Celebrate Business: Holiday Inn unveils ‘premium’ upgrades

By SPECIAL TO THE NEWS HERALD Posted May.

22, 2016 @ 10:15 am

EDITOR S NOTE: Each week on the Business Page, The News Herald will profile one of its Celebrate Community partners, explaining its history and role in the community.

PANAMA CITY Recently completed renovations at Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn on State 77 unveil about $3 million of sophistication. A grand opening is set for August. Over the past 18 months, the 173-room hotel, which opened in 1983, had almost every part of its interior design remodeled, exchanging its fancy, old-western style for an open-air contemporary experience.

Every single space in this hotel has been changed, said Philip Colvin, director of marketing and information technology. The majority of the funds were spent in the rooms. The rooms had to be completely renovated, completely modernized.

Each room features new bathrooms, Simmons Beautyrest beds, all HD channels, Internet upgrades, multiple lightening settings and d cor.

We wanted it to be more open, more airy and more modern than it was, said interior designer Cecilia Smith, who also is designing the Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn Express on Panama City Beach, a capital investment of about $35 million to $40 million currently being built and set for completion spring next year.

The part that I enjoy the most is the bar area, Smith said. It s really cozy. I like having the separate eating areas and bar areas. Smith s design dropped the crowded feeling brought by the previous tin-copper ceilings, hundreds of multi-color Tiffany-style lamps and excessive wooden chairs, and went with a more spacious scheme using deep gray tiling, brighter ceilings and modern furniture.

One of the things we pride ourselves on is guest service, so that s staying the same, said Nicole Steinman, marketing and public relations manager. We re just getting our product to follow where our service level was.

Conference rooms, the dining area, parts of the pool areas, and all other common areas also were remodeled, including the entrance, which features a new floral scheme and sky-view porte-cochere. The construction of a sundry shop is underway. Guests can expect to pay a little more while basking in the new digs.

Obviously, when you increase the quality and feel and value of the product, your rates and everything go up comparable, Colvin said.

This is the premium product in Panama City now; it s going to have a more premium price than it did before, he added. Of course, we want it to be within reach for most travelers.

The hotel was also the last Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn Select in the company. The name was updated to Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn with the design revamp, Colvin said.

Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn Select was a brand that targeted business travelers, but became less relevant when the company standard for design developed a more sophisticated style.

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