Spa City’s Arlington ho­tel sold

Sky Cap­i­tal of LR is new owner, first since 1954

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM - THE SENTINEL-RECORD MARK GREGORY

The Arlington Re­sort Ho­tel & Spa, an icon of down­town Hot Springs, has been ac­quired by Sky Cap­i­tal Group LP of Lit­tle Rock in a pri­vate trans­ac­tion with South­west Ho­tels Inc., own­ers and op­er­a­tors of the Arlington since 1954.

Bob Mar­torana, the ho­tel’s gen­eral man­ager, said Mon­day that the trans­ac­tion also in­cludes the Wade Build­ing, which is ad­ja­cent to the ho­tel prop­erty on Cen­tral Av­enue; the Sch­weer Build­ing, a for­mer car deal­er­ship lo­cated just north of the Wade that serves as the ho­tel’s park­ing deck; and a sur­face park­ing lot lo­cated across Park Av­enue from the for­mer site of the Ma­jes­tic Ho­tel, also for­merly owned by South­west Ho­tels.

“We have long had a strong in­ter­est in this grand ho­tel, its rich his­tory and iconic lo­ca­tion,” Al Ra­jabi, CEO of Sky Cap­i­tal Group, said in a news re­lease.

“We are ex­cited about the con­tin­u­ing ren­o­va­tions of the Arlington, and are pleased to now be­come a good cor­po­rate cit­i­zen in one of Amer­ica’s great re­sort cities. We plan to cel­e­brate the 100th an­niver­sary of this Arlington in just seven years and will be work­ing to main­tain it as one of the great Amer­i­can grand ho­tels.”

The terms of the sale, in­clud­ing the price, were not

dis­closed.

“I think it’s re­ally an ex­cit­ing time for the ho­tel. It’s a time where we can look for­ward to some things; that peo­ple can see no­tice­able changes in the build­ing, and no­tice­able plans to con­tinue or at least move for­ward with ren­o­va­tion,” Mar­torana said.

Sky Cap­i­tal Group has in­ter­viewed all ex­ist­ing em­ploy­ees of the Arlington and ex­tended of­fers to around 90 per­cent of the staff, Mar­torana said.

Mar­torana, who has been the ho­tel’s gen­eral man­ager since 2009, said he has ac­cepted an of­fer to re­main as gen­eral man­ager.

Mar­torana had been gen­eral

man­ager of Four Points Sher­a­ton on Uni­ver­sity Av­enue in Lit­tle Rock, which is now owned and op­er­ated by Sky Cap­i­tal Group, be­fore join­ing the South­west Ho­tels Group. At that time, he said, the prop­erty was a Hil­ton and owned by the Pe­abody Ho­tel group.

The re­lease said Sky Cap­i­tal Group has de­vel­oped, ren­o­vated or re­mod­eled more than 30 ho­tel prop­er­ties.

“Hot Springs’ tourism and con­ven­tion in­dus­try wel­comes the news that the Arlington Ho­tel & Spa will be un­der new man­age­ment that is com­mit­ted to restor­ing this pil­lar of our city’s eco­nomic health to its right­ful place as one of the city’s im­por­tant re­sources,” Steve Ar­ri­son, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, said in a state­ment re­leased Mon­day.

Visit Hot Springs, the city’s con­ven­tion and vis­i­tors bureau, is op­er­ated by the Hot Springs Ad­ver­tis­ing and Pro­mo­tion Com­mis­sion, which is chaired by Mar­torana.

“We are ready to get to work to help in any way we can to make the new Arlington once more a proud land­mark at the head of Bath­house Row and a thriv­ing part­ner in the on­go­ing ren­o­va­tion and re­vi­tal­iza­tion of our his­toric down­town dis­trict,” Ar­ri­son said.

The Arlington has 478 rooms, with ameni­ties that in­clude a spa and ther­mal bath­house, a 45,000-square-foot con­ven­tion cen­ter, the Crys­tal Ball­room, the Vene­tian Din­ing Room, moun­tain­side twin cas­cad­ing pools with hot tub, a Star­bucks cof­fee­house and the Lobby Bar.

The city of Hot Springs

is­sued the ho­tel a no­tice of un­safe con­di­tions last year af­ter in­spect­ing the prop­erty that June. The in­spec­tion was con­ducted af­ter a city di­rec­tor re­ceived a com­plaint about the con­di­tion of the ho­tel.

Chief build­ing in­spec­tor Mike Scott said in Fe­bru­ary that some of the ex­te­rior prob­lems cited in the June 2016 no­tice had re­ceived tem­po­rary re­pairs. He said the ho­tel spent $200,000 on roof and ex­te­rior re­pairs since re­ceiv­ing the no­tice. Scott said the ho­tel planned to fix the con­fer­ence cen­ter roof at a cost of $120,000.

The city said the ho­tel quickly ad­dressed the elec­tri­cal con­cerns raised in the no­tice, as well as the rot­ted brac­ing sup­port­ing the pool deck.

Hot Springs Sentinel-Record/RICHARD RAS­MUSSEN

Pedes­tri­ans walk up the stairs at the Arlington Re­sort Ho­tel and Spa in Hot Springs on Mon­day. Sky Cap­i­tal Group LP of Lit­tle Rock is buy­ing the Arlington from South­west Ho­tels Inc., own­ers and op­er­a­tors of the ho­tel since 1954.

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