Westin's new Harborplace hotel to have luxury wing Hotel within hotel to charge $185 a night

July 23, 1998|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN STAFF

When the proposed $124 million Westin Inner Harbor Hotel opens in two years, it will contain separate wings that create a luxury hotel within a hotel.

One wing of the planned 600-room, four-star hotel will be a 25-story tower where most rooms will offer guests a view of the harbor. The other, the Harborfront Wing, is envisioned as a five-star hotel within the bigger hotel, containing 80 rooms directly overlooking the Inner Harbor.

"The general idea is that [both options] will appeal to a broader audience," said Mark A. Lukens, director of development for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., which bought Westin in January. "It's like what some hotels do by having an upgraded executive floor or two. It's the same idea."

Rooms in the Harborfront Wing will be larger and have finishes consistent with those found in luxury hotels. Room rates in the wing will be about $185 a night, about $20 more than rates in the other wing, said Thomas L. Brodie, a spokesman for Harvey Schulweis, the New York developer who is heading the project.

"The only five-star hotel is Harbor Court, and we felt there is a demand in the market for additional five-star rooms," Brodie said.

The Pratt Street Westin would be the first in Maryland for Westin, a Seattle chain with more than 100 hotels worldwide. In the past two years, Lukens estimated, Westin's Washington, D.C., office has received calls from about 20 groups asking to stay at a Baltimore Westin. "We've wanted to be in Baltimore for a long time," said Lukens, who is based at Starwood's Seattle office.

The hotel, to be built on the former News American site without public subsidy, will include about 30,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space, and an underground parking garage with 200 spaces. The hotel will be operated by Westin Hotels & Resorts.

The city Department of Planning recently approved the site plan for the hotel. Construction is to begin this fall, and the hotel is scheduled to open Oct. 1, 2000.

Elsewhere in the Inner Harbor, construction began last month on the $134 million, 750-room Wyndham Inner Harbor East Hotel being built by Baltimore businessman John Paterakis Sr.

Peter G. Angelos, principal owner of the Baltimore Orioles, is to build a third hotel, the 850-room Grand Hyatt, next to the Baltimore Convention Center. It is expected to open in early 2001.

Pub Date: 7/23/98

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