Hotel Online 
News for the Hospitality Executive



 
The Hotel Group Finishing Up a $10 million Renovation of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Billings, Montana;
The 289 room Property Formerly Operated as a Sheraton Hotel


By Zach Benoit

Billings Gazette, Mont.

May 14, 2008 - --The newly remodeled Crowne Plaza Hotel showed off more than $10 million in renovations at its official grand opening Tuesday night.

New additions to the Crowne Plaza include a redesigned lobby, a street-level lobby bar called Montana's and a Starbucks coffee shop. A 16,000-square-foot conference center -- taking up much of the hotel's second floor -- has been added and includes several board and multifunctional rooms.

A new fitness center was built, and numerous improvements to electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems were made.

Nine guest rooms have been added, bringing the total to 289. Extensive upgrades to the rooms include flat-screen televisions, custom-made furniture and new carpet.

"We want this to be the preferred hotel in all of Montana," Douglas Dreher said. Dreher is the president of The Hotel Group, which bought the old Sheraton Hotel in the fall of 2006. "We have the responsibility of being the best."

Remodeling on the downtown Billings hotel began in January 2007 after The Hotel Group's purchase. The hotel has remained open since remodeling began, but Tuesday was the first time many of the additions and changes have been presented.

"Between the location and renovation, it's going to be a major player downtown," general manager Chris Johnson said.

Despite the festivities on Tuesday, work on the hotel is not finished. Crews are still working to finish a new restaurant, Montana Sky, on the 20th floor and finish the 23rd floor. Landscaping, exterior improvements and parking lot work will begin early this summer as the weather improves.

With more than 2 million bricks making up the Crowne Plaza, not a lot of changes will be made to the exterior, Johnson said. Instead, it will be cleaned up and the work will focus more on landscaping.

Lara Latture, vice president of The Hotel Group, said the remodeling is more than 90 percent done and hotel guests can most likely expect a finished product by midsummer.

Hardy Construction, of Billings, was brought in to help with the renovations in early March after a series of delays put the May 13 celebration in jeopardy. The Hardy crew came in to work on the lobby, the 17th floor and the 20th floor.

"It came along gradually and then suddenly," Dreher said of the efforts to remodel the hotel.

Now -- and when the remodeling is finished -- guests can expect a new level of hospitality and service at the Crowne Plaza, Latture said.

"This is a first-class facility with top-class service," she said. "It's not the same space it was before. We hope the community and the city is as excited as we are."

-----

To see more of the Billings Gazette, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.billingsgazette.com.

Copyright (c) 2008, Billings Gazette, Mont.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email tmsreprints@permissionsgroup.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.




To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.OnlineSearch
Home | Welcome| Hospitality News | Classifieds| One-on-One |
Viewpoint Forum | Industry Resources | Press Releases
Please contact Hotel.Onlinewith your comments and suggestions.