Hotel leader has high hopes for renovation project

Sep. 17, 2013 @ 06:36 PM

Corine Hollingsworth has major aspirations for High Point’s largest hotel.
The general manager of the High Point Plaza and Conference Center, Hollingsworth is overseeing a renovation of the 252-room hotel that she hopes will transform it to new heights for customer service. She said she would like to restore the hotel to the status it enjoyed during the days when it was the Radisson.
“When I first came here six years ago, we had 100 employees,” she said. “I want to get back to that. The Radisson wants you to have 100 percent guest satisfaction. That’s what I want to get back to. My biggest pet peeve is when someone needs help and there’s not anyone available to give them help.”
It will take a monumental effort to meet these goals, but Hollingsworth said the hotel’s owners, Florida-based InnerCircle Management, are committed to the job.
Since the company took over ownership in July 2012, it’s invested about $1.5 million in a renovation project, with more to come.
“We’re renovated the entire lobby. We’ve renovated the restaurant and the lounge. We’re renovated all the meeting space that we have,” said Hollingsworth. “We’ve just started on the floors.”
The hotel opened as the Radisson 30 years ago. In 2008, it dropped the Radisson name and picked up Best Western a year later. The current owners changed the name when they took over.
The plan is to renovate every hallway and room in the hotel. Crews have started on the 8th floor and will work their way down.
“They want a lot of detail in these rooms. They want everything to be clean, crisp, modern, that kind of style,” she said. “Not to say that the stuff in the rooms isn’t updated, because, along the way, we’ve done certain things like put in flat-screen TVs and refigerators.”
In addition to new decor, the plan is to add things to rooms that are popular with hotel guests, such as comforters for the beds.
“If you look at the way most hotels are now, everything is more sleek, more modern, more contemporary. That’s the kind of look they’re going for,” Hollingsworth said.
In recent months, the hotel staff has increased from about 40 to 56 employees, concentrating on beefing up the housekeeping and food and beverage departments.
“The staffing level is definitely moving up,” she said.
Much of the focus has been on the hotel’s restaurant, Bistro 135 and its lounge, Pub 135, which includes a bar and can accommodate comedians and other performers.
“We’re trying to get the restaurant to be open seven days a week — breakfast, lunch and dinner,” she said. “I would say in the next couple of months, we’re looking at hiring more wait staff. We’re looking at doing Sunday brunches and we’ve got the additional banquet area where we’re doing lots of banquet events.”
Hollingsworth said the hotel works to bring in entertainment acts for the lounge on a regular basis that she hopes will draw a steady stream of local residents in addition to out-of-town guests.
“We keep that going so we can keep the High Point Plaza name out there, as well as making sure we can get as many people as possible coming through the door to see the property, because a lot of people don’t realize how much work we’ve done on it,” she said.