Saturday, June 2, 2012

Phoenix's Hotel Palomar prepares for debut

Years of construction at First and Jefferson streets in downtown Phoenix are about to end at the CityScape office-and-retail project as construction crews complete the Hotel Palomar Phoenix.

The $90 million, 242-room boutique hotel in the RED Development project officially opens June 5. It joins the Hotel San Carlos, Hyatt Regency Phoenix, Renaissance Phoenix Hotel, Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel and the Westin Phoenix Downtown in the lineup of downtown hotels.

Jim Hollister, general manager of the new hotel, said other hoteliers in the area have been welcoming to the Palomar, even though it will bring them new competition.

"We are fighting for the same business in summer," Hollister said.

CityScape general manager Jeff Moloznik said the Hotel Palomar will give Phoenix more leverage when courting large national conferences and events, such as the Super Bowl, which will be held at the University of Phoenix Stadium in 2015, with fan events at CityScape.

"But we're also competing together as a group nationally for conventions," Moloznik said.

Phoenix officials have said the city needs more hotels downtown to support the large-scale conventions they have been drawing to the Phoenix Convention Center, a few blocks from CityScape.

An estimated 195,750 people are expected to attend the center's conferences this year -- which amounts to nearly 276,000 room nights in local hotels, according to the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau and convention-center officials.

Those convention attendees are expected to spend more than $283 million during the year on food, drinks, rooms, souvenirs and entertainment.

The Palomar in Phoenix, a Kimpton hotel, would be an attractive option for conventioneers, and it could be a selling point for associations and other national groups that are deciding where to hold their next annual conventions, said Jennifer Franklin, a spokeswoman for the hotel.

Franklin also said Kimpton hotels have a loyal customer following, especially among women, which makes it an attractive brand for cities to acquire.

The Hotel Palomar Phoenix is the second hotel that Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants has built from scratch, Hollister said. The other is the Hotel Palomar in Chicago. The company usually adds hotels through "adaptive reuse" -- renovating existing buildings.

Moloznik said the Hotel Palomar Phoenix boasts energy efficiency and recycled materials that may enable it -- and all of CityScape's two blocks of stores, restaurants and offices -- to qualify for the prestigious LEED certification, the international hallmark of green design and construction.

In addition, it already meets Kimpton's standards for green building under its 7-year-old green building program, EarthCare -- another selling point for the environmentally conscientious customer.

The hotel's 242 rooms are decked in chic neutral tones -- espresso brown; gray beaded wallpaper; beige-colored, croc-textured doors on the wardrobes; and stainless-steel fixtures. The furniture has crisp, straight edges, but pillows and other accessories soften the sharpness. Nightly room rates start at $149.

"It's like that show 'Mad Men,' " Hollister said, referring to the popular AMC television show set in the early 1960s, when interior design was markedly minimalist with stark, contrasting colors.

A one-bedroom unit features a separate sitting room. Each bathroom has a Fuji soak tub.

A 3,200-square-foot ballroom will play host to conferences, banquets and celebrations. Boardrooms also can be set up in the meeting spaces. Altogether, the hotel offers more than 15,000 square feet of meeting space.

Construction crews are putting the finishing touches on two bars. One, on the second floor of the hotel, is the Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails bar, where Palomar guests will be invited to a "Wines of the World" hour at 5 p.m. daily. Room service also is available 24 hours a day.

The outdoor pool is on the third floor, where guests can watch the crowds walking to and leaving concerts, Phoenix Suns, Mercury and Arizona Diamondbacks games. Another bar, Lustre, next to the pool will be open to the public.

Guests hoping to squeeze in a workout will get complimentary passes to Gold's Gym Elite at CityScape.

Hollister said the hotel has been hosting job fairs at the CityScape office tower to hire 250 workers, from cleaning crews to managers.

by Emily Gersema - Jun. 1, 2012 04:02 PM The Republic |

Phoenix's Hotel Palomar prepares for debut

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