|By Robert Evatt, Tulsa World,
Okla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Sept. 18, 2012-- The Crowne Plaza brand returns to Tulsa with the conversion of a former Hilton into Crowne Plaza Tulsa-Southern Hills.
The 11-story, 286-room hotel, located at 7902 S. Lewis Ave. across from Oral Roberts University, is already operating under the new name.
Leigh Murray, director of sales and marketing for the hotel, said officials have spent nearly a million dollars on new carpeting, bedding and wireless systems, with a more extensive renovation of the meeting space, guest rooms and lobby to come by the end of next year.
She said that hotel owners McSam Hotels decided to make the switch due to Crowne Plaza's reputation with business travelers.
"It was time to renew the contract with Hilton, and our owners decided to look around and review all their options," she said.
Officials at InterContinental Hotels Group, the entity that licensed the Crowne Plaza name to McSam Hotels, said in a press release that the conversion will also feature redesigned guestrooms and public places, though the company did not provide specifics.
Gina LaBarre, vice president of IHG's Americas Brand Management, said in a press release the company is pleased to bring the brand back, and feels like the location should serve business travelers well.
"There are several major employers in the area that will benefit from the meetings-savvy products and services that only a Crowne Plaza can provide," she said.
The hotel includes a presidential suite, six junior suites, 13,000 square feet of meeting space and attached casual restaurant Legends Grill.
Crowne Plaza had previously been licensed to the downtown hotel that now operates as the Hyatt Regency. That hotel entered foreclosure under its previous operators, Ascension Hotels of Donaldson, La., and was purchased by Argonaut Private Equity, an investment arm of the George Kaiser Foundation for $11 million in 2010.
As part of the purchase, the downtown hotel was converted to the Hyatt brand.
Murray said she doesn't believe the financial woes of the previous Crowne Plaza will affect her hotel.
"The owners really feel the Crowne is a strong brand," she said. "Crowne Plaza has upgraded their standards over the last few years, so they're competing with luxury brands now."
Robert Evatt 918-581-8447 firstname.lastname@example.org
(c)2012 Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.)
Visit Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.) at www.tulsaworld.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services