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Sheraton Hotel North Houston Reopens with All 200 Employees
after Water Damage from Hurricane Ike
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HOUSTON, Texas, November 17, 2008—Officials at the Sheraton Hotel North Houston at George Bush International Airport today announced a multi-million dollar restoration and reopening of the property following water damage to the lobby area, restaurant and first floor meeting space caused by Hurricane Ike.  Also, the hotel reported that all of its 200 employees have returned to work.

“This was a project in which hundreds of people from throughout the community participated to get the hotel back on its feet as quickly as possible,” said Robert Kisker, general manager of the hotel.  “Employees, the owner, the construction company and the community all pulled together to create a miracle.  In addition, all clients were eagerly waiting for the reopening of the hotel, asking on a daily basis when the hotel would be up and running again.

“Originally expected by experts to take four months, our employees and managers returned days after the hurricane and helped in the clean up process and stayed with the hotel through the six weeks it took to complete the job,” he noted.  “Several employees were forced out of their homes due to Ike.  Fundraising efforts at the nine other hotels owned or managed by Dow Hotels, our parent company, helped our employees get through this period.  It truly was a miracle and a wonderful example of the American spirit.” 
 
Water damage was limited to the first floor.  However, it was significant enough to cause the hotel to be closed so that the construction company could properly restore the property and re-open it as quickly as possible without disturbing guests. Some structural work is left on the atrium over the lobby and the hotel is creating a 3600 square-foot ballroom in the space of the former 150-fixed seat auditorium that was located off the lobby.  Both are expected to be completed in January.  Neither of these projects is expected to be disruptive to our guests.

“If there is a silver lining to the damage, it is the overwhelming help and support we received from everyone,” he noted.  “During the hurricane, we were able to safely evacuate 300 guests at 3 a.m. and find alternate accommodations and provide them with food.  Several Fortune 500 Companies wrote the hotel letters congratulating us on our handling of their guests."

Located at 15700 John F. Kennedy Blvd., approximately one mile from the Houston International Airport, the property suffered roof and water damage due to high winds and heavy rains to its two-story atrium over its amphitheater meeting space.  In addition, Hurricane Ike caused the entire atrium roof, including the skylights, to cave in, which nearly took the lives of the seven-person planning committee.

The hotel has replaced all carpeting, walls and furniture, fixture and equipment on the main floor.  The auditorium, which was destroyed in the storm, is being converted into multi-function space, capable of handling up to 300 people.  A multi-million renovation of the property’s 420 guestrooms was completed in June of this year.

“Ironically, we had just completed a major upgrade to guestrooms and  public space, except the restaurant, and created the first ‘Link @ Sheraton Lobby’ in the state just several months before,” Kisker said.   “Fortunately, no one was hurt and all guestrooms, which were included in the previous renovation program, came through the storm without damage.  The change to the meeting space will allow us to serve our guests with more functional space in a ‘like-new’ hotel.”

The Sheraton’s new Link @ Sheraton Lobby, a signature lobby-based communications hub that enables guests to stay connected and fully productive while traveling and away from their offices, features free Wi-Fi and Internet-enabled computer stations, and access to television, daily newspapers, and food and beverage offerings.  A communal table at the lobby’s center allows several groups of guests to work independently of one another within the same space, with game tables and oversized chairs that encourage interaction or rest and relaxation.  Guests also are surrounded by a distinctive ambiance created through new sensory elements, including a clean, “open air” scent, music, lighting and botanical designs. 

The Sheraton North Houston at George Bush Intercontinental Airport is operated by Seattle-based The Dow Hotel Company, which is a hotel owner/investor and operator of 10 first-class, full-service hotels throughout the United States.  The company’s portfolio of owned and managed properties consists of hotels, under such brands as Marriott, Hilton, Embassy Suites, Sheraton, Crowne Plaza, Doubletree and Radisson Hotels and Resorts.  The company aggressively seeks to acquire, co-invest with joint venture partners and/or manage mid- to large-size, first-class, full service hotels, especially those with extensive food and beverage capabilities.

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Contact:

Jerry Daly
    (703) 435-6293
    jerry@dalygray.com

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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
Landry's Restaurants, Inc., the Owner of Several Hotels, Restaurants in Galveston, "Not the Same Company"
 Following Ike; Jobs of 3,000 Employees in Question / September 2008
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