Anatole Will Try to Upstage Fairmont’s Venetian Room

Look for Dallas hotel night-clubs to become a battleground of the stars next year, when the Fairmont’s venerable Venetian Room, an entertainmerit institution for nine years, gets a challenge from the new Loew’s Hotel Anatole.

In addition to having 10 res-taurants, a football field-sized atrium, and other expensive baubles, the Anatole will have a 1,000-seat theater, complete with 48-foot stage and stereophonic sound system. Anatole management plans to use the facility as an entree into the big-name entertainment business.

“We hope to book entertainers like Barry Manilow for our theater, even if we have to do it on a break-even basis,” said Anatole manager C. Richard Cook.

But if the hotel books someone like Manilow, who commands a $100,000 fee, it hardly has a prayer of breaking even: There’s no way to get $100 a ticket, which would be necessary to make gate receipts pay for the performance.

The price of booking big-name talent, especially recording artists, has put it out of the reach of most hotels outside Las Vegas. The cost of talent is one reason why Hyatt Regency officials decided to scrap plans for a large nightclub, which could have competed with the Venetian Room.

None of this flusters Fairmont manager Julian Abio.

“Twenty-four hour room service is not a money-making proposition,” Abio said. “Serving eggs Benedict at 2 a.m. is not a money-making proposition. But we look at more than the percentage of profit we make on each item. If we didn’t, we’d run one of those hotels where you pay $8 and pick up a room key at the desk.”

Management at both the Fairmont and the Anatole seems convinced that it is worth taking a financial bath on entertainment to build up the reputation of the hotel. So a battle of the stars appears likely. Fairmont officials are taking a skeptical attitude, however.

“In the years we’ve been open,” Abio said, “I’ve seen a lot of competition come and go. They usually hire one of our chefs away and put out the word that everything is going to be topnotch. But those plans often fizzle out after a few months.”

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