Yelpers try to make business boom for midtown Phoenix hotel

[Source: Christina Boomer, ABC 15 News] — The Clarendon Hotel is a 105-room boutique hotel at 401 W. Clarendon in midtown Phoenix.  It boasts a courtyard pool complete with a tiled catwalk separating the cool water with a 50-seat hot tub.  There is also a chic rooftop bar with great views of Piestewa Peak and central Phoenix.  But like many hotels the economic downturn is challenging.

For Clarendon they have the recession to contend with and the competition from the nearby Downtown Sheraton.  The recently opened 1,000 room city-owned hotel was funded with hotel revenue bonds and sits just a little over three miles from the Clarendon.  It was designed to accommodate the extra visitors expected when the Phoenix Convention Center opens in mid-January.  But for right now Clarendon’s owner Ben Bethel says the additional rooms are sapping business away from smaller hotels like his.

This is where Yelp.com comes in to play.  In the “talk” section of the website locals and regulars are sounding off, encouraging people to visit the Clarendon and ensure it makes it until January.  Yelper Amber Williams explained she and others support small businesses in this economic downturn because they tend not to have a far-reaching and large advertising budget like the bigger chains.

ABC15 News asked city officials, “How is the Downtown Sheraton is funded?”  Here is the response we received from City of Phoenix Public Information Officer Sina Matthes:  “In June of 2004, the Phoenix City Council authorized the formation of the nonprofit Downtown Phoenix Hotel Corporation to finance, design, and construct a 1,000 room convention hotel.  The Hotel Corporation issued $350 million in hotel revenue bonds to finance the project.  No city general funds were used to finance the hotel.  Debt service and operating expenses for the hotel are paid from hotel revenues.  The Hotel Corporation entered into an operating agreement with Starwood Hotels & Resorts to manage and operate the hotel under the Sheraton brand.”

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