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Houston Hotels Looking Good in 2009
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$220 plus million Invested in 2008 Hotel Renovations


January 12, 2009 - While national economic predictions for the hotel industry in 2009 have not been very uplifting, a recent poll by the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston shows that Houston area properties are going into the new year spiffed up and ready to compete.

Taking advantage of several good business years, hotels and lodging facilities invested more than $220 million in 2008 to upgrade and renovate their facilities. In 2009, visitors to Houston will see a substantial number of renovated and/or updated hotel rooms, lobbies, restaurants, ballrooms and even entire properties. This amount does not include money spent in the area for repairs due to Hurricane Ike or to build new properties, such as the Hilton Garden Inn along Houston’s westside Energy Corridor as well as the Four Points By Sheraton Memorial City and the Candlewood Suite – Reliant Park.

The poll was taken during the last of December and asked Association members to provide details and the approximate cost of the investment for any major refurbishment that was begun or completed during 2008. The response showed that the industry, already one of the largest employers in the area, added a substantial amount of money into the local economy and that the investments were in all parts of the area.

Here are some of the poll responses:

Topping the list of investment is the Lake Conroe resort, La Torretta Del Lago Resort & Spa, the former Del Lago Resort which has been closed for several years. At a project investment of $135 million, the new property opened for business in November with 445 luxury suites plus a newly-designed golf course, six swimming pools and a private lake beach, tennis courts and more. Additional spaces, restaurants and services will be introduced this year.

Just completing work in December, the Hilton Houston North (formerly the Wyndham Greenspoint Hotel) is showing off $21 million of upgrading which includes its rooms, meeting spaces, restrooms, restaurant, bar, business center, lobby and front desk area. The hotel’s fitness center was tripled in size.

The St. Regis, Houston invested $15 million to strip all of its guest rooms and hallways to the sheet rock - closing off three floors at a time during the summer - and emerged in late September with all new wiring, lighting, wall coverings, room furnishings, carpets, wood flooring, electronics and computer services.

While the most talked about change at the Four Seasons Hotel downtown was the saltwater resort pool with bar, the hotel also renovated 64 luxury residences, adding fully furnished apartment for lease. The extensive upgrading cost about $12 million.
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The St. Regis Houston
1919 Briar Oaks Lane
Houston, Texas 

Four Seasons Hotel Houston
1300 Lamar St.
Houston, Texas

Among other properties responding to poll was the Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa which completed $7.1 million in work renovating its 289 guest rooms, upgrading electronic and computer services as well as improvements in the corridors.

Downtown, the Doubletree Hotel Houston used $4 million to renovate its guest, banquet and meeting rooms throughout the hotel. Work on the project was completed in July.

The Hyatt Regency downtown has invested $35 million in upgrades and renovation work throughout the hotel of which $20 million was spent and completed in 2008. The lobby has already undergone major refacing, and the hotel has completed its new Shula’s Steak House.

The South Shore Harbour Resort began a $2 million renovation project of rooms, ballroom, corridors and restaurant. Upon completion, guests will have new bathrooms with granite counter tops and tile floors, among other upgrades throughout the hotel.

A multi-million renovation at the Holiday Inn Southwest upgraded rooms and entertainment areas, including the pool and hot tubs, and added a 24-hour business center.

The timing of the renovation investments gives Houston a competitive edge in national market, especially as the economy worsened in late 2008 and many projects across the country were postponed or canceled. While there are no indications 2009 will have as much local activity, the poll shows at least $33 million of additional renovations at various hotels are on going for this year.

This poll is one of several the Hotel and Lodging Association conducts each year concerning activities and opinions among its members. 

With nearly 300 members, the organization is made up of general managers and owners of hotels and motels, suppliers, service companies and consultants who sell and service the hospitality industry. This industry, which provides more than 89,000 jobs and $327 million in payroll, is one of the top contributors to the Houston economy.

Serving as the voice representing the hotel and lodging industry in the Houston area, HLAGH is active in governmental affairs, education, tourism and charitable efforts. The organization provides scholarships to the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management at the University of Houston and on-the-job training to high school students through its High Schools for Hospitality Program.

The organization also works closely with the Greater Houston Conventions and Visitors Bureau to promote Houston as a convention and tourism location. Travel spending in the greater Houston area last year generated more than $147 million in local taxes. Hotels and motels also infused more than $500 million in construction and renovation spending into the local economy.

For more information, call the HLAGH at 713-437-5250 or e-mail the association, director@houstonhotels.org. 

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Contact:

Mark G Hanna
281-870-9994

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Also See: Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston Names Five Nominees for Special Houston Hero Award for Extraordinary Actions During and After Hurricane Ike / November 2008
The Nonprofit Houston Convention Center Hotel Corp., which Developed the City-owned $316 million, 1,200-room Hilton Americas-Houston Convention Hotel, Sees Need for 2nd 1,000 room Convention Hotel in Downtown Houston / January 2008
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