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High Profile Hotel Undergoing Massive Overhaul

April 4, 2013
High Profile Hotel Undergoing Massive Overhaul

One of downtown Traverse City’s gems on the water is undergoing its most ambitious “polishing” ever: The Holiday Inn West Bay, purchased by an investment group last fall, is in the middle of an ambitious, $4.5 million renovation – and The Ticker got an exclusive glimpse.

First the background: Among the new ownership’s first actions was to hire Interstate Hotels as the hotel operator; Interstate is the nation’s largest third-party hotel management company, and one that specializes in “turnaround” situations. Interstate’s leadership team promptly installed its own team, including Sales Director Tomas Paddack, recruited from San Francisco. Longtime Holiday Inn General Manager Deborah Brown was retained and still runs the hotel.

The renovation timeline is aggressive by almost any standard. Every inch of 179 rooms, 5,500 square feet of meeting space, two pools, two restaurants, a lobby and beachside patio are being overhauled for a scheduled early June opening. But the task is nothing new to Milwaukee-based Wave Renovations, specialists in hotel renovation project management. On any given day, more than 100 workers are toiling throughout the property, including representatives from local subcontractors.

For years the Holiday Inn on West Bay had been a source of real estate and hotel industry speculation; its location was priceless, but who would step forward to invest in a full-scale upgrade? Now, its new owners and operators have an additional selling point: the property will be the first Holiday Inn Resort-branded property outside the east or west coasts. To earn the Holiday Inn Resort designation, a property must meet several standards, including being located on the water.

Highlights of the renovation include:

  • Shimmers, the (in)famous dance club, will remain with a new twist; the new Shimmers on the Bay will be part restaurant, part nightclub, with access to the outdoor patio, live entertainment and dining seven days a week
  • The beachfront patio itself and tiki bar will get a full overhaul, complete with firepits, full dining service, and a more modern look
  • Meeting space is expanded, all guest rooms have a more upscale appearance, and the bistro breakfast area – located adjacent to the outdoor pool – will serve Starbucks.
  • Adding sprinklers throughout the building represents the biggest single cost of the renovation, totaling more than a half million dollars. Ramps and other improvements make the property accessible to those with disabilities – and to government meetings and conventions business.

So will all the improvements lead to higher room rates?

“Yes, higher,” Paddack tells The Ticker, “but not significantly higher. We will have great value here,” adding that its views of the Bay and proximity to downtown are unrivaled.

To view a photo slideshow of renovation inside the Holiday Inn and renderings of how the completed project will look, click on the photo above.
 


Most Recent Comments

 
ANN PETERSON on April 7, 2013 12:39pm

FABULOUS NEWS. A new face for the HOLIDAY INN. one more "showing" for the progression of this FABULOUS AND DESIROUS City. Proud to live here. Proud of MICHAEL MOORE and all he has done/and helped start.
As the song says, "This Girls On Fire"., only i'ts now "This Town's On Fire". Way to go TC.and all of the City Fathers for making it a success.

Sara C on April 5, 2013 11:40am

dannielle and KC you are both spot on! They need a real image make over for that "lounge lizard" bar!
Remember the days when the waitresses wore ruffled panties and the high priced hookers from G.R. hung out at the bar! Use that out door deck till it snows in November! And need to change the name of Shimmers and get some lighting!

danielle on April 4, 2013 10:35pm

I agree with KC, it was an absolute travesty that they didn't take advantage of the best deck in the city. That is the gem of the Hotel. It will take a TRUE renovation to overcome the infamous reputation of SHIMMERS, but by the looks of it, they mean business. Now that TC is getting consistent national buzz, they better target the family crowd. With that said, TC does indeed need a serious dance club, just not at the expense of a Hotel of that size and at that location.

KP on April 4, 2013 6:13pm

That rendering of Shimmers looks aweful! That place was great on saturday night, like Streeters only 100X better. I hope they keep it a nightclub!

TC seriousley lacks any decent weekend nightlife for the under 40 crowd, I should know...

M Hazard on April 4, 2013 3:08pm

I hope they fix the dock.. :)

Michelle on April 4, 2013 3:07pm

Hoping the hotel sheds it's party animal reputation and high noise level...make it a CLASSYand CLEAN hotel that visitors actually want to stay at. It was awful last time we stayed there...couldn't sleep due to the partiers in the hallways...and no, I'm not an old fart.

Ruth on April 4, 2013 2:22pm

What a wonderful addition to a WONDERFUL city.

Richard on April 4, 2013 1:25pm

This long needed remodeling looks wonderful and right on target. It will be a continuing gem on our waterfront.

KC on April 4, 2013 11:27am

Deb Brown could never wrap her head around keeping the outdoor patio Music space being open beyond 8pm..In the summer and fall it would be packed and then they would turn away all those customers at 8pm.... No one wants to go inside to a dark dingy lounge lizard bar!
The outdoor experience is a pure money maker and they treated it like they were forced to do it and din't like it. Hope the new management can realize the opportunity that was wasted.

Karen on April 4, 2013 11:18am

It will be great to haave a WOW factor at that very busy intersection of Traverse City. Way to go!

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