|By Laura Youngs, The Augusta Chronicle,
Ga.McClatchy-Tribune Business News
Mar. 6, 2007 - It's almost two decades old, but after more than six months of sanding and scraping, the Doubletree Hotel is anything but tired.
The 179-room hotel, which will have its grand opening Thursday, will finish its $7 million renovations the week before the Masters Tournament in April.
The project was originally scheduled to cost less than $5 million, but hotel manager Marty Matfess said the owners, Augusta's GJM Hospitality, decided to upgrade some areas, such as the phone system, which pushed the price tag up.
New amenities include wireless Internet, a Starbucks coffee shop, high-definition TVs and even a chocolate chip cookie upon check-in.
"The theme of Doubletree is to offer warm and caring service where guests feel welcomed," Mr. Matfess said. "Everything about the renovation was built around that."
The project overhauled the former Augusta Towers Hotel and Convention Center off Wheeler Road (
The upgrades also include a makeover of 15,000 square feet of meeting space, a new 500-square-foot fitness center and a full-service spa -- featuring manicures, pedicures and massages -- that will open in four months.
Rooms, which range from $119 to $219 a night, feature 32-inch high-definition televisions, new pillow-top mattresses and clock radios that hook up to an MP3 player, he said.
Gone is the Saints nightclub. That space is now occupied by the Lotus bar and Andrews, a steak and seafood restaurant.
The idea of the remodeling was to create a relaxed, open-air atmosphere with earth tones and cozy work space, Mr. Matfess said.
The hotel had planned to be a Doubletree by December but was held up by delays in receiving construction materials.
The hotel was built as a Sheraton in 1989, but the building lost the brand in 2004.
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