Downtown Grand Rapids’ second-largest hotel is undergoing its first major guestroom renovation since opening 17 years ago.
AHC Hospitality, owned by DeVos and Van Andel, on Jan. 15 launched a renovation of all 20 floors of its rooms at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids, a $100 million facility that opened at 235 Louis St. NW in 2007.
The project architect is Chicago-based Gensler and the general contractor is Grand Rapids-based Pinnacle Construction Group.
Nick Remes, regional managing director of AHC Hospitality, which owns and operates the JW, said the renovation will unlock a “completely new experience” when it comes to décor and functionality.
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“Our guests are used to having an incredible experience, so I think it’s just an enhanced and enhanced experience that the decor hopes to represent the service at this time,” he said. “Out with 2007 and welcome in 2024.”
The remodel comes after AHC completed renovations to the hotel’s lower three floors between 2019 and 2023. Those improvements included a complete rebrand and renovation of the ground-floor anchor restaurant, which was previously six.one.six and converted to the French style. Margaux concept in 2019 and a lobby update that concluded last year.
AHC also redid the ballroom and meeting rooms on level two, replacing the purple and yellow color scheme with cool blues and greys, and opened a spa and gym on level three last year.
The company is also renovating the lobby of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel across the street at 187 Monroe Ave. NW. And the design process is underway for a renovation of the AHC-owned Courtyard by Marriott downtown at 11 Monroe Ave. NW, which was last updated in 2017.
New design and amenities.
In the latest project, construction teams will fully demo all rooms and make minor décor improvements to the bathrooms. AHC will close three floors at a time until the project is completed, likely within 18 months.
Norina Cadili, general manager of the JW Marriott Grand Rapids, said the new look will reflect the post-pandemic trend of commercial interiors that feel more homey.
“I would describe it as more of a residential feel, but with that touch of luxury,” he said. “There will be a lot of details in the furniture that will give it that elevated feel.”
AHC’s previous updates to the rooms included minor touches such as furniture replacement and wall vinyl. This renovation will be more comprehensive.
Remes said the upgrades will include brand new hardwood floors in guest room entrances, new carpeting, new wall vinyl and a new entertainment center with 60-inch TVs with Bluetooth integration and streaming apps like Netflix that guests can access. They can log in with their own accounts.
There will also be new soft seats; podium bed frames and mattresses from Grand Rapids-based Lady Americana; new side tables; and desks, chairs and lighting provided by Steelcase. Rooms will now include USB ports, which were not yet standard amenities in 2007.
The cabinets will be completely renovated, including the interior electrical system, and coffee stations will be added. The new curtains and color schemes will reflect current tastes, rather than the warm tones so popular in 2007.
“A lot of people forget that we are 17 years old and how quickly time goes by,” Remes said. “In 2007, the overall style and design was different. …As for the color scheme, there is a lot of dark cherry in the guest rooms, and we are completely removing and washing all the cherry. “A lot of nice, cool tones will be incorporated.”
In addition to the Bonvoy Marriott app’s mobile key service available to Marriott rewards program members, guests will also be able to use the app to order room service, submit requests to staff, and scan QR codes throughout the building. to be on the move. food delivery.
“If you are under the grand staircase, you are working and you want to eat a sandwich, you can scan the QR code in that area and receive the food directly to the place where you are working,” Cadili said as an example.
As part of the room renovations, AHC Hospitality will also convert four of its rooms into a connected suite aimed at families that will feature a king room with bathroom, a room with two queen beds and a bathroom, and a hospitality suite that will allow for small scale meetings.
“When (corporate) groups come, (travelers) go on a one- or two-day vacation with their family. So they bring their families, go to their lectures and stay a day after,” Remes said.
That suite conversion will reduce the number of hotel rooms at the JW from 335 to 333. The hotel opened with 340 rooms, but several were removed from the third floor to make way for the “wellness floor” with a spa and gym.
The change in corporate travel
The JW Marriott reported an occupancy rate of approximately 62% in 2023, which was slightly lower than 2022 and slightly lower than the overall downtown occupancy rate of approximately 68% reported by Experience Grand Rapids. Crain’s Business in Grand Rapids in December.
Remes said the drop is mainly due to a continued decline in business travel after the pandemic. He said the good news is that leisure travel to Grand Rapids continues to grow, which could offset the loss of corporate business over time.
“Now we work differently; It’s just reality,” she said. “We’re working on it, but it has an impact.”
Cadili and Remes said that aside from the executive lounge (a paid upgrade on the 23rd floor that offers breakfast, dinner service and evening cocktails), AHC doesn’t necessarily make an effort to push or separately market the business-focused amenities of the JW.
Rather, the hotel features informal workstations and meeting areas spread throughout its space.
“We opened a business center and it has evolved so far that it is not necessary,” Remes said. “We used to have boarding pass printing centers. … (Now), we’re just looking for beautiful designs that guests will love, something that suits both the business and leisure traveler.”
Cadili added: “What you will find when you walk around our hotel is that many people are using the space for their offices. … People are connected, you see small meetings. … You will surely see people coming, even from abroad and locally, to use our spaces to do business.”
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