Hampton Inn opens its first Manhattan property

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NEW YORK -- Hampton Inn, the midprice brand of Hilton Hotels Corp., opened its first Manhattan hotel last month, the 144-room Hampton Inn Chelsea.

The hotel, located at 108 W. 24th St. between Sixth and Seventh avenues, is the second of five Hampton Inn properties planned for the city by 2005. The Hampton Inn at Kennedy Airport opened two years ago in Queens.

Hampton Inn officials said the new property represents the brand's continuing expansion into urban markets from its more traditional roadside and suburban locations. In recent years, urban markets have accounted for about 10% of Hampton's expansion.

"We have had great success with Hampton Inn in urban markets," said Neil Shah, director of development for Hersha Hospitality Management in Harrisburg, Pa., which owns the Hampton Inn Chelsea and the new Hampton Inn Philadelphia Convention Center Hotel.

One reason for the brand's popularity in urban markets is price. For example, the Hampton Inn Chelsea's opening rate will be $159, compared with an average rate of $172 for hotels in the nearby midtown west district and $194 in the financial district, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers' Manhattan hotel index.

"The price value is a very real attraction," Shah said.

Phil Cordell, Hampton Inn's senior vice president, said, "With the costs of new construction and other factors, Manhattan historically has been a challenging market for limited-service brands to break into.

"[But] even in today's travel environment, consumer demand for midprice lodging is still strong, and that led to financing opportunities for hotel developers to build in urban centers like New York, where before, travelers had a choice of either upscale hotels or generally older, less-modern properties," he said.

At 20 stories, the Chelsea is the tallest of Hampton's 1,200 hotels. Rooms offer high-speed Internet access, work desks, coffeemakers, and irons and ironing boards. The hotel features a fitness center and an outdoor patio.

Hersha Hospitality is developing two other Hampton Inns in Manhattan: The 65-room Hampton Inn Seaport Financial District, which is scheduled to open this winter, and the 136-room Hampton Inn Herald Square, which is set to open in 2005.

For information or reservations, call (800) 426-7866 or visit www.hilton.com.

To contact reporter Jorge Sidron, send e-mail to [email protected].

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