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Hilton coming to Turkey Creek

Pictured above is an artist’s rendering of the new $10.4 million Homewood Suites by Hilton scheduled to open in Turkey Creek mid November.
A Homewood Suites by Hilton is scheduled to open in Turkey Creek mid November.

The president of the company developing the $10.4 million hotel said the Turkey Creek development is an ideal location.

“We choose the area primarily because of new infrastructure and the good retail and restaurants our customers like to be near,” said David Hughs, president of the Gainesville, Ga.,-based McKibbon Hotel Group, Inc.

The hotel will be located on Turkey Drive near the Olive Garden restaurant.

“It’s going to be a good looking building with stone on the outside,” Hughs said. “It will fit nice in Turkey Creek.”

The typical clientele for Homewood Suites are travelers looking for lodging for five nights or more and people relocating to the area, he added.

“A lot of our customers will be here for relocations and training,” Hughs said, “but we serve the overnight customer as well.”

The hotel will contain 103 fully furnished suites. Customers will be able to choose from studio, one bedroom and two bedroom units, Hughs added.

Each will have a fully equipped kitchen.

McKibbon Hotel Group will also operate the new hotel, which Hughs said would have all the amenities an extended stay customer would want — a pool, exercise room and business center.

Each room will also be wired with high-speed Internet access, free of charge, he added.

The hotel’s Gate House will serve a complimentary buffet-style breakfast every morning and three to four nights a week there will be a Manager’s Reception with hors d’oeuvres.

A one-night hotel stay will start at $95 to $100, Hughs said.

The hotel development firm’s president said the city’s 17.25 percent hotel/motel tax, the highest in the nation, did not waver the company from building the hotel in Knoxville.

“It was not much of a consideration,” Hughs said, “but obviously it plays into the decision because the customer is paying that. But it wasn’t a contributing factor.”

The Homewood Suites by Hilton in Turkey Creek will be the first Hilton product the McKibbon Hotel Group will construct.

“Homewood Suites is an up-and-coming brand and their market share is moving up,” Hughs said. “(Homewood Suites) is in direct competition with Residence Inn (by Marriott) because they go after the same customer.”

McKibbon Hotel Group constructed a Residence Inn by Marriott off North Peters Road in July 1997, he added.

“I guess we’re in competition with ourselves,” Hughs said.

The hotel development firm acquired a hotel franchisee license to build a Homewood Suites by Hilton in Turkey Creek from Hilton Hotels Corp., which McKibbon will hold for 20 years, said Dawn Ezekiel Ray, manager of brand communications for Hilton.

“We’re doing multiple Hilton products now, but this is the first one,” Hughs said.

Prior to constructing Hilton hotels the company dealt mostly in Marriott products, having become the first Courtyard by Marriott franchise partner in November 1992.

McKibbon Hotel Group opened its first Courtyard by Marriott in Athens, Ga., in 1994. Today the company has 36 Marriott hotels in the southeast.

According to the Homewood Suites by Hilton Web site, there are currently 120 of its extended stay hotels in the nation and 50 more in the development stage.

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