Hilton in Melville undergoes renovation

The Hilton Long Island / Huntington's renovation included The Hilton Long Island / Huntington's renovation included a newly redesigned lobby bar area. (Oct. 3, 2012) Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

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The Hilton Long Island / Huntington, a key local business hotel, has nearly completed a $16-million renovation, executives said Wednesday.

The renovation seeks to reinvigorate what had been a fading property. When the new owners began work on the 305 rooms in February, it was the hotel's first renovation in nine years, staff said.

"It looked dated before," said general manager Ellen Ruane. "It really needed a face-lift."

The hotel, which despite the name is located in Melville, was bought last year in a joint venture by Seattle-based Dow Hotel Co. and Prudential Insurance Co. of America for $32.4 million, according to public records.

"The story with this property is it's been popular in the community, it has a long history," said Randall King, Dow Hotel vice president of corporate marketing and development. "It definitely needed to be upgraded. It wasn't of Hilton caliber before, and now we went above and beyond what Hilton asked [of us] to bring it to their standards."

Adam Weissenberg, hospitality and leisure industry analyst at auditor and consultant Deloitte & Touche, said that with the improving economy, many hotels are undertaking renovations that had been postponed.

"People were holding off on doing renovations as a result of the economy going down," Weissenberg said. Now hotel owners are seeing that "there's a competitive advantage to saying, 'OK, we need renovate to keep up with our [competitors] or else we're going to lose customers, they're going to walk over to a hotel that's in newer or better shape.' "

Typically, hotels replace furniture every five to seven years. The recession forced some owners to choose between keeping the hotel running and making regular replacements, Weissenberg said.

In addition to travelers, the hotel will continue to seek to be a venue for bat mitzvahs and bar mitzvahs, wedding rehearsals and business and association meetings. With its new open and airy lobby and contemporary furnishing in its suites, the hotel is reaching out to a hipper crowd.

"These are brand new," Ruane said as workmen brought in short wooden tables into the lobby.

The hotel has been upgraded for the wired generation, with laptop safes where guests can lock up their computers in every room, faster wireless Internet service, and outlets for laptops built into a bar table in the lobby.

Ruane said the renovations are 98 percent finished. One of the final touches will be a new steakhouse, slated to open in December.

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