|By David Hendricks, San Antonio Express-News|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Jul. 28, 2005 - An Atlanta-based hotel group that plans a new luxury hotel chain competing with Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons will open a 150-room hotel -- the Solis Hotel -- in San Antonio near the Dominion in late 2007, the group announced Wednesday.
West Paces Hotel Group will spend $700 million to open six hotels launching the Solis Hotels & Resorts chain, said company CEO Horst Schulze, a former president and chief operating officer for Ritz-Carlton.
The other hotels opening in 2007 will be in Chicago, Phoenix suburb Paradise Valley, Ariz., Atlanta suburb Alpharetta, Ga., and Frankfurt, Germany. An Orlando, Fla., hotel will open in 2008. At 150 rooms, San Antonio's Solis will be the next-to-smallest of the hotels.
West Paces did not disclose an investment figure for the San Antonio Solis hotel. It will be designed in Spanish colonial style to reflect Mexico's distinctive architecture. The hotel will feature a spa, fitness center, a gourmet restaurant with a large outdoor bar and lounge area, and meeting and banquet space.
"Solis Hotels and Resorts will embody a core philosophy of exceptional and caring service," said Schulze, 64. "We have uncovered significant major shifts by listening to today's upscale travelers which indicated to us a significant opportunity for creating a new hotel and resort product.
"The Solis brand was developed to provide our guests with a distinctive experience and a sense of place, while surrounding them with impeccable service."
Construction in San Antonio will begin in the spring of 2006. The four-story hotel will include 22 suites, 8,500 square feet of meeting and banquet space, a 4,500-square-foot junior ballroom, a 2,000-square-foot meeting room, and two boardrooms of 800 and 600 square feet.
The spa and fitness center will cover 8,000 square feet.
"This is excellent news for San Antonio," said Marco Barros, executive director of the San Antonio Area Tourism Council. "We are on the right track in developing this industry. People are paying a lot of attention to what San Antonio is doing the next five years."
West Paces Hotel Group already manages three other top-flight hotels: L'Auberge de Sedona in Sedona, Ariz., Hotel Avandaro Golf & Spa in Valle de Bravo, Sierra Madre, Mexico, and Parkhotel in Euskirchen, Germany.
Barros said the San Antonio hotel nearest in quality of service to a Ritz-Carlton or Four Seasons is the Watermark Hotel and spa downtown, operated by the owners of the La Mansion del Rio Hotel.
The Watermark Hotel this year earned a four-star (out of five) rating for its spa from the Mobil Travel Guide, one of only two four-star ratings in Texas.
The Solis hotel's master developer is Thomas Enterprises Inc., with Thannisch Development Services listed as the hotel developer. Both are located in Atlanta. Thomas is also developing the local Bass Pro Shop.
HKS Inc. of Dallas is the architectural firm. Interior design services will be provided by Paul Duesing Partners of Dallas, with landscape architecture designs coming from SWA Group Inc., also of Dallas.
The hotel will be next door to the Loop 1604-Interstate 10 intersection, where malls are under construction, including the upscale Shops at La Cantera, which will feature Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom's and Tiffany's stores.
Coincidentally, the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank's Beige Book report on the regional economy, released Wednesday, notes that construction is on the upswing in Texas.
"Hotel markets are 'hot,'" the report says.
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