SHARECOMMENTMORE

PORTLAND, Maine(NEWS CENTER) -- A Portland landmark is back in business.

PHOTOS:The Westin Hotel

After a year and a half -- and $50 million dollars in renovations -- the old Eastland Hotel has been reborn as the Westin Portland Harbor View Hotel. The 86-year old hotel opened Thursday, as city and company leaders joined employees and construction workers to celebrate. The hotel was completely gutted inside, all new plumbing, electrical and heating systems and all new rooms. The lobby, ballroom, dining room and guest rooms all have a sleek, contemporary style that's a big change from the look of the old Eastland.

The remodeled hotel now has 289 guest rooms, which is 88 more than it used to have. It also has an expanded Top of the East bar on the 15th floor, with a spectacular view of downtown Portland. General Manager Bruce Wennerstrom says he hopes the new hotel will help pump more life into all of Congress Square, by bringing 100,000 paying guests intp the area in just the first year.

Those guests will be paying healthy rates for the rooms. Wennerstrom says winter rates range from $150 to about $400 per night. Summer rates, he says, will be around four hundred dollars and up. He says that will make the Weston Portland's "price leader", but also says he's heard no complaints about rates yet from people and groups making advance bookings.

The hotel has 100 employees right now, but the manager says they expect to have two hundred on staff by May, after the ballroom and banquet areas are opened.