|By Grant Martin, The Island Packet,
Hilton Head Island, S.C.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
April 26, 2012--The former Holiday Inn Oceanfront was formally rebranded as The Beach House in a Wednesday afternoon ribbon-cutting ceremony in its newly renovated lobby near Coligny Beach on Hilton Head Island.
The lobby was one of several elements the hotel overhauled in a $5-million renovation that began a few months after the property was acquired by California-based Integrated Capital last July.
Hilton Head Mayor Drew Laughlin, shortly before using oversize scissors to snip the ribbon stretched along the lobby, hailed the project as indicative of an improved economic climate locally.
"We stood behind the efforts of Integrated Capital throughout this process because we understand the value this hotel brings to Hilton Head Island," Laughlin said. "Given the ongoing economic hardships we've all been dealing with, this project indeed represents a very special investment in our town."
Each of the hotel's 202 guest rooms was modernized and repainted in brighter tones, and a new restaurant -- named Marker 59, after the closest beach locator sign -- has opened near the lobby.
The hotel's fitness area was overhauled as well, and overall safety has been improved with the installation of sprinklers in rooms and halls.
The remodeling also extended outside to the Tiki Hut, a beachside bar operated by the hotel, which received a new $50,000 deck.
The property became the 18th addition to Holiday Inn Resorts, the chain's line of upscale hotels.
Ken Fearn, managing partner of Integrated Capital, said he knew when he first saw the property that substantial changes would be needed.
"It was in such desperate need of love and care and attention," he said. "And we realized there's nothing nearby with a real luxury, beach boutique feel, so that helped shape what this became."
The hotel was the fourth of Hilton Head's five beachside resorts to undergo a major recent renovation. The others are the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa, Hilton Oceanfront Resort, and the Hilton Head Marriott Resort and Spa.
Extensive remodeling plans for the fifth, the Crowne Plaza, were also announced last month.
Tom Upshaw, chairman of the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce's board of directors, said the investments reflect a renewed confidence in the local economy.
"I've been here 30 years and I've seen things happen, and I was always told that Hilton Head would be the last to slow up and the first to pick up," Upshaw said. "I'm seeing things pick up now, and I'm believing in it."
(c)2012 The Island Packet (Hilton Head, S.C.)
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