Ramada Plaza hotel closed again

The sign read differently outside the Ramada Plaza hotel, but the result is the same. The 16-floor hotel in downtown Macon was closed Tuesday with signs posted at the entrances: “No rooms available.” There is no visible activity in the hotel. The main parking lot was empty, and the gate was closed and locked. The closure comes less than two weeks after the hotel closed up with signs at the entrances reading, “Closed for renovations.” That sign was posted Feb. 2 and the hotel reopened less than 24 hours later.

During that time, the hotel’s general manager, Sham K. Chhabria, said the hotel closed because of a broken water heater that took “only a couple of hours to fix.”

Reasons for the most recent closure were unknown late Tuesday.

Calls to the hotel’s main number Tuesday were answered by a machine directing callers inquiring about “reservations” and “personal assistants” to remain on the line. Following a pause, the message would simply repeat, and no one answered. The callers were not prompted to leave a message.

Signs were still posted outside the hotel advertising space that’s “available for lease,” asking interested parties to call the hotel’s main number. The hotel currently leases space to an accountant and a limousine service. Employees from both companies were unaware why the hotel was closed Tuesday.

Calls Tuesday to Ramada employee Lorraine Glover, who books events and parties, were answered by her voice mail, telling callers that she doesn’t work on Mondays and Tuesdays. Callers were allowed to leave a message.

When the hotel reopened after the Feb. 2 closure, Glover said the hotel’s rooms are fine. She said the hotel is still booking events and parties, and that events have been booked.

Several filmmakers and participants with the Macon Film Festival, which runs Thursday though Feb. 20, booked rooms at the hotel. Tabitha Walker, the festival’s president, said all those guests have been rerouted to other hotels in the area.

“Thankfully, folks will not start traveling until (Wednesday),” Walker said.

The hotel at 108 First St. was purchased out of foreclosure last year by Florida-based Gsd Investments LLC and Dr. Gunwant Dhaliwal, of New Port Richey, Fla., for $1.9 million.

Calls to Dhaliwal and Gsd were not returned.

The nearly 200,000-square-foot hotel was built in 1969 and was renamed Ramada Plaza in November 2006 -- its fifth name since it was built. It has been the Crowne Plaza, Hilton, Macon Downtown Hotel and Radisson.

To contact writer Harold Goodridge, call 744-4382.

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