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Galleria Inn to join Best Western chain

A former Holiday Inn Express in Cheektowaga will be rebranded as a Best Western, bolstering the chain's local presence.

The Dingens Street hotel currently operates as Galleria Inn & Suites and is aiming to become a Best Western by April, said David Eckhardt, director of operations for Bhavani Hotels, which owns the property.

The 117-room hotel is visible from the Niagara Thruway near the Ogden Street exit, just east of the Buffalo city line. Signs both inside and outside the hotel promote the upcoming change.

Eckhardt said switching to Best Western suits Bhavani because the group already operates five hotels in the region with that brand -- in Niagara Falls, Lackawanna, Jamestown, Dunkirk and near the airport in Cheektowaga. (A Best Western on Delaware Avenue has a different owner.)

Best Western International bills itself as the world's largest hotel chain, with more than 4,200 hotels in 80 countries.

The Dingens Street hotel's ownership and staff will remain the same, but some property upgrades will be made as part of the switch, Eckhardt said. Bhavani previously bought and reopened a neighboring restaurant, Dingens Bar and Grill, which had sat dormant.

The Dingens Street hotel was built in 1963 and operated as a full-service Holiday Inn until the late 1990s, when it was renovated and rebranded as a Holiday Inn Express. About three years ago, Bhavani bought the property from Hart Hotels for about $5.6 million.

Separate from the Best Western switch, Bhavani is developing plans to build a hotel in Cheektowaga affiliated with Intercontinental Hotels Group, Eckhardt said.

e-mail: mglynn@buffnews.com

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