Tru Hotel by Hilton opens in Cherokee Springs Plaza
People gathered for the official opening of the Tru Hotel by Hilton in Cherokee Springs Plaza prepare for a Nov. 19 ribbon cutting. D. SEAN ROWLEY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Tahlequah Mayor Sue Catron, center, attends a Nov. 19 ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new hotel in Cherokee Springs Plaza. D. SEAN ROWLEY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Springs Plaza welcomed a new business during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Nov. 19 when Promise Hotel Management of Tulsa officially opened its Tru Hotel by Hilton.
The four-story hotel includes 90 rooms, 2,880 square feet of lobby space, a fitness center, breakfast bar, complimentary Wi-Fi and digital check-in and room keys.
Building the hotel required the approval of Tahlequah voters, which was narrowly received with a city proposition passed on Aug. 28, 2018.
Pete Patel, Promise Hotels CEO and president, said the Hilton affiliation offers access to more than 90 million members of the chain’s rewards program.
“The size of this hotel will also allow us to host more athletic teams that have been staying in towns like Muskogee and Tulsa,” Patel said. “I think we’ll be able to capture more business that was going out of the community.”
The proposition approved by voters called for a 6% lodging tax on stays in hotels or motels with more than 80 rooms, allowing developers of large hotels and motels to receive as much as $2.8 million over 20 years, while the city would receive $748,000 to cover administrative fees.
At the time, Patel said the incentive for Promise Hotels would amount to about $1.5 million.
“It was a close vote, but they said yes, and this is today the fruits of that,” Patel said before the Nov. 19 ceremony.
Patel said the hotel will bring 35 to 40 full- and part-time jobs.
“During construction, this hotel had over 125 jobs over the 14 months it took,” he said. “We are truly committed to this community and the hospitality industry in Tahlequah.”
Patel acknowledged the hotel was opening amid the COVID pandemic, which has negatively impacted tourism in Tahlequah and worldwide. He voiced his expectation that the economy will return to its pre-pandemic energy once the danger from the virus recedes.
“Even though occupancies are down a bit, we are still very optimistic that the fundamentals of tourism and commerce, with our great recreational areas, will come back stronger than ever in the next few years,” he said. “This hotel will help host many of those tourists who will come to see all of the great attractions we have here, like the Illinois River, Lake Tenkiller, Northeastern State University and Cherokee Nation.”
Tahlequah Mayor Sue Catron also spoke at the ceremony, noting that the city’s efforts to attract tourism and enhance the city’s quality of life were not confined to the hotel opening, including improved lighting along streets and at the Tahlequah City Airport.
“In our partnership with Cherokee County and the Cherokee Nation, we’ve completed the repaving of six streets in the last year,” Catron said. “This spring another six will be underway…. We hope all of these will make life more comfortable for a residence and make our community more attractive to businesses. We know, rather than we hope, that the completion of this new hotel, will have a significant impact on our economy and our future.”