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Artisan files for bankruptcy to exit deal

The boutique Artisan Hotel and Spa filed for bankruptcy so it could disentangle itself from a room-booking contract, not because the property is in any financial trouble, the property’s owner said.

Owner and president Douglas Da Silva said he signed an agreement in July with Choice Hotels International to book the 64-room hotel and promote packages through Choice’s new high-end brand, the Ascend Collection.

But freeing itself from its current contract with Pegasus-Unirez has proved difficult.

“One of the things we ran into with our old affiliations on how we used to handle room reservations is, with the economy the way it is, they didn’t want to let us out of our contract,” Da Silva said. “I’m only running half reservations because I can’t get them all through Choice.”

Da Silva said he filed for bankruptcy on his lawyer’s advice instead of suing to quicken negotiations with Pegasus-Unirez, an independent hotel reservation service.

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, which lists more than $10 million in assets against $1.85 million in debt, gives the Artisan the ability to terminate the old contracts “and move on with life.”

The attorney, however, has reached a settlement with Pegasus-Unirez and plans to withdraw the bankruptcy filing later this week, Da Silva said.

Da Silva said the new contract with Choice’s Ascend Collection puts the Artisan into a database with 20 other boutique or historic hotels in 12 states.

The deal with Choice also halves the fees the hotel was paying to Pegasus-Unirez, Da Silva said.

The property, on the corner of Sahara Avenue and Interstate 15, also is listed on Choice’s general page with Econo Lodge, Roadway Inn, Comfort Inn and Clarion Hotel & Suites.

The hotel has a posted room rate of $139 per night during the week and $179 per night on weekends, numbers Da Silva said have been hard to reach during the current economy.

The move to Choice is not the only change Da Silva has made to bring a higher profile to the nongaming property.

LouRoss Edralin, a former contestant on Fox Network’s “Hell’s Kitchen,” was recently hired from the Ritz-Carlton at Lake Las Vegas as the hotel’s executive chef.

The boutique hotel, which features hundreds of reproductions of artwork by classic artists such as Paul Cézanne, Leonardo Da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh to Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” has recently been the backdrop for the television shows “Criss Angel Mindfreak,” Cinemax’s “Sin City Diaries” and a photo shoot for the band Panic At the Disco.

Approximately $7 million has been invested in the property since Da Silva bought the hotel, which was a Travelodge, in late 2001.

Contact reporter Arnold M. Knightly at aknightly@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893.

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