In South Florida, hotel renovations on the rise as economy improves

The Sun Sentinel reports on the uptick in hotel renovations as rates and occupancy rise in the improving economy of South Florida. Hotels now are starting to pump dollars into renovations again to spruce up amenities and improve the guest experience.

Several hotels have already completed improvements guestrooms, lobby areas, restaurants and meeting facilities. These include the 156-room Hilton Garden Inn Fort Lauderdale Airport-Cruise Port in Dania Beach and the Residence Inn Fort Lauderdale Plantation, which reportedly now offers free Wi-Fi access, private "nooks" with personal flat-screen HDTVs, a modern living room style lounge and outdoor open-air living room with firepit, among other features.

Others hotels have similar renovation plans in the pipeline. The Boca Raton Bridge Hotel is slated to close April 29 through late fall to undergo major renovations to rooms, public spaces and restaurants.

A major renovation is also on tap for the Bonaventure Resort & Spa in Weston, which is expected to include new meeting technology, a restaurant expansion and refurbishments to its lobby and conference center.

As higher room rates and occupancy point to a healthier lodging sector, many "owners have decided to reinvest in current properties," Miami-based hotel industry veteran Bob Diener, told the Sun Sentinel. "I expect to see more of it."

South Florida hotels filled more rooms at higher rates in February, compared with the same time a year ago, according to data from STR.

"Hoteliers have to continue to upgrade properties because they can become stale and run down as more and more people use them," Diener said.



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