FORT POLK, LA-The first branded hotel on an U.S. militaryinstallation has opened here and is now welcoming militarytravelers.

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The Holiday Inn Express at Fort Polk is part of Privatization ofArmy Lodging program, a public-private partnership between ActusLend Lease and Intercontinental Hotel Group. Previously, all hotelson Army installations have been owned and operated by themilitary.

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Last summer, Actus Lend Lease assumed ownership the portfolio,and with IHG as the hotel operator, began revitalizing on-posttransient housing facilities for soldiers, their families and allofficial government travelers. The PAL program allows the Army tocontinue to have an ownership stake in the hotels through a groundlease arrangement, but turns over the operations and management toActus Lend Lease and IHG.

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The PAL program consists of 3,200 existing hotel rooms on 10U.S. Army installations. All hotels located on the 10 PALinstallations operate under the name IHG Army Hotels.

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As part of the program, the existing hotels receive significantupgrades and renovations. The Holiday Inn Express at Fort Polk, forexample, underwent a $2 million renovation and now provides guestswith complimentary hot breakfast served daily, a TV lounge,business center, guest laundry facilities and courtesy shuttleservice.

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In every room, guests will find new furnishings, new bedding andlinens, flat screen televisions and granite vanities in thebathrooms. Other notable upgrades include a renovated lobby andfront desk, new carpeting, new window treatments, upgrades to theair conditioning in guest rooms, fire alarm system replacements,and guardrail and railing repairs.

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Additionally, the hotel’s staff has undergone a training programto ensure guests are provided with a high level of professionalcustomer service. These additional services and improvements wereable to be achieved and still provide lodging at or below thegovernment per diem rate for Leesville, LA.

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For example, the per night rate including taxes for the HolidayInn Express at Fort Polk is around $55 per night. In contrast, theoff-post Holiday Inn Express has a rate of $151 per night beforetaxes, according to Aole Ansari, senior vice president and generalmanager – lodging portfolio operations for Actus Lend Lease.

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In addition to the renovations, Actus Lend Lease plans toconstruct several new hotels totaling 800 rooms, which IHG willoperate under its Candlewood Suites

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