Archive for the ‘hotel’ tag
Sheraton Hotel & Conference Center / Radisson Hotel Columbia & Conference Center, 2100 Bush River Road: 2000s/June 2011 10 comments
When the The Sheraton on Bush River opened, it was a big deal, and for many years it was certainly an impressive landmark designating the edge of town as you came in from Georgia on I-20. (Now of course the metro area sprawls out past the Lexington exits). Of course since I actually lived in Columbia, I never found a reason to stay at the hotel, and even to visit the restaurant would have been a long drive from Forest Acres, but I always imagined it as a "swanky" place. Thinking about it as an adult, I'm not sure I really understand the concept. It's been my experience in going to conferences that conference hotels are normally built in a downtown, or at least fairly dense suburban area such that there are restaurants and nightclubs for the attendees to go to in the evenings, especially those who took taxis from the airport and want something within walking distance. That pretty much describes exactly the opposite of this spot.. Columbia as a conference destination is a pretty hard sell anyway, but this isn't exactly The Vista (which granted didn't exist as such in the 70s, but there certainly were spots with nightlife..).
Anyway, The Sheraton operated as such until, I believe, the early 2000s. Certainly it still did in 1996 when they would have bought the ad for the February 1997 phonebook pictured here. After that, the hotel reflagged and was operated as a Radisson as shown in this year's (February 2011) phonebook until June. The new flagging is for DoubleTree by Hilton, a brand that I can't really place on the hotel ladder. I'm guessing they don't have a Dance Factory.
(Hat tip to commenter Tom)
UPDATE 11 July 2011 -- Originally I led with this drawing, which I believed was the Sheraton on Bush River, but it appears instead to be another ex-Sheraton, on Assembly Street. I have edited the text claiming that, and moved the picture down here for those who already saw it and commented on it:
As reported by The State this venerable hotel at the corner of Main & Lady Streets will be converted into a upscale condo called The Palms with 54 "resort-style" units. They will also have a view of what is apparently the only pool on Main Street.
Given that the article talks about the developer struggling to find financing for the project for several years, and the fact that the Rodeway Inn is listed in the Feb 2011 phonebook, I can only guess that the developer owned the property and continued to run it as a hotel until things came together. I admit to being surprised how long it lasted as a mid-to-lower-mid market motel in an area that if it gets anyone (after all who in the general population wants to visit Columbia and stay on Main Street?) would get high-roller business and government connected types.
(Hat tip to commenter Tom)
UPDATE 26 May 2012: Here's a State article on the opening of The Palms.
"Your Host From Coast-to-Coast"
I went looking for this building on Knox Abbott last year, and as far as I can tell, there is nothing at that address now. The postcard certainly makes what appears to be a rather nondescript building look impressive by adding a sharp car and elegant model, even if there is perhaps a touch too much of "the old South" in the pose chosen.
My experience with Holiday Inns over the years has been mixed. I currently seek out the Holiday Inn Express sites, which seem to be uniformly good. The "regular" HIs can be a mixed bag. The one I used to go to quite often in DC invariably had the freeze/bake thermostat system, and at least once seemed to have gotten the cold and hot water pipes running to my room backwards (though luckily, hot was at best "tepid" in that case).
This isn't a current events blog. I don't feel compelled to do a post on everything that closed this week. Even assuming I knew about all that, I'm just as happy to do a post on something that's been gone thirty years. On the other hand, I don't feel compelled to not do a post on something that happened yesterday, since it's kind of odd, interesting and nearby.
Commenter Jamie pointed out this story on the WLTX site:
Richland County, SC (WLTX) - Some Ramada Inn employees and customers are looking for answers after the hotel on Two Notch Road shut down suddenly.
Employees say they haven't gotten paid and customers have been showing up looking for refunds on their deposits.
"It's sad. Why would they do this? Or how could this happen," said employee Stacey Knight. Knight and her coworkers are without a job and without a paycheck. They say the owners of the Ramada Inn closed for business, padlocking the doors shut.
It's not too uncommon for employees at a restaurant to show up for work and find the place closed, but hotels are not a day-to-day business. People make long term plans involving hotels, and normally, at least for a chain hotel, I would expect some sort of orderly wind-down, with people being rebooked to alternate properties or having up-front money refunded. Apparently not so here:
There was one lady in particular that made a deposit for a family reunion, $1100, and she wanted her money back," said another employee.
I'll wager that's one family that never uses any Ramada again..
Anyway, my first memory of this property is when it was a Holiday Inn. I never stayed there (why would I need a hotel in my hometown?), but I think I did go inside once. If I recall correctly, I went with a group of friends after a wedding, probably in the late 70s or early 80s. At that time, the lounge (now McKenna's) attached to the hotel was called Pawleys (a name calculated to attract my attention), and they catered to the backgammon boomlet (which petered out not long afterwards) by having backgammon sets available in the bar area.
I believe Holiday Inn dropped the property after I-77 came through to move closer to that Interstate. For a while the place was (I think) independant, with a big sack covering up the old Holiday Inn sign.
(Hat tip to commenter Jamie.)
UPDATE 26 July 2010 -- Here are some more pictures:
UPDATE 28 August -- After commenter Matt pointed out goings on at this closed Ramada, I decided to take a look and I'm still a bit puzzled at what is happening. It looks like the whole place is being gutted, but they don't seem to be knocking it down in toto. Perhaps it will be like the old Columbia Athletic Club and Splendid China where they have replaced everything except the actual outer walls..
UPDATE 12 September 2012 -- The whole building has now been fenced off. Driving by, I could still hear the chirps of hundreds of smoke dectectors needing new batteries..