Richmond Marriott undertaking major renovations

RICHMOND, Va., March 27, 2009 – As part of the renaissance of Richmond’s core commercial corridor, the full-service downtown Richmond Marriott® is undergoing a $14 million overhaul, complete with a comprehensive refurbishing of the hotel’s 400-plus rooms, the transformation of its lobby into a business-friendly Great Room and the makeover of its restaurant into an upscale sports bar with sidewalk seating along Broad Street.

The multiphase renovation is expected to be completed in September, in concert with the planned grand opening of Richmond CenterStage.  Richmond-based architecture, engineering and interior design firm Baskervill is overseeing the renovation.

“The Richmond Marriott is excited to be part of the transformation taking place on Broad Street,” said Tom Underwood, the hotel’s new general manager.  “Our new ownership and management teams are committed to creating a hotel that will serve as a stylish, service-oriented and welcoming front door to Richmond’s visitors.  I think our guests – from Richmond and out of town alike – will find that this will not be their grandfather’s Marriott.”



Room renovations
The extensive room renovations, which were completed in early March, include a floor-to-ceiling overhaul, with new carpeting, wall furnishings, fixtures, furniture and LCD flat-screen televisions.  Each room also is outfitted with high-speed Internet capabilities as well as Marriott’s trademarked “jack pack,” a console into which guests can plug their laptops, enabling them to use their computers through the room’s television.  Other devices, such as iPods and DVD players, also can be plugged into the “jack pack.” 

The Great Room
Marriott hotels are pioneering the concept of the Great Room, a new lobby concept that combines an upscale aesthetic with increased functionality for the business traveler, including alcoves and seating areas where guests can hold small meetings over drinks or coffee.  The new Great Room also will feature a new front desk and bar; it is expected to be completed in July. 

“The new Great Room concept is all about giving guests a variety of options, as opposed to sitting alone in their room,” Underwood said.  “Its design stems from the concept of ‘intensity zones,’ the idea that this room should serve as more than a welcoming lobby, but provide some functional amenities that our guests can take advantage of and make their visit more productive or more relaxing, as the case may be.”

Restaurant
The Richmond Marriott’s new three-meal-a-day restaurant is destined to become a popular gathering place for both out-of-town visitors and local Richmonders.  It will be a stylish and contemporary sports bar (still to be named) that will put patrons amid a sophisticated and high-tech sports-themed environment.  Big screen televisions will be found throughout.  The restaurant also is being redesigned so that seating spills out onto the Broad Street sidewalk, with room for 50 people outside.  (Space heaters and a fire pit will warm diners throughout the colder months.)  It is expected to open in September.

“Outdoor seating on Richmond’s premier commercial corridor is long overdue, and we think that our new restaurant has the potential to not only be a popular eatery for hotel guests, but also a mecca for folks around town,” Underwood said.

Fitness Center
Gone is the dark, closed-in fitness center on the second floor. In its place is an open exercise area that resembles a smaller version of a local gym – minus the Pilates. Walls have been removed and windows installed to brighten up the fitness center, which features the latest exercise equipment.
 

Exterior
Renovation plans also include cosmetic improvements through the hotel’s exterior as well as major changes to the hotel’s entryway and portico. Much of the dark, red brick entrance will be replaced by a lighter and more welcoming exterior. A new two-tone color scheme will enhance the exterior.
 

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