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Hotel Indigo in Ontario Described As Not a 'Beige Box' Lodging

By Kimberly Pierceall, The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

July 23, 2008 - Visit Hotel Indigo in Ontario today and it's likely to be a different hotel a few months from now.

The candies on the front desk, the mint-mango mojito scent piped in through the entrance and the pictures of birds of paradise won't last long.

All three will be swapped out, come fall, with autumn-appropriate tastes, scents and scenes.

The hotel, off Haven Avenue at 3333 Shelby St., is among a chain of 16 nationwide from InterContinental Hotels Group that changes features much like a retail store changes window displays.

The 92-room Ontario location, which opened July 10, is the first on the West Coast.

"This is definitely not your traditional road warrior beige box," said Scott Megna, general manager of the hotel. In other hotels, he said, "you can wake up and not even know where you're at because the inside all looks the same."

What remains constant are hardwood floors, haiku written on everything including laundry bags and the hotel's adherence to a math equation.

The Fibonacci sequence (start with 0 then 1, then keep going by adding the last two numbers to make a new number) takes the shape of a sea shell when drawn out. It's the hotel's logo.

Inside a room, Megna pointed to three vases on a side table and three magazines stacked next to it. Downstairs there are five stools at the Starbucks counter, not four or six, which aren't Fibonacci numbers.

There are even some inadvertent Fibonacci numbers. The three-story Hotel Indigo is the third concept developers of the hotel agreed on (first they planned an "extended stay" hotel, then they considered another brand.)

"Originally, they were going to have kitchens in (the guest rooms) ," Megna said. That extra space has made each room larger than average with an extra sink and counter near the door.

Megna said rates will start at $89 a night during weekends and $139 during the week, with suites as high as $179.

"We're trying to get the word out," he said.

On Tuesday, the hotel was 30 percent full.

Gayle Jett, director of brand management for InterContinental Hotels Group, said in an e-mail that Ontario was appealing because of its proximity to universities and corporations.

Being a hotelier in the Inland region, especially in an area that relies on diminishing air traffic, remains a challenge for the next few years , said Alan Reay, president of Irvine-based Atlas Hospitality Group.

Despite ExpressJet and JetBlue recently announcing that they would end flights from Ontario International Airport, Megna is confident that demand for his hotel will remain.

"Southwest is the biggest carrier and they're not slowing down anytime soon," he said.

With hotels originally planned during economic boom times now opening during much softer financial times, room rates will start falling.

According to a mid-year study from Atlas , there are 13 hotels with 1,279 rooms under construction in San Bernardino County, largely in and around Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga. Four hotels, including the 136-room trendy Aloft hotel not far from Hotel Indigo off Haven Avenue, have opened in the county this year.

Hotels like the Aloft and Hotel Indigo carry an advantage because of their newness.

Different Design

Like most new properties, Hotel Indigo offers free wi-fi and 37-inch flat screen TVs in each room. Unlike other properties, Hotel Indigo has:

  • Hardwood floors
  • Famous quotes written (backwards) on walls
  • Photo murals featuring California scenes
  • Haiku
  • Seasonal features swapped out every few months

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To see more of The Press-Enterprise, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.PE.com.

Copyright (c) 2008, The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.

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