News for the Hospitality Executive
|By Jeff DeMoss, Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Dec. 31, 2003 - OGDEN, Utah -- Perhaps the third time's the charm.
After several months in transition, the historic downtown Eccles Building officially reopened for business Tuesday as the Hampton Inn & Suites -- its third name in less than a year.
Sales and marketing director Stefani Jensen said a children's ski group was the first to check into the hotel, which will operate in the midst of a renovation for the next few months.
She said the first stage of construction -- relocation of the hotel's business offices and an overhaul of the lobby area -- is wrapping up, and work will begin next week on a 10-by-13-foot spa.
A new front desk area featuring a large brand logo has been installed, and the former Nico's restaurant and lounge area have been converted into a breakfast bar offering a seating area and a selection of hot entrees in addition to traditional continental breakfast items.
The renovation, which Jensen said will be complete by spring, also features a swimming pool expected to open in about six weeks, expansion of the fitness center, and conversion of former hotel rooms into 21 suites.
Guests will stay in suites that previously existed under the Ogden Plaza and Crowne Plaza flags until the conversion is finished. Room rates start at $79 per night.
It is the building's third incarnation as a hotel in eleven months. Global hotel operator Six Continents pulled its Crowne Plaza brand out of the building in February after occupancy took a post-Olympic dive, after which the ensuing owners renamed it the Ogden Plaza Hotel.
But the hotel continued to struggle without a well-known brand association, and the owners defaulted on their loan for the building over the summer.
Jensen, who worked in the building when it was the Ogden Plaza, said a strong brand name should help bring it success -- something the two previous hotels in the building saw very little of.
"You'll know right where you are when you walk in," she said. "This is going to be a positive change for Ogden."
Hampton Inn & Suites is a division of Hilton Hotels Corp., but the new hotel is owned and operated by a franchisee, Colorado-based Stonebridge Companies, which operates about 40 hotels in six western states.
In order to increase public awareness of its opening, Jensen said the hotel will participate in tonight's First Night celebration by holding a drawing for a free night's stay.
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(c) 2003, Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. HLT, IHG,