|By Mark Reiter, The Blade, Toledo,
OhioMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jan. 03, 2013--Toledo Hilton Hotel, a popular choice for overnight stays of presidents, political candidates, and entertainers, has been dropped from the Hilton chain.
The 210-room hotel, on the campus of the University of Toledo Medical Center, formerly the Medical College of Ohio, lost its flagship status in the Hilton system at midnight Monday.
The hotel in South Toledo remains open, but is no longer listed among the hotels under the Hilton banner on the corporate Web site.
Grace Chojnowski-Kellogg, who has owned the Toledo Hilton on Glendale Avenue since 2007, refused to talk about what led her hotel to lose its affiliation with Hilton or whether the chain is demanding upgrades.
However, she indicated a deal involving a potential new owner taking over the property was in the works and could be announced within the next several days.
"We are in the process to sell," Mrs. Chojnowski-Kellogg said, adding that the prospective buyer has extensive experience in owning and managing hotels, including Hilton properties.
Under the change, people who want to make reservations are limited to calling the Toledo hotel directly and cannot reserve rooms on the Hilton Web site or through the chain's telephone reservation system.
Callers who use the telephone network are told the hotel is booked completly for 2013.
Also, customers are unable to collect Hilton honor points for staying at the currently unnamed Toledo hotel.
The owner's husband, Greg Kellogg, told The Blade last week the hotel was for sale and negotations were under way to change brands to DoubleTree, also a Hilton-controlled property.
"We are working with the investors to decide what franchise they want to be in the Hilton family," he said.
Maggie Giddens, director of Hilton's global brand and public relations, wouldn't comment on the possible banner change.
"We cannot comment on potential franchise deals until they are fully executed," she said. "While it may indeed become a DoubleTree in the future, it in fact left the Hilton Worldwide system Dec. 31 at 11:59 p.m."
Chuck Lehnert, vice president of administration at UTMC, said he wasn't aware the hotel had been dropped from the Hilton system.
"It is not our hotel and owned by a private company. What they do is a matter of the business owners," Mr. Lehnert said. "However, our hope and desire is that it would be maintained as a Hilton."
The former Toledo Hilton has gone through several owners since it opened in 1986.
Toledo Hotel Ventures Inc. sold the property to Mrs. Chojnowski-Kellogg's company, Amazing Grace Hotels LLC, in 2007.
The hotel was host to President Obama in September while he was campaigning for re-election and also was host to his opponent, Mitt Romney, in October during a swing through northwest Ohio.
Vice President Joe Biden also was a guest in October.
Other dignitaries who have been guests include presidential candidates John McCain and Hillary Clinton in 2008 and country singer Carrie Underwood in 2010.
Rich Nachazel, president of Destination Toledo Inc., said that because the guest focus of the Toledo Hilton is services for area corporations, the withdrawl by Hilton will have little impact on area convention business.
He said that the acquistion of the hotel by investors who own property in the Hilton system could lead to a quick return to a brand in the company family.
Contact Mark Reiter at: email@example.com or 419-724-6199.
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