|By Marc Silvestrini, Waterbury
Republican-American, Conn.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Dec. 19, 2007 - WATERBURY, Conn. -- The city's largest hotel, the Connecticut Grand Hotel and Conference Center, officially began flying the Holiday Inn flag Tuesday.
The 284-room hotel at 3580 East Main St., which was purchased by Sage Hospitality Resources LLC of Denver in June, became an official member of Holiday Inn's global network Tuesday, said Christopher Costabile, the hotel's manager.
The hotel will be known as the Holiday Inn Waterbury, but has been granted permission to use the name Holiday Inn Grand Waterbury as part of its local marketing efforts, Costabile said.
Sage Hospitality wanted to include the word "Grand" in local marketing campaigns because surveys have indicated the name has strong brand recognition throughout Greater Waterbury, Litchfield County and the Naugatuck River Valley.
The hotel's new name will be featured on two billboards overlooking Interstate 84 that are scheduled to be unveiled today, Costabile said.
The hotel has made several improvements as part of its conversion into a Holiday Inn, including instituting an extended room-service program, opening the Grand Cafe coffee bar in early October, and expanding the breakfast menu and adding lunch and brunch specials at the hotel's restaurant, the Parkside Grille, he said.
The hotel also plans to open a new theme bar/lounge next to the coffee bar, he said.
All told, the hotel's owners have spent about $6 million in readying the facility to meet Holiday Inn's brand standards, Costabile said.
Construction of a $25 million, 48,000- to 50,000-square-foot water park on the eastern side of the hotel remains on track, Costabile said. Assuming no serious construction delays due to winter weather, the park is expected to open in October 2008.
The Holiday Inn flag is the third the hotel has flown since it opened in 1985, said Jim Whitney, director of the Northwest Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau. The facility opened as a Sheraton Hotel and flew that flag until it was closed on Dec. 16, 2001.
The hotel's management at the time said they were shutting down because of a sharp drop in business in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The hotel stood vacant for almost three years before a group of real estate investors operating under the name 3580 East Main Street bought it for $3.7 million in March 2003 and reopened it as the Connecticut Grand in September 2004.
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