After a five-year hiatus, a hotel at 999 S. Main will officially be welcomed back to life Thursday.

Although it has been accepting guests since July, the Clarion Hotel will be officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. Fred S. Ball, Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce president, will cut the ribbon at the Clarion, formerly the Ramada Inn, which sat vacant for five years.Also attending event will be the Salt Shakers, the chamber's good-will ambassadorial group.

The hotel is owned by David and Vic Kimball of Kimball Investment, which announced last November the hotel would be opened in March as a Best Western hotel with the name Garden Park Inn. They subsequently negotiated an agreement with Clarion, the upper-scale hotels of the Quality International chain.

Nobody will be happier to see the ribbon-cutting ceremony than Lorin Leavitt, the general manager who has supervised the renovation of the 26-year-old hotel. Leavitt also supervised the refurbishing of the old Peery Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City.

Leavitt feels the project has been more like new construction than a renovation because so much has been done.

Asbestos has been removed from the building, the mechanical, heating and cooling systems were replaced as were the kitchens in the restaurant and banquet areas. Each pane of glass was replaced with energy-efficient windows, the old swimming pool and whirlpool bath were buried and replaced with a new year-round recreation area featuring a new pool and hot tub.

The rooms are decorated in mint green and blue tones and have furniture of either pine, mahogany or cherry wood. The spa is surrounded by a putting green, two tennis courts and a children's playground.

The hotel has 263 guest rooms and 43 suites with kitchenettes, living/dining rooms and four-poster cherry wood beds. Standard rooms have two queen-sized beds, and executive king rooms have microwave ovens, refrigerators and video cassette recorders.

Also part of the refurbishing are the Fairfield, a restaurant; Faces, a private club; exercise facilities, a gift shop and a barber/beauty shop. For meetings, the hotel has 8,000 square-feet that can handle 500 people in a theater setup and 350 people at a banquet.

Between now and Oct. 31, the hotel has a special promotion of one night's lodging and the second night is free. Room rates start at $49, said Marsha Hooley, sales director.