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More changes coming for Capital Plaza

By Jensen LaVende jensen.lavende@trinidadexpress.com

The name Capital Plaza, the hotel formerly known as Crowne Plaza, is expected to go through another change, and the name is the least of the things promised to customers.

Speaking with members of the media yesterday at an appreciation luncheon, general manager of the hotel Erik Huber said the hotel has seen the need for a change in the industry, particularly in downtown Port of Spain, and that is exactly what they are going to offer.

Though the new name is being kept close to the chest of those who are in the know, the Express was informed that the hotel is in talks with the Radisson hotel chain.

"The Crowne Plaza was the only one in the Caribbean and it was not getting the support so we decided to change to Capital Plaza and now we are going through property improvement," Huber said.

Huber said the great service and friendly staff that made the hotel what it is will not be lost, but it would have to be upgraded to facilitate the growth that is expected.

"We are talking with different companies...unfortunately I can't give the names, but the hotel is in close negotiations with them. We are going through negations, very tight verbal negotiations," Huber said.

Apart from the new name and facelift that will follow, construction has already begun for a 14-storey hotel opposite to Capital Plaza which will be catering for long-term stays. The hotel will have both a roof-top pool and bar and is being dubbed by Huber as "something great for Trinidad and Port of Spain".

The new hotel will be affiliated with Capital Plaza and will be targeting the business community who are seeking to stay for a month or more.

"We are looking to bring Trinidad and the Caribbean a true luxury hotel," Huber said, adding that the fifth floor is being constructed and hopes all will be ready by 2014.

Another change for the hotel is its menu. Master chef Francisco Holmes-Brown told the media that his changes are in keeping with the vision of the hotel to re-capture its share of the market.

Holmes-Brown, an Argentine chef, said there have already been changes in the a la carte, brunch and Christmas menus and they are now working on changing the buffet.

Asked how he plans on doing this, Holmes-Brown said his aim is to keep the meals fresh, simple and well-executed, adding that he does not like food that is complicated, as less is more.

The master chef said he incorporates the local flavour into his meals and changes the Sunday brunch menu every week to give his team members the opportunity to come up with their own exciting meals.

Sales and marketing director for Capital Plaza, Maxine Richards, said the hotel is moving towards a more recognised, leading global brand.

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