Sunday, June 24, 2012

Boutique Hotel Palomar Phoenix opens downtown

A patio at the Hotel Palomar Phoenix downtown stands ready for guests. The hotel's pool bar and its restaurant are expected to draw as many locals as they do guests.
Cheryl Evans/The Republic A patio at the Hotel Palomar Phoenix downtown stands ready for guests. The hotel's pool bar and its restaurant are expected to draw as many locals as they do guests.

Performances by EPIK Urban Dance and the Phoenix Suns drum line, music by Urban Quartet and a block party were part of the fanfare at Thursday's grand-opening celebration for the Hotel Palomar Phoenix.

Phoenix officials and executives with RED Development and hotel operator Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants thought the festivities fitting for the $90 million hotel, the capstone of the two-block CityScape retail and office development at Central Avenue and Jefferson Street.

Cowboy chic meets "Mad Men" at this 10-floor property, where mirrors are framed by leather belts, burnt-red Japanese lanterns dangle in a daisy-chain over a stairway and some end tables look like suitcases tipped on their sides.

Hotel Palomar Phoenix offers more than 10,000 square feet of meeting space, including a chandeliered ballroom. The pool bar, Luster, and the restaurant, Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails, are expected to draw about as many locals as guests.

"New construction is something relatively new for us in the last five years," said Michael Depatie, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants CEO and president.

Depatie said the company has renovated several existing buildings across the country for its Palomars, but that new construction such as the Palomar at CityScape is easier to complete. "You can just make what you want."

At its peak, the hotel will employ an estimated 250 workers, from check-in clerks to housekeeping staff. It has opened with 150. Depatie said he expects the hotel's sales will ramp up within the second or third year of opening.

The Palomar is on a gradually growing roster of downtown Phoenix hotels, including the Hotel San Carlos, Hyatt Regency Phoenix, Renaissance Phoenix Hotel, Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel and the Westin Phoenix Downtown.

Six hotels may seem a lot for downtown, but John Chan, director of Phoenix's community and economic-development department, said it isn't.

The opening of the Palomar means the city now has less than 3,000 hotel rooms available for guests in downtown -- still short of the estimated 4,000 rooms city officials believe are necessary to draw the nation's biggest conventions to Phoenix.

More rooms will put Phoenix in a position to attract the biggest events and conventions in the country, such as the entertainment and fan activities to be held in downtown for the NFL's 2015 Super Bowl.

And those hotels could help put to full use the Phoenix Convention Center, a 2 million-square-foot facility that was expanded in 2008 through a $600 million voter-backed bond issue.

Chan said the Palomar will expand options for tourists and convention attendees.

"Palomar is a different type of hotel," he said, noting that it's "boutique." In hotel industry-speak, this means it's a high-end luxury hotel brand that may look much different from hotel to hotel -- some Palomars have been installed in older, existing buildings -- but offers similar guest services.

Steve Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau, which books big events and meetings for the convention center, said the Palomar has been long awaited.

"Over four years," Moore said. "It's pretty incredible."

Hotels have a broad set of stakeholders -- among them rental-car companies, restaurants, shops, the city, Maricopa County and the state -- that reap the sales taxes. Moore said a single hotel room in downtown Phoenix contributes an estimated $6,300 in tax revenue for the Phoenix area every year.

He added that the average room, which spans about 350 square feet, actually generates 10 percent more in tax revenue than a typical home in Phoenix.

Hotel Palomar Phoenix

By the numbers

2 bars.

10 floors.

12 deluxe studio suites.

16 suites.

242 rooms.

15,000 square feet of meeting space.

by Emily Gersema - Jun. 7, 2012 06:54 PM The Republic |

Boutique Hotel Palomar Phoenix opens downtown

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