By Tony Parra
Travelers will be able to “Stay Smart” in Portales now that the new Holiday Inn Express is open.
Chelsey Banister, Holiday Inn Express general manager, said it has been a slow start but feels business will pick up once the word gets around that the hotel is open. “Stay Smart” is the motto for Holiday Inn Express.
Banister said the hotel opened its doors for business on the afternoon of Feb. 21.
It was also the first day of the 14th annual New Mexico Ag Expo. Banister said that Tuesday was the busiest day for the hotel up to this point. She said there were 10 rooms reserved and 10 walk-ins.
“We didn’t advertise because we weren’t sure when we were going to open,” Banister said. She said she started working in December and staff was hired during that month.Banister said they were planning on opening earlier, but construction delays pushed the opening date back. “We were anxious for the opening. I’ve been going around and talking to business owners about the hotel being open.”
Banister said five rooms are still being worked on and cannot be booked. According to an official with TNJ Construction, the contractor for the project, the rooms will be completed in the next two weeks. The groundbreaking for the project took place in November of 2004. Tushar Patel, TNJ developer out of Albuquerque, said during the groundbreaking the goal was to open the hotel by November of 2005.
Patel, in an early January PNT article, said completion of the construction was delayed due to weather.
Banister said she helped with some of the cleaning up after the construction. She said the hotel is staffed with six front-desk employees, seven housekeepers, one breakfast attendant and one maintenance worker.
The blue Holiday Inn Express sign next to U.S. 70 greets travelers coming into Portales from the south. The hotel is located just south of the Super 8 Motel.
Banister said the hotel has 65 rooms, a conference room, high-speed Internet and the health/fitness center. She said the conference room could accomodate up to 50 people.
She said the hotel will also have a hot tub and a pool, also, but they are waiting on inspection of it.
Web site surfers can also reserve a room through the Holiday Inn Express Web site. Banister said hotel rates are $89, but there are also discount rates for those with AAA, military and government IDs. Banister said the lowest rate is $65 with a government ID.
People can reserve a room with two queen beds or a room with one king bed. Check-in time is 3 p.m. and check-out time is 11 a.m. the next day.
The hotel is located at 1901 W. 2nd St. and phone numbers to make a reservation are 1-800-315 2621 or 356-4723.
She said a grand opening celebration is tentatively scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on March 22.