LOS ANGELES-In a town where image is everything, the landmark Century Plaza Hotel is gaining not one but two new identities by adopting the hotel industry’s growing practice of “double-branding.”

The 727-room main hotel at 2025 Avenue of the Stars has been renamed The Century Plaza Hotel & Spa and is undergoing a $35-million renovation spotlighted by a 30,000 sf Asian-themed spa, says owner F. Francis Najafi of Phoenix-based Pivotal Century Plaza LLC.

The distinctive curved hotel, designed by Minoru Yamasaki as one of the original centerpieces of the Century City mixed-use complex, will continue to be operated by Westin Hotels & Resorts, owned by White Plains, NY-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., Najafi adds. In February 1999, he led Pivotal Group’s $260-million acquisition of the Century Plaza.Another unit of Starwood, St. Regis, will operate the 1984 tower, which will be renamed The St. Regis, Los Angeles and open this fall. Under the double-branding approach, the St. Regis will be positioned as an ultra-luxury hotel–with room rates averaging $350 a night–compared to $220 at the Century Plaza.

By double-branding, the hotel’s owners hope to broaden the development’s appeal. The Westin will target urban professionals and the meeting business, while the St. Regis is aimed at high-end visitors.In addition to the signature spa, the Century Plaza, which opened in 1966, is getting a complete transformation of its public spaces, penthouse suites, dining areas, exterior grounds and meeting facilities.

Scheduled for completion late this year, the repositioned Century Plaza will offer an urban resort spa environment in the heart of LA’s Westside entertainment and business setting, says Ken Pilgrim, general manager.

A new 250-seat restaurant at the south end of the new lobby will feature a seafood bar and California cuisine by executive chef Andreas Nieto. The hotel’s 712 guest rooms were redesigned as part of a $25-million renovation completed in 1998, Pilgrim adds. The Century Plaza’s 15 penthouse suites are being renovated with state-of-the-art business technology.

The $35-million transformation of the St. Regis, Los Angeles will feature a new entrance and lobby and an expanded swimming pool area with sun decks and private cabanas, says general manager Wolf Walther. It will also have a bar designed in the tradition of the King Cole Bar in the original St. Regis in New York City and—like the companion Century Plaza—will have a signature restaurant.

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