Hotels Staffing Up, Filling Up for Celebration - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/14/06

Hotels Staffing Up, Filling Up for Celebration

By Friday, Savannah will be green from top to bottom. Hostess City hotels will soon be filling up with people in town for Saint Patrick's Day. But are how full is full?

Hotels experiencing more business this year than in recent years. As of today, several hotels near the river were completely booked. And others have very limited availability. But everyone is getting prepared for what some are predicting to be the largest crowd Savannah has seen in recent years.

"This weekend has been very demanding with Saint Patrick's Day Friday," said Mark Stratton, general manager of the Doubletree and Garden Hotels in Savannah. "The demand has increased over recent years."

The fact that Saint Patrick's Day falls on a weekend this year and the destruction of Hurricane Katrina have led many to believe this year's festivities might be something Savannah has never seen before.

"With Mardi Gras not having a good turnout, we think it could be the biggest one," said Scott Edwards, the Hyatt's director of sales.

On Thursday, hotel managers at the Hyatt are expecting more than 600 people to check in. And while it may seem far fetched to think any rooms are still available, you may just be surprised.

"We do have some rooms available--there's always last-minute cancellations," said Edwards.

"We have a few rooms at the new Garden Hotel," said Stratton.

Which is why hotel managers and staff across Savannah have added extra help to better serve the thousands of visitors who are expected to arrive in less than two days.

"We've increased house keeping staff," noted Stratton.

"A lot of bodies," said Edwards. "I'm even on call."

But not everyone is gearing up for the festivities. Some people are hoping to get out of town before the crowds come. "We were at Hilton Head and saw the parade there," said Sherry Rickard, a tourist from Canada. "We're leaving before it all starts, but we heard it was fun. We're just leaving."

Although she's not staying, there will be thousands of others who wouldn't want to miss this celebration. But again, the majority of the guests for this weekend's celebration are expected to arrive on Thursday for the big event.

Make plans now to be with WTOC for the Saint Patrick's Day Parade. It all starts at 8am Friday morning with the live broadcast of the St. Patrick's Day Mass and continues throughout the parade.

Click here for WTOC's 2006 guide to all the fun.

Reported by: Christy Hutchings, chutchings@wtoc.com

 

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