|By Sandy Miller, The Times-News, Twin
Falls, Idaho,McClatchy-Tribune Business News
Jul. 27--TWIN FALLS --Your eyes aren't deceiving you.
The sign in front of what used to be the Ameritel Inn on North Blue Lakes indeed says "Best America Suites."
Ameritel and the owners of the locally owned Best America Suites closed the deal last spring.
But Ameritel has no plans to leave town. Quite the contrary. Ameritel is planning not just one, but two new hotels on Pole Line Road.
On Tuesday, city planners approved a special-use permit to Ameritel to build a 78,448-square-foot, three-story hotel at 539 Pole Line Road. Once they break ground, the hotel will take about a year to build and will employ about 30 people, said Chuck Everett, operations manager for Ameritel, which has four hotels in Boise, two in Idaho Falls, and one each in Pocatello, Coeur d'Alene, Olympia, Wash., and Bend, Ore.
Ameritel also plans to build a Hilton Garden Inn franchise not far from the new Ameritel. Ameritel will own and operate the hotel, which will carry the Hilton name. That hotel, which will have a small restaurant, will employ about 35 people, Everett said.
Does Twin Falls have a large enough market for two new hotels just down the street from each other? Everett said yes.
"Twin has been a great market," Everett said Wednesday. "It's a natural stopping point for interstate traffic."
Everett explained that Twin Falls' distance from Boise and Idaho Falls makes it a perfect stopping point for people who don't want to spend a couple more hours on the road before bedding down for the night. Also, Twin Falls' healthy industry sector brings plenty of business travelers, and Idaho's scenic beauty brings carloads of vacationers.
"Just leisure travel has been one heck of a growth area for you folks," Everett said.
Meanwhile, Everett said the former Ameritel site is in good hands with Best America Suites owners Yan and Nongli Xiaovan and Hobert and Teresita Cabe. The Cabes also own the Super 8 in Burley.
"They're good operators and I'm sure they will continue to provide a good lodging experience to travelers into Twin Falls," Everett said.
The sign out front isn't the only that's changed at the hotel on North Blue Lakes.
"We're going through the hotel head to toe and anything we can improve, we're doing it," Yan Xiaovan said.
Xiaovan said they've spruced up the pool area, upgraded the breakfast machines and are busy renovating the rooms. But one thing hasn't changed. The 30 former Ameritel employees all kept their jobs, Xiaovan said.
"We intend to keep everybody and add more," he said.
Times-News Business Editor
Sandy Miller can be reached at
735-3264 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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