HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTHV) - It's been 8 months since the new owner took over the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs.
And while there were talks of possibly shutting it down soon after due to safety hazards, the hotel is still up and running and open for business.
11 listens went and got an update on the owner's efforts to restore the state’s largest and oldest hotel. Major plans to restore and renovate the historic Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa are well underway.
"A lot of this stuff was installed back in 1924, 1930’s era and we want to make sure that it has all modern plumbing, electrical walls that everything is done up to today’s standards," said Jim Fram, Vice President of Development for the hotel.
“Our engineers basically gave us a very detailed report that basically said that this is one of the safest buildings to occupy in the entire region," he added. Fram said a lot of progress has been made in just a few months. They've painted ceilings in the lobby, redone the bar and restrooms, along with some deep cleaning throughout the hotel. “We've done those things to really upgrade the appearance and the look and the feel of the hotel while plans are being drawn to do a full-scale 46-million-dollar renovation," he added.
There are currently 478 rooms, with plans to consolidate close 140 rooms into suites. They will be the demo rooms to showcase what's to come.
“In one room we've taken a center wall out and we're going to turn that into a junior suite it will have a king size bed and bath and a lot of walking around room," said Fram. The owner, Al Rajabi, said he's excited about working towards his vision to bring luxury back to the hotel but admits the renovation process has its challenges.
"With any type of building you're always going to have various challenges but obviously this is something that's historic and so we want to make sure we preserve the history we don't want to damage any history," said Rajabi. As for future plans, Rajabi said there are negotiations taking place with several different franchises, hoping to team up, to create new memories at the Arlington.
“We can create a new memory for the new generation and that's what’s missing in hot springs today," he added. Rajabi hopes to announce the franchise in 45 to 60 days and don't worry they plan to preserve the name of the resort. As for the master plan to restore the hotel, Rajabi said that's expected to take another three to four years to complete.