New rooms with a sporty view in Manchester

By: MICHAEL COUSINEAU, New Hampshire Sunday News

May 14, 2006

MANCHESTER -- The best view at the new Hilton Garden Inn may be glimpsed from a seat on the outdoor patio facing the Fisher Cats ballpark -- and you don't even have to be a hotel guest to enjoy it.

Hotel owners decided to change their initial plans to allow only hotel guests to use the patio, just beyond the stadium's left-field wall and about 400 feet from home plate.

"We want it to be the place to be," said Fred Roedel, a partner of Roedel Properties of Wilton.

The 155-seat area will generate higher revenues if non-hotel guests also are allowed to spend money on drinks and food while enjoying the view, he said.

The 125-room hotel will open sometime this week after receiving approvals from Hilton corporate officials flying in for final inspection.

Room rates for a standard room will range from $169 to $179 a night for downtown views and $10 more for ballpark views. The five king tower suites, which face the ballpark, will run from $269 to $309 while the four two-room suites will go for $359 to $399 a night.

Rates should change little or not at all on game days, said general manager Jennifer Hand.

Even before opening, the hotel is "pretty much sold out" for July's Nextel Cup race in Loudon, she said.

In addition, Hand said, "We've got a lot of interest from local people about staying overnight."

Only a short walk from Verizon Wireless Arena, the hotel will provide lodging for at least part of the American Idols Live cast in July.

The hotel and restaurant will employ about 60 people when the patio is in use and 45 during other times of the year.

The lobby features leather, velvet and silk furnishings and a wood-paneled fireplace. The adjoining restaurant and bar will serve breakfast and dinner and is open to the public.

For the back lobby leading to the patio, local artist Jim Burke is painting a large mural featuring a baseball game with players from the 1930s era.

Each room will include a microwave, refrigerator and coffee maker, high definition TV and complimentary high-speed wireless and wired Internet access. Bathrooms will come with granite-top vanities and tile floors.

The five tower suites contain a 37-inch, high-definition, flat-screen television, wetbar and pull-out sofa. These suites, within the hotel clock tower, offer views of Stadium, Merrimack River and Millyard.

The four two-room suites contain a separate living area, wet bar and whirlpool tub.

Roedel said the hotel is working with its neighbors to secure more parking and offer a valet service. About 135 parking spaces are available for room guests and restaurant patrons.

Four years in the making, the hotel cost $14 million, including land acquisition, construction and legal costs, and was targeted for completion in April 2005 when the ballpark opened.

With many hotel aspects exceeding Hilton requirements, Roedel said: "We call it a Hilton Garden Inn on steroids."

Copyright 2006 Union Leader Corp.
Record Number: 111A7A0A6AA1EE14

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