Bangor firm takes over largest Portland hotel

Posted May 11, 2009, at 10 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s largest hotel and convention facility, the Holiday Inn by the Bay in downtown Portland, changed ownership on Monday and will become part of Bangor-based Lafayette Hotels Group.

The hotel, which has 239 rooms and 13 function rooms, had been owned by Indiana-based Harper Hotels Inc. since it was built and opened in 1973. The facility was purchased by a new company, Lafayette Inn by the Bay Inc., and will join Lafayette’s group of 22 hotels in Maine.

“Over the years, we’ve always kind of had our eye on it,” Peter Daigle, chief operating officer of Lafayette Hotels, said Monday. “The Holiday Inn by the Bay is one of the [premier] hotel properties in southern Maine, and it fits well with our portfolio.”

Lafayette Hotels said it plans to keep the property in the Holiday Inn system and will rehire all staff in good standing, including Gus Tillman, who has been general manager since the hotel opened.

“Over the past 36 years, Gus Tillman and his staff have built a high-quality hotel and convention operation with a great reputation. We are pleased to follow in that tradition,” Daigle said.

“We’re elated to become part of the Lafayette Hotels Group,” added Tillman. “We feel we are a perfect fit for their organization; their management style is compatible with our company’s philosophy, therefore making the transition for the management and staff seamless.”

Lafayette Hotels’ plans include renovation of guestrooms and various other improvements in conjunction with the acquisition of the hotel. Daigle said all 239 rooms would be updated within the next few years.

The Holiday Inn by the Bay has received many awards over the years, including Holiday Inn’s prestigious Torchbearer Award awarded to only the top 20 properties in the Holiday Inn system.

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