|By Andrew Barksdale, The Fayetteville
Observer, N.C.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
July 08, 2011--The Hotel Bordeaux & Conference Center will return to its former Holiday Inn brand after a $2 million makeover is completed later this year, the owner says.
The 295-room hotel on Owen Drive lost its affiliation with Holiday Inn in March while the property owner, Dipak Thakker, and his managers considered proposals by three other chains.
Thakker said this week that he has decided to stay with Holiday Inn after he was unable to reach agreements on terms with the other chains. He declined to name the other brands.
"Having the license terminated gave me an opportunity to shop around and talk to other brands," Thakker said.
He said Holiday Inn, which relaunched a new logo and branding strategy in 2007, will be a nice fit with his own plans for Bordeaux to promote more conferences and lure more business travelers.
Nick Hatley, the hotel's general manager since February, said Holiday Inn officials have agreed to issue a new license for Bordeaux after the planned renovations are completed toward the end of this year.
Most of the $2 million work will include room makeovers, a renovated lobby and Bordeaux Cafe, and exterior enhancements such as new shades of tan paint, white molding and stacked brown bricks at the main entrance for a "modern, contemporary look," Hatley said.
"In the next two weeks, this place will be torn up," Hatley said.
Most people book hotels by brand, and Thakker acknowledged that Bordeaux's profits have suffered since it became independent this spring. But losses have been minor, he said, because of the good economy and the hotel's notoriety and prime location.
"Can I stay independent?" he asked. "The answer is no. I need to be affiliated with somebody."
Thakker is the principal owner of Aroma Hotels LLC, a Maryland-based company that bought the Bordeaux for $10.25 million in 2007. After the purchase, the new owners spent more than $4 million for badly needed renovations, Hatley said.
"It brings the building into the 2000s," he said.
Aroma Hotels bought the Bordeaux from Stout Properties of Fayetteville. The chairman and owner of Stout Properties, Dr. Frank Stout, built the hotel with his father in 1973. It opened as the Bordeaux Motor Inn before becoming a Holiday Inn franchise in 1990.
With more than 33,000 square feet of meeting space, the Bordeaux has remained a popular venue for conferences and banquets.
Hatley acknowledged that the hotel has experienced problems this year with its air conditioning, particularly in common areas. He said most of the units are more than 20 years old, and new units recently have been installed.
With the latest $2 million renovation that is planned, the rooms are getting new drapes, furniture, headboards and fresh coats of red paint to form "accent walls." Some rooms have 42-inch flat-screen televisions from the hotel's last renovation. In this round of improvements, all rooms will get flat screens.
The room makeovers began in May and are almost done. New mattresses and bed packaging were completed in December. The hotel got new carpet two years ago.
Above the hotel's main entrance is the faded outline of the former Holiday Inn green sign and logo that were removed this year.
Sarah-Ann Soffer, a public relations manager in Atlanta for Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express, said the new logo and strategy for the chain were phased in by last year to improve quality, consistency and employee training.
The changes include revamped and "decluttered" lobbies, bathroom upgrades, and new bedding and signs. Holiday Inn chains now have "scent machines" that disperse a fragrance of citrus, white tea, herbs, perilla leaf, woods and musk.
Hatley said Holiday Inn wants the guests to have the same experience whenever they go.
Another industry trend, he said, is creating bigger lobbies that have places to sit and do work, watch TV and drink coffee. The idea is to bring people out of their guest rooms, he said.
Hatley said the planned changes are not in response to the 165-unit Embassy Suites hotel and convention center going up near Cross Creek Mall, at a cost that city officials have estimated to be $30 million. Hatley said Embassy Suites fulfills a different niche with difference prices than Bordeaux.
Staff writer Andrew Barksdale can be reached at email@example.com or 486-3565.
To see more of The Fayetteville Observer, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.fayettevillenc.com/.
Copyright (c) 2011, The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For more information about the content services offered by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services (MCT), visit www.mctinfoservices.com.