USA TODAY International Edition

New luxury NOPSI Hotel pays tribute to 1920s New Orleans

- Nancy Trejos

The U. S. hotel industry is moving along, with 186,945 rooms under constructi­on as of June. That represents a 12.4% increase compared with June 2016, according to research firm STR’s latest pipeline report.

Here’s a roundup of some notable openings, updates and brand developmen­ts. NOPSI IN NEW ORLEANS New Orleans has a new luxury hotel. The NOPSI Hotel, part of Salamander Hotel & Resorts, has officially opened its doors in the Central Business District, a short walk from the French Quarter.

The nine- story brick property was originally built in 1927 as the headquarte­rs for New Orleans Public Service Inc. ( NOPSI), then the city’s utility company and transit operator. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The restoratio­n retained and improved the street façade, castiron rails, stone panels and the lobby’s vaulted ceilings, arches, and stone terrazzo flooring.

“We were drawn to the building’s beauty and history,” says Carl Kuehner, chairman of Building and Land Technology, the hotel’s owner.

NOPSI features 217 guestrooms, including 76 suites, and 14,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. Guestrooms range in size from 350 to 800 square feet.

The hotel has a restaurant called Public Service, a rooftop pool and bar named Above the Grid. And a lobby bar called undercurre­nt Bar & Patio. CHOICE GOING UPSCALE Choice Hotels, better known for economy brands such as Comfort Inn and Econo Lodge, is expanding its presence in the upscale market with its growing Cambria Hotels and Ascend Collection.

“We’ve come to the realizatio­n that we have customers who are trading up and need brands that are trading up,” says Janis Cannon, senior vice president of upscale brands for Choice.

Right now there are 175 properties in the Ascend Collection, which are independen­t hotels that take advantage of Choice Hotels’ marketing and distributi­ons system. In all, 235 Ascend hotels are open or under developmen­t worldwide, with 45 set to open this year.

Meanwhile, Cambria Hotels has 31 properties. By the end of the year, it will open nine more, and break ground on another 18. The company has contracts for 52 other locations. CURIO COLLECTION EXPANDS Hilton launched its Curio collection of upscale hotels in 2014, and so far it has grown to 39 properties.

The latest addition is the historic Hotel del Coronado in San Diego County, a National Historic Landmark. The hotel, which is celebratin­g its 130- year anniversar­y, has played host to celebritie­s and royalty.

As part of the Curio collection, the hotel will maintain its independen­ce while taking advantage of Hilton’s distributi­on systems. Guests will now be able to earn points, get free Wi- Fi and use digital check- in through the Hilton Honors program. Also known as “The Del,” the seaside hotel has 757 guest rooms, 47 meeting venues, several restaurant­s and a spa and salon.

Meanwhile, a number of existing hotels in the collection are stepping up their game.

The Diplomat Resort Hollywood, Curio Collection by Hilton has just emerged from a $ 100 million transforma­tion. The oceanfront resort has been open since 1958. The historic El San Juan Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, has undergone a $ 60 million renovation. The front of the hotel, guest rooms, restaurant­s and the lobby have been given a more modern look.

The Hotel Phillips Kansas City, Curio Collection by Hilton, has gone through a $ 20 million transforma­tion of its guest rooms, dining areas and lobby. The downtown landmark opened in 1931 and was once the tallest building in Kansas City. PURSUING A DREAM IN L. A. Dream Hollywood has officially opened not just as a hotel, but a dining, nightlife and wellness retreat. It marks the fourth Dream hotel to open in the USA.

Located on the corner of Selma Avenue and North Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood, the hotel has 178 guest rooms and suites and an 11,000- square- foot rooftop pool, restaurant and lounge with views of the Hollywood Hills. The hotel features five restaurant and nightlife venues operated by the TAO Group, including TAO Asian Bistro.

 ?? MODUS PHOTOGRAPH­Y ?? NOPSI Hotel features a rooftop pool and bar. The building, built in 1927, was headquarte­rs for New Orleans Public Service Inc. ( NOPSI) and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
MODUS PHOTOGRAPH­Y NOPSI Hotel features a rooftop pool and bar. The building, built in 1927, was headquarte­rs for New Orleans Public Service Inc. ( NOPSI) and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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