|By David Falchek, The Times-Tribune,
Scranton, Pa.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Dec. 29, 2011--To local people, the Hilton Scranton and Conference Center still seems like a new facility. By hotel industry standards, it's time for a makeover.
Entering its ninth year of service, the hotel is undergoing a top-to-bottom renovation. Hotel owner, Linchris Hotel Corp. of Hanover, Mass., will spend $3 million on the project.
"We call it a reinvention," said hotel general manager Brian Anderson. "Guests spend the most time in their rooms, and that's where we are focusing the bulk of our money and efforts."
This year, the hotel completed renovations to public areas, including Trolleys Bistro, PJ's 1910 Pub, the grand ballroom and the conference center. Next month, those areas will receive new furniture and some new lighting fixtures, as well.
That's also when work moves upstairs as remodeling of the 175 guest rooms begins. Rooms will be gutted, fitted with new wall coverings, curtains and drapes. The bulky tube television sets will be replaced with high-definition flat screens. Guests will find new furniture, including Hilton's "Serenity" beds, a refrigerator and a safe. Guests also will notice faster Wi-Fi, in addition to hardwire connection, throughout the hotel, Mr. Anderson said.
The renovations will not disrupt hotel operations, but each floor of guest rooms will be shut down for the amount of time it will take crews to complete renovations. They'll start on the first of five floors of guest rooms Monday and work their way up. They expect to be completed by April or May.
The removed furniture will be sold to other Linchris properties, Mr. Anderson said. The company operates hotels under several different brands, including Holiday Inn and Best Western.
The Hilton was sold for $13 million in December 2010 to Linchris in partnership with Blue Vista Hospitality. Linchris owns 25 hotel properties, including five other Hiltons.
The city's other major hotel, the Radisson at Lackawanna Station Hotel, remodeled its guests rooms in 2006.
In the lodging industry, a renovation is expected every 10 years, said Brenda Lidy, assistant professor of hotel and restaurant management at Keystone College. She said a renovation boosts travel ratings and keeps a hotel looking "crisp and clean."
"A hotel is perishable," she said. "A renovation helps a hotel both satisfy existing clientele and attract new business by offering an updated look and design and upgraded amenities that people expect."
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