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A nearly $30-million makeover is planned for Hilton Head's second-largest hotel, the latest in a series of renovation announcements for some of the island's biggest resorts.
New owners of the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa plan to renovate all 412 guest rooms, all meeting spaces, the main lobby, outdoor venues and the pool area, as well as add a single-story open-air bar and lounge.
Drawings were presented Tuesday to the town's Design Review Board. Members liked the plans, but withheld approval pending an endorsement from the Port Royal Plantation Plans Approval Board. That board is scheduled to meet Sept. 18.
Project manager Paul Chelminiak of the San Diego architectural firm Joseph Wong Design Associates said the hotel expects to begin work at the end of month, with the renovations ending in late May.
Westin general manager Andrew Czarnecki has said the work will not affect guests or the hotel's operations. Attempts Tuesday to reach Czarnecki and other Westin officials were unsuccessful.
Design Review Board members welcomed the change.
"I'm excited to see this project," island architect and board member Tom Parker said. "(These changes) will bring (the resort) from the '80s to the current day."
The hotel business is getting stronger as the nation emerges from the recession, and hotels are using their increasing revenue and investing it in their properties, said Bill Miles, president and CEO of the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce.
This year, Beaufort County hotels and rental agencies recorded their strongest summer since the beginning of the economic downturn, Miles said.
"We are seeing a great deal of confidence in Hilton Head Island right now," he said. "There's a renaissance happening on Hilton Head that's being led by projects like those announced by the Westin and other seaside resorts. That certainly enhances the visitor and guest experience and is refreshing to see."
Several hotels -- Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island, Hilton Head Marriott Resort and Spa, The Beach House, and Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort -- have recently either undergone or announced major renovations. Sea Pines Resort unveiled plans last month for about $12 million in renovations to the Plantation Club.
"All of this is good for property values and investment on Hilton Head Island and guest satisfaction, making the island more appealing to repeat visitors and meeting planners," Miles said.