Not a small resort after all

Situated right in the heart of Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotel is getting ready to offer even more amenities to visitors with its $75 million expansion.

The expansion plan includes new exhibit and meetings space scheduled for completion in the fall of 2002 and a redesign of guestrooms by architect Michael Graves of Princeton, N.J., the hotel's original architect. A restaurant also will be added.

The hotel is owned by a partnership of New York-based Tishman Hotel & Realty Corp. and Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. “The need for the expansion is twofold, explains Bill McCreary, the hotel's general manager. “Our sense is that it's time to make some design changes, and that's in the works,” says McCreary. “Two, it's time to add more space to serve conference clients who have been with us a long time and are starting to need additional space.”

With the construction of the 50,000 sq. ft. Pacific Hall, the total exhibition space will expand to 111,000 sq. ft. Pacific Hall will be connected to Atlantic Hall in the Dolphin meetings pavilion. Pacific Hall will feature 26-foot ceilings and open space that divides into three sections.

Extra meeting space at the Swan includes the new Osprey Ballroom, which was completed in October 2001. The 3,800 sq. ft. ballroom, with 17-foot high ceilings, can be divided into two sections, and is complemented by two 3,000 sq. ft. outdoor garden terraces. With these new additions, the total indoor meeting space at the Swan and Dolphin will increase to 329,000 sq. ft. The Swan section will house 56,000 sq. ft. and the Dolphin hotel 273,000 sq. ft.

The redesigned guestrooms will feature slate floors in the foyers, with the same stone surface in the bathrooms. New carpeting and designer wall coverings also are part of the renovation plans. The hotel will add a specialty restaurant to bring its roster to 17 eateries.

Luxury hotel ready for 2002 Olympic action

Salt Lake City, Utah, now boasts a world-class hotel worthy of Mount Olympia as it welcomes visitors and athletes to this month's 2002 Winter Olympics. The Grand America Hotel, owned and developed by billionaire Earl Holding, includes 775 guestrooms with 395 suites.

The hotel design was inspired by the grand hotels of the past and features details such as chandeliers from Milan and Murano, Italy; French cherry wood furniture; English wool carpets; and Italian marble bathrooms.

Holding's collection of hotels and resorts includes Sun Valley Resort in Sun Valley, Idaho; Snowbasin Ski Resort just outside of Salt Lake City, which will be the site of the 2002 Olympic Downhill and Super G races; the Westgate Hotel in San Diego; and Little America properties in Arizona and Wyoming.

W loves New York: opens 5th property

Revelers at Times Square can now reside at the new, 57-story W New York Times Square, a boutique hotel nestled between Broadway and 47th Street. The newest W hotel, a brand of White Plains, N.Y.-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, opened Dec. 27, just in time for New Year's Eve 2002.

The design concept of the W New York Times Square is a collaboration between Yabu Pushelberg, a design firm in Toronto, and the Starwood Design Group. The hotel features 509 rooms, including 43 suites. Hotel guests will arrive from the hustle and bustle of 47th Street, where they will step into an entryway featuring a glass-encased waterfall.

The W Times Square hotel marks the 16th W hotel to open in three years. The first W Hotel opened in New York in December 1998. With the addition of the latest property, there are now five W hotels in Manhattan.