Convention center hotel busy preparing to open doors

Published 1:09 am Sunday, March 9, 2008

NATCHEZ — It is only a matter of days before the new Country Inn and Suites on Canal Street opens its doors.

The hotel won’t be having a grand opening until sometime in April, but because the hotel already has some reservations the building will have a “soft opening” to allow for those reservations in the near future, said Walter Tipton with New Orleans Hospitality Consultants.

The company, which manages the Natchez Convention Center, will also manage the hotel.

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The hotel will have 119 rooms, and 19 of those rooms will be suites with a sitting room, separate bedroom and a kitchenette area.

“You could host a small group in the suites,” Tipton said.

On the second floor, the suites will have balconies facing both the river and downtown.

The hotel will also have business and fitness centers, and will be both hard-wired and wireless capable for high speed Internet.

“Those are sorely needed venues adjacent to our convention center, and once that opens up that will be one of the closest public places where they can find that,” Tipton said.

The 130 parking spaces the hotel will be adding will also help the convention center, Tipton said.

Until the hotel opens, some of the finishing touches being completed are brickwork, landscaping and parking lot striping.

“We are trying to get the Canal Street side finished, but we may have to finish on the Broadway side after we do the soft opening,” Tipton said.

One of the biggest benefits of the new hotel for travelers will be the fact that Country Inn and Suites is associated with the Carlson Group, which also owns the Radisson Hotels, Park Inns and Regent Hotels chains, Tipton said.

“They have what is called a gold card membership program so that people who stay in those hotels can earn points toward staying here in Natchez, and those who stay here in Natchez can earn points for elsewhere,” Tipton said.

Compared to other Country Inn and Suites locations, the Natchez hotel will rank at the top of the list, Tipton said.

“Of all of those, ours is probably going to be one of the most upscale because we will have the meeting spaces,” he said.