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LaPlace hotel unveils “Formula Blue”: Holiday Inn Express shares newest renovations

LAPLACE — The Holiday Inn Express & Suites on U.S. 51 in LaPlace has changed a great deal in the past three months.

A redesigned open lobby, fresh exterior and interior paint, new flooring, refurbished bathrooms in every room and revamped breakfast and exercise spaces create a more welcoming environment for St. John the Baptist Parish visitors, according to Kevin Patel, CEO of parent company QHotels.

Parish officials and members of the local business community gathered Wednesday afternoon for a ribbon cutting ceremony at Holiday Inn Express, located at 4284 U.S. 51.

Holiday Inn Express originally opened in LaPlace in December 2008.

Denise Burrell, from left, Jo Banner, Ali Vicknair and Evin Stein tour one of the renovated rooms at Holiday Inn Express & Suites.

Patel said the renovations are part of a widespread effort to convert all Holiday Inn Express locations to a “Formula Blue” design, which prioritizes modernization and accessibility.

Jo Banner, film coordinator for the River Parishes Tourist Commission, said the new lobby design gives the hotel a “more open, energetic vibe” than the old green color scheme.

Welcoming visitors to St. John the Baptist Parish ushers in tax revenue and exposure for local tourism attractions, according to Banner.

Holiday Inn Express and other QHotels accommodations are vital to the Tourist Commission’s new “Out Here” campaign, launched last week to market the River Parishes as a multi-day travel experience.

“It’s good for us to have accommodations so visitors know, when they come here, they can stay for multiple nights,” Banner said.

Attendees mill around the hotel’s revamped lobby, which has a “Formula Blue” design.

“We love our plantations, but we are much more than that. Holiday Inn Express is very close to local attractions. It’s very accessible to us, which helps because we like to bring our travel writers around.”

Renovations were completed in three months, as opposed to the seven-to-nine month refurbishing time frame other locations have abided by, according to Director of Sales Jamie Reynolds.

Construction crews were scheduled strategically to avoid impacting business, and Reynolds said additional furniture upgrades would be added to hotel rooms within two years.

Patel said the look breathes new life into the successful hotel.

“Since it opened in 2008, the hotel has done fairly well compared to the other hotels we own in this area,” Patel said, adding he also owns Best Western, Hampton Inn and TownePlace Marriot in LaPlace.

Director of Sales Jamie Reynolds talks about the renovations in front of the Holiday Inn exercise room.

According to Patel, Holiday Inn Express serves the community with 91 rooms, a business center, complimentary breakfast, a swimming pool, guest laundry, suite rooms, free Wi-Fi and a guest appreciation Happy Hour from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The Express brand offers limited services at a reasonable price, which Patel said ranges from $109 to $169 per night depending on time and availability.

“People choose the LaPlace market because it’s seen as a safe, small town area where it’s easy to get in and out,” Patel said. “Our properties are well kept, and we are strategically located off the junction of I-10 and I-55.”

Patel followed in the footsteps of his parents when he purchased his first hotel, an 18-room Mom and Pop location. After he built Best Western LaPlace in 1997, the business snowballed. He and his family now head QHotels.

“It’s never a dull moment, and it keeps us always on our toes,” Patel said.

Jay Patel, Chairman of the QHotels Board, said Holiday Inn Express is unique because guests can look out their windows and see beautiful Louisiana swamp scenery, as opposed to highway traffic.

For more information, call 985-618-1600.