Settles officials aim for October opening

It has cost more and taken longer than anyone anticipated, but once renovation of the Settles Hotel is complete, officials said people are going to be wowed by what they see.Renovation for the historic Big Spring landmark, which was built in 1930, will end up costing almost 100 times its original construction price tag of $500,000, officials said.“As of (Thursday), we've passed the $30 million mark (on renovation costs), and we still have a ways to go,” said Project Director Bill Cole.Exactly when the Settles will reopen is still somewhat up in the air. The estimated completion date has been pushed back several times over the course of the project, but Cole is hopeful that finishing touches will be completed by late October.Whenever, it reopens, however, Cole promised that area residents are going to love the place.“This will be a hotel that will truly be worth the wait in the end,” he said. “In West Texas, there's not a hotel that will have the level of services we will have”The Settles will combine both historical and modern touches once it is complete, Cole said.“We've tried to maintain the historical integrity of the hotel,” he noted. “At the same time, we have modern-day building and safety codes to take into consideration … and we will have other modern touches that current-day travelers will expect.”The lobby, mezzanine and third floor will be virtually unchanged from original designs. But elsewhere, Cole said the hotel will feature many up-to-date first class touches, including:• The Pharmacy Bar and Parlor — Where the drug store used to operate in the old building will now house a bar and parlor that Cole says will evoke a “loungey, Rat Pack sort of feel,” complete with a poker room, flat screen TVs and fireplace.• Day Spa— The old barbershop area is being converted into a hair salon which will offer services such as styling, pedicures and massages.• Settles Grill — Cole said the hotel will offer a full-service restaurant, including private dining room for special occasions and an al fresco dining area, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.• Recreation — The hotel basement will house several services, Cole said, including a fitness center, computer room and a “judge's chamber” for smokers to enjoy. Outside, a pool and hot tub are being constructed and the old Boy's Club immediately east of the hotel will soon be razed to make way for a mini-park, complete with hiking trails and a putting green.• Mezzanine level — The Settles' ballroom is being renovated to original standards and can be used for parties or other large gatherings. Also on this level will be two “junior” ballrooms and a conference room.• Guest rooms — Rooms on the third floor are being remodeled to conform to historical standards. From the fourth to the 13th floors, however, the atmosphere will be thoroughly modern and much more spacious, ranging from standard-sized hotel rooms to residential suites and even a penthouse. The renovations will reduce the number of guest rooms from the original 150 to 65 when the Settles reopens.