With summer nearly three months away, workers for Joshi Hotel Group are deep into an estimated $3 million renovation project that they hope to finish by June.
That’s when the summer travel season kicks in. Right now, the owners of the Comfort Suites Allentown are renovating and rebranding the 120-room hotel as Four Points by Sheraton.
The hotel, which sits across from Dorney Park in South Whitehall Township, opened in 1990.
While the four-story hotel with an attached restaurant attracts many families, the owners also want the hotel to appeal to independent travelers looking for a place to stay. They see the updates as a key piece in the effort to expand their client base.
“This has been a Comfort Suites for 30 years, and it’s just time to reinvent and reinvest,” said Andrea Weismiller, vice president of sales for Joshi Hotel Group, based in South Whitehall Township. “We are anticipating our economy doing well, more companies moving into the valley, so we want to take advantage of that. What we want to do is have a good balance of the Lehigh Valley corporate clients and the leisure travelers.”
Demand from corporate travelers could come from local companies like Air Products, which is building a new headquarters a short distance away in Upper Macungie Township.
The hotel’s location near Dorney Park is also a plus. All of the hotels along the Hamilton Boulevard corner near Dorney are busy during the summer, Weismiller added.
“We are going to be well-positioned in the market,” she said.
Workers are upgrading guest rooms, dining areas, public spaces and a meeting space that can accommodate up to 80 people, Weismiller said. Furthermore, workers are moving the existing fitness center and creating a new larger space it.
In addition, the hotel recently added an indoor pool, she said.
Workers are renovating the lobby and concentrating on the first and second floors, before moving to the third and fourth floors, said John Beard, director of sales for Joshi Hotel Group. Workers are also redoing and enlarging bathrooms and installing drywall and carpeting in other areas of the hotel.
The hotel will have two meeting rooms that can open up to one larger room of about 1,128 square feet, Beard said. It also will have a 28- square-foot boardroom for small meetings.
Joshi Hotel Group will employ about 30 to 40 people once the hotel opens in June, Beard said.
Once the hotel renovation is complete, the owners plan to highlight local destinations in the design by including areas in the lobby to display marketing collateral from Lehigh Valley IronPigs baseball team and in the fall, Lehigh Valley Phantoms hockey gear, Weismiller said.
Room prices range from $159-$229 per night in May to early September, and drop to about $129-$189 per night in the off-season, typically October to April.
Claudia Stemler, general manager at the hotel, said the owners plan to renovate Linx, a restaurant connected to the hotel, which would continue to serve breakfast and dinner. The hotel also wants to reach out to local breweries to have their beer on tap at the restaurant, she added.
Although Joshi Hotel Group owns the hotel, Marriott International acquired the Four Points by Sheraton brand, which means the hotel group must follow the branding design of Marriott.
Haresh and Vikas Joshi, father and son entrepreneurs and founders of Joshi Hotel Group, bought the hotel at 3712 Hamilton Blvd. in South Whitehall Township in 2013, according to Weismiller.