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Bank of America  Prepares to Open the 146 room Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte

Bank Expects Half of the Rooms to Be Occupied by Employees, Vendors


By Rick Rothacker, The Charlotte Observer, N.C.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Jul. 23, 2009--If you have $199 lying around, Charlotte's new Ritz-Carlton hotel will start taking reservations Friday for stays beginning Oct. 1.

The 18-story, environmentally friendly luxury hotel will offer 146 rooms, a 13,000-square-foot "Wellness Center with Aqua Lounge," a saline-treated swimming pool and a streetside BLT Steak restaurant. The hotel should be able to start taking reservations at 4 a.m. at www.ritzcarlton.com or 800-241-3333.

Bank of America Corp. first announced plans to build the hotel at the corner of College and Trade streets in uptown in July 2005. The project later added an adjacent office building, which is also under construction.

The Charlotte bank will own the hotel, but Ritz will manage it. The bank has told regulators that it will use half of the rooms or more for employees, vendors and other bank-related guests.

When it was first announced, the hotel was to be called the "Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte at Bank of America Corporate Center," referring to the bank's headquarters across College Street. Now it's just being called the "Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte."

Ritz spokeswoman Bonnie Crail said the "Bank of America" was dropped in keeping with the hotel's tradition of just using the city name for its hotels, except in metro areas where it has two properties.

Bank of America and other banks that have accepted taxpayer dollars have also been under fire for any expenses that could be seen as excessive or wasteful. Banks, for example, have canceled employee events in cities such as Las Vegas and removed their brands from golf tournaments.

Earlier this year, Ballantyne Resort dropped the "resort" in its name because the term carried too much of a high-dollar stigma. It's now known as The Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge.

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Copyright (c) 2009, The Charlotte Observer, N.C.

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