Soho Grand sets millennium rates for repeat guests

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NEW YORK -- Where are clients spending New Year's Eve 1999?

If they are members of the Soho Grand Hotel's Grand Guest affinity program, they can stay at the trendy lower Manhattan hotel for $284 per night, which is less than the hotel's rack rates, which start at $334 a night. Indeed, the 339-room hotel, at 310 West Broadway between Canal and Grand streets, will be reserved solely for repeat guests during the millennium weekend.

The view uptown from the Soho Grand.Emanuel Stern, president of Hartz Mountain Industries, which owns the hotel, said he created the promotion to reward repeat guests, who make up 40% of business. "We think the greed exhibited by the vast majority of the travel industry -- hotels, airlines, cruise ships, which are literally gouging customers for the millennium -- is offensive," Stern said. "We decided that we would do something different and reward the loyalty of our frequent guests," he said.

Clients can join the Grand Guest program after their initial stay by filling out a guest profile card and indicating their room and service preferences. In addition to paying the special rate, returning guests are rewarded with the room category of their choice and the amenities they requested.

For 1999, the program was upgraded to include "surprise" gifts such as free breakfast and dinner at the hotel's Canal House restaurant, a complimentary night's stay, theater tickets and a day at a spa, depending on how often the client frequents the hotel. "We prefer not to use a point system," said a hotel spokeswoman.

The Soho Grand Hotel, Phone: (800) 965-3000 or (212) 965-3000. Web: www.sohogrand.com

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