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Boutique Stay Hotel Soft-Launches in the Cecil

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, July 15, 2008, at 05:10PM
Stay Hotel Eric Richardson [Flickr]

The hip design of the Stay lobby has more in common with the Standard than with its parent hotel.

Billed as a "boutique hotel / youth hostel hybrid," Stay Hotel soft-launched three weeks ago inside the Cecil Hotel.

When complete, the hotel concept will occupy 138 of the Cecil's 600 rooms, targeting European travelers with a range of room types from dorm-style to those with private baths.

Stay's lobby, located in the building's northernmost Main street storefront, has more in common with the Standard than it does with the rest of the Cecil. It's hip and colorful, greeting travelers with a giant floral lightbox and white leather couches. A balcony offers computers for guests to use, while a nearby alcove will soon be equipped with a flat screen and video games.

Rooms for Stay occupy floors four through six of the historic hotel. Renovations have put a door card system in place of the keys used throughout the rest of the hotel and flat screen TVs on the walls.

Bill Lanting of the Lanting Hotel Group says that the Stay concept and the way it targets European travelers and backpackers is something new to the US market. His company has been managing the Cecil since November, and is looking at the possibility of taking the concept to other markets.

The hotel offer a variety of room types. Some feature private baths, but many have just a sink or a sink and a toilet. Shared facilities on the hallways are accessed via key card. In a twist on the traditional hostel, Stay even offers dorm-style rooms, where travelers can pay for just a bed and a locker. Lanting noted that it was important to make these rooms friendly. "We want to do something considerably nicer than [the traditional hostel]," he said.

Next door to the Stay lobby, a small market should reopen by the end of the week. Just south of there, work is heavily underway on Tuck, a restaurant that will serve comfort food three meals a day. Lanting hopes that both will serve the nearby residential market as well as hotel guests.

Stay should get an official launch in August, but rooms are continuing to be released as work on them is completed. And is word reaching the target demographic? While standing outside Tuck this afternoon talking with Lanting Group designer Amy Price, we watched as a pair of travelers with hiking backpacks walked around the corner from 7th and headed into the Stay lobby to check in.

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