Diamond certification.

Built for recreation and relaxation, Topnotch Resort's tennis center includes four indoor and six outdoor courts, a USPTA-certified staff and more than 30 programs for all ages and levels.

Other amenities include indoor and outdoor swimming pools and hot tubs, along with a recreation barn featuring a retail and rental outlet with cross country, downhill and telemark skis, mountain and cruising bikes, and snowshoes; the resort also offers guided fishing tours and horseback riding.

A 35,000-square-foot spa and fitness center offers unique treatments sourced from around the world along with personal training and fitness consultations, customized facials and salon services for all ages. Two restaurants, Flannel and The Roost, offer regionally inspired cuisine prepared from local ingredients, paired with craft beer and local beverages, along with views of Mount Mansfield.

More than 9,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor venues and meeting spaces including outdoor patios, firepits and forested spaces, provide a setting for weddings, meetings and family gatherings.

Headquartered in Park City, Utah, with offices in Stamford, Connecticut, Gemstone is a full-service management company that specializes in luxury and upscale hotels and resorts.



Commune Hotels & Resorts is bringing its native California brand, Joie de Vivre Hotels, cross-country as part of a national expansion, setting its sights on NYC and Miami.

With the opening of two Joie de Vivre hotels in these primary gateway cities, Commune hopes to establish the brand's foothold on the East Coast, adding to its existing presence in Hawaii, the Midwest, Southwest and West Coast regions.

The new properties will consist of 50 Bowery, a new-build project in New York, and The Hall in Miami Beach, a redevelopment effort of a previous lodging.

New York City

A new 22-story, 229-room Joie de Vivre hotel will arrive on the Bowery, just steps from the Manhattan Bridge at the crossroads of Chinatown, Nolita, the Lower East Side and East Tribeca. The new construction will incorporate historic elements into a contemporary design.

Developed by 50 Bowery Holdings, LLC, the modern tower will feature a cellar lounge and a rooftop bar with panoramic views of the city's skyline.

The project at 50 Bowery is slated to open in 2016.

Miami Beach

Originally designed by architect L. Murray Dixon, The Hall sits in the heart of Miami Beach's Art Deco District at 15th Street and Collins Avenue.

It's located steps away from the open-air pedestrian mall Lincoln Road, Ocean Drive, The Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater, and the New World Symphony.

The new 164-room Joie de Vivre Miami Beach property will feature numerous amenities, as well as a courtyard with an indoor/outdoor restaurant, a beer garden, library, bar and swimming pool. The Hall is slated to open in summer 2015.



Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe is all set for its official Jan. 28 debut, including the recent addition of a massive guitar sculpture towering over a venue courtyard (pictured during construction).

Standing 25 feet high and weighing in at a hefty 2,150 pounds, the sculpture mirrors the form of an actual acoustic guitar and is located in the center of the courtyard on the southeast corner of the resort casino.  The guitar is comprised of several materials, including Corten metal and stainless steel, and welded together with wire. The materials were chosen to survive the unique environmental conditions in Lake Tahoe. 

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe will be a robust gaming resort offering over 500 slot machines and a wide variety of table games. The property will include a 539-room Hard Rock Hotel, a 25,000 plus square foot casino, the well-known retail store, multiple restaurants and bars, the largest outdoor pool experience in South Lake Tahoe, and an assortment of live-entertainment both indoors and out.

For meetings and events, the new property will offer more than 14,000 square feet of flexible function space.



BARDOT Brasserie, Las Vegas’ debut French concept from James Beard award-winning chef Michael Mina, is now open for dinner and weekend brunch at ARIA Resort & Casino.

Paying homage to the skillful culinary techniques, celebrated libations and lively atmosphere for which The City of Light is renowned, Chef Mina has created a creative interpretation of a Parisian brasserie in the center of The Strip.

“Upon entering BARDOT, every detail transports guests to a café along the Champs-Élysées in the 1920s,” said Mina. “I am thrilled to introduce this restaurant to Las Vegas and for it to be a part of one of the most dynamic culinary scenes in the world.”

Created by Bishop Pass Interior Architectural Design Studio, BARDOT’s space aims for a dark and seductive atmosphere. Spaces include:

  • Big Brass Bar – A location for mingling with friends or grabbing a cocktail, BARDOT’s bar will catch visitors’ attention the minute they walk inside. Perched high above the zinc countertop is a maze of brass pipes connecting to form shelves for the venue’s high-end spirits and alcohol.
  • Dining Room – BARDOT’s main dining room offers a traditional yet luxurious dining space. Walls of black lacquer are paneled with gold pen striping, surrounding a series of Parisian columns. Burgundy leather booths and bistro-style tables spread across a pristine marble floor, where guests can peek inside the restaurant’s show kitchen as they watch their meals being prepared.
  • Sidewalk Café – A nod to Parisian sidewalk cafes, BARDOT features intimate seating outside of the restaurant for an entertaining dining and people-watching experience.

BARDOT is located on the second floor of ARIA. The restaurant’s hours of operation are:

  • Dinner daily from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • Brunch from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Nightly happy hour from 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the bar and in the lounge.

More information and a full menu can be found at BARDOT Brasserie's official website.



The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) brought a record-setting 4,128 meeting planners and suppliers together to make big plans for the future of face-to-face and hybrid events at Convening Leaders 2015.

With speakers from inside and outside of the meetings and conference landscape, the PCMA Education and Events Teams worked together to develop a program that allowed every attendee to create a personalized education roadmap.

While the education roadmap was founded on five primary tracks (Event Technology and Intelligence, Operational Strategy, Meeting and Experience Design, Globalization and the PCMA Business School), it also included potential pitstops that increased attendee ROI:

  • The PCMA Learning Lounge, powered by Freeman. Freeman and PCMA collaborated together to expand the Learning Lounge with more opportunities for attendees to dig deeper into issues, with Q&A sessions featuring keynote speakers and thought leaders, hands-on activities and areas designed to facilitate discussions and networking.
  • TechCentral, powered by the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau. From an App Alley featuring platform tutorials with leading mobile app providers to a Tech Demo Zone to 30-minute TechBytes educational sessions, this was an up-close and hands-on opportunity for planners to add “tech-savvy” to their résumés.
  • The PCMA Park. With picnic tables, park benches, lampposts and 35 trees, the middle of the West Building at McCormick Place felt more like Chicago’s downtown Millennium Park than a traditional convention center.
  • PCMA’s Five Speakers to Watch Series - As meeting planners continue to search for speakers who can inspire their own audiences, this new addition to the program included five of the most notable (and affordable) new names on the speaking circuit.
  • Food For Thought Luncheon - As meeting planners work to satisfy a growing list of dietary restrictions and preferences, PCMA used Tuesday’s meal time to help Convening Leaders participants understand how to easily add gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan and nut-free items to their own menus.

And as leaders from around the meetings industry gathered in Chicago, meeting professionals around the world who could not make the trip to McCormick Place in-person tuned in for the PCMA Convening Leaders Hybrid Event. In its fifth year, the hybrid event continued its impressive track record with 1,000+ attendees from 33 countries.

Convening Leaders 2016 is heading north and will take place at the Vancouver Convention Centre January 10 - 13, 2016.

PCMA is the multi-channel professional resource and educator for leaders in the meetings, conventions, events and tradeshow industries, and provides its 6,500+ members with a community of likeminded colleagues, innovative education and creative global solutions to enhance both their professional development and their organization's connections.



The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation and Music City Center have partnered with the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) for the eighth annual PCMA Citywide Auction, designed to raise money to fund high-level meetings industry education.

The auction annually offers meeting professionals substantial savings and package inclusions to ensure their convention is truly a unique experience.

The auction officially kicked off during PCMA’s recent Convening Leaders show in Chicago and will remain open until Nov. 30, 2015, at 5 p.m. CST, unless sold through the "Buy It Now!" option (which will immediately close the auction).

The package is available between the years of 2017 and 2022.

The PCMA Citywide Auction package includes:

  • 353,000 continuous gross square feet of exhibit and meeting space for up to 10 days.
  • 100 hours of complimentary registration clerks.
  • 10 percent discount on convention center food and beverage.
  • 10 percent discount on A/V needs.
  • 25 percent discount on Internet access for show management and Free Wi-Fi in public space.
  • Board dinner for up to 30 people.
  • 10 percent discount on average prevailing group rate at the Omni.
  • Assistance in negotiation of any and all talent on behalf of the meeting.
  • Complimentary song writer show to promote the convention the year the meeting for an audience of 200-250.
  • Autographed guitar to utilize as auction item for the organization and/or meeting

Bidding for the 2015 Citywide Auction package from Nashville, minimally valued at $675,000, starts at $85,000 with bid increments of $10,000. If a bidder chooses the “buy now” option, the cost is $135,000 and closes the auction immediately.

The PCMA Citywide Auction has previously featured packages in Philadelphia, Hawaii, San Diego, Orlando, Washington DC, Chicago and New Orleans, with convention planner members receiving incredible value while giving back to the organization.

Click here to learn more about the PCMA Citywide Auction.



Wyndham Hotel Group has announced the signing of a management agreement to expand its upscale Wyndham Hotels and Resorts brand in Florida with the addition of a beachfront Wyndham Grand Resort in Clearwater Beach, Fla.

The new-construction, 450-room Wyndham Grand Resort Clearwater Beach, which has broken ground on South Gulfview Boulevard at the north end of the prominent Beach Walk, will become one of the largest hotel resorts in the market upon opening in early 2017. With approximately 24,000 square feet of event space, it will also house one of the largest banquet and meeting facilities in Florida's Pinellas County. The development is expected to generate more than 1,900 jobs for the area.

Wyndham Grand Resort Clearwater Beach is owned by Florida philanthropist Dr. Kiran Patel, a long-standing partner of Wyndham Hotel Group who owns two Wyndham Grand properties in Tucson, Ariz., and Pittsburgh, Pa.

Services and amenities at Wyndham Grand Resort Clearwater Beach will include a large outdoor pool complex, a full-service spa, multiple restaurants accessible from the Beach Walk and immediate access to one of America's favorite beaches. It is located just 20 minutes from downtown Tampa and Tampa International Airport.



FAC-W Markham, LLC, a partnership of affiliates of Fifth Avenue Capital and Waterford Hotel Group, has finalized the purchase of the 288-room DoubleTree by Hilton in Little Rock, Ark., and has announced that the property will undergo a $5 million revamp.

The hotel is located just off I-30, in historic downtown Little Rock, and features 288 rooms, the Plaza Grille and Bar, flexible banquet, catering, and meeting space—including a 8,500-square-foot ballroom—a business center and an outdoor swimming pool.

DoubleTree Little Rock is connected to one of Arkansas' top performing arts venues, the Robinson Center, which is currently closed for a multimillion dollar renovation and scheduled to reopen in Fall 2016. The hotel is conveniently located only minutes from the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport and in close proximity to the leading Little Rock attractions, such as the Statehouse Convention Center, William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library, Verizon Arena, Little Rock's Government and State offices and the shopping district.



Concord Hospitality Enterprises and Kane Realty Corporation have made plans to develop and operate North Carolina's first AC Hotel in Raleigh's North Hills section.

The AC Hotel will be located in the Park District at North Hills near the LEED Gold-certified CAPTRUST Tower. The 133-room upscale hotel is expected to open in 2016 in North Hills, the heart of Raleigh's Midtown district that includes high-end boutiques, well-known department stores, upscale dining and ample entertainment.

Founded in 1998, AC Hotels is an international hotel brand with nearly 100 hotels located primarily in Europe. AC Hotels and Marriott International formed a joint venture in 2011 to expand the brand into the U.S. and further abroad, and AC Hotel Raleigh is one of more than 30 hotels set to open within the next three years throughout the U.S. and Latin America.

Located in the heart of Raleigh, North Hills is just off Exit 8 on the I-440 interstate, 15 minutes from RDU International Airport. The district is home to numerous luxury apartment complexes, more than 700,000 square feet of office space and many outdoor gathering spots. Quality-of-life options include spas, salons, and a spacious gym.



Streamsong Resort, already home to two top-tier golf courses, has announced plans to build a third course, which will open in autumn 2017 on its 16,000-acre property in central Florida.

The new course–Streamsong Black–will be designed by Gil Hanse, architect of The Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and co-designer of Castle Stuart Golf Links in Scotland, among others. Construction is scheduled to commence this summer.

Streamsong Black will be built directly southeast of the two existing courses, Streamsong Red and Streamsong Blue. In contrast to these two previous courses, which were intentionally intermingled, Streamsong Black will stand alone to give golfers a sense of peaceful isolation. Shaped by the property's former phosphate mining operations decades ago, Streamsong Black will feature abundant sand, rolling elevation changes, native grasses and ample views of ridges and the surrounding landscape on a grand scale.

The resort also plans to add a second practice facility, clubhouse and restaurant to serve guests playing Streamsong Black; Streamsong also indicated that it is assessing various alternatives for a fourth course, the details of which will be provided at a later date.

Additional Property Info

Streamsong Resort features a 216-room Lodge, with three casual and fine dining restaurants, conference and event facilities, a spa and infinity pool. Streamsong's Clubhouse includes 12 guest rooms, a restaurant and bar, an award-winning golf shop and additional meeting space with sweeping views. In total, the property offers 24,600 square feet of flexible meeting space, along with 40,000 square feet of outdoor event space.

When not hitting the links, guests can enjoy such activities as guided bass fishing, shooting sporting clays with certified instructors and exploring the resort's winding nature trails.



Hyatt Hotels has opened the Hyatt House Salt Lake City/Downtown.

Situated in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City, the hotel is located steps away from Salt Palace Convention Center and Energy Solutions Arena, home of the Utah Jazz basketball team. Guests are also a short walk or free TRAX ride from all of Salt Lake City's major attractions, including the Salt Lake LDS Temple, City Creek Shopping Center, Genealogy Library, Leonardo Museum, Clark Planetarium, Capitol Theater, Rose Wagner Theater and Discovery Gateway Children's Museum.

Nine resorts are within an hour drive, and the hotel offers easy access to Salt Lake International Airport and the University of Utah.

Hyatt House Salt Lake City/Downtown offers:

  • 159 residentially inspired upscale den guest rooms and studio, one-bedroom Kitchen Suites with plush beds and 32-inch HDTVs.
  • Kitchen Suites feature real kitchens, living space and bedrooms.
  • Free Wi-Fi access with remote printing throughout the hotel.
  • Complimentary Morning Spread, a full hot breakfast served daily for guests.
  • H BAR featuring our Sip+Savor Menu, a menu of home-cooked comforts and full bar.
  • More than 880 square feet of flexible function space for business or social gatherings.
  • Range of public spaces, including a 24-hour Workout Room, guest laundry facilities, pool table, House Market, and the Commons with an oversized Social Sectional and spaces to socialize or unwind.
  • Year-round outdoor pool and hot tub, complete with a barbeque grill and fire pit.
  • Borrows program for forgotten items.
  • A pet-friendly policy that welcomes dogs or cats.

Hyatt House Salt Lake City/Downtown is under the leadership of General Manager Meghan James and Director of Sales Blair McDonald. In her role, James is directly responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the hotel, including overseeing the hotel's 50 associates and ensuring guests encounter the purposeful service for which Hyatt House is known. James is joined by McDonald, director of sales, who is responsible for providing sales service and support to travelers and meeting planners frequenting the Salt Lake City area.



North Phoenix got a fresh addition to its hotel portfolio with the recent opening of the Radisson Hotel Phoenix North.

The 284-room hotel closed for a five-month, $8 million renovation helmed by Norville, a construction industry expert; capital partners Brixton Capital, who specialize in commercial real estate transactions; and management firm R.A. Rauch & Associates, who will bring their management expertise into all aspects of guest relations and hotel operations.

The modern design, executed by Greenwood & Black, has a chic and energetic look across the property, featuring shades of blue and yellow with red accents throughout.

Guest rooms sport new carpet, fully remodeled bathrooms and fresh soft goods and mattresses. A renovated lobby features new flooring, wallpaper, paint, bold regional artwork, enhanced seating and lounge area and a sundries shop. Recreation-minded travelers can get moving in a new fitness room with Life Fitness equipment, individual TVs with complimentary earbuds and free weights. The remodel also includes a resurfaced pool, whirlpool and lounge deck, and over 14,000 square feet of updated meeting space. The hotel offers guests complimentary access to Wi-Fi, complimentary parking and a free shuttle.

The Radisson Phoenix North. It provides access to the Black Canyon Conference Center, downtown Phoenix and Sky Harbor International Airport.



The American Automobile Association (AAA) has unveiled the most recent updates to its roster of Five-Diamond properties, an exclusive list that showcases what are considered to be some of the top hotels and restaurants in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Notable additions to this year's list include the Orlando-area's only Five-Diamond hotel, Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, and Ohio's first-ever Five-Diamond restaurant, the Orchids at Palm Court, in the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza.

New Five-Diamond Hotels (8):

  • Four Seasons Hotel Denver – Denver, Colo.
  • Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort – Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
  • Grand Luxxe – Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
  • One&Only Palmilla – San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico
  • Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa – Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
  • Shangri-La Hotel – Toronto, Ontario
  • The Langham, Chicago – Chicago, Ill.
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman – Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands

New Five-Diamond Restaurants (6):

  • Le Chique – Puerto Morelos, Mexico
  • Orchids at Palm Court – Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Palme d’Or – Coral Gables, Fla.
  • Passion by Martin Berasategui – Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
  • Saison – San Francisco, Calif.
  • Twist – Las Vegas, Nev.

For more information about Diamond Ratings and the complete Five-Diamond hotel and restaurant lists, visit



Marriott International has dropped its efforts to block Wi-Fi hotspots in its hotels, prompted in part by widespread customer feedback via social media and other channels.

Marriott, in conjunction with the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) had previously made a request to the FCC for permission to block Wi-Fi access in its conference spaces through the deployment of preventative technology stopping the use of PDAs as Wi-Fi "hotspots." Wireless providers such as Google and Microsoft were among those companies urging the FCC to deny Marriott’s request.

While many guests perceived Marriott’s efforts to block event space Wi-Fi as part of a larger endeavor to prevent guest room and hotel lobby access as well, company representatives insisted the move was tied to security purposes that included the prevention of cyberattacks and other possible network disruptions.

Regardless, Marriott has now dropped its efforts, releasing an official statement on Wednesday stating their intentions and perspective on the matter:

“Marriott International listens to its customers, and we will not block guests from using their personal Wi-Fi devices at any of our managed hotels. Marriott remains committed to protecting the security of Wi-Fi access in meeting and conference areas at our hotels. We will continue to look to the FCC to clarify appropriate security measures network operators can take to protect customer data, and will continue to work with the industry and others to find appropriate market solutions that do not involve the blocking of Wi-Fi devices.”



U.S.-based hospitality management company Benchmark Hospitality International has just released its Top Dining Trends for 2015, based on current trends observed by Benchmark’s executive chefs and culinary experts at the company’s 40 luxury hotels, resorts and restaurants.

Dining Trend #1: Small Plates-Any Time!

Expo-style cooking, including show kitchens, action stations, EVO grilling and mobile kitchens. What’s hot? Slow cooked brisket, braised pork shoulder and ceviche-style seafood. 

Small plates, served any hour of the day or night, are satisfying demanding palates and may help save waistlines.

Dining Trend #2: Roll & Go 

Bunless creations that are rolled instead of presented as traditional sandwiches. Take a Reuben, Club, Monti Cristo and even the traditional hamburger filling and roll this in flour tortillas or those flavored with chili, spinach or blue corn. Roll and go...

Dining Trend #3: Lose the Fat-Infuse  

Increased awareness over the past years of the downside of fat, as well as the emphasis on gluten free and vegan foods, has forever altered cooking styles. Instead of fat, chefs are changing to beer braising, cider poaching and quick pickling.

The idea is to infuse flavor while never exposing food to fat!

Dining Trend #4: Back To The Future 

A questionable economy and world strife are causing customers to crave the comfort foods of their past. Comeback items on the menu today include family favorites like meatloaf, liver & onions, shepherd’s pie and pan-fried chicken. These dishes are popping up in whiskey bars and upscale craft beerhouses. Classics like Shrimp Louie and Oysters Rockefellers are shoving Chicken Caesar and Spinach Dip off the menu.

Dining Trend #5: Grab-n-Go 

Time is money and today it’s all about “now." Grab-and-go dining is increasingly popular and spans from fresh exotic fruits to house-roasted Himalayan salted pumpkin seeds. Travelers are looking for healthy and convenient ways to satisfy their need to recharge, and stay on track. 

Grab and go favorites include wilted spinach, maple seared salmon brioche and golden jewel grained edamame guacamole.

Dining Trend #6: Curacao Cocktails  

As travel and exploring the world becomes second nature to nearly everyone, when back home, travelers want to relive their experiences while away. What better way than with flights of miniature “foo foo drinks," Irish Whiskey blends or infused martinis. A foo foo flight could include a Mai Tai, Strawberry Daiquiri and Pina Colada to bring the islands of Hawaii and the Caribbean closer to home. 

Entertaining guests with an Irish Whiskey Sampler brings Dublin home, while Ghirardelli chocolate martini brings San Francisco Bay to the back yard or terrace.       

Dining Trend #7: Raging Ramen 

Ramen is storming the world right now.  Once thought to be a food for cash-starved college students, ramen is now breaking into a “low end = high end” street food scenario. Applications include stir fried sriracha chili chicken, Shanghai peanut salad or spicy deep fried.    

Dining Trend #8: Tea Mixology 

This is the creation of tantalizing flavors for simple teas by choosing from a variety of herbs and spices and then infusing. The use of rose hips, lavender and basil not only create an aromatic scent but also provide a soothing, calming beverage any time or day or night.  

Dining Trend #9: Slow Ride, Cook It Easy 

Many customers are now on the slow food band wagon at home. This has dramatically increased public interest in restaurants that practice slow food cooking methods. Consumers who appreciate and are willing to pay for slow foods are equally interested in the process used to create them. Many restaurants are showcasing these by putting the process right in the dining room, i.e. charcuterie drying, cheese caves, vinegar barrels, etc.      

Dining Trend #10: Branding The Chef 

Guests today want to take home a little more from their favorite eatery besides a full stomach (or…a satisfied palate). Talented chefs are creating their own signature products that they bottle and package for home use. Bottling items, like a signature Lemon curd ale BBQ or chipotle bourbon sauces straight off the chef’s house menu, are replacing traditional store-bought items in customers’ pantries. Adding distinct flavors to home favorites bring out the “wow” factor when entertaining family and friends.

Additional Info

Benchmark Hospitality International is a recognized global leader in the management and marketing of resorts, hotels and conference centers.  Planners can find out more at



Virgin Hotels, led by Virgin Group and its founder Sir Richard Branson, has opened the doors to its first property, Virgin Hotels Chicago.

Located in the heart of Chicago's Loop district in the historic Old Dearborn Bank Building at 203 N. Wabash Ave. The 26-story Art Deco building, a Chicago landmark, offers 250 guest rooms, including 40 one-bedroom suites and two Penthouse Suites.

Several of the building's original features remain intact and are showcased throughout, like a 1920s oak Cigar Bar that serves as the hotel's front desk, ornate brass elevator doors, and the original mail slot and chute serving all floors.

At the heart of Virgin Hotels Chicago is The Commons Club, a dynamic space where guests can dine, drink, work and mingle, as well as attend the nightly hosted Social Hour. The vibe is one of a private members club, without the fees, where guests and locals alike are welcome. The two-story space it occupies was the original bank floor with its coffered plaster ceiling.

The Commons Club menu, created by Chef Rick Gresh, features a variety of internationally influenced small plates, from Stuffed Potato Tots to a Cauliflower Caesar to Cider Mussels to a Lobster Flatbread. The dinner menus Large Plate options also embody unique and flavorful compositions.

The hotel will have four additional dining options, including Miss Ricky's, a 23-hour, All-American diner and a rooftop bar and lounge, all opening between February and April.

Virgin Hotels Chicago will feature a two-chamber room layout; all guest rooms are divided into two spaces by sliding doors, complete with a peephole. The dressing room includes a full vanity, make-up desk and mirror, an extra-large shower with a bench, and his and hers closets.

Seating from 12 to 108, Virgin Hotels Chicago has three modular spaces on the third floor to accompany a social event, dinner or meeting.

Virgin Hotels has plans to open a second location in Nashville in the summer of 2016 and a third property in New York City in the fall of 2017. The team will announce two additional locations by the end of 2016, as well, with the brand hoping to have 20 locations by 2025.



French Lick Resort has unveiled the addition of a $20 million, 58,000-square-foot expansion to its meeting and event spaces.

The expanded Meeting and Event Center now has more than 101,000 square feet of meeting space, including a flexible new 22,000-square-foot ballroom. With a total of 163,000 square feet of customizable meeting and event space resort-wide, French Lick Resort is reportedly now the largest privately owned meeting space in Indiana.

The Meeting and Event Center now features 27 meeting rooms including:

  • 31,600-square foot Exhibition Center.
  • 22,600-square-foot Hoosier Ballroom.
  • 12,700-square-foot Windsor Ballroom.
  • 6,700-square-foot Clifton Ballroom.
  • 18 breakout rooms of various sizes.
  • Complimentary high-speed wireless internet.
  • A/V equipment and expert technical support.
  • Concierge services.
  • On-site floral and decor professional.
  • Complimentary resort-wide shuttle and trolley service.
  • Complimentary valet or self-parking.

Traditional meeting space is available in boardrooms, conference rooms and large-scale ballrooms. Many unique venues are also available, and groups can gather around a campfire at The Stables, dine alfresco on one of the highest points in Indiana or bond over bowling.

Unlike a traditional conference center, French Lick Resort's capabilities extend beyond meeting space. By choosing the southern Indiana meeting destination, planners will have the convenience of everything under one roof. From guest rooms to dining venues, entertainment options to resort activities, the planning team can address all the needs of attendees. The resort amenities enhance the overall meeting experience. 

A team of dedicated professionals can also put together on-site specialty events to add some extra panache’ to clients' meetings. Private culinary demonstrations, talent shows or a little something called “Wild West Adventure” can all be held at the resort. Off-site transportation, secondary venues and additional contacts are not necessary when meetings are held here.

French Lick Resort is a $560 million historic restoration and casino development project that includes the West Baden Springs Hotel, French Lick Springs Hotel and French Lick Casino; it features 689 guest rooms and suites; a 51,000-square-foot, single-level casino; 63 holes of golf, including the fully restored 1917-designed Donald Ross Course at French Lick and the 18-hole Pete Dye Course at French Lick; and two full-service spas with a combined 36 treatment rooms totaling 42,000 square feet.


Caesars Entertainment Operating Company (CEOC), a subsidiary of Caesars Entertainment that owns and operates many of the properties in the Caesars Entertainment network, has filed for reorganization voluntarily through Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

CEOC revealed in a statement that it took this action with the support of certain bondholders to employ its previously announced restructuring plan; which it says, is intended to significantly reduce long-term debt and annual interest payments, while providing significant recoveries for creditors and ensuring that the company’s network of properties avoid interruptions.

All Caesars Entertainment properties, including those owned by CEOC, are reportedly open for business and operating in their ordinary manner. Caesars Entertainment, Caesars Entertainment Resort Properties and Caesars Growth Partners, which are separate entities with independent debt capital structures, have not filed Chapter 11 petitions.

CEOC’s casino-hotels included in the filing are listed below, with Caesars Palace being the only Las Vegas venue appearing on the list:

  • Bally’s Atlantic City;
  • Caesars Atlantic City;
  • Caesars Palace Las Vegas;
  • Harveys Lake Tahoe;
  • Harrah’s Lake Tahoe;
  • Harrah’s Reno;
  • Harrah’s North Kansas City;
  • Harrah’s Joliet;
  • Harrah’s Metropolis;
  • Harrah’s Council Bluffs;
  • Horseshoe Council Bluffs;
  • Horseshoe Hammond;
  • Horseshoe Southern Indiana;
  • Horseshoe Tunica;
  • Tunica Roadhouse;
  • Harrah’s Gulf Coast;
  • Horseshoe Bossier City; and
  • Louisiana Downs.

Gary Loveman, the chairman, CEO and president of CEOC, emphasized numerous times in a video statement that Caesars’ many properties remain open for business, in addition to providing more details on the bankruptcy.

“Meetings and events scheduled at properties across the network will be held without interruption,” Loveman remarked during the course of the release.

The full video release can be viewed here; Meetings Focus will provide any major updates and further details as they become available.



The Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center has completed a massive, one-year renovation project transforming 1,298 guest rooms and 100,000 square feet of meeting space with an investment of $30 million.

The 70-floor hotel remained open throughout the project; only a few floors of guest rooms underwent reconstruction at a time, and meeting space remodeling was done in phases to enable group functions to continue without disruption.

The color palette now consists of neutrals and greys with teal accents, providing the perfect backdrop to eye-catching photography of Detroit architectural landmarks that adorn the walls.

As part of the guest room renovation, the hotel’s 52 deluxe suites on floors 62 to 70 have all been redesigned to further enhance their flexibility. Many suites now have dedicated space for hosting small events, conducting executive board meetings or casually entertaining guests.

The meeting space at the Detroit Marriot spans three floors with 34 separate rooms and the renovations enhanced functionality as well as aesthetics.

Perhaps most importantly, the public areas outside the meeting rooms were totally rethought to allow for the addition of pre-function space for small group gatherings. All-new flexible seating areas and workspaces have organically-shaped and ultra-contemporary furnishings. An overhead canopy helps to define separate areas of congregation and lighted wall panels feature a stylized skyline of Detroit and the Ambassador Bridge.

The Detroit Marriott also completely refurbished its two-level concierge lounge. Hotel visitors might also notice the new look of the Starbucks cafe, which resides in the same location on level one of the hotel, which now features a cool, slick décor, compliments of the Detroit Marriott.

As part of the overall brand transformation, Detroit Marriott guests will enjoy new technological innovations and amenities, including free Internet access for Marriott Rewards members who book directly on, luxurious 12” King mattresses, plus updated bedding and linens.

High-tech innovations include the installation of touchscreen electronic reader boards located in the main lobby, by Starbucks, in the first floor Motor Lobby, and also near the meeting room space on all three levels. For music lovers, the Presidential, Governor’s and Chairman’s Suites are equipped with Bluetooth technology to sync with a guest’s mobile device and deliver music through speakers mounted in the bed.

Additionally, in recognition of an increasing number of guests who need to stay “charged” at all times, the Detroit Marriott is one of 29 Marriott Hotels in a pilot program to provide Kube Systems’ portable charging stations in Greatroom lobbies. Mobile guests can now more conveniently charge their power-hungry iPhones, Android devices, iPads and more, using Kube Systems’ Qi technology – the global standard in wireless charging.

The Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center is located on the riverfront in the heart of downtown Detroit. The property has 100,000 square feet of flexible meeting space to accommodate up to 2,200 guests. The hotel is within the General Motors Renaissance Center complex, 25 minutes from Detroit Metro Airport and five minutes from Windsor, Ontario.



The robust Anaheim Convention Center (ACC) and its surrounding campus area is gaining even more strength as an events hub, with the addition of several new adjoining hotel properties and a huge boost to its Wi-Fi capabilities.

The ACC and Anaheim/Orange County CVB is currently working with Smart City Networks on a $2.5 million project that will result in free wireless connectivity in every area of the facility.

The Cisco High Density Network will consist of nearly 700 access points throughout the facility – a configuration used strictly for stadiums up until now; it is slated for completion this autumn, and will also allow for faster, more streamlined wireless service, accommodating the increasing number of mobile users and devices.  

The Anaheim Resort District outlying the ACC has is also being given a huge boost via the addition of eight new hotel properties—three 2014 openings and five additional properties set to launch in 2015. Among the larger properties set for launch this year are a 252-room Hyatt House and a 274-room Residence Inn.

In addition to all the new hotel development, many Anaheim Resort District hotels are in the midst of substantial renovations, including the Hilton Anaheim, Anaheim Marriott, and Sheraton Park Hotel. The three hotel properties border the Anaheim Convention Center's expansive outdoor Grand Plaza and each have recently embarked on a collective $53 million hotel renovation investment, with expected completion early this year.

There are currently 20,000 hotel guest rooms in the Anaheim Resort District. With the new hotel development that number will increase to a total inventory of more than 21,500 guest rooms by the end of 2015.



The Republican National Committee has selected July 18-21 as the official dates for the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

"I'm pleased to announce the 2016 Republican National Convention will kick off on July 18," said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. “We're excited to continue working with our partners in Cleveland and we look forward to showcasing everything the city has to offer to our delegates and the world in 2016.”

Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson stated: “We look forward to hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Throughout this process we’ve been able to demonstrate our ability and passion to host the RNC while letting the site selection committee know whichever date they picked, Cleveland would make it happen.”

The next official step in the convention process will be the formation of the RNC's Committee on Arrangements. Members of the committee are appointed by the RNC Chairman. Until the formation of the committee, the focus will be continued fundraising and logistical efforts.



Starwood Hotels and New Orleans-based KFK Group (KFK) have agreed to open a new Starwood-managed Westin hotel in the heart of downtown Dallas.

The Westin Dallas Downtown will open by December 2015 as part of an adaptive re-use project that will transform the landmark "One Main Place" complex into the city's newest lifestyle development. Construction has already begun, following KFK's acquisition of the one-million-square-foot building in March of last year.

The property will feature 323 guest rooms and extensive meeting facilities.

Set on both Main Street and Elm Street, the vertical mixed-use property will have a dedicated hotel entrance parallel to Elm Street and a second-floor hotel lobby in the former banking hall.

Hotel facilities will include a three-meal restaurant, a contemporary bar and more than 27,000 square feet of meeting space, including a primary ballroom overlooking the eastern courtyard. A one-of-a-kind glass-enclosed event space in the large western courtyard will provide an ideal venue for weddings, social galas and business functions.

The third floor of The Westin Dallas Downtown will be primarily dedicated to conference space and equipped with the latest in meeting technology. The 323 oversized guest rooms will include 21 expansive suites. The 32nd floor will feature additional meeting space with sweeping views of the Trinity River, Victory Park, Reunion Tower, and the historic West End, as well as a Starwood Preferred Guest executive lounge, two boardrooms, a Westin WORKOUT studio, and an indoor pool overlooking Main Street.

In addition to the Westin hotel, the building will also feature 50,000 square feet of retail space, 600,000 square feet of Class A office space and underground parking.

Located five miles from Dallas Love Field, less than 20 miles from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), and just one block from the DART light rail, the Westin Dallas Downtown will also be within walking distance of the Dallas Arts District, Victory Park, American Airlines Center, the West End Historic District, Klyde Warren Park and the Dallas Convention Center.



The AAA Four-Diamond Eldorado Hotel & Spa, located in the heart of Santa Fe, N.M., will be undergoing extensive updates including the addition of a wedding chapel, a new 7,000-square-foot, indoor ballroom and new lobby bar. The project will also include a refreshed room design and new artwork in the hotel's 219 guest rooms and suites.

Heritage Hotels & Resorts acquired the historic Eldorado Hotel in May 2014, making it the eighth hotel in the company's portfolio of New Mexico properties.

The hotel's new wedding chapel will feature a 13-foot-tall, hand-carved altar that will be gilded in gold leaf with Spanish colonial design influences. Additionally, upon entering the lobby of the Eldorado, a rustic, Spanish ox cart and a simple, sabino wood bench signifying the arrival of the Spanish, will be contrasted with two six foot, gilded gold floor candelabras that will welcome guests into the Eldorado.

The renovation plan is currently underway and slated for completion in the spring of 2015. The architect on the project is Wayne S. Lloyd of Lloyd & Associates Architects in Santa Fe, the original architect of The Eldorado Hotel & Spa.

Currently offering a total of 22,000 square feet of meeting and event space, the Eldorado's existing outdoor Pavilion will be transformed into a fully enclosed 7,000-square-foot ballroom with 18-foot ceilings. The new Eldorado Grand Ballroom, appropriately named after the historical legend, will be adorned in regionally influenced shades of desert browns and greys with elements of gold, and will be divisible into two separate meeting rooms by sound proof air walls. The Eldorado Grand Ballroom will also feature beamed and coffered ceilings, large, multi-paned doors, traditional wainscoting and custom lighting fixtures. Additionally, it will feature a high-tech LED lighting system in the ceiling. The Eldorado Grand Ballroom will be able to host 900 guests reception-style and 550 banquet style.



Meet AC, a tourism development agency designed to attract meetings and conventions to Atlantic City, N.J., has announced the formation of the Atlantic City Sports Commission. 

The Atlantic City Sports Commission has been a vision of Meet AC President/CEO Jim Wood since he came on board in June 2014. The Atlantic City Sports Commission will be powered by Meet AC and aims to continue the city’s growth as a destination for sporting events that run from small to large, as well as sports meetings and conventions.

Mayor Don Guardian stated, “The formation of the AC Sports Commission is one more fantastic non-gaming attraction that Atlantic City will build its future upon. No matter what your age is, you can always have fun watching a sporting event with your friends and family!”    

Throughout the years, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) has hosted numerous sports events in Atlantic City. New Jersey State High School Wrestling Finals, Atlantic City Marathon and numerous cheer and dance events are just a few of the annual sports events held in Atlantic City.

Meet AC, Inc. was officially formed as a 501(c) (6) company on June 23, 2014; it will focus on three primary objectives: sales, marketing and services.



Smuggler’s Cove Resort and Marina, a 12-room waterfront boutique hotel and full-service marina in Islamorada, Fla., has wrapped a three-month property renovation showcasing fully revamped guest rooms and new food and beverage offerings.

A unique new “Hook ‘N’ Cook” experience is also on tap.

Framed by the turquoise waters of the marina and Atlantic Ocean, all of the hotel’s 12 guest rooms, which include 11 standard double bed rooms and one suite, now feature new bedding and furnishings, island-inspired décor, flat screen TV’s, Eco Botanics amenities and a kitchenette complete with a mini fridge, microwave, coffee maker and kitchenware.

The hotel’s spacious one-bedroom suite also offers guests a pull out couch, two closets and a separate bathroom with dual sinks. Additional featured amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi access, daily housekeeping and optional rollaway beds.

Open to the public, the hotel also reveals new food and beverage offerings including the Honey Hole, Wheel House and Buoy Bar. Honey Hole is a contained area of the hotel’s marina fully stocked regularly with more than 300 fish available for catch. From local snapper to mahi-mahi, the fish can be caught for immediate dining preparation or filleted to take home.

In total, Smuggler’s Cove is home to a full-service 80-slip deep marina that is able to accommodate boats up to 60 feet in length. Forty slips are available at the hotel, Wheel House and Buoy Bar. The resort offers water-bound eco-tours, and has also replaced its Banana Hut event space with the Buoy Bar, a refreshed setting hosting all kinds of functions and neighbored by a new tropical beach area.



PCMA’s 59th annual Convening Leaders conference is in full swing in Chicago, drawing more than 4,000 attendees, according to preliminary estimates.

While the association typically does not release preliminary attendance figures, the estimate points to a highly attended event, perhaps owing to an improving economy, its location in the third-largest city in the U.S., and that it is being held in the headquarters city of PCMA.

Carrying the theme “Make No Little Plans,” the annual conference serves as a laboratory of sorts for its meeting planner attendees, who will experience a variety of new meeting formats and ideas over the four-day event at the McCormick Place West convention center.

New this year, further serving its mission to be an education-focused event, PCMA is making recordings of select sessions available free of charge on its website ( for 60 days, after which time there will be a charge for viewing. CEU credits are available.

Additional content is also available as part of a live stream from the conference.



Cvent, Inc., a cloud-based enterprise event management platform, has announced its annual list of the top meeting hotels in the United States. Cvent operates one of the world’s largest global marketplaces for group meetings business on the Cvent Supplier Network.

Leading the list of the Top 100 U.S. Meeting Hotels are the following properties:

1. ARIA Resort & Casino – Las Vegas

2. Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center – Nashville, Tenn.

3. The Venetian and Palazzo Resort, Hotel & Casinos – Las Vegas

4. Omni Nashville Hotel – Nashville, Tenn.

5. Hyatt Regency Chicago – Chicago

6. Hilton San Diego Bayfront – San Diego

7. Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center – Grapevine, Texas

8. Hilton Anatole – Dallas

9. Fontainebleau Miami Beach – Miami

10. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Autograph Collection – Las Vegas

See the full list of the Top 100 U.S. Meeting Hotels here.

Cvent evaluated hotel properties that generated business through the Cvent Supplier Network from September 2013 through August 2014. The properties were ranked on various criteria, including total requests for proposals (RFPs), awarded RFPs, total room nights, awarded room nights, major metropolitan area (MMA) market share, conversion rate, and the hotel's unique profile visits in the Cvent Supplier Network.  To qualify for inclusion, hotels had to have more than 50,000 square feet of total meetings space and more than 10 or more meeting rooms. The criteria are designed to provide the most accurate reflection of the top meeting hotels in the U.S.


NASSAU, The Bahamas

Baha Mar, the new $3.5 billion resort, will begin hosting paid guests on March 27, 2015, at Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, Rosewood at Baha Mar and SLS LUX at Baha Mar. The Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar will open shortly after.

Baha Mar will feature 2,200 luxury guest rooms in total across four hotels – Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, Rosewood at Baha Mar, Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar and SLS LUX at Baha Mar – along with the Caribbean's largest casino, a 100,000-square-foot venue featuring a full array of the latest slots and table games. In addition, the resort's TPC at Baha Mar Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, ESPA spa, pools, beach experiences, and many restaurants and luxury shops will be part of the resort experience upon opening.

The resort will offer 200,000 square feet of flexible convention facilities, including a 2,000-seat entertainment venue; other bonuses include an ESPA spa; art galleries featuring Bahamian art; more than 40 restaurants, bars and clubs; global and local boutique shops; and 20 acres of beach and pool experiences, including a beachfront sanctuary with native flora and fauna.


Washington, D.C.

Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMBC), a cross-industry communications and advocacy initiative, has appointed Michael Dominguez, senior vice president of corporate sales at MGM Resorts International, as the coalition co-chair.

Dominguez will team with fellow co-chair David Peckinpaugh, president of Maritz Travel, to lead the organization as it showcases the value of meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows and exhibitions.

Under Dominguez and Peckinpaugh’s leadership, MMBC will aim to expand its advocacy efforts through an industry-wide advocacy platform, work with partners in Canada and Mexico to host the first annual North American Meetings Industry Day (NAMID) and continue engaging with the media and business leaders.

Dominguez assumes the leadership position previously held by Larry Luteran, senior vice president of group sales and industry relations at Hilton Worldwide. Luteran, who has co-led MMBC since the coalition first launched in 2009, has been a vital proponent in gaining momentum within the industry with key MMBC initiatives. During Luteran’s tenure, MMBC united all facets of the meetings and events industry to speak with one voice, launched the Meetings Mean Business mobile app and educated key stakeholders, media and policymakers.

With more than 25 years of experience and as senior vice president of corporate sales at MGM Resorts International, Dominguez provides oversight for the company’s sales strategies in the convention, leisure and transient segments, including industry relations, diversity sales and MGM Resorts events. Prior to his position at MGM Resorts International, he served as vice president of global sales for Loews Hotels & Resorts.

The Meetings Mean Business Coalition was created in 2009 to showcase the robust value that business meetings, travel and events bring to the U.S. economy. Its members span all facets of the face-to-face meeting and events industry.



Noble Investment Group has broken ground on the AC Hotel Buckhead.

Located at the intersection of Peachtree Road and Wieuca Road, the AC Hotel Buckhead will be the brand's first hotel in Atlanta, and is slated to debut in early 2016.

The AC Hotel Buckhead will offer 166 rooms and suites and a variety of amenities including the AC Lounge, 2,500 square feet of flexible meeting space, the AC Library and an indoor pool.

Buckhead is known as a live, work and play community with an affluent zip code, and more than 20 million square feet of office and over 1,400 retail units where shoppers spend more than $1 billion per year. The epicenter of luxury retail in Buckhead is Phipps Plaza, which is home to such familiar retail names as Valentino, Saks Fifth Avenue and Versace.

AC Hotels by Marriott is an urban lifestyle hotel brand with hotels throughout Spain, Italy, Portugal and France, and is now entering the U.S.



The Convention Industry Council (CIC) has announced the 2015 officers of the Accepted Practice Exchange (APEX) Standards Review Committee.

An initiative that develops and promotes best practices and standards for the meetings industry, the Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) has been responsible for initiatives such as the Event Specifications Guide and workgroups examining Room Block Poaching and Electronic Request for Proposals (eRFPs).

The incoming APEX Chair is Michael Owen, Managing Partner at EventGenuity based in Nashville, Tenn. The rest of the new officers are as follows:

  • Dan Berger, CEO Social Tables.
  • Carol Krugman, MEd, CMP, CMM Chair, Department of Hospitality, Tourism & Events, Assistant Professor, Meeting & Business Event Management, Metropolitan State University of Denver.
  • Gary Murakami, CTC, GTP, GLP, CMP, Director, Global Sales MGM Resorts International.
  • Leslie Zeck, CMP, Director of Meetings, American and International Associations for Dental Research.
  • Carol Norfleet, CMP, DMCP, Destination Nashville.
  • Junior Tauvaa, SVP, Convention Sales Anaheim/Orange County CVB.
  • Meg Fasy, VP, Sales, Bellagio.

"I am honored to assume the APEX Standards chair position to elevate and build upon the work that began nearly 15 years ago,” Owen said. “Upon this foundation we have assembled a dedicated team of industry thought leaders that continues to develop tools, refine best practices recommendations, and address ever-evolving issues impacting our industry such as High Speed Internet Access (HSIA) for Meetings & Events, Room Block Piracy/Poaching, eRFPs, Global Accepted Practices and more. In each of these areas, we provide presentations, articles, whitepapers and tools, and I’m eager to maintain the momentum in 2015.”

In 2015 APEX will continue its work with workgroups focused on Bandwidth, Room Block Poaching and electronic requests for proposals (eRFP). They will also explore a global footprint and develop short content for industry use.

The CIC champions the economic and social value of the meetings and event profession; its purpose is to promote a strong meetings, conventions and exhibitions industry.

APEX meanwhile promotes development and implementation of industry-wide accepted practices to create and enhance efficiency throughout the meetings, conventions and exhibitions industry.

Full APEX Standards Committee 2015: Dan Berger, Social Tables: Stuart Ruff, The Risk and Insurance Management Society, (Immediate Past Chair);  Brett Krafft, CMP, Hilton Anatole Hotel; Miguel Neves, IMEX Group; Michael Owen, EventGenuity LLC (Chair); John Rissi, PSAV; Inc. (Chair-Elect); Junior Tauvaa, Anaheim/Orange County CVB; Meg Fasy, Bellagio; Todd Walton, Intrinsic Event Technologies; Gary Murakami, CTC, GTP, GLP, CMP, MGM Resorts; Leslie Zeck, CMP American and International Associations for Dental Research, Carol Norfleet, CMP, DMCP, Destination Nashville, Carol Krugman, MEd, CMP, CMM, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and Christine “Shimo” Shimasaki, CDME, CMP.



Marina del Rey Hotel, the Marina's very first hotel, has reopened today after a $25 million renovation. Originally opened in 1964, the historic Marina del Rey Hotel opens as the Marina celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

The iconic waterfront property features 164 updated rooms and suites, a full-service restaurant aptly named SALT, 24-hour room service, concierge assistance, outdoor, marina-facing pool and sundeck, a waterfront wedding and reception venue, multiple meeting spaces, boat slips and many other amenities.

Marina del Rey Hotel's guest rooms reflect the California calm character of the property's surrounding area, with cool colors and maritime touches. SALT, the hotel's on-the-water, indoor-outdoor restaurant, features seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmer's markets. Executive Chef Mark Gold serves contemporary favorites with a seasonal twist.

A poolside, kids and 24-hour room service menu are also available.

Featuring 9,700 total square feet of event space with views of the Marina and main channel, the hotel is an option for conferences, weddings, and other occasions, and are designed to accommodate up to 350 guests.

A new waterfront event lawn has been added to the property grounds and offers panoramic views of the Marina. At 3,500 square feet, the grass lawn is available for wedding ceremonies, cocktail receptions and other large waterfront gatherings. Inside, parties and groups can find a variety of spaces in the hotel's various meeting rooms; and a waterfront private dining room holds up to 12 people and serves as an intimate venue for a variety of gatherings.



The Concourse Hotel at Los Angeles Airport has previewed a completely reimagined outdoor space, a major part of its extensive transformation to become Hyatt Regency Los Angeles Airport in early 2016.

Located directly behind the hotel, the space will serve as an ideal place for guests to recharge and retreat, as well as the perfect Southern California destination for receptions, ceremonies and other special events once complete by May 15, 2015.

Designed by New York City-based SWA Group, the new event lawn is a lush and contemporary space centered around the swimming pool.  Three distinct lawns are shaped by pathways and lined with diverse grasses, trees, shrubs, and succulents. Additionally, several cabanas have been incorporated to provide more private options to reboot and recharge. The new space will be able to accommodate functions of up to 750 guests, and the hotel sales department is currently accepting reservation requests.

The Concourse Hotel is located one block from Terminal 1 of Los Angeles International Airport, providing its travelers with easy access to the airport via complimentary shuttle service every 10 minutes and convenient meeting and event facilities for up to 1,500 attendees.

Located just three miles to local Los Angeles beaches and 20 minutes to downtown Los Angeles, the hotel provides guests with easy access to short, local excursions. The hotel is a local leader in sustainable business practices, with a platinum-level Green Seal certification and four-key California Green Lodging certification.

The property currently showcases 580 guest units and more than 42,000 square feet of flexible event space and 25 conference rooms.



The Madeline Hotel in Telluride, Colo., has completed a wide variety of property-wide enhancements with new dining options, unique ski services and several on-site activities.

In addition, the property recently finished upgrades to its Residences, including new hardwood floors, luxury furnishings, paint and lighting. The Madeline features 11 suites and 89 slope-side guest rooms. The luxury hotel also contains 4,000 square feet of versatile meeting space.

The Madeline's new restaurant, Black Iron Kitchen and Bar, features deep woods, dark steel, natural stone, and multiple outdoor "fire tables," which create spots for gathering and people-watching in the heart of the Mountain Village.

The menu offers "modern mountain cuisine" cultivated by fresh mountain produce and proteins sourced seasonally from farmers, purveyors and artisan growers throughout the Four Corners region. For the drink connoisseur, Black Iron Kitchen and Bar's Libations Program offers guests a rotating selection of seasonal beers and specialty cocktails, as well as refined wines.

Madeline's Ski Valet has also been redesigned for the season. This unique slope-side service features enhanced furniture and seating areas, ski and boot storage and a hot chocolate bar serving hearty drinks daily.

 Madeline's new kids hangout, 20 Below (adults over 20 must be escorted by a kid), features a movie lounge, electronic gaming consoles, an art wall, and four MACs. This unique hangout also offers off-site activities, including snowshoe tours, sledding outings, events and more.

The Madeline Studio, a new yoga and Pilates facility now located adjacent to the main Hotel and Residence entrance, offers scheduled classes daily as well as private instruction.

Madeline Hotel and Residences is located at the heart of Mountain Village in Telluride, Colo.



The Boston Marriott Burlington has completed an 18-month, multimillion dollar renovation, bringing numerous improvements to the hotel's meeting space and function rooms.

Highlights of the Boston Marriott Burlington's renovations include:

Meeting and Great Room Space

A key focal point of the renovation is the welcoming Great Room, a Marriott initiative that re-imagines the traditional lobby as a space for both millennial travelers and the local community. The Great Room's large fireplace, 14-person communal table, and U-shaped bar invite guests to gather over food and drink from the hotel's chophouse, Chopps American Bar and Grill.

The Great Room offers amenities that allow guests to work or play on their own terms, including complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, plug-in charging stations, and media pod areas for casual meetings. In addition, a new "Market" gift shop offers items for guests on the go, including snacks and travel essentials.

Renovations to the hotel's events spaces included the introduction of three private meeting rooms, called Ignite, Inspire, and Imagine. The hotel's existing meeting spaces, including the adaptable 9,000-square-foot Celebrate Ballroom, benefitted from technological enhancements and revitalized design. The 419-room full service hotel now boasts 14,570 square feet of flexible meeting and banquet space.

Cardio and Free Weight Rooms

New flooring, wall coverings, and ceilings bring an energetic atmosphere to the hotel's two main workout spaces. New equipment was installed throughout the renovated space. In the Cardio Room, new Life Fitness stationary bicycles, treadmills, and elliptical machines are equipped with individual high-definition monitors that allow guests to access personalized workout regimens or enjoy their preferred television programming. New equipment in the remodeled Weigh Room-including Life Fitness weight machines, a kettle bell station, and a TRX Suspension Training station-accommodates a wide range of workout routines and fitness levels.

Pool and Sauna

As part of the final phase of renovations, the year-round indoor pool and sauna and seasonal outdoor pool areas were resurfaced and the pool flooring was re-tiled. New ceilings and freshly painted walls bring a bright new feel to the indoor pool and whirlpool sauna areas. A new deck area surrounds the heated outdoor pool, ready to welcome sunbathers and swimmers when the area opens for the season.

The hotel's multimillion dollar renovation commenced in July of 2013.



On January 20th, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants will debut its first property in "The Steel City."

The Hotel Monaco is transforming the iconic Beaux Arts-style James H. Reed Building, originally built in 1903, into a nine-story, 248-guest room hotel with more than 11,000 square feet of meeting space. The hotel is Kimpton’s 11th Hotel Monaco in a collection of more than 60 properties in the U.S. and its 13th adaptive reuse project.

The new hotel will offer six event spaces, including the Sheffield and Sofia Ballrooms boasting floor-to-ceiling windows that face 6th Avenue, and will provide event planners with flexible meeting rooms and on-site event planning; the Hotel Monaco’s meeting rooms are named after Pittsburgh notables Clemente, Salk, Carson, and Fahlman.

Each guest room will include amenities such as a 39” flat screen TV, wireless internet, Bluetooth sound systems, in-room spa services, on-demand movies, and gourmet honor bar selections including hometown favorites such as Clark Bars and a selection of Pennsylvania beers. The guest room bathrooms are bright and cheery, donning soft yellow herringbone wallpaper.

Adjacent to the Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh at the corner of William Penn Place and Strawberry Way, Kimpton will also open a new eatery led by veteran Executive Chef Dennis Marron. The 120-seat restaurant, called The Commoner, will offer wood-fired dishes and a selection of local ales and spirits.



One of Rhode Island’s most iconic properties, the Providence Biltmore, has joined Curio - A Collection by Hilton.

Home to the city’s largest spa, the Biltmore boasts an eclectic array of cross-cultural therapies including massage, facials, hair styling and nail treatment at The Spa. Located in downtown Providence, the historic hotel was built in 1922 by Warren and Wetmore, the same architects behind New York City’s Grand Central Station.

A member of the Historic Hotels of America program under the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the property offers 19,000 square feet of flexible function space and 294 guest rooms and suites.

The final stage of the hotel’s $13 million renovation plan will take place in early 2015 with updates to the three-story atrium lobby and function rooms, creating a fresh look while paying great respect to the essence of the historic hotel.

Dining options include McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks as well as one of the largest Starbucks in America.



The Annual Conference & Expo (ACE) produced by Meeting Professionals International Northern California Chapter (MPINCC) returns to Moscone West in San Francisco on Thursday, February 19.

Offering networking, educational workshops, Expo floor, and sponsorship opportunities, the one-day MPINCC ACE is considered one of the leading regional shows in the industry.

This year’s Conference & Expo theme is “reThink.” Twelve workshop sessions presented by various thought leaders will focus on these key areas: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR,) Legal (LEG), Professional (PRO), Meeting Essentials (MES), and Technology (TEC).

Attendees can focus on one track or pick and choose workshops to customize their day of learning. The education continues as attendees and exhibitors connect during the Expo and at the post-show reception.

An added educational feature this year is the Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate Program on Wednesday, February 18 at Moscone West, where planners can earn a Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate and gain a foundation in key healthcare disciplines in a condensed format. MPINCC, in partnership with MPI and Saint Louis University, offers the accredited program the afternoon before ACE (a separate registration fee is required.)

Details on this year’s annual MPINCC event:

When: Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015: 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Educational Sessions: 8:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. & 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Expo Hours: 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Post-Show Networking Reception: 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Moscone West

4th & Howard Street

San Francisco, California 94103

Attire:   Business Casual

Early Registration Deadline

Attendees: 2/5/2015

Exhibitors: 1/23/2015

For more information, visit the chapter’s website at


HALIFAX, Nova Scotia

Hilton Worldwide and DoubleTree by Hilton have debuted The Hollis Halifax – a DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel, the brand's first property in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.

The former Radisson Suite Hotel Halifax debuts a $7 million renovation that includes sleek, modern design updates throughout the property. About 20 miles south of Halifax Stanfield International Airport, the nine-story hotel is situated in the heart of downtown Halifax, just one block from the historic Halifax Waterfront, and owned and managed by Manga Hotels.

The Hollis Halifax – a DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel has 120 oversized suites, many offering views of the picturesque Halifax Harbor. Each guest room features a variety of convenient amenities, including a cozy sitting area, 42-inch HDTV, a spacious desk with ergonomic chair, a wet bar and a stylish bathroom with rain shower.

Ryan Duffy's Steak & Seafood Restaurant showcases dry-aged beef, Atlantic seafood and an extensive wine menu. The Lobby Lounge offers cocktails and martinis, appetizers and selections of local and international wines.

Guests also enjoy complimentary services and amenities like a 24-hour Fitness by Precor workout facility, an indoor swimming pool with whirlpool, a 24-hour business center, and Wi-Fi access throughout the hotel's public spaces and guest rooms.

Three flexible meeting and event rooms, all with floor-to-ceiling windows, create settings for many occasions. The rooms can be used separately for smaller gatherings or combined to create a large, 3,000-square-foot event space to accommodate everything from business meetings to receptions and special events.



The ASAE Foundation has launched a new research grant program called Scholarly Research in Association Management Grants, which provides awards to support research on topics of association management.

The program is intended to primarily fund research conducted by investigators in the academic community and academic practitioner (association management professionals) collaborations. The deadline to apply is Friday, May 15.

The program will provide multiple awards of up to $7,500 each to proposals that address research questions relevant to nonprofit members and member-based associations. Each award is for one year starting in August 2015.

Submissions will be evaluated through a peer-review process and all post-secondary investigators are encouraged to apply. Award recipients will submit an interim and final report, and they will be invited to present findings at the ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition or another appropriate ASAE-sponsored learning event.

For more details about the Scholarly Research in Association Management Grant program and the application process, visit

Additional Info

ASAE is a membership organization of more than 21,000 association executives and industry partners representing 9,300 organizations. Its members manage trade associations, individual membership societies and voluntary organizations across the U.S. and in nearly 50 countries around the world. The ASAE Foundation is a separate nonprofit entity.



Hampton Hotels has announced the official opening of its newest property, the 78-room Hampton Inn & Suites Pauls Valley, managed by Shiv Management.

The property is nearby the Toy and Action Figure Museum, which houses the Oklahoma Cartoonists Hall of Fame and the Santa Fe Depot Museum.

In addition to being the first Hampton property in Pauls Valley, it is the 34th in the state and offers amenities such as a 24-hour business center, complimentary printing service, 1,000 square feet of meeting space and free Hampton's On the House hot breakfast and Hampton On the Run breakfast bags.

The property also features Hampton's Perfect Mix Lobby, designed as an extension of the guest room with a variety of seating and lighting options for both leisure and business travelers. Guest rooms offer a Hampton bed®, LCD flat-screen TV, coffee maker, and free Wi-Fi, with suites also available that offer additional space and a sleeper sofa.



Red Lion Hotels Corporation has shared news that it will open its first location in Ohio following the signing of a franchise agreement for a Red Lion Hotel in Cincinnati.

The future Red Lion Hotel - Cincinnati Sharonville will have 185 rooms and be located 16 miles north of downtown Cincinnati south of the I-75 and I-275 corridor. The hotel will feature both indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, a business center and a restaurant, the Sharon Hill Bar & Grill. The property will also hold approximately 17,000 square feet of meeting space and be located across the street from the Sharonville Convention Center, the only LEED-certified meeting space in the Cincinnati area, offering 65,000 square feet of usable event space.

Adjacent to the hotel are the new multimillion-dollar athletic and entertainment facilities currently under development by Princeton City Schools and the CoCo Key Water Resort, featuring four 40-foot water slides.



The 79-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott in Columbia, Tenn., opened on January 1, 2015.

Located at 1545 Halifax Drive, the property will operate as a Marriott franchise, owned and managed by Halifax Hospitality, LLC of Franklin, Tenn.; it is located 10 minutes from downtown, and offers guests convenient access to the home of President James K. Polk, Henry Horton State Park, Rippavilla Plantation and Williamsport Lakes.

The Fairfield Inn & Suites public space features a design that is both flexible and functional. The open and bright lobby welcomes guests with a vibrant color palette of greens, blues and oranges. Rooms and suites meanwhile offer separate living, working and sleeping areas.

Complimentary hot breakfast is available each morning in the lobby area, which also features the 24/7 Corner Market offering snacks and drinks. Other hotel amenities include an indoor swimming pool, an exercise room, outdoor patio with fireplace, valet laundry service, complimentary Wi-Fi, as well as fax and copy services.

The hotel offers 793 square feet of event space to accommodate functions of up to 60 people.



The Atlanta Marriott Northwest at Galleria has just completed a renovation project that includes a complete transformation of the lobby, updates to The Marketplace, the addition of Rocks restaurant, reinvigorated guest rooms and a stylish concierge lounge.

The new Greatroom lobby encapsulates the sophistication of Atlanta with rich woods and a muted color palette complemented by pops of color with art and furnishings. Travelers will find plenty of spaces for meeting, relaxing and dining where soft music and tempered lighting allow a seamless blend of work and play.

The warmth of the Greatroom integrates perfectly with the casual atmosphere of The Marketplace, with a full buffet and a la carte options for breakfast. Diners seeking a healthy and hearty lunch or dinner can step into Rocks, the Atlanta, GA hotel's new restaurant, the perfect environment that inspires socializing. Enjoy regionally inspired cuisine and hand-crafted cocktails featuring amazing ice, the highest level of scotch, bourbon and moonshines.

The new guest rooms at the hotel near Marietta, Ga., offer warm sitting areas, plush carpet, spacious work desks with sleek ergonomic chairs, convenient plug-in panels and 32-inch flat-panel HDTVs. New beds boast comfortable down comforters, custom duvets and cotton-rich linens for a sound night's slumber. Visitors who choose to stay on a concierge level receive the added benefit of access to the reimaged lounge on the 16th floor with complimentary continental breakfast, hors d'oeuvres, desserts and non-alcoholic beverages.

Joel Darr has been named to lead the modernized hotel. He has 25-plus years of Marriott leadership, most recently as general manager of Columbia Marriott in South Carolina.

Atlanta Marriott Northwest at Galleria at 200 Interstate North Parkway SE in Atlanta, GA is minutes from corporations including Allstate, Assurant, Manhattan Associates, Cbeyond, IBM and GE and about 20 minutes from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL).

The hotel features 16,000 square feet of flexible event space and provides easy access to the Cobb Galleria Convention Center.



Ocean Properties Ltd. has wrapped a revitalization project at the 115-room oceanfront Delray Sands Resort on Highland Beach, a member of the company’s Opal Collection.

Located between Delray Beach and Boca Raton on a quiet stretch of sandy Atlantic shoreline, the new Delray Sands Resort now offers ocean-inspired guestrooms and suites, oceanfront meeting and event space and an all-new dining experience with breathtaking ocean views.

Each aspect of the resort has been designed to evoke the sea, including an appealing water feature that greets guests as they enter the new lobby and continue along a landscaped path to the resort’s guest rooms, pool and the beach. The revitalized guest rooms feature comfortable furnishings and amenities such as mini refrigerators, in-room coffee makers and premium cable channels, as well as furnished balconies on rooms overlooking the pool or beach.

The focal point of the resort, Latitudes, is an all-new oceanfront restaurant and lounge comprised of five social and dining spaces, including the main dining room with views of the ocean, an outdoor ocean terrace, the new Wave Pool Bar and private social event spaces. Drawing on his New England background, Chef Mattaeus Schkrioba will create menus featuring farm-to-table selections and a blend of new flavors and classic seafood dishes.

For special occasions, the resort’s two indoor spaces and outdoor terrace make it a possible location for beachfront events. Overlooking Highland Beach, the Windrift Room accommodates up to 100 guests and features a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows providing picturesque views. The outdoor poolside space easily accommodates 60 guests for cocktail receptions, rehearsal dinners or outdoor meetings.

The Delray Sands Resort is located within close proximity to two major airports as it is less than 25 minutes from Palm Beach International Airport (PBIA) and 35 minutes from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).



Slated to open on February 13, 2015, the JW Marriott Austin has unveiled the names and concepts of the hotel’s three restaurants.

Osteria Pronto is a full-service regional Italian restaurant with a menu designed to offer a twist on classic Italian dishes with simple, distinctive flavors. Corner is a lively restaurant that will feature Texas-inspired cuisine using fresh local ingredients and will highlight uniquely crafted Tequila cocktails. The menu will feature a selection of grilled meat and fish, a variety of local craft beers on tap, as well as several Texas wines and spirits.

The third restaurant at the JW Marriott Austin, Burger Bar on Congress, is a walk-up food truck-style window on Congress Ave.

The JW Marriott Austin will be the city's largest hotel, the largest JW Marriott in North America and the second largest JW Marriott in the world. Austin is currently a top travel destination, with approximately 20 million people visiting the city every year.

The new JW Marriott Austin will have 1,012 guest rooms, and has already booked more than 512,000 room nights through 2021. Construction on the JW Marriott began in August 2012 and the hotel is designed to host large conventions and meetings, with more than 112,000 square feet of event space, 42 meeting rooms and will also achieve a LEED Silver certification and two-star Austin Energy Green Building rating.

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12 Years a Slave is a 2013 British-American historical drama filmand an adaptation of the 1853 slave narrative memoir Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, a New York State-born free African-American man who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C. in 1841 and sold into slavery.