The Red Lion Hotel at the Park will be transformed into an upscale Hotel RL, Spokane-based Red Lion Hotels Corp. announced Tuesday.
The remake of the riverfront hotel is part of a deal that has Red Lion selling a 45 percent stake in 12 of its hotels to an investment group.
The buyer includes big investment firms Shelbourne Capital LLC and an affiliate of Red Lion Hotels’ largest shareholder, Columbia Pacific Opportunity Fund. The deal brings Red Lion $99 million that the company will use to retire debt and renovate the 12 hotels, according to a news release. The money also will fuel the Spokane company’s plans for national expansion. A new joint venture will own the 12 hotels.
Red Lion Hotels CEO Greg Mount said in an interview Tuesday that the revamped Hotel RL in Spokane will be “one of the nicest hotels in the market” when renovations are done, which he estimates will be in the next year to year and a half.
Upgrades include technology, he said. Guests will be able to go online and choose their hotel room as they do their airplane seats, then use their smartphones as a key to get into those rooms.
“You won’t even have to go to the front desk,” Mount said. “The technology we’re deploying at Hotel at the Park is very cutting edge.”
The Red Lion Templin’s Hotel on the River in Post Falls is one of the 12 hotels involved in the sale announced Tuesday. Mount said that hotel is due to be renovated but it will not be converted to a Hotel RL.
Red Lion has sold a number of hotels in recent years – the company owns 19 of the 55 hotels it operates now, and recently announced a deal to sell its hotel in Bellevue. Its strategy for national expansion includes buying, renovating and then selling hotels while continuing to operate them through franchise or management contracts, Mount said.
The company is focused on expanding into the top 80 markets nationally, such as Manhattan, Chicago and Miami, he said. In December, Red Lion announced it had bought a hotel on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and plans to renovate it and reopen it this summer as its first Hotel RL.
Red Lion’s upgrade of the Hotel at the Park will debut after Spokane’s newest hotel, Walt and Karen Worthy’s Davenport Grand Hotel, opens on Spokane Falls Boulevard, which is expected this summer.
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