Covington to get three new hotels

COVINGTON - Pretty soon, visitors to Covington should have no problem finding a place to stay.

Three new hotels will be constructed in the city over the course of the next few years, collectively bringing approximately 250 new rooms to the area.

Apollo Hospitality Inc. out of Douglasville is developing two of the hotels: a Best Western on Industrial Boulevard and an unnamed brand hotel near LongHorn Steakhouse on U.S. Highway 278.

The four-story Best Western will have 70 rooms and an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, a small snack bar, Internet service and a free continental breakfast, said Pravin Amin, president of Apollo Hospitality.

The hotel will be located near the Wal-Mart Supercenter.

Amin did not know an opening date, but said Best Western approved the deal two months ago, and he has 11 months after the approval to break ground.

Apollo also owns the Holiday Inn Express and has been in the Covington market since 1986, Amin said.

"Covington needs upper class hotels. Since we are land developers, we know that there is business there. We would like to apply a good product and service," Amin said.

To that end, Apollo is also developing a hotel near LongHorn, on the vacant parcel closest to Interstate 20.

The hotel brand has not been finalized yet, but it will be a "nationally franchised upper end hotel with around 70 rooms," said Phil Johnson, who is part owner of the property along with Apollo.

Johnson said the site plan is still in the beginning stages and estimated it will take between four to six months to secure a franchise and get necessary approval from the city. Once that process is complete, construction will begin, Johnson said, adding that it's too early to estimate an opening date.

There are no immediate plans for development of the property adjacent to LongHorn, according to the property owner, Tom Fulton, with Covington Properties South LLC. The site was targeted by Starbucks and O'Charley's, but both deals fell through, Fulton said.

Finally, ground has broken on a Hampton Inn that will be located off Lochridge Industrial Boulevard.

The 105-room, six-story hotel will include a swimming pool, fitness center, breakfast bar and meeting space.

The hotel is expected to open in July 2009, according to Susan Crowell, general manager of the Hampton Inn in Conyers.

Navin Shah, who owns the Conyers hotel, will also own the Covington site.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.