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Downtown Raleigh hotels fear economy will dampen New Year's

Posted December 28, 2008
Updated March 9, 2009

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— Businesses that count on people to go out on the town on New Year's Eve are concerned that tough economic times may mean more merry-makers will mark the end of 2008 at home.

“Usually we have people who want to come into downtown that don’t want to drive home and don’t want to go someplace far from downtown,” said Doris Jurkiewicz, innkeeper at The Oakwood Inn.

This year, though, business at The Oakwood, at 411 N. Bloodworth St., is down about 15 percent, Jurkiewicz said.

“I think a lot of people are frightened off” because they are afraid to spend extra in the current economy, Jurkiewicz said.

Downtown hotels have less bookings this year Downtown hotels see fewer bookings this year

Jurkiewicz is hoping for late bookings for Wednesday night.

“Lots of times, people do call last minute, so it could be full by then,” she said.

Sales are also down at the nearby Clarion Hotel on Hillsborough Street. Last year at this time, about 90 percent of the rooms were booked. Officials said this year the hotel is 50 percent booked.

The annual First Night Raleigh celebration is expected to attract 50,000 to 60,000 revelers on New Year’s Eve.

A new restaurant, The Oxford Gastropub, at 319 Fayetteville St., will be enjoying its first year in the center of the action.

“It’s unbelievable. It is really a great treat to have that and a great advantage for us to really showcase what we have,” general manager Scott Steinsberger said.


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  • TurtleDove17 Dec 29, 2008

    Buy your button in advance! It's $9 in advance and $12 if you wait til you get downtown to buy your button. Even if you do wait until the day of the event to buy a button, $12 is a STEAL for all the great performers you can see! Christine Lavin is worth the $12 on her own. I have been to First Night for the past few years and have never been disappointed. Compared to the cover charge you may pay at restaurants or bars to get into their New Year's Eve celebrations, First Night is the cheapest party in town!!

  • davidgnews Dec 29, 2008

    Sure, bookings are probably running slower but in the end they'll all be full, as usual, by 'First Night.'

  • auklet8718 Dec 29, 2008

    Not worth the price of admission nor the price of parking. I'll be spending the new years at the beach this year with my bride. It will cost us LESS to go to the beach vs going to Raleigh and we will enjoy it more.

    Our company had our christmas party downtown at the new hotel. It was overpriced, took more than a half hour to get our car, and the food wasn't good.

  • voice your opinion Dec 29, 2008

    I've been in Raleigh for 21 years and have been to First Night 3 times (many years ago). My kids are at a great age to attend (11 & 9) but I'm not paying $12 per person to stand in the cold and watch an acorn drop. We can have just as much fun at home for the same amount of money. The kids will have a sleep over with their friends, watch the acorn drop on TV, and have plenty of snacks. This way, I know what they are doing and who they are doing it with and I get to stay warm.

    The cost is just not worth it!!!

  • Titus Pullo Dec 29, 2008

    Cry me a river.

  • They call me CATMAN Dec 29, 2008

    I have never been to First Night Raleigh. Not really a new Yaers eve person I can sit in front of the TV and get the same effect then seeing some nut drop. And then there is the acorn dropping at midnight. $12.00 for a button give me a break.

  • Pineview Style Dec 29, 2008

    If you want to go stand in a crowd for a few hours to watch some object drop, more power to you. We went a few years ago, walked around and left.

  • jeffthompson Dec 29, 2008

    Downtown Raleigh is a ghost town...nothing there.

  • jeffthompson Dec 29, 2008

    There are really only '2' hotels in downtown Raleigh. You would think they would be at least 1/2 full...lol! :)

  • foetine Dec 29, 2008

    I prefer to be in a warm room with a cold drink at New Year's Eve. I can see that acorn any day at Moore Square.