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"It's Not Just a Renovation! It's a New Hotel";
Hotel Abrego Opens in Monterey, California

By Lane Wallace, The Monterey County Herald, Calif.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Jul. 2, 2009--It's the same site and the same owner, but a hotel has gone up where a motel once stood in Monterey.

Tracy J. Call, who bought the Sand Dollar Inn on Abrego Street in Monterey, opened Hotel Abrego this week.

"It's not just a renovation. It's a new hotel," Call said.

"I knew there was potential," Call said, to go from a limited-service motel to a full-service hotel, with a restaurant and meeting room.

The project, which began in March 2008, involved renovating the 64 rooms of the old Sand Dollar, and adding 29 rooms. There is a new building where a Denny's restaurant once stood.

The Sand Dollar closed in March. Even as the Abrego opened rooms Monday, there were crews on site, finishing outdoor work. Call said everything will be opened by the weekend.

The restaurant, which holds about 40 people, doesn't have a permanent name.

"Right now it's the restaurant at the Hotel Abrego," Call said.

With a meeting room that can accommodate about 45 people, Call said, the Abrego will be able to draw more business travelers. The hotel's services include Wi-Fi.

Hotel Abrego is one of five in the Inns of Monterey group, which are separately owned but share some marketing and management.

The Abrego's architecture is what Call refers to as "Monterey Colonial. I wanted something in keeping with the main entrance to Monterey."

Call hired the Monterey architectural firm of Wald Ruhnke & Dost. Avila Construction of Monterey was the main contractor.

Call wanted to created "a residential feel" to the rooms, designed by Linda Snyder Associates of El Segundo.

The rooms have mini-bars, Italian linens, ergonomic chairs, iPod clock radios and a nod to going green -- waste baskets that have a section for recycling.

Call has concerns about the recession's impact on tourism, but he is optimistic. The hotel, which is offering a $159 introductory rate, is almost sold out for the weekend, he said. People's confidence that the economy will bounce back "is starting to increase," he said.

Hotel Abrego is at 577 Abrego St., Monterey; telephone 800-982-1986.


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