The Red Lion Hotel Olympia is set for a multimillion-dollar renovation this year, the largest for the west Olympia hotel since it first became a Red Lion property in 2003.
The work, which is expected to begin in March and end in December, will transform nearly 200 rooms, the lobby, restaurant and 16,500 square feet of meeting space.
Jeff Bowe, director of sales for the hotel that overlooks the Deschutes River, said the bones of the building largely won’t change. But guests can expect new carpets, wall hangings and hardwood floors in rooms, he said.
It also will get a redesigned restaurant and, in keeping with a Northwest theme, a coffee bar in the lobby.
Three Red Lion Hotels, including the one in Olympia at 2300 Evergreen Park Drive SW, are being converted into an upscale brand that the Spokane-based company calls Hotel RL.
The other hotels set to be converted are in Spokane and Salt Lake City, according to a news release. A Baltimore hotel eventually will be converted as well.
The Olympia hotel employs about 80, but that number is expected to grow once renovations are complete, Bowe said.
Renovations will happen sporadically because the hotel doesn’t want to take too many rooms offline for guests at any one time, Bowe said.
One event looms large for all South Sound hotels: the U.S. Open golf championship at Chambers Bay in Pierce County in June. Bowe said they are taking reservations for the tournament and that he expects the hotel to be fully booked.
The Thurston County hotel market has come to life in recent years as several hotels have announced renovation projects or new properties. An 80-room La Quinta Inn is under construction in Tumwater, downtown Olympia’s Governor Hotel has undergone renovations under a new owner, and the former Phoenix Inn now is a Double Tree by Hilton.