Sunstone completes merger with SHP Acquisition LLC Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. has completed its merger with SHP Acquisition LLC, an affiliate of Westbrook Partners. The transaction was approved by Sunstone's shareholders in November 1999.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sunstone common stockholders will receive $10.3761 in cash per share of common stock. Limited partners in Sunstone Investors LP will also receive $10.3761 in cash per OP unit.

Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc., based in San Clemente, Calif., owns 59 luxury, upscale and midpriced hotels in eight states in the Mountain and Pacific regions.

Mystic Marriott hotel, spa to open its doors in 2001 When completed in early-2001, the Mystic Marriott Hotel and Spa will become the new centerpiece of the Mystic Executive Park in Groton, Conn. Construction of the six-story hotel - one of the first full-service hotels built in Connecticut outside Native American reservations in a decade - began in November 1999.

The $38 million hotel will contain 285 rooms - including six suites - more than 18,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, a restaurant, bar and lounge, and a 9,000 sq. ft. full-service spa. A 10,000 sq. ft. grand ballroom will be divisible into six smaller sections, as will an adjacent 5,000 sq. ft. ballroom.

The hotel is strategically located close to the Amtrak station in New London, Conn., a stop on the new Northeast Corridor "fast train" service between New York and Boston, scheduled to begin in the spring of 2000.

Starwood wins bid to develop Boston hotel White Plains, N.Y.-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Boston-based developer Carpenter & Co. have won a bid to build a $250 million convention-center hotel in Boston. Flying under the flag of Starwood's largest brand, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, the 1,120-room hotel will be attached to the $700 million convention center currently under construction. The Sheraton project is slated to begin in 2000, with completion scheduled for 2003.

Starwood/Carpenter and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority have agreed to a 30-business-day period to finalize documentation of the transaction. A 90-business-day period will follow for Starwood/Carpenter to finalize financing for the project.

This will be Starwood's 20th hotel in Massachusetts, and its fourth in the greater Boston area.

Insignia leads Sol Melia to acquire eight Parisian hotels In a deal valued in excess of $80 million, Sol Melia has acquired eight hotels in Paris, with a ninth franchised hotel also expected. The acquisition and franchise agreement represents the Spanish hotel firm's entrance into the Parisian market. Newport Beach, Calif.-based Insignia Hotel Partners introduced the hotel portfolio to Sol Melia.

The closing of the nine-hotel, 500-room portfolio coincided with Sol Melia's launch of its boutique hotel concept, which will be available in top Melia hotels. Four of the Parisian properties will be repositioned into boutique hotels. Additionally, Sol Melia will invest approximately $9 million in the renovation of the hotels.

Bass builds first Staybridge Suites in Latin America Atlanta-based Bass Hotels & Resorts is building its first Staybridge Suites in Latin America. Scheduled to open in 2002, the Staybridge Suites Hotel at Brascan Century Plaza will be located in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The 356-suite, 18-story property will serve as the focal point of a $150 million mixed-use complex - a development of Bass Hotels & Resorts and Brazilian partner Brascan Imobiliaria. The project will also include two office towers, urban retail, a theater and parking for 1,300 vehicles. The hotel will also feature a bistro-style restaurant and bar, and access to the complex's convention center and fitness club.

Radisson renovates historic New York Lexington The historic New York Lexington - which has been host to celebrities such as Joe DiMaggio and Dorothy Lamour - will undergo a multi-million dollar renovation beginning in January. The hotel, located on Lexington Avenue and East 48th Street, will be renamed the Radisson Hotel New York-East Side.

Built in 1929, the 27-story, 700-room hotel will undergo a complete renovation including guestrooms and corridors. The renovation design is being coordinated by Chicago-based Gettys Group; Atlanta-based John Hardy Group will manage the renovation project.

Amstar affiliate purchases hotel as classic as Miss Scarlet An affiliate of Denver-based Amstar Group Ltd. has purchased the Georgian Terrace Hotel & Towers in Atlanta. Specific terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Host to guests such as "Gone with the Wind" celebrities Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh and Margaret Mitchell, the hotel sits on the corner of Peachtree Street and Ponce de Leon Avenue across from the Fox Theater. Originally opened in 1911, the hotel has been designated an Atlanta Landmark Building. Unique features of the hotel include a rooftop pool overlooking the city and a glass-enclosed health club on the top floor.

The Camberley Hotel Co. has been retained as the new manager, and will be responsible for overseeing the facility's market repositioning and operations. The Atlanta-based company owns and/or operates other properties noted for their historical significance including The Martha Washington Inn in Abingdon, Va., The Brown in Louisville, Ky., and The Jefferson in Washington, D.C.

The end of a tradition Being in the news business, I've come to understand a certain fact: An item will often make news when it suddenly is no more.

Case in point: Marriott's Hot Shoppe, a nearly 80-year-old tradition that came to an end in December 1999 with the closing of the last Hot Shoppe in the Marlow Heights Shopping Center in Maryland. The history of the Hot Shoppe is rich with family tradition, dating back to the early days of Mr. J. Willard Marriott.

In 1925, Mr. Marriott graduated from the University of Utah with a vision. He wanted to become a world renowned business leader and philanthropist. The first step in Mr. Marriott's quest happened on May 20, 1927, when he and his wife, Alice, started their first business. It was a nine-stool root beer stand in the District of Columbia.

Several hot items - chili, hot tomales and barbecued beef - were added to the menu, and the Hot Shoppe was born.

Sixty years after the creation of the Hot Shoppe, Marriott International made a decision to close the Hot Shoppe restaurants. "In 1989, Marriott Corp. made a strategic decision to exit the family restaurant business which included Bob's Big Boy restaurants, Hot Shoppes and Roy Rogers," says Nick Hill, a spokesperson for Marriott International. "The company really wanted to focus on its core business - lodging and the retirement community business."

Unlike the Roy Rogers and Big Boy businesses - which were quickly sold off - Marriott took its time with the Hot Shoppe restaurants, closing them as their leases expired. However, Hill says the last few days at the Marlow Heights Hot Shoppe were extremely sentimental.

"I was out there for three solid days," says Hill. "Customers had been coming there for 30 years - as children, then as parents and as grandparents. The same thing for the employees. There was a certain environment there that you really can't replicate.

"You had a family-style restaurant where the customers knew the employees and vice versa because it was a very big family atmosphere," added Hill. "[The closing ceremony] was a very moving event for everyone involved."

While Marriott has closed the last of the its Hot Shoppes, the tradition of the restaurant will live on in a commemorative Hot Shoppe restaurant at the Key Bridge Marriott in Arlington, Va. Marriott plans to convert the existing restaurant - Allie's Family Restaurant - into a Hot Shoppe. The restaurant, slated for completion in the fall, will resemble the original Hot Shoppe restaurant including "Running Boy" logo and old menu classics.

Mr. J. W. Marriott and his wife would have been proud.