Two hospitality veterans have been named by NewcrestImage to serve as key managers at a unique hotel renovation project in downtown Houston that is converting a 105-year old historic building into an AC Hotel by Marriott with 195 rooms and 10 floors.
Pinal Patel, who has 20 years of hotel management experience, becomes General Manager of the property, which is scheduled to open in late June, while Cathalin Leija, with 15 years of experience in hotel sales and marketing, becomes Director of Sales.
Ms. Patel has served as Regional Director of Operations with White Lodging Services, as well as General Manager at multiple hotels in the Houston area, notably the Homewood Suites Katy Mills; Hilton Garden Inn Sugarland; and Residence Inn Houston Galleria.
Ms. Leija has directed sales and marketing at high-end properties such as the Houston Marriott at Hobby Airport; JW Marriott Houston Downtown; The St. Regis Houston; and two Westin hotels at the Houston Galleria.
“We have infused a dated, long-vacant building with new décor, new energy, and new life,” explained Mehul Patel, Chairman and CEO of NewcrestImage. “Now Pinal, Cathalin, and their capable colleagues onsite will quickly make the AC Hotel a sleek and sophisticated bright spot in the ongoing revitalization of Houston’s central business district.”
Added Mr. Patel, “The guest experience at the AC Hotel focuses on charming the eye and soothing the body. Our customized interior design starts with the simple elegance of modern European furnishings, then adds locally-commissioned artwork, upscale amenities, and the latest in technology.”
One of the most distinctive parts of the hotel will be the 4,000 sq. ft. meeting and ballroom area with its domed ceiling that dates back to the Zoe Theatre, a silent movie playhouse originally opened on the site in 1914 (see accompanying photo).
Other features at the AC Hotel include a large fitness center; business center; cocktail lounge; fine dining area; and coffee house.
The building was originally developed in 1914 as the headquarters of Gulf Oil, then it became home for the National Bank of Commerce and its successor, the Texas National Bank of Commerce. Most recently, the building served as The Houston Bar Center.
This new property continues NewcrestImage’s distinguished history with the AC Hotel brand, notably opening the first AC Hotel in the United States, which occurred in the French Quarter of New Orleans in November of 2014, and opening the first AC Hotel in Texas, which happened in December of 2017 in downtown Dallas.
NewcrestImage has repeatedly won industry awards and acclaim for its creative make-over of historic locations into distinctive landmark hotels, such as the New Orleans Cotton Exchange building into a 220-room AC Hotel and the 1927-era Fisk Building in downtown Amarillo into a 107-room Courtyard by Marriott.
Currently, NewcrestImage owns and operates 28 hotels, with another 15 properties under construction or in development, including historic sites in Cincinnati and New Orleans plus the country’s first “hotel campus” in north Dallas which features four properties and 600 guest rooms. The company is based in the Dallas suburb of Lewisville, Texas.