There is nothing like a $4 million remodeling project to give an old hotel a new lease on life.

That is the case at the Best Western Olympus Hotel, 161 W. 600 South, which originally was known as the Tri-Arc Travelodge and later the Radisson Hotel.But now with the remodeling behind them, Olympus officials are looking forward to a new beginning and so far the idea is working. Business was good in the first quarter of 1991 and the summer is shaping up as good, said Nile B. Harbertson, general manager.

"The remodeling brought old customers back, and new customers are trying us out," he said during an interview in the "new look" lobby that features a redesigned front desk and mirror-covered pillars. The front desk was removed along with an old fireplace and in its place are a new front desk and new furniture designed to provide easier traffic patterns in the hotel.

The gift shop and the beauty and barber shops have been moved, allowing the creation of two new meeting rooms to bring to 25 the number of meeting rooms in the Olympus. New light fixtures complete the lobby renovation.

New booth and table covers, new pictures by Utah artists, new menus and new light fixtures highlight the changes in the restaurant, which also sports the new name of Cafe Olympus and remains open 24 hours a day. It used to be the Golden Spike Restaurant.

At the swimming pool, visitors can find a new hot tub, a new deck surface, new landscaping, new lights and new furniture.

The convention meeting rooms are getting new wall coverings, new carpeting, new doors and trim and new draperies. The grand ballroom can be divided into five separate meeting rooms and there is a private club room.

Harbertson has added a fitness center with several pieces of equipment and a laundry with new washers and dryers. He said families like this added amenity.

Three years ago, 144 of the guest rooms were remodeled and the latest project has the other 250 rooms finished with new carpet, draperies, furniture and pictures.

Outside, there is additional lighting in the parking lot for safety, new landscaping, a new flagpole and the entire exterior was washed.

The hotel was built in 1969-70 by Pearson Enterprises as the Tri-Arc Travelodge, was renamed the Radisson Hotel several years later for about 18 months, reverted back to the Tri-Arc and last summer affiliated with the Best Western chain. United Savings Bank bought the hotel in February 1989 and Harbertson is employed by the bank.

Harbertson said the affiliation with Best Western is a positive because people can call ahead for their next room through an extensive reservation system. He said the hotel chain has been emphasizing an upgrade for all of its affiliated hotels.

In addition to the remodeling, Harbertson said he wants to be more active in the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau so the hotel will have a more visible image in the community.