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People: Frank Arthur Banks

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Longtime hotelier Frank Arthur Banks, '61, M.A. '62, has shaken up the industry in New York City. The one-time manager of such famous properties as the St. Regis and the Waldorf-Astoria became general manager of midtown's new RIHGA Royal Hotel in 1990 and promptly turned it into the city's most enviable property.

The second tallest in the city, the 64-floor Royal Hotel now boasts the highest average room rates, the highest rating by AAA (four diamonds) and views of Central Park and the Hudson valley. Its restaurant, Halcyon, was ranked one of Manhattan's four best by the 1992 Zagat restaurant guide. But its most innovative program is 'Pinnacle Suites'--rooms that come with two private lines, cellular telephone, fax, jacuzzi, personalized business cards in a leather case, and a whole array of technology and conveniences for the international business traveler. 'When calling from Bangkok, or some other time zone, you waste your call if you can't get through,' Banks explains. 'With the cellular phone plus forward calling you can have much more flexibility.'

He adds that Pinnacle Suites are specifically designed for both men and women, which explains why '30 percent of our clients are female executives.'

Frank, who owned the Yankee Pedlar Inn near Springfield, MA, for 13 years, raves about his MSU education. 'That was the key element to my success,' he notes. 'I was there just before the explosion in the hotel industry. All the professor I had went on to found other hotel schools all over the country. After I went into the business, I found that most hotels preferred to hire MSU graduates.'

Frank has remained in touch with his alma mater. He used to help Duffy Daugherty recruit football players from New York, and this past fall he hosted a reception on behalf of MSU's HRIM School during a hotel convention in New York.

Author: Robert Bao

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