- Associated Press - Thursday, May 5, 2016

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) - The 108-year-old historic Hotel Bentley in Alexandria is still under renovation, but owner Michael Jenkins says they’re also open for business.

Jenkins tells The Town Talk (http://townta.lk/24A9Itn ) the business began accepting reservations Thursday.

Two floors, the third and fourth, with 62 rooms will be open for the time being. Renovations to the fifth floor, which has an additional 31 guest rooms will be completed next.

The renovation process has gone on longer than expected. The hotel was closed in 2004. Jenkins purchased it in 2012, and the opening’s timeline has been changed several times.

“I had people tell me, ‘That is such a big project, what are you doing?’” Jenkins said. “The Bentley is the heart of downtown, and for a real city to survive, there’s got to be a heart to downtown.”

Jenkins said the hotel will continue to reopen in phases with a restaurant and condominiums coming in the future.

The Bentley’s restaurant, which is on the bottom floor or basement, has to pass city and Department of Health & Hospitals inspections before it will be ready to serve guests.

Parking logistics for the condos are still being worked through and information will be released later on the timeline for those, Jenkins said.

He has other plans, like a gift shop and some finishing touches, to be added in the future, too. “It’s gonna come,” Jenkins said. “I hope we can keep people as excited about it.”

Anticipation has been building since Jenkins purchased the hotel, but he said he does not plan to host a showy grand reopening as has been done in the past. Most were exclusive to a limited number of guests, and that’s not something Jenkins has embraced.

“We opened this for the people,” he said.

Jenkins said he also wanted to reopen the Bentley because Alexandria needs something that will give visitors to the area a “wow factor.”

“We want people to say, ‘Golly, this is in Alexandria?’” he said.

For reservations or other information, the public can call the Hotel Bentley at 318-442-2226.

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Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk, http://www.thetowntalk.com

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