In the early years PHG built its reputation by taking under-performing properties in their specific markets and turning them positively around, beginning with the historic Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, TX. Within two years the Gunter Hotel earned Four Diamond recognition, completed a very successful Chapter 11 reorganization and affiliated with Sheraton Hotels. Other hospitality clients during the “Distressed ’80s” include the Crockett Hotel, El Tropicana and Deluxe Inn in San Antonio; the Doubletree Hotel in Austin; the Grand Hotel at the Galleria in Houston (Currently known as The Derek); Carefree Inn and Resort (Currently known as The Boulders), Scottsdale, AZ; and several distressed hotels in other Southwestern markets.
With each of these assets, the PHG team developed a vision, directed renovation and repositioning, provided management and timely sale of the hotels. In each case, they successfully coordinated affiliations with secure, profitable national hotel franchises, including Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, Sheraton, Radisson and Intercontinental Hotel Group.
In 1990, Karena Hotels Texas, formed by a London-based hotel investment company, hired PHG as director/operator for its US hotel ventures and invested $50 million in Texas hotels, including the development and opening of the Radisson Hotel San Antonio Market Square, the 325-room Holiday Inn Riverwalk North (formerly El Tropicana), the 211-room Holiday Inn Express (formerly Deluxe Inn) and the Sheraton Grand Hotel at the Galleria in Houston, Texas.
As CEO, McClure simultaneously directed the management of five hotels in Florida and development of the new Holiday Inn Maingate Disney World in 1991 owned by the London investment firm. The Radisson was completely retrofitted from an existing shell building to a 250- room full service hotel. PHG provided all development and pre-opening services for this $9.2 million project. The Holiday Inn Riverwalk North was closed and completely renovated to include the Holiday Inn franchise. PHG provided all development and pre-opening services for this $7 million project. PHG developed and managed the renovation of the Holiday Inn Express including the Holiday Inn franchise. This was a $2.5 million project.
The Sheraton Grand was also completely renovated under PHG’s direction. This was a $9 million project.
PHG was instrumental in converting a 198 independent suite hotel to a Summerfield Suites by Wyndham and converting a 200-room suite hotel to a Springhill Suites by Marriot. These were both $3 million projects. Under Phoenix’s direction, each of these hotels completed multimillion dollar renovations and repositioning, resulting ultimately in the profitable sale of these assets.
During the years 1990-1993 PHG provided management, marketing and development support to the $350,000 per room Holiday Inn Kensington in London, England and the new Holiday Inn Crown Palace in Lisbon, Portugal.
PHG’s success is a result of its hands-on focused operating style fueled by experience and expertise. In order to maintain the PHG’s formula for past successes, and in response to demand for PHG’s management and consulting expertise, a policy/philosophy was implemented in 1993 that PHG only accepts projects in which it has a profit participation or equity interest.
The first venture under this philosophy was the Guadalupe River Ranch, a 360-acre exclusive resort ranch and seminar / conference center, in which PHG acquired 50% interest. It was originally operated in the early ’90s as a private retreat center that was rented to groups only. Under PHG this Hill Country ranch was opened to the public and developed into a resort that featured gourmet food and a complete resort experience. During the 6+ years of PHG’s ownership and management, the Guadalupe River Ranch achieved many milestones including revenue growth from $300,000 to $3 million annually; a net operating income in excess of 20% in each of the last 3 years; and national acclaim for food, wine and service featured in Southern Living, Texas Monthly, Texas Highways, Gourmet, and Wine Spectator (Award of Excellence in 2000). PHG successfully sold its interest in the ranch in March of 2000 in order to facilitate future growth.