|By Bob Freund, Post-Bulletin, Rochester,
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Mar. 23, 2006 - The surroundings are lavish.
Hand-hewn mahogany crown moldings line the ceilings; automated window drapes are adjusted electronically; 300-thread-count Egyptian cotton linens cover king-sized beds; the walls of the guest lounge display the rich look of brown leather; 42-inch liquid crystal display TVs hang on walls or stand atop cabinets.
Yet, it's the service that will attract guests likely to gravitate to the luxurious new International Hotel atop the Kahler Grand Hotel in downtown Rochester, operators say.
"'Yes' is the answer. What is the question?" MikiiCummins, director of brand marketing for Sunstone Hotel Properties, emphasizes.
The International Hotel opens with two ribbon cuttings and receptions today on the 10th and 11th floors of the Kahler Grand complex.
Carved out of the Kahler during a $2.8 million remodeling project, the hotel will cater to the wealthy, to executives and to dignitaries used to traveling in style -- many anticipated to be visiting Mayo Clinic.
Personalized service begins on arrival, when a guest is met and escorted directly a hotel manager or concierge to one of 19 rooms or suites, says John Beltz, Sunstone's regional vice president of sales. Accommodations range from deluxe king rooms to the 1,918-square-foot Imperial Suite. Among five other grand suites is the Presidential Suite, equipped with a full kitchen. An entourage can link together as many as four suites to form an eight-bedroom complex, Beltz said.
The kitchen isn't necessary. All International guests can wander down to the lounge as early as 6 a.m., for a European breakfast, or at 3 p.m. for afternoon tea, or at 5:30 p.m. for canapes and an early evening drink.
A guest with hunger pangs in the middle of the night needn't wait until 6 a.m. Room service is at the ready 24 hours a day, Beltz said.
A concierge is on duty 17 1/2 hours a day to tend to guest needs. The new hotel-within-a-hotel has its own housekeepers, picked from the best of the Kahler Grand's staff, he said.
Robert Alter, chief executive officer for owner Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc., is scheduled to be among visitors for the grand opening ceremonies today, Cummins said.
Location: Top two floors of the Kahler Grand Hotel, Rochester
Accommodations: 19 guest rooms, suites
Amenities: Day, evening concierge; escorted, private arrivals; 24-hour room service; exclusive lounge serving European breakfast, afternoon tea and early evening reception; wireless and wired Internet; 200-channel, international television, temporary business cards, stationary.
Cost per night: From $300 (deluxe king room) to $2,800 (Imperial Suite, largest in the hotel).
Owner: Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. of San Clemente, Calif.
Other local properties: Kahler Grand Hotel; Kahler Inn and Suites; Rochester Marriott Hotel, Residence Inn Marriott; Holiday Inn Express, all in Rochester.
Copyright (c) 2006, Post-Bulletin, Rochester, Minn.
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