Renovations, New Starbucks Coming to Hilton Garden Inn

Barbara Kieker

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

A $1 million renovation of the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Albany gets under way this month.  The property, which opened in 2005, will be updated with a new Starbucks in the lobby overlooking the pool, a bar area overlooking the Ray Charles Plaza with future outdoor seating and a fire pit, as well as a new fresh, contemporary look in its 122 guest rooms and common areas.  The renovation work is expected to be complete in January.

"We'll have more high-end seating in the Starbucks and the lobby, which we hope will encourage our guests to mingle and network there," said Robert Symonds, operations manager of the Hilton Garden Inn.

According to Symonds, the property is also upgrading its high-speed Internet capabilities.  Its Wi-Fi hotspots, which currently have equipment that is up to seven years old, will be brought up to today's standards.

"While we have high-speed Internet today, we'll have more bandwidth capability with the upgrade so that guests can download movies at speeds they are accustomed to at home and in other public hot spots," Symonds said.

The guest rooms will receive new paint, carpet and artwork, flat screen televisions and new bedding.  In addition, the hotel is changing its room mix by reducing the number of kings and increasing the number of doubles.  There will be new tile flooring and inviting furniture in the lobby.

The renovation is part of a national program at Hilton Garden Inn.  It includes upgrades that are part of the Phase One and Phase Two elements of the program.

Under New Management

Effective October 1, Rick Patton, the owner and principal of the Hilton Garden Inn, engaged NorthPointe Hospitality Management, LLC to manage the hotel.  It is the newly formed company's first hotel management contract.

"We are delighted and honored to be given the opportunity to run such a notable hotel in Albany," said NorthPointe President Greg Winey.

"Mr. Patton and his family are committed to the future development of downtown Albany and we intend on expanding and further strengthening relationships with the leaders of Albany in the near future."

Winey and his management team have more than 20 years of multi-property management experience in the hospitality business.  Based in Suwanee, Ga., NorthPointe plans to add more hotels to its portfolio over the next three to six months.

Least Disruption Possible

The renovation work is being staged to minimize the disruption to hotel guests and other customers.  According to Director of Sales B.J. Fletcher, holiday events scheduled at the property will not be impacted.

"We have a number of wedding receptions, dinners and other private events on our calendar for Thanksgiving and Christmas and there will be the least disruption possible," Fletcher said.

After her unsuccessful bid for mayor, Fletcher joined the Hilton Garden Inn to help the hotel build relationships with the local community.  It is a role that appeals to Fletcher, who has led restaurant and other business ventures in Albany.

"When the Hilton approached me about this job, I asked them why they would want to hire a 55 year-old who worked for herself all her life.  For the Hilton to say we need you to build relationships with the locals was a very healthy answer for our community," Fletcher said.

Local relationships extend from offering local peanut butter on menus to hiring a local architect for the renovation work.  David Maschke is the architect and local contractors will be used for much of the renovation.

More information on the Hilton Garden Inn is available at

About Barbara Kieker

Barbara Kieker is a freelance writer who writes on business-related topics for a number of web-based properties. She also provides communications services to Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.