The former Temple Square Hotel will officially begin a new era Friday with a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony for The Inn at Temple Square and Carriage Court Restaurant on South Temple across from Temple Square.

Nothing has been overlooked in the two-year renovation of the 60-year-old, seven-floor hotel that closed in November 1988 as a 189-room facility catering to the economy end of the market, and reopened in October 1990 as a full-service inn with 90 rooms and suites.The hotel is also taking the industry lead in declaring the Inn a completely smoke-free facility. Smoking will not be allowed in any portion of the Inn, including guest rooms and the restaurant.

"We have limited the clientele a little bit," by taking the action, said Joleen Meredith, general manager, "but we feel we are on the cutting edge of the hospitality industry by doing so. Marriott, Little America and others have begun limiting the number of rooms that allow smoking, as have others across the country. We have just taken it to its logical conclusion."

Other than that, Meredith said, all guests, local and out-of-state, are welcome in the hotel and restaurant.

"We cater to anyone who wants to stay with us," she said. "We have executive parlor suites for business meetings for small groups, bridal and anniversary couples, families, genealogists, visitors to conference or those who have any other business in the city. We call ourselves a fine European-style hotel. We like to think of ourselves as a warm guest house where someone could come from a day at work and feel at home."

The former Temple Square Hotel opened in 1930, on the eve of the Great Depression, and for years provided low-cost rooms for travelers. In the 1950s, it was remodeled and the overland bus depot was installed in the space occupied by the hotel's original restaurant. After that, no major changes were made until 1988.

In that year the decision was made by Deseret Management Corp., the holding company for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns the building, to undertake a total renovation of the facility. Cooper, Carlson, Duy and Ritchie, a Kansas City architectural firm with an office in Salt Lake City, was commissioned to oversee the project. David Fitzsimmons was the on-site representative of the firm.

Christiansen Brothers Construction was the general contractor. Bruce Edwards, an associate of the church's Temples and Special Projects Department, designed the interior.

The project involved complete reconstruction, including mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems as well as major foundation and structural work to help make the building more resistant to earthquakes. The 189 rooms were gutted, and 90 larger rooms now occupy the space.

Room rates run from $65 to $190 per night. The hotel opened for business Oct. 1 and was full for LDS general conference.

The new Carriage Court restaurant, managed by Michael Larsen, seats about 100. The menu is described as "continental." The Inn has full valet parking.

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Open house

The public is invited to an open house Friday, Oct. 26, from 3 to 6 p.m. to tour The Inn at Temple Square.

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