Best Western Lakeway to become a Sheraton hotel

The Best Western Lakeway Inn already has gone through quite a makeover in the past year, and soon it will have a new name.

The 132-room hotel is changing brands from Best Western to Sheraton. On Oct. 1 it will officially be called the Four Points by Sheraton Bellingham Hotel and Conference Center.

The change in brand means several new advantages for customers, according to General Manager Larry MacDonald. The Bellingham facility will become part of Starwood Hotels company, which has more than 1,200 properties in 100 countries with 10 different brands, according to the company website. In Western Washington, other Starwood properties include the Westin and the W Seattle hotels in the Seattle area.

MacDonald said customers will be able to use a guest reward program that includes many different ways to earn points, including by eating at the newly remodeled Chinuk restaurant. He said Starwood is very strong when it comes to landing business conferences, something they hope to increase at the Bellingham facility. It’s good timing for the Bellingham hotel, which plans to renovate its conference areas by mid-2016.

“We are positioning the property to be Bellingham’s premier meeting and conference destination, offering flexible meeting space for conventions and citywide events,” MacDonald said.

The change in brand also will mean an increase in staffing, MacDonald said. The hotel typically has about 100 employees, increasing by 20 during the peak periods. After the facility takes on the Sheraton name, it will add about 15 more employees during peak periods.

The hotel already has been through a multimillion-dollar renovation, headed by David Storm, CEO and president of Providence Hospitality Partners, which manages the facility. Along with remodeling the Chinuk restaurant, improvements were made to the main lobby, the indoor pool, the fitness center, Poppe’s 360 Neighborhood Pub and many of the guest rooms. MacDonald said one goal of the makeover was to emphasize Northwest colors while also providing a series of technology upgrades.

Reach Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or dave.gallagher@bellinghamherald.com.

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