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October 2, 2018

Supplier News: New From Marriott, Omni

A number of major hotel companies made announcements this week in supplier news affecting the meetings and events industry.

Marriott Looks to Double Africa Portfolio

Marriott International has announced plans to expand rapidly across Africa. The newest hotel signings are securing the company’s presence in Ghana, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa and introducing it into Mozambique. Marriott International says it is on its way to increasing its portfolio by 50 percent with more than 200 hotels and over 37,000 rooms by 2023 expecting to create 12,000 new jobs.

Marriot International said it expects the move to trigger investment of more than $250 million by the property owners and create significant economic activity. The company credits a strong demand for select-service brands and conversion opportunities to driving its growth. This is magnified by the hotel signings, including the Marriott Marrakech Hotel in Morocco. Recent conversions include Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi, Hurlingham, Four Points by Sheraton Arusha, The Arusha Hotel, Tanzania and the Mena House, Cairo.

Today, Marriott International exists in 21 countries in Africa: Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia. The company expands to move into new markets including Benin, Botswana, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mozambique and Senegal.

Marriott International is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. The company has a portfolio of over 6,700 properties in 30 hotel brands in 130 countries and territories.

JW Marriott Marco Island Opens New Gaming, Event Venue

The JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort has opened 10K Alley, a combination gastropub and gaming emporium located on the fifth floor of the new Lanai Tower. The venue hosts family entertainment during the day and exclusive adult-centered nightlife after dark. Initially, 10K Alley will be reserved for resort guests and group bookings, and the gaming and dining outlet will be opened to the public in early 2019.

10K Alley aims to evoke the look and feel of an upscale modern distillery, serving gastropub fare at a circular bar, communal high-tops and in the main dining area. The drinks menu showcases 50 Florida craft beers and barrel-aged bourbons, including rare and limited production spirits such as Old Forester Birthday, Kentucky Owl and Pappy Van Winkle 23. Some of the bourbons were created exclusively for 10K Alley in a partnership between the JW Marriott Marco Island, Jack Daniels and Woodford Reserve.

10K Alley will also have a mix of classic and modern games, such as mini bowling lanes, themed mini-golf and pool tables, as well as visual sports simulators for golf, soccer, hockey, baseball, hunting and clay shooting.

This new space will also be available for buyouts during special events, large group gatherings and corporate meetings. Up to 125 people can actively participate in the activities and games at any given time, and 10K Alley’s overall capacity is 500 guests. However, the guest capacity can be increased through an overflow into the adjoining hospitality suites and the fifth floor terrace.

The launch of 10K Alley is part of the resort’s $320 million renovation, which began in 2015 and included a new front entrance, reimagined lobby, transformed guestrooms and suites, expanded pool decks, and additions to the property’s culinary offerings. 10K Alley’s opening brings the beachfront property one step closer to the opening of its new Lanai Tower, which will also have a rooftop pool, signature restaurant and a new Adult-Exclusive Experience at the JW Marriott Marco Island. The Lanai Tower is slated to open in fall 2018.

Once the new tower is open, the resort will have 100,000 square feet of event space and 810 rooms and suites. The property is 20 minutes south of Naples and a 50-minute drive from Southwest Florida International Airport

Omni Breaks Ground on New Convention Center Hotel in Oklahoma City

Omni Hotels & Resorts has announced the start of construction on the Omni Oklahoma City Hotel, a 605 guest room convention center hotel set to open in early 2021. Executives from Omni broke ground alongside Mayor David Holt, Cathy O’Connor, president and CEO of The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City and Mike Carrier, president of the Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau. The 17-story hotel at 100 West Oklahoma City Blvd. will serve the city’s revitalized downtown area including the future convention center, Scissortail Park and Chesapeake Energy Arena, home of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.

The hotel will have 605 guest rooms, inclusive of 29 suites, with views of the 70-acre Scissortail Park and the downtown skyline, as well as seven dining outlets, a pool deck with event space, retail, 78,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space and a Mokara Spa.

The hotel is a $241 million investment and part of a public-private partnership with the city. Construction on the Oklahoma City Convention Center broke ground in June and is scheduled to open in 2020. Conference attendees and locals alike will enjoy Scissortail Park also currently under construction. In addition to expansive greenspace, the park’s design plans call for a café, sports facilities, a lake, nature trails and more. And basketball fans will have a new go-to hotel, located across the street from the home of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Omni Oklahoma City Hotel will aim to reflect its natural surroundings and the unique local culture of Oklahoma:

Design: Taking cues from Oklahoma’s dramatic prairie landscapes, design characteristics include a sky-blue color palette, abstract wheat patterns in corridors and chevron patterns inspired by Scissortail Park. Select guest rooms were designed with professional basketball teams and players in mind and feature larger door frames, taller ceilings and shower heads and longer beds.

Culinary: Omni Oklahoma City Hotel will have seven culinary outlets, with several restaurants lining Robinson Avenue with outdoor patio seating and street entrances. Dining experiences will include a Bob’s Steak & Chop House; lobby bar; sports bar; all-day dining outlet with to-go offerings; coffee shop; walk-up burger bar; and a poolside bar and grill.

Meetings: Situated between the new convention center and Chesapeake Energy Arena, Omni Oklahoma City Hotel will be a nationwide destination for meetings and events. All 78,000 square feet of meeting space will be located on the second floor, with the exception of an outdoor event lawn on the third floor.

Amenities: Omni Oklahoma City Hotel will be home to a Mokara Spa offering wellness experiences and salon services, a retail shop featuring leather goods and an elevated rooftop pool with a bar and grill.

Omni Oklahoma City Hotel will become a part of Omni’s Convention Center Collection, which includes signature properties in Atlanta, Louisville, Dallas, Nashville and Boston (opening in 2021).

Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country Rebrands, Revamps Event Space

Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country has wrapped its property-wide rebranding and renovation, which includes 90 additional guest rooms and a complete redesign of 40,000 square feet of event spaces, the lobby, and all other public areas. The hotel is also launching a new Brasserie restaurant in late October serving Sonoma County-influenced farm-to-fire dishes alongside custom barrel aged cocktails and a list of wines by the glass and bottles.

Centrally located in the heart of Sonoma in Downtown Santa Rosa’s Historic Railroad Square, the hotel's new design emphasizes earthy colors and textures and natural accents. The lobby layers wood tones, brushed metals and woven textures. As an extension of the lobby, the function spaces are also distinctive and inviting with bronze, iron and seeded glass. The suites highlight warm tones of olive, wheat and linen while the guest rooms combine soft gold and cream colors intended to represent the autumn countryside.

The hotel has extensive meeting and event spaces, including 15 indoor meeting rooms totaling 18,000 square feet, and an additional 20,000 square feet of outdoor space accompanied by an 80-foot long water wall ideal for weddings and special events. Culinary experiences include the Lobby Lounge, which serves coffee and pastries in the morning, and starting at 4 p.m. daily, it will offer happy hour featuring cocktails, beer and wine from local wineries.

The new Brasserie restaurant opens initially for breakfast, happy hour and dinner service, along with a lunch menu available for groups. Chef Rene Jakushak will cook contemporary California rustic cuisine for all meal times, including breakfast, which will feature a buffet in addition to a la carte offerings. The dinner menu will include appetizers, shared plates and select entrees, such as Petaluma Farms Angry Eggs featuring three spicy deviled eggs with tomatillo sriracha and smoked paprika; Panko Breaded Dungeness Crab Bricks with white truffle, apple and celery root salad, Meyer lemon and chipotle pepper aioli; Lobster, Tomato, Smoked Mozzarella Arancini with Sherry cream sauce; Almond Crusted Salmon Fillet with quinoa pilaf, garden vegetables, avocado, oven roasted tomatoes and lemon-thyme cream; and Grilled Rib Eye Steak Frites with crispy garlic fingerling potatoes, roasted cippolini onions, garden vegetables, and port wine sauce; among others. Lead Bartenders Jonathan Grady and Sarah Boryszewski helm the beverage program creating custom barrel aged cocktails ($10-15) with a twist highlighting spirits, such as bourbon for a Manhattan; tequila for an Old Fashion; gin for a Negroni; and vodka for a Cosmo; among others. Between 6-10 cocktails at a time are available on tap after being aged for 30-90 days.

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