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Loews Looks Beyond Gateways

National Hotel

When Loews Hotels & Resorts CEO Paul Whetsell joined his firm two years ago, he identified gateway markets that the brand needed to be in: Boston, DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco. Now that the list is almost complete (it's still sniffing around in the City by the Bay), Loews is looking beyond major markets into places like Minneapolis, where last week it entered into an agreement to purchase the 225-key Graves 601 Hotel Wyndham Grand from Graves Hospitality Corp. Other targets, he told us at the NYU conference, include four-star hotels in cities like Seattle, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Kansas City, St. Louis, Charlotte, and Denver. Now that Loews’ $250M, portfolio-wide repositioning initiative is complete (including the $100M redo of the Loews Regency Hotel in NYC), the company can shift its focus to development and acquisitions.

Above, the lobby of Loews' newest acquisition. Paul tells is the 400-key Loews Chicago Hotel is well on its way for a February opening, while the second part of its 1,800-room Cabana Bay Beach Resort in Orlando will open June 19 (the other part opened in March). Three other developments are in the pipeline, he says (although he couldn't divulge locations or else he'd have to sic his new family member on us... read on). And in the next 60 days, the company will be announcing another buy. While Paul, like most folks in the Northeast, hunkered down this winter, he’s looking forward to spending part of his summer at his home in Bethany Beach, Del., as well as heading to Greece with his wife. They’ve also just welcomed a new family member: Golden Retriever puppy, Henry. “In our house, Henry is No. 1 and Paul is No. 2,” he jokes.