Travel Weekly's Florida E-Letter: January 15, 2003

HYATT INT'L completed a multi-million-dollar redesign of all guestrooms of the Hyatt Regency in Tampa. The redesigned rooms incorporate a tropical color scheme using bright yellow and palm green; guest bathrooms were upgraded with imported granite. The renovation qualifies the property for an upgrade to Grand Hyatt status and it will henceforth be known as the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. As part of its new status, the hotel now features upgraded technology and business and leisure facilities.

MOTEL 6 opened its newly rebuilt 148-room property at 5909 America Way in Orlando on the International Drive. The hotel is now the prototype of the chain's new "Motel of the 21st Century" style, which incorporates interior corridors, dataports in every room, computerized front and back office systems, a swimming pool and electronic door locks. It is the fourth Motel 6 property in Orlando.

MARRIOTT INT'L is planning a $58 million renovation of the Marco Island Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa at Marco Island, incorporating a 24,000-square-foot Balinese-style health spa. The renovation will also include a new 10,000-square-foot ballroom and a beachside terrace that will offer panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico. Two of the property's five restaurants will be redesigned. The 18-hole golf course also is getting in on the renovations with a $4 million upgrade under the direction of golf course architect Bobby Cupp. The golf course is scheduled to be open by December.

SONESTA HOTEL & SUITES Coconut Grove, Miami, is paying travel agents 12% commission for its "Winter Travel Agent Special" and giving automatic room category upgrades for travel through Feb. 28. Under the promotion, clients booking a standard room will be upgraded to a deluxe studio. Those booking a deluxe studio will be promoted to a one-bedroom suite.

FAIRCHILD TROPICAL GARDEN on Old Cutler Road in Coral Gables will host Miami's First Annual Orchid Fest April 4 to6, which will be a haven for orchid lovers. The Fairchild hopes to capitalize on the buzz created by the new movie "Adaptation," starring Meryl Streep and Nicolas Cage, which was based on a best-selling book called "The Orchid Thief," about, you guessed it, an orchid thief. The event will include the display of hundreds of orchids from more than 70 species from around the world, orchid authorities that will present lectures, workshops and demonstrations on orchid cultivation, as well as food vendors and musical entertainment. For more information see

SPECIAL NOTE: With this issue, Travel Weekly is suspending publication of the Florida E-Letter. All other E-Letters will be published as usual.

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