Anchorage hotels spruce up for the new year

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Hotels and lodges throughout this city will enter the new year with improved and upgraded facilities. A look at some of the most significant changes follows:

Hotels and lodges throughout Anchorage are making improvements for 2002. • The Comfort Inn Ship Creek Lodge said its renovations were designed to convey the look and feel of a wilderness lodge. Built in 1991, the hotel offers 100 rooms, including several two-room suites with Jacuzzis.

As part of the face-lift, the lodge refurbished rooms and public spaces, and created a conference center and exercise facility. Every guest receives complimentary breakfast and fishing gear to use for salmon fishing at Ship Creek. For reservations, call (800) 362-6887 or visit www.comfortinn.com.

• The Puffin Inn's refit was one of the city's most noticeable. The inn added a 30-room complex of oversized rooms and suites, some with kitchenettes. The complex features a two-story, semicircular lobby with exterior copper tiling, interior slate floors, Alaskan art and a slate fireplace.

The property also has an on-site laundry facility, freezer space to store fish and game, a fitness center, 24-hour airport shuttle service and breakfast. There also is a business center with fax machines/copiers, Internet access and a conference room. For details, call (800) 478-3346 or visit www.puffininn.net.

• Clients might not be able to tell from the outside, but the interior of the Hilton Anchorage Hotel is completely new, except for a sole leftover -- the jade counter at the front desk. Bruins Lobby Lounge and the Hooper Bay Cafe replaced the Sports Edition Lounge and the Berry Patch Cafe.

Bruins is a contemporary lounge serving up news and sports with brews and food. The Hooper Bay Cafe is a three-meal restaurant with two separate rooms for special occasions and business meetings. A revamped conference center features an additional 6,000 square feet of meeting space for a total of 24,000 square feet.

A new first-floor business center features personal workstations, Internet access and fax/copy/printer machines. For details, call (800) 245-2527 or visit www.hilton.com.

• The Anchorage Grand Hotel (formerly the Ship Creek Hotel) spruced up its 31 rooms and facilities with cherry wood and brass accents, custom-made furnishings and Alaskan art. Each one-bedroom suite has a fully equipped kitchen, a workstation with a desk, a pull-out sofa and Internet access. For information or reservations, call (888) 800-0640 or visit www.anchoragegrandhotel.com.

• Among the changes at the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel is a new lobby with a tour desk underneath its trademark jade staircase. As part of an upgrade of its units, the hotel added a Club Level floor of rooms decorated with a contemporary Alaskan motif, including native artwork and custom-made furnishings. Air-conditioning was added to all guest rooms and public spaces. For details, call (888) 729-7705 or visit www.sheraton.com.

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