At rah-rah Ramada, sports is the thing

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NEW YORK -- The Ramada Plaza Hotel @ LaGuardia Airport is hoping that a sports theme will set it apart from the area's other airport hotels in the quest for the lucrative business traveler. The eight-story 217-room hotel had an initial "soft opening" the first week of August, when just 30 rooms were available.

It opened all of its rooms and restaurant on Oct. 25. It is situated across the street from Shea Stadium, the U.S. Tennis Association's National Tennis Center (site of the U.S. Open tennis tournament) and New York's LaGuardia.

Michael Pomeranc, a partner in the Pomeranc Group, a Fort Lee, N.J.-based real estate development firm that co-owns the hotel, said the hotel will use its proximity to Shea Stadium and its affiliation with New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine -- who owns the hotel's Bobby V's Sports Bar & Restaurant -- as a selling tool to reach a wider cross section of business and leisure travelers.

The hotel, an official sponsor of the New York Mets baseball team, will host opposing visiting teams as well as sports teams that compete against nearby St. John's University in Jamaica, N.Y. Bobby V's Sports Bar & Restaurant offers seating for 200 patrons and more than 30 TV screens tuned to sports. It also features a gallery of Mets memorabilia and caters to private parties and functions.

Hotel rooms are equipped with dual-line phones with voice mail, Internet access and Web TV. Most rooms have king-size beds. In keeping with its sports theme, the hotel's top floor features 30 rooms decorated with baseball memorabilia.

The property features a 24-hour business center; 4,300 square feet of meetings space for up to 350 people, including break-out rooms for small groups; an indoor pool; a fitness center; an on-site car rental desk, and a gift shop.

Rates range from $109 to $169 per room. The price includes 24-hour shuttle service to LaGuardia and Kennedy airports and transportation to Shea Stadium and the tennis center.

For information or reservations, call (800) 2-RAMADA or visit the Web at www.ramada.com.

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