New Best Western opens in Lawrence, Kan.

The Best Western Plus West Lawrence. Photo credit: Best Western Hotels & Resorts

The Best Western Plus West Lawrence opened in Lawrence, Kan., as the first property developed at Lawrence’s mixed-use site The Mercato. The 112-room hotel offers upgraded guest amenities, a full-service lobby bar with big-screen TVs and an indoor saltwater pool, a fitness center, a grilling patio and fire pits located in an outdoor courtyard. The hotel also offers 840 square feet of meeting space that can be divided if required, complete with full audiovisual equipment.

Developed by Wichita, Kan.-based Steve Martens, CEO of The Martens Companies and his hotel development subsidiary, Hospitality Development of America, the $14.5-million property employs 30 people. Judy Riling is the hotel's GM, and Kevin Brady is assistant GM. Martens will manage the hotel through another of his subsidiaries, Hospitality Management.

“It’s exciting for us to be the lead-off tenant in The Mercato,” Martens said in a statement. “Our easy access from I-70 or K-10 puts us in the heart of the action. Being adjacent to Sports Pavilion Lawrence makes it hugely convenient for athletes and spectators attending meets and tournaments. We expect to be a destination for families with teens touring the KU campus, as well. I’m a KU graduate and so is my oldest daughter, so it goes without saying we are huge Jayhawk fans. We think fans and alumni will love tailgating in style at our hotel. We’ll be offering special events on game days where guests can kick back and relax before or after the game.”

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This is Martens’ fourth Best Western-branded property, and his fifth hotel overall in Kansas and Oklahoma.

“We’re excited to welcome the Best Western Plus West Lawrence to our growing portfolio of hotels,” Ron Pohl, SVP and COO for Best Western Hotels & Resorts, said in a statement. “From superior design and the latest in technology to award-winning levels of customer service, Steve Martens’ hotels are known for providing exceptional guest experiences. We look forward to the Best Western Plus West Lawrence becoming a standout property both in the city of Lawrence and our overall brand.”

The hotel is pet-friendly and offers an electric car-charging station.

Wichita-based Conco Construction was the general contractor for the hotel. Architectural design was provided by Lance Adams, of Lawrence-based Adams Architecture, and Wichita’s Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture. Landplan Engineering of Lawrence handled site and engineering design.