|By Suzanne Marta, The Dallas Morning News
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Dec. 3, 2005 - The Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas said Friday that it plans to nearly double its villa lodging and expand its sports club and events space.
The $20 million expansion, the luxury resort's first in five years, is to open before the W hotel opens in Hillwood's tony Victory development near downtown Dallas.
Four Seasons officials hope the project will give the 20-year-old resort a boost as competition heats up in the luxury segment of the North Texas market.
In addition to the 33-story W Dallas Victory Hotel and Residences and the $213 million Ritz Carlton Dallas in the Uptown neighborhood, the Mandarin Oriental is expected to announce a hotel in Victory.
"You never want to be a has-been in this business," said Craig Reid, the Four Seasons' general manager and regional vice president. "We're rebooting."
The resort is developing a 4-acre site that will add 40 new villa guest rooms facing the 18th hole of its Tournament Players Course.
Even with the project, Mr. Reid said, the resort's 400-acre property still has around 20 additional acres that could one day be developed into more villas or high-end condominiums.
Housed in a separate building around the golf course, the villa guest rooms are the hotel's most popular. Its rooms often command a $100-a-night premium over those in the main tower.
The new villa complex will also include two suites named for famous golfers, plus a luxury bridal suite.
"There's so much luxury traffic coming in, and as the market grows, we need to grow to absorb it," Mr. Reid said.
Demand from business travelers has been strong, and the hotel has more future business on its books now than it has in its history.
The expansion is also designed to emphasize the Las Colinas resort's ties to golfing legend Byron Nelson and the annual PGA Tour event named for him.
Club areas will get additional showcases for Nelson memorabilia, and a new clock tower will be built as both a tool for tracking tee times and an homage to Mr. Nelson's affinity for timepieces.
"We want to underscore that this is [Mr. Nelson's] home, and that this is the only place in Dallas to host championship golf," Mr. Reid said.
The project also includes an expansion to its sports club â€" its first since it opened nearly two decades agoâ€" including a tripling of its pro shop and a new restaurant featuring a panoramic view of the golf course.
And steps from the new restaurant to the putting green have been designed to serve as a higher-profile entrance for tournament players during the televised event.
"We're trying to increase the sense of theater," Mr. Reid said.
A 1-acre lake has also been added to the 18th hole, something that will provide scenic views for villa guests while making the course more challenging.
The lake will also serve as a dramatic backdrop for a new amphitheater being marketed for weddings and other large outdoor functions that currently suffer from space restrictions.
"We'll be able to put up an 18,000-square-foot tent here; that's bigger than our ballroom," Mr. Reid said.
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