Business

Renton Holiday Inn becomes Rainier Hotel

A new name sits atop the former Holiday Inn at Renton Village on Grady Way, as the owners transition to their next brand license agreement. The former Holiday Inn is now the Rainier Hotel and Conference Center.

At the end of 2013, the license held by Rewa Associates’ LLC, owner of the hotel, expired with InterContinental Hotels Group, of the Holiday Inn brand, among others. Facing some costly “mandated” upgrades, the owners decided not to renew their license for the Holiday Inn brand at that time.

“There is a possibility the owners will invest and decide to become a Holiday Inn again,” said Brad Knutson, hotel general manager. “They might go with a different brand. So it’s really tough to say and not all of those decisions are being made on the property level.”

The Rainier Hotel is the temporary name of the hotel, while the owners plot their next move. Knutson calls it a “temporary bridge,” while upper management decides what kind of investment they want to put into the building.

“The ownership decided we’re not ready to make a huge capital contribution because we’re a 50-year-old building, built in ‘65, opened in ‘66,” he said. “But we need to make sure what money we invest into the property there’s a return on.”

Under the temporary name, guests won’t notice much of a change in the hotel’s amenities. Yankee Grill has undergone some changes, with a renovation last summer. There’s a new soup and salad bar and old Yankee Grill favorites have returned to the menu. Without the Holiday Inn’s brand requirements, the restaurant is able to feature local fare such as meats, cheeses and even orange juice cold-pressed from Fresh Juice Works in Renton.

“It (the transition) gives us a chance to put the focus on the customers, who are here, as opposed to following the brand programs and initiatives that might not benefit,” Knutson said.

Overall hotel business has been strong in recent years, he said. The hotel experienced a downturn in 2009 and 2010, but since business has been picking up steadily.

“We feel very connected to Renton because we’ve been here since 1965,” Knutson said of the hotel. “We opened up about the same time 405 opened up and there’s been a variety of changes since then. This is just one more change.”

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