Europe luxury hotel development continues apace

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PARIS - Despite the hits the global economy took this year, luxury hotel development continues at a rapid pace in Europe. Here is a preview of some key openings and renovations:

Austria

Vienna's Hotel Sacher is poised to complete its three-and-half-year room renovation this spring. The 108-room hotel, evocative of Hapsburg-era luxury, spent approximately $2.5 million on the refurbishment, including the completion of seven new luxury suites.

Public and guest rooms feature more than 1,000 paintings by 19th century masters. Most rooms overlook the Vienna State Opera, the Albertina and the Imperial Palace. Rates start at approximately $325, double, including VAT but not breakfast.

Leading Hotels of the World, Phone: (800) 223-6800

Czech Republic

The 292-room Prague Marriott will debut this spring in the city center. Phone: (800) 228-9290

Finland

The 179-room Kamp in Helsinki will reopen in May 1999, as a five-star member of the Starwood Luxury Collection. The decor will feature original works by the artistic elite of the 1920s and '30s. Phone: (800) 325-3535

The 308-room Radisson SAS Plaza Hotel Helsinki will reopen in June 1999. The renovated building is convenient to Helsinki's railway station. Phone: (888) 333-8055

France

A 203-room Hilton is scheduled to open next May in Lyon next to the Palais des Congres Convention Center. Facilities will include two restaurants, a bar, a business center and a casino. Phone: (800) 445-8667

Germany

Hyatt International set Oct. 19 for the opening of its 346-room Grand Hyatt Berlin, part of the Potsdamer Platz redevelopment project. Guests can expect the usual offering of Grand Hyatt business amenities and facilities. The grand ballroom will offer views of the Potsdamer Platz. Hyatt International said it will offer an introductory rate of $155 at the Berlin property through February 1999. Phone: (800) 233-1234

Hilton International expects a fall opening this year for its 342-room Hilton Frankfurt, located in the city center near the stock exchange and the city's main shopping street. The new Hilton Frankfurt will have 14 high-tech meeting rooms. Phone: (800) 445-8667

Steigenberger Hotels is renovating the 122-year-old Frankfurter Hof and should be finished this fall. Rates start at about $208, double. Steigenberger Hotels can be booked through SRS Worldhotels. Phone: (800) 223-5652

Holland

Westin is spending $70 million to build the Westin Rotterdam, due to open in the second half of 2000. Aimed at business travelers, the five-star, 230-room hotel will occupy the bottom 15 floors of the Tower development, a mixed-use project adjacent to the Plaza shopping center and the Holland Casino. The Westin Rotterdam will be linked via a skybridge to Rotterdam's main conference and performing arts center.

Westin Hotels, Phone: (800) 325-3535

Italy

Marriott International Inc. is adding its first Marriott-flagged Italy property in Rome. The Grand Hotel Flora on the Via Veneto in Rome will reopen as the Rome Marriott, Grand Hotel Flora in mid-1999. The 160-room hotel is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation of the guest rooms, public areas and exterior. New features include 5,000 square feet of meeting space, a business center, a restaurant, a lobby bar and a health and fitness facility. Phone: (800) 228-9290

Malta

The 295-room Malta Hilton to be built in St. Julian's just outside Valetta is due to open in June. Accessible by road or water taxi, the hotel will offer luxury accommodations from standard rooms to marinaview suites, indoor and outdoor pools, an indoor leisure center and a private hotel beach. The hotel's convention center will be adjacent to the lobby and will have three auditoriums. Phone: (800) HILTONS

Norway

The 350-room Clarion Oslo Airport hotel will open in October near the new Oslo Airport, which is scheduled to open Oct. 8. The hotel's trump card is an indoor swimming pool park with several pools, slides and a man-made beach. The hotel also will target the meetings market with space for up to 1,200 attendees. Rates start at $167.57. Phone: (800) 228-5050

Poland

Hyatt is building a 250-room hotel in Warsaw, slated to open in 2000. The first Hyatt-managed hotel in Poland, the Hyatt Regency Warsaw will cater to the meetings market.

Romania

In Bucharest, a 400-room Marriott will open in the middle of next year near the central business district. Phone: (800) 228-9290

Spain

The Hotel Ritz in Madrid will complete room redecorations by the end of the year. Voice mail, double-glazed windows and new carpets and upholstery have been added to guest rooms. The hotel is represented by Forte and Leading Hotels of the World. Room rates start at about $275, double.

The 165-room Hotel Los Monteros in Marbella on the Costa Del Sol (Occidental) will reopen this month after a renovation. The hotel added a 350-person meetings facility. Rates start at about $150, double, for a standard room. Phone: (011) 34-95 282-3846. Fax: (011) 34-95 282-5846

Switzerland

Hotel Allegro is slated to open in Bern in October. Allegro is attached to Kursaal Bern, a conference center with facilities for up to 1,500. Rates range from $150 to $200 per night, double. Phone: (011) 031 333-1010. Fax: (011) 031 333-1011

Cathy Carroll, Jim Glab, Linda Humphrey, Carla Hunt, Felicity Long and Jorge Sidron contributed to this article.

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