For the third time in its history, a downtown Gainesville hotel has assumed a new franchise.
The 122-room Lanier Centre is now a Holiday Inn. The hotel opened as the Lanier Centre Ramada and later changed to the Best Western chain.
"The Holiday Inn Lanier Centre hotel offers travelers a relaxing lodging experience with personalized services," said Beth Truelove, director of sales and marketing. "This property has an outstanding downtown location for both business and leisure travelers, with all of the conveniences and amenities people have come to expect from Holiday Inns."
The change in franchise marks the return of the Holiday Inn brand to Gainesville. For many years, the present Quality Inn at 726 Jesse Jewell Parkway operated under the Holiday Inn banner. The hotel, a mainstay in Gainesville, was dubbed "Holiday Hall" and was owned by the McKibbon family.
The Holiday Inn Lanier Centre has undergone a $1.5 million redesign consisting of a contemporary look in both the hotel’s interior architectural design and room décor and technology.
The newest addition to the Gainesville hotel market, a Hilton Garden Inn, is about a month away from opening, according to owner Ash Patel.
Patel is no stranger to the Hall County market. He also owns the Country Inn and Suites in Oakwood and is building the Hampton Inn at Flowery Branch.
He also owns a Wingate Inn and Holiday Inn Express near the Mall of Georgia in Buford.
The new hotel, located behind Longhorn Steakhouse on Browns Bridge Road, has 110 rooms, including 21 suites. It has an indoor/outdoor pool and will have a restaurant that will offer breakfast and dinner. A cocktail lounge is also planned.
While construction is continuing, Patel said interest is running high for the new property.
"We have several dates this summer and fall when the entire hotel is booked," he said.
Joyce Brown, who has managed other properties in the area, has been named general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn.
Also on the hotel front, Lake Lanier Islands has completed the renovation of the Emerald Pointe Resort. The hotel’s renovated entrance and lobby has reopened, as well as a completely redesigned Bullfrogs restaurant.
Spokeswoman Nikki Taylor said that three lakefront resort villas adjacent to Emerald Pointe are two weeks away from completion.
Also at the islands, the demolition of the former PineIsle Resort has been completed.
Gwinnett businessman Virgil Williams is expected to announce details later this year of a planned $100 million signature resort hotel for the former PineIsle site.