The new Holiday Inn Express held its grand opening this week, making the 106-room hotel the new place to stay in downtown Pensacola.

Developers broke ground on the more than $8 million project on Main and Jefferson streets in winter of 2015.

The Tennessee-based Siddiqui Investments is running the hotel under the British hotel giant InterContinental Hotels Group.

Heeteesh Patel, president of Knoxville-based Siddiqi Investments, stands with his family and Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward during the grand opening of downtown Pensacola’s newest hotel. (Laura Bogan/Special to The Pulse)

“We’re extremely happy with how the project turned out,” said Heeteesh Patel, president of Siddiqi Investments.

Despite some delays in construction and development of the hotel under the purview of the city’s Architectural Review Board, Patel said it’s been worth it.

“This project has been a few years in the making and any new construction project in an emerging market like Pensacola is going to have a few hiccups along the way,” Patel said. “We’ve had really good feedback from the guests that have so far stayed at the hotel.”

“We’re finding that more and more consumers want the consistency that brands like Holiday Inn Express can provide and they also want to feel like they are in a local, authentic community like Pensacola,” added Patel.

Mayor Ashton Hayward cuts the ceremonial ribbon during the grand opening of downtown Pensacola’s newest hotel. (Drew Buchanan/The Pulse)

For Patel and his partners, this meant developing the otherwise modest hotel with features not found in most Holiday Inn Express hotels around the country.

“You won’t find many hotels under the Holiday Inn Express brand constructed off all brick,” Patel said. “We also have outdoor space that you would not see in one of the traditional branded hotels.”

Tennessee-based Trigem Construction was the general contractor and Kana Hotels, also based out of Tennessee, is managing and operating the hotel, led by general manager Becky DeCesare.

Mayor Ashton Hayward was on hand for the grand opening and seemed confident in the hotel’s success in Pensacola and specifically the downtown area.

“This was a team effort,” Hayward said. “The opening of this hotel is just one chapter of how Pensacola has transformed in the past decade. We want to say thank you for investing in our city. This is a big deal for Pensacola.”

Patel added that dependent on the success of the hotel, they would be open to future expansion in the downtown Pensacola market.

“We’ll see how the first couple years go and we hope to expand further into the downtown market,” Patel added.

An overnight stay at the hotel starts out at around $130 per night, according to the hotel’s website. The price was comparable to other rooms advertised at older hotels in the downtown area.