Since 1982 upscale travelers could always count on the established and recognizable standards offered by the Hilton on Wake Forest Road. They were the 'hospitality pioneers' in Raleigh - good location, good service and well known restaurant. So fast forward and we see the evolution of North Hills, the re-birth of downtown commerce and nightlife with new convention center and linked hotel, and several new swanky hospitality brands enter the market. Greater economic development, more companies, more employees, more travel and yes, more accommodations providers. According to the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (which tracks stats for the industry) 2015, 2016 and 2017 hotel numbers in our submarket have broken all kinds of records. And yes, there is room for all - from the extended stay experts, to the swanky boutiques, to the cutting edge Euro-styled high tech specialists and the world renown meeting and hotel brand giants.
Last week I met with the GM and Director of Sales of the Hilton for a sit-down about the upcoming renovation. Fred Van Slyke and Thom Keville shared with me their excitement about the upcoming changes. As you may know the hotel was purchased about a year ago and is now owned by Kane Realty in conjunction with another investment firm Van Slyke said the plan was always to do an a significant update, and the design firm, Studio 11 has delivered a fantastic concept design. So, whats gonna be different? A LOT. The concept focused on changes that you will be able see, feel and touch, and targeted a number of those updates upon entry. Whether you are checking-in, meeting a colleague, grabbing a cup of joe, recharging and answering emails, or dining in style, you'll notice the changes. See new floorplan below.
I had to laugh when Fred told me that on the ground floor in the lobby, 'if it's not load-bearing it's coming down.' I think that takes 'open concept' to a new level. The step-down coffee bar and seating area will now be level with the rest of the ground floor. The walls that surround Sky-Box (formerly Bowties in the 80s) will be history and several tables of more-formal dining with be somewhat separate from a larger scale informal meeting, gathering, and working area - perfect for small groups and lap-top plugins. Guests checking in will be greeted at individual stations featuring natural stone and fresh fiber backdrops. The Pantry, Gift Shop and Library will all still be present but opened up and 'on display' a little more. They'll feature comfortable softer lighting and wood tones that invite guests and visitors to stick around for a while. Owners are also exploring NC sourcing opportunities for many materials and re-use of existing furniture.
The renovations begin in earnest this month and are expected to wrap up before the holidays.