Luxury hotel chain to overhaul Hilton Head resort

gmartin@islandpacket.comDecember 14, 2011 

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The Hilton Oceanfront Resort on Hilton Head Island will change names in February and undergo a comprehensive renovation, part of a long-term management agreement with an upscale, international hotel company.

The hotel will be rebranded by Omni Hotels & Resorts, a Texas-based company with 44 luxury properties in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

It will be the only Omni hotel in South Carolina; the nearest is on Amelia Island, Fla.

The hotel, which originally opened as the Mariner's Inn in 1983, will be renamed the Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort beginning Feb. 1.

Renovations will begin in August or September and continue through the first quarter of 2014, according to property general manager Helen Simmons.

"There will be different phases of the renovation to accommodate our guests," Simmons said, adding the hotel would remain open during the construction.

Simmons declined to provide specifics about renovations, saying only that rooms and meeting areas would be "about the same size" but have "a different look and feel."

Simmons said the hotel's current employees are not likely to be affected.

The hotel, in the Palmetto Dunes community, has 295 guest rooms and more than 24,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

The resort had been managed by Omni's sibling company, Allegiance Hospitality, since 2003. In that time, the hospital earned a four-diamond designation from AAA.

Simmons said the hotel would retain its Lowcountry appeal.

"Omni prides itself on not being a 'cookie-cutter' hotel," she said. "We'll have a lot of local flavor and local color."

A property development team from the company is on site this week and has made several visits in recent months, according to Omni spokeswoman Caryn Kboudi.

"They're there to determine the right investments we need to make to ensure that this becomes the premier resort within Hilton Head," Kboudi said.

"When people think of Hilton Head Island, we want them to think of this as their natural choice to stay."

Follow reporter Grant Martin at Twitter.com/LowCoBiz.

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