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Updated: December 21, 2023

Holiday Inn tidings: Portland hotel embarks on $1M interior renovation amid event-booking boom

Hotel exterior with blue sky backdrop Photo / Renee Cordes The Holiday Inn By the Bay, located at 88 Spring St. in Portland, expects to complete interior renovations by Feb. 6.

As corporate events wind down for the holiday season, crews are busy inside Portland’s Holiday Inn By the Bay, working on a $1 million interior makeover that includes upgraded audiovisual offerings.

The project started Monday, just a few days after a major event: 325 people attending the Maine Association of Nonprofits' three-hour, live version of its “MANP Connects” series, which launched virtually in 2020.

Making the most of the live format, MANP Executive Director Jennifer Hutchins made a dramatic entrance in a bathrobe over business attire, “pretending” that she had expected to tune in remotely from home. 

The event was the last big gathering at the hotel before the renovation, which is expected to be completed by Feb. 6.

People at conference
Photo / Renee Cordes
Some 325 people attended MANP's event Dec. 18.

With 249 guest rooms, the Holiday Inn By the Bay is part of the family-owned Lafayette Hotels portfolio of more than 30 hotels and restaurants in Maine and New Hampshire. Ranked by number of guest rooms, the Holiday Inn By the Bay is No. 4 among Maine’s largest hotels in the upcoming 2024 Mainebiz Book of Lists. The hotel can hold up to 1,200 people for events.

Mark Look, the hotel’s director of sales, said the renovation project includes a combination of updating and adding new features.

“The most visible aspects of the project will be new wallpaper in both the Grand Ballroom and Pre-Function space, fresh paint in both spaces and new light fixtures including new chandeliers in both spaces," he told Mainebiz. “The renovations will be like walking into a new room for our returning guests.”

Other plans include upgrading the lighting control system to use low-energy LED fixtures with the ability to set the appropriate lighting mood for any occasion.  

Contractors and project timeline 

The team is working with Headlight Audio Visual to upgrade sound and lighting with seven new ceiling-mounted screens, seven ceiling-mounted projectors and ceiling-mounted speakers, he said.

Wright-Ryan Construction, of Portland, is the general contractor on the project, with Casco Bay Electric as the electrical contractor. Both are long-term partners with the hotel on other projects.

The current renovation work is expected to be done in time for the International Women’s Conference scheduled to take place at the hotel on Feb. 7. Then there's the Maine Real Estate & Development Association's annual forecast conference and member showcase on Feb. 29.

“2024 is set to be another banner year for us and our booking pace continues to be strong,” Look said. 

His advice to any businesses or organizations looking to book an event at the hotel: “Call now. We still have availability left in 2024 and we are already looking ahead to 2025 and 2026.”

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