This Ritz-Carlton resort is off the beaten path

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. is known for its luxury hotels in some of the world's major cities, but how about Greensboro, Ga., population 3,200? The Atlanta-based hotel company plans to open The Ritz-Carlton Lodge Reynolds Plantation in that sleepy town in February 2002.

The 250-room resort, which Ritz-Carlton calls the first destination resort of its kind to open in the U.S. in nearly 100 years, reflects a new branding effort at the company aimed at opening customized properties with unique architectural and interior designs.

The Lodge Reynolds Plantation will reflect the antebellum and Native American heritage of the 8,000-acre Reynolds Plantation, a gated residential community on the shores of Lake Oconee. Although this may be the most difficult Ritz-Carlton property to find on a map, a large population base is fairly close — Atlanta is about 75 miles to the west.

Guestrooms feature private balconies, feather beds and granite bathtubs, while six golf cottages will have lakeside views and living rooms. The hotel's 26,000 sq. ft. spa will feature decor influenced by the Creek Indians, the area's first inhabitants.

The hotel, which will feature five restaurants, also will offer 81 holes of championship golf, including the Jack Nicklaus Great Waters and the Tom Fazio Reynolds National. Guests will have access to boating, fishing, water skiing and hiking.

Bass ready to take on the world with new name

One of the world's largest hotel franchise companies no longer shares its name with a famous British ale. London-based Bass Hotels & Resorts has changed its name to Six Continents Hotels as part of the rebranding of its parent company, Bass PLC, to Six Continents PLC.

Whether intentionally or not, the hotel company's former name was synonymous with Bass Ale. The new name is meant to emphasize the company's commitment to growing its hotel brands across the globe, particularly in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific (ANZSP).

“Six Continents Hotels has undergone enormous changes in this region over the last 18 months, and the new branding reflects our commitment to achieving a leading market position in ANZSP,” said Tony South, COO of that region for Six Continents Hotels. “The new name captures the global spread of our business.”

Over the past 18 months, Six Continents has been particularly busy expanding its Inter-Continental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn brands across the ANZSP region.

As part of the purchase of Bass Brewers by Belgian beer maker Inter-brew earlier this year, Bass Hotels was required to cease using the name by August 2002. Marc Suttman, a Frankfurt sales manager, suggested the name change, and won a trip and dinner for his efforts.

City by the Bay is the latest stop for hip Ian Schrager Hotels

New York-based Ian Schrager Hotels LLC has opened its latest boutique hotel — Clift — in San Francisco, a city that already has its fair share of boutique properties.

New York hotel developer Ian Schrager has once again teamed up with cutting-edge designer Philippe Starck to restyle a historic property. This time, the renovated property is the Clift Hotel, which was built in 1913 and had been renovated several times.

According to Schrager Hotels, the goal of the latest renovation was to restore the “grande dame to some semblance of its former self.” One of the highlights of the 375-room hotel is the Redwood Room bar, which features paneled walls made from giant redwood trees and flat television screens that broadcast dialogue spoken by avant-garde digital artists.

Ian Schrager Hotels — which owns and operates four hotels in New York, two in London, and one each in Miami and Los Angeles — is preparing for the opening of several other properties. The company is developing two hotels in New York that will be its first buildings constructed from the ground up — Astor Place in Greenwich Village and Bond Street in NoHo — and Empire, also in the Big Apple. It also is developing Miramar in Santa Barbara, Calif., and a second property in Miami Beach, Fla.

Seattle is the only city to post revenue gains in July

Out of the 14 markets New York-based UBS Warburg LLC surveyed in July, 13 posted declines in revenue per available room (RevPAR). Only Seattle recorded a modest RevPAR gain, about 5%, and that was partly due to its advantage as host of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

The worst performing markets were New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Phoenix, Orlando, Fla., and Silicon Valley, Calif., regions that enjoyed big gains last year, but saw RevPAR declines of 10% or higher this July. Posting more modest revenue declines in July were Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Dallas, Orange County, Calif., and Washington, D.C.

UBS Warburg expects the sluggish revenue trends to continue in August due to declines in corporate travel. As for Seattle, UBS predicted the city will record another 5% RevPAR increase in August due to advance bookings.

e-mail hotel news to swebb@primediabusiness.com