|By Cassie Smith, The Eagle, Bryan,
TexasMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
March 22, 2012--The Hilton Hotel & Conference Center in College Station is nearing completion of a $5 million redesign of guest rooms, meeting space and the exterior of the building on Texas Avenue.
General Manager Barron Hobbs said the 303-room hotel with 27,000 square feet of meeting space will have completed more than 97 percent of its renovations by the end of the month.
Glenn Pedersen, president of Encore Hospitality, which purchased the hotel in August 2010, said guests have responded positively to the work being completed.
"From a guest perspective, it's practically a brand new hotel," he said.
Shannon Overby, executive director of the Bryan-College Station Convention and Visitors Bureau, said there are about 34 hotels with about 3,400 rooms in the area.
"The Hilton continues to be our largest full-service hotel, so we're very excited about all the improvements and changes," Overby said.
Overby said the convention and visitors bureau monitors how Bryan-College Station compares with the 12 cities in the state it considers its competitors.
"We have been constantly in the top five of our competitive set historically. We continue to do very well in that," she said.
Overby said it's unlikely the area will see a new convention center any time soon, so the Hilton's presence is a definite asset.
Almost everything in the Hilton's guest rooms was replaced, including the drapes, carpet, furniture and vanities in the bathroom, Pederson said. The main ballroom areas of the hotel have been refurbished with new carpet and millwork, and the lobby, restaurant and bar area have been updated to a more modern look, he said. A water feature was also added in the lobby, and the outside of the building will be painted.
"It needed an upgrade," he said.
Hobbs said renovations won't just benefit the guests. The employee break room was remodeled, and new computers were installed.
The hotel is within a three-hour drive of 80 percent of the state's population, he said, and the conference and meeting space has seen an increase in organizations utilizing the area.
Pedersen said the facility's space can host a variety of events.
"That is unusual for a market the size of College Station," he said. "You would normally find a Hilton of this type in a major metropolitan area, but it exists in College Station. That's one of the things that make it so successful, outside having a great staff there."
The Hilton is hosting an invitation-only grand re-opening gala Wednesday to showcase the new facility. However, Pedersen said, he invites anyone to stop by at any time to see the renovations and the new look.
"It was very thorough, very all encompassing," Pederson said.
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