ALBUQUERQUE – The Albuquerque Hilton Hotel, a landmark in the city’s midtown area for nearly 40 years, is undergoing a comprehensive $14 million “greenovation” that will incorporate energy and water conservation and feature a fresh, contemporary Western style inside and out.

“Our goal is to take the Albuquerque Hilton, which historically has been a top-producing hotel, to the next level. We want to offer everyone who stays here, meets here or dines here outstanding service and amenities that include the latest in technology, comfort and convenience as well as the assurance of knowing that we share their concern for the environment,” said Ron Rockelein, general manager. Rockelein noted the hotel is kicking off its “greenovation” by instituting an internal recycling program for paper, magazines, cardboard and plastics.

Originally built in 1970-71, the Albuquerque Hilton is owned by Ocean Properties Ltd. and is part of the Hilton Hotel family.

Plans for the outside of the property include a striking new façade that is highlighted by stacked stone pillars, a completely redesigned porte-cochere (covered drive-up entrance) and a covered walkway. The hotel’s exterior will sport a contemporary tri-color palette of gold, rust and taupe to create a more modern feel and allow the Hilton to stand out from its surroundings.

Inside the hotel’s entryway, check-in desk and lobby will be opened up to provide more light and an immediate connection to the Hilton’s spectacular outdoor courtyard as well as better use of space. There will be areas for guests and visitors to check email, surf the internet, or grab a quick snack or light meal.

The open area will feature dark stained wood floors, stone touches and furnishings that reflect the hotel’s progressive western style. Both existing elevators will be revamped to run more efficiently and a new entrance to the award-winning Rancher’s Club Restaurant will be added for the convenience of guests.

A state-of-the-art fitness center will be relocated to look out over the hotel’s central courtyard. Outside, the courtyard will also get a makeover to create cozy outdoor rooms featuring fire pits and conversation areas. Xeriscaping will be blended with grass to achieve water conservation as well create a mix of colors and textures perfect for outdoor events.

Hotel rooms are being renovated to include updated bathrooms that incorporate high-efficiency, dual flush toilets; low-flow showerheads; and digitally controlled thermostats. Cultured marble countertops, lighted magnifying mirrors and brushed nickel finishes on faucets will provide touches of luxury and convenience.

Hotel rooms will also have new wall coverings, new carpet and an up-to-date, rich color scheme with sleek, comfortable furnishings and a 32” flat screen television. The rooms will have top-quality Hilton Serenity™ beds.

As part of the later stages of renovation, the Hilton plans to update meeting space with new carpeting and wall coverings and rework its Cantina Bar and Casa Chaco Restaurant. Rockelein says he hopes to have the “greenovation” completed by late 2008 or early 2009.

Clint Wilsey and Richard Braun of Studio Southwest Architects, who are designing the hotel’s exterior and lobby areas, explained the new Hilton will present “a fresh point of view that is still clearly appropriate for Albuquerque and New Mexico.”

“We want the Hilton to continue to be a recognizable landmark in Albuquerque for decades to come, and believe this renovation will carry the hotel well into the mid century as well as dramatically increase its impact in the local hospitality marketplace,” Braun said.

Located at 1901University Boulevard NE in Albuquerque, the Hilton is a full-service hotel with 261 hotel rooms, 22 meeting rooms, an outdoor pool, a fitness center, wireless access throughout the hotel, and a business center. For more information, persons can call (505) 884-2500 or visit

Only NM Hotel to Receive State Environmental Excellence Award
The Hilton Albuquerque has become the first, and so far the only hotel in the state, to receive New Mexico’s Green Zia Environmental Excellence Recognition Program for its efforts to prevent pollution and implement “green” initiatives.

Started in 1999, the Green Zia Program is based on the idea that businesses can become more efficient and profitable by reducing waste. With an emphasis on an established system with measurable outcomes, any organization considering applying for the Green Zia award must have a solid framework for continuous environmental improvement that is sustainable by the staff. To date, 107 organizations have participated in the Green Zia Program, with a reported savings of at least $5 million.

Michelle Vattano, pollution prevention/Green Zia coordinator, said, “Hilton is the first and only hotel to have received recognition in our program. The Hilton is a great example for the hospitality industry and how hotels can cut costs and reduce waste. We hope that other hotels will follow suite.”

While undergoing a comprehensive $14 million “greenovation,” this year, the Albuquerque Hilton Hotel managed to recycle 70 percent of the materials that came out of the hotel including finding innovative ways to recycle carpet, porcelain toilets, sinks and bathtubs. The Hilton even decided to sell those items it couldn’t recycle for as little as $10. As for its continuous environmental improvement system, the Hilton has incorporated water and energy saving features like high-efficiency toilets and a more efficient elevator system, a recycling program, and blended xeriscaping with existing turf to achieve water conservation.

“Our goal with the renovation is to offer our guests the latest in technology, comfort and convenience as well as the assurance of knowing that we share their concern for the environment,” said Ron Rockelein, general manager. He said renovations of the hotel’s rooms have been completed while renovations of the hotel’s common areas, including its façade, exterior entrance and lobby, will be completed early in 2009.

Studio Southwest is architect for the project, Klinger Constructors is the general contractor for the project, and Landscapers Ground Management is the landscape architect.

The Green Zia program’s criteria are based on the Malcolm Baldrige Business Performance Excellence Criteria and the Quality New Mexico program. It is the only program of its kind nationally and helps participants incorporate environmental decision making into core business practices.