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San Remo to get Hooters’ lift

Aug 24, 2004 5:01 AM

In a move that could be viewed as the ultimate triumph of in-your-face flesh on the Strip, Hotel San Remo is on its way to becoming the Hooters Casino Hotel.

Hooters is the national restaurant chain that is more renown for the barely-there outfits of its waitresses than its food. Hotel San Remo has been known mostly for being unknown.

Michael Hessling, the hotel’s executive vice president, said the transformation is expected to be completed by the fall of 2005. He said there are not many obstacles standing in the way of the makeover and that the new ownership group, of which he is a member, are "working on final blueprints."

The new ownership group will also reportedly consist of two members of the current ownership group and nine of the original Hooters partners. The current ownership is led by the Izumi family of Japan. Hessling said he is "absolutely confident" that state gaming regulators will approve the change in ownership but he expects the process to take six to 12 months.

He said the goal of the new owners is "to take us into the big time" so that the property would no longer be thought of as the "sleepy little casino" next to the Tropicana.

The remade hotel will feature four new dining options, including a Hooters restaurant and two other eateries, one of which will have ties to Dan Marino, the star quarterback for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins in the 1980s and 1990s.

There are also plans for a major expansion of the pool area with the intention of appealing to a demographic that is now being attracted to the Hard Rock Hotel. The hotel’s rooms and public areas will be renovated and the property will feature Hooters’ owl logo facing Tropicana Avenue.

The hotel, which will remain open during the renovations, is planning to add about 400 employees to the 600 it already has on its staff as the conversion is completed. There are no plans to replace any of the current employees with Hooters girls, who are known for their comely appearances, short shorts and tight tops.