Originally appeared in the Denver Business Journal in January, 2016
Question: How is the current construction boom in Denver and the shortage of skilled craft labor affecting hospitality development?
SCOTT CONRAD, Swinerton Builders: Part of the challenge that we are facing in the current construction boom is that two of the healthiest sectors – hospitality and multifamily- use many of the same subcontractors, putting pressure on both markets. Swinerton does a few things to hedge the skilled craft labor shortage: Rrst, our subcontractor prequalification process goes beyond evaluating the subcontractor’s financial wherewithal and prior history; we closely analyze other aspects like manpower availability, crew sizing, previous project experience and reference checking to ensure all of our subcontractors have the resources necessary to build and staff a project. A second thing we do is build appropriate conservatism into our project schedules. For example, as a result of the thin labor market we may increase the schedule duration by 10 percent in order to set realistic expectations for the client. We present real information about market conditions, not just what the client wants to hear.
STEVE COHEN, Otten Johnson: One observation is that contractors (together with architects and other design professionals) are in such high demand right now that they have more leverage to push back on contracts, both from a business and legal standpoint. In the past when those same service providers may have been begging for work … they wouldn’t necessarily have had the same negotiating power that they currently have. That goes to some of the points that Scott is mentioning, including the ability for a contractor to argue the need for its construction contract to contain a more conservative construction schedule based on lack of availability of manpower, etc.
WILLIAM UBILL” SIPPLE, HVS Capital Corp: One of the positives of a labor shortage is that the higher costs and the increased time on projects is a natural governor to supply growth.
Q: What are your general observations about the current level of supply and demand in the metro Denver lodging market?
MIKE CAHILL, HREC – Hospitality Real Estate Counselors: In 2014, metro Denver’s occupancy of 75.4 percent was 17.1 percent higher than the national average. Today we’re seeing occupancy growth of 2.2 percent from June 2014. Denver’s RevPAR (room revenue per available room) grew 16 percent in 2014 from 2013, far outpacing the national average percentage growth of 8.3 percent. Denver was one of only two markets in the top 25 to rank in the top third for percentage growth in 2014 in occupancy, average daily rate and RevPAR. Things are very strong – the big picture is that Denver metro area is thriving.
Q: What are your thoughts about the Denver hospitality market going forward, from a macroeconomic perspective?
BENJAMIN UBEN” KURUVILA, U.S. Bank: US Bank is still very bullish on Denver, especially the CBD (Central Business District) and DIA. In both of those submarkets you see occupancies in the 85 to 90 percent range, so there’s opportunity for new supply. We’re not underwriting to those upper 80 percent ranges, but we’re also not underwriting to national averages of 65 percent. Yes, Denver is going to soften eventually, but we’re expecting it to plateau at somewhere around a 75 percent range. Historically Denver would have been more of a national average type market. It has outperformed the national average in recent years as Denver has become more of a tier 1 city.
CAHILL: When you take a step back – because we sell hotels all over the country- and you look at Denver, there are different groups of buyers out there. We may take an institutional first-class property to market here in Denver and have 120 people looking at it. We may lose half of that – the nervous nellies who are worried about new supply, but there are a lot of other people in the United States saying Denver is a great place to have my money. It’s diversified and has so many great things going for it. But it depends on the type of buyer. A value-added flipper is not going to get a call about downtown Denver right now.
Q: Several new hotels have opened recently in downtown Denver, including Hyatt Place and Hyatt House, Renaissance, Crawford Hotel and Aloft, with more under development. At what point does supply exceed demand in the downtown market?
CHRIS MANLEY, Stonebridge Companies: One thing that’s pretty impressive is that downtown grew occupancy by 2.2 percent (from June 2014 to June 2015) despite the headwinds of the oil and gas industry, which has a tremendous presence downtown and softened considerably in the last 12 months. That just goes to the fact that it’s exciting to be downtown, with all the amenities. This is a place people want to be.
COHEN: There’s no arguing that the hotel sector looks great right now from the operational side and it seems likely that the positive news will continue for some period of time. As Chris points out, occupancy continues to grow, and operators are continuing to see positive rate increases. I think the real issue from an investor’s perspective is whether all of this positive news is too good, causing hotels to be overpriced in some instances. Among my clients, I believe there is a real question as to whether now is the right time to be a hotel buyer in light of the high prices that hotels are selling for.
SIPPLE: That translates into the debt markets, too. Lenders are much more concerned with supply growth than they’ve ever been, and they’re trying to underwrite it and get a handle on it. What you’r.e seeing is that supply growth is going to translate into higher debt costs in the marketplace.
Q: Anything new about your criteria in success fully underwriting a hotel construction project in metro Denver?
KURUVILA: On the construction side, the lending market for hospitality has remained constrained and conservative throughout this cycle. Many banks were hurt by hospitality through the downturn, so now hospitality construction financing is sponsor-driven. Lending constraints will only increase as banks wrap their arms around increased regulation. On the term lending side, that’s a much more fluid space.
COHEN: It certainly seems better to be a borrower these days than it was three or four years ago, and I think there is more available debt (and better pricing for borrowers) that goes directly to the bottom line for underwriting purposes. I’d note that it’s also better to be a borrower’s lawyer than it was just a few years ago. All of sudden, you can actually have some discussions about certain provisions of the loan documents that you might not have raised when there were so few lenders making hotel loans. A few years ago a client might have said: “Don’t push too hard on this. We don’t want you to blow this deal because we don’t have a lot of other lender options.” It seems to me that now borrowers (and their lawyers) have a bit more swagger. It’s still conservative underwriting, but at least the lenders are engaging more discussions. It’s all becoming a bit more balanced.
Q: Is the nature of the hotel product in Denver changing, given the current supply and demand trends?
SIPPLE: You’re seeing a better acceptance in the Denver market than a lot of other markets with boutique-type projects. That’s one of the things about Denver and goes to the whole nature of what Denver is about and what people are looking for. .. such as the number of people who want – to live downtown. And it’s not just millennia ls.
Q: When can we expect more of these lifestyle brand names to come here and be successful?
MANLEY: Consumers over the next 24 months are going to be presented with many new options in lifestyle brands, which are unique, cutting-edge, and trendy. It’s the AC (Marriott), the Canopy (Hilton), the Curio (Hilton) collection. The brands have expanded their offerings to attract new types of customers. Everyone is targeting millennials, who have a growing amount of wealth and a propensity to spend it on travel.
KURUVILA: Everyone is looking for an experience. I don’t think the millennial traveler is looking for the exact same hotel in each city. They want something unique – something that’s “the great hotel in Denver.” … As a lender, there’s added risk to financing a boutique flag -less robust reservation system, less national data to rely on, and lack of nationally recognizable flag. But some of these lifestyle brands that the major flags are starting to distribute – we’re getting more comfortable with those.
Q: We are seeing more “dual brand” hotels. Are there unique design or construction characteristics to be considered with these types of properties?
MANLEY: The dual brand is a trend we’re seeing, especially in urban markets Hke downtown Denver where land is very expensive. We brought the first dual brand to downtown Denver at 15th and Welton -a combination Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites. Three hundred rooms would have been too much supply for one particular brand, but by bifurcating it into two distinct brands, we can offer different price points, different service levels and different products than we would have with a single hotel. You have bene-fits on construction because you share back-of-house, elevators, common areas and amenities, which lowers your construction cost per room.
CONRAD: Our most recent hotel projects have both been dual branded-the Hyatt House and Hyatt Place and 14th and Welton, and next month we break ground on the Starwood Le Meridian and the Marriott AC Hotel at 15th and California. Not only are high-rise hotels in urban settings a fun challenge to build, we partner with our clients to deliver those shared back-of-house spaces Chris (Manley) mentioned to help the overall development pro forma.
Q: Is hospitality in Denver at a point where it can be considered another accepted asset class for institutional investors?
MANLEY: The availability of capital now for hospitality, be it debt or equity, has increased substantially. It used to be that institutional money wanted one of the four food groups -office, industrial, multifamily or retail. Hospitality was this awkward asset class that had a perceived risk people wanted to stay away from. Now, whether people are looking for yield, or whether they’re getting more comfortable with the fluctuations or volatility of cash flow, you’re seeing more people look at hospitality than would have looked at it in previous cycles.
CAHILL: You have to look at the big picture. What you’re seeing now is that lenders are active, but even though interest rates are low, they are much more disciplined. That’s constrained supply and has fueled RevPAR growth. So between increasing construction costs and lenders remaining disciplined, overall new supply is not as near i:. bad as it’s been in past cycles, which is good for Denver.
Originally appeared in Hotel News Now in July, 2017
TORONTO—Cycle dynamics shouldn’t change how a revenue manager approaches operations at a hotel.
That was the message from a panel of revenue-management executives who sat down with Hotel News Now during HSMAI’s recent Revenue Optimization Conference.
Sources said the discipline didn’t exactly follow that advice in 2009.
“We failed miserably in the last cycle,” said Dev Koushik, VP of global revenue optimization for InterContinental Hotels Group. “Hopefully, when the next one comes, we can show (our expertise). … The science we’re applying should be able to survive any cycle, but only the next time will tell.”
Koushik defined “failure” as significant drops in rates and the lack of any semblance of rate integrity.
But Chris Cheney, VP of revenue management for Stonebridge Companies, said maintaining that integrity can be easier said than done in bad times.
“Market forces are powerful things,” he said. “If there’s not demand, people go searching for it, and if they can’t find it, they try to buy it.”
Cheney said the way to counteract that impulse will be to focus on “maintaining the value proposition of the hotel” and remembering its “amenities and services mean something.”
“We have to make sure we’re selling a service and not just quoting a price,” he said.
Jamie Pena, VP of revenue strategy and global distribution for Omni Hotels & Resorts, said she doesn’t see the hotel industry going over a cliff any time soon.
“I don’t see a decline, but the trick is to hold rate,” she said.
She noted one of the biggest threats at the moment is the industry talking itself into a recession.
“We self-fulfill that story,” Pena said. “For us, it’s about keeping the positive chatter going with revenue teams. Group pace looks good, and the industry looks good.”
Some have been surprised by the ongoing strength of hotel demand in the U.S., but Cheney said that shouldn’t be surprising if looked at from a market perspective.
“Generally, at the market level there are specific reasons (for demand growth). Travel is more accessible to more people than ever in human history,” he said. “There are emerging classes in other parts of the world … and there are certain markets that impact more directly than others.”
Geoffrey Field, VP of revenue management for Shaner Hotels, noted there can be supply issues even in high-demand markets.
“That’s what determines the cycle, in my opinion,” he said. “You get more investment in those markets, then 90% occupancy is down to 80%, and some are struggling to keep that 90%.”
Challenges for 2018
The experts at the roundtable shared some of their expected headwinds for revenue managers in 2018.
Koushik projected “anemic rate growth,” and Sloan Dean, SVP of revenue optimization and underwriting for Ashford Inc., said he expects worse than that in some markets.
“There could be negative (revenue per available room) in several markets,” he said. “There is going to be several key markets that are problematic in 2018.”
Lori Kiel, chief revenue and marketing officer for the Kessler Collection, and Cheney both pointed to issues around keeping the human element in revenue management.
“For me, it’s about data and analytics,” Kiel said. “If you don’t have a process behind it, it’s going to suck the life out of revenue management, and you’ll end up with analysis paralysis.”
Cheney said the issue will be not overemphasizing automated revenue-management systems.
“We’re trying to control robots rather than them controlling us. … We need revenue managers to maintain the artistry and help systems understand new things and not just go off history,” he said.
Field said the key will be leveraging automation to improve the work of human revenue managers.
“We need to get revenue managers to be more analytical and look further out,” he said. “That will be critical in achieving (average daily rate).”
By: Sean McCracken
Originally appeared in Hotel News Now in July, 2017
TORONTO—Hotel companies—like most businesses—are always looking for new ways to make money.
In addition to driving rate and capturing more room demand, many hoteliers, revenue managers in particular, are considering charging for different amenities and features at a hotel, some of which have long been viewed as free.
Revenue-management executives who sat down and spoke with Hotel News Now at HSMAI’s recent Revenue Optimization Conference said this is a process that holds potential but hoteliers need to be thoughtful about their approach.
“I had this conversation with a brand just two weeks ago,” said Sloan Dean, SVP of revenue optimization and underwriting at Ashford Inc. “It comes down to how you evolve in merchandising and making money off something that is free now and is an offer without being seen as nickel-and-diming. It’s a delicate dance, and if something’s changing, there has to be a way to market and merchandise it so that it comes across to the customer’s benefit.”
Chris Cheney, VP of revenue management for Stonebridge Companies, said he feels like the shift to a more airline-like model is inevitable, but the hotel industry isn’t inclined to be at the forefront.
“I think it’s something the industry will get to, but I think it’s going to be a much easier conversation with guests if it’s done in scale first,” he said. “The airlines are leading the way, and it’s sort of an expectation in the travel industry that this is a thing.”
He said it’s likely hotels would go the route of stripping out amenities and then providing guests a lower basic rate. Ultimately, though, it will come down to the brands, not owners or operators, to roll this out.
“We’ll let them take the lead and follow where this goes,” Cheney said.
A matter of consumer choice
Dean noted that could be a matter of presenting guests with a greater array of options, treating the hotel experience as more of an a la carte than an all-you-can-eat buffet.
“A lot of owners want a more restrictive cancellation policy, so maybe you offer a cheaper rate to somebody with a heavy cancellation policy,” he said. “I know there’s already advance purchase, but you can provide more optionality, and you can let the customer drive the price differential.”
Dev Koushik, VP of global revenue optimization for InterContinental Hotels Group, said he views the transition as a matter of responding to consumers’ needs.
“Customization is happening as we speak,” he said.
He noted that means measuring how much money is made per guest beyond just revenue per available room.
“That’s what I’m seeing in the future, and in this scenario that includes pricing merchandising and rate for a specific customer,” Koushik said.
He said that practice can’t be identical at every hotel and type of hotel, and the transition will require a significant amount of work not just from revenue managers but from sales and marketing teams to strike the right balance.
“It will be different in each segment, but we haven’t been through the implications (of that),” he said. “It’s going to take some time to understand it all, but it’s definitely happening now.”
Jamie Pena, VP of revenue strategy and global distribution at Omni Hotels & Resorts, said she is skeptical about how it would come together for luxury hotels, but there are always opportunities for new revenue streams.
“The key when you say unbundling is, to me, that doesn’t feel like luxury or full service,” she said. “But we’ve had success selling late check-out.”
She said that’s an example of a somewhat niche offering that is still useful because it’s highly profitable even with a small portion of guests taking up the offer.
“The opportunity to me is finding other things that provide piece of mind or guest value (even if) only select people will find (them) purchase-worthy,” she said.
Pena said hotel companies could reserve them for guests who book direct or through loyalty programs.
“Now you have a reason to book direct because there are extra things you can buy like late check-out or you can request things like food-and-beverage amenities for when you arrive,” she said.
By: Sean McCracken
Originally appeared in Hotel News Now in July, 2017
TORONTO—For a long time in the hotel industry, the expectation has been that revenue management reports to sales and marketing.
But that structure is less and less the expectation, according to a group of U.S.-based revenue-management executives who spoke with Hotel News Now at HSMAI’s Revenue Optimization Conference.
The executives said it seems like the industry is doing more now to elevate the role and importance of revenue management.
Lori Kiel, chief revenue and marketing officer for the Kessler Collection, said her company has gone with a different reporting structure entirely.
Revenue management “isn’t behind the scenes at Kessler. We’re on the front lines,” she said. “I oversee all of revenue, sales and marketing. I don’t know any other organizations that are there yet, but at Kessler, it’s always been revenue above sales and marketing. It’s all one strategy with one vision. You start with revenue management to create that strategy.”
Geoffrey Field, VP of revenue management for Shaner Hotels, said one of the reasons it doesn’t make sense to have revenue management operate as a function of sales is those two sides aren’t always completely in line when it comes to their objectives.
“A lot of more in-depth decision-making or pricing recommendations have been evolving and becoming more important,” he said. “And as that’s become more important for the discipline, there would be clashes with sales’ goals. That’s basically a core reason for elevating (revenue management) to a leadership role.”
Jamie Pena, VP of revenue strategy and global distribution for Omni Hotels & Resorts, said it’s important to note that both sides of that equation perform important, albeit different, functions for a company or a hotel. She said her company has sales, revenue and marketing work together to highlight each area’s strengths.
“Revenue management is like a scientist, while marketing and group sales are artists,” she said. “They’re going to creatively figure out what’s needed for the business.”
Field said one of the difficulties remaining for revenue management, at least from a management company’s perspective, is explaining to less experienced owners its importance compared to those other functions.
“We talk to a lot of owners on new properties or new constructions that this might be their first endeavor into the hotel industry,” he said. “When we’re explaining the costs for sales and marketing and then say, ‘Revenue management is going to cost this,’ they ask what revenue management is. Then it’s like, ‘Here we go again.’”
A voice in the C-suite
Sloan Dean, SVP of revenue optimization and underwriting for Ashford Inc., said the importance of revenue management has grown to the point that it should be reflected in the senior leadership of every hotel company.
“Growing up in revenue management, I was sensitive not to get pigeonholed,” he said. “I had seen it happen to some of my mentors, and there were limited opportunities in that capacity. But I’ve evolved my thinking on the subject. I think there needs to be a strict (chief revenue officer) that reports to the CEO with a revenue management background. Every organization needs the equivalent of a chief commercial officer that needs to have an analytical, data-centric mind.”
Dev Koushik, VP of global revenue optimization for InterContinental Hotels Group, said he doesn’t think the person in the chief commercial officer role needs to be a trained revenue manager, but that person should be able to understand the work.
“As long as they’re analytically minded … they should be fine,” he said. “They don’t necessarily have to be a revenue-management person.”
Dean agreed that past revenue-management experience isn’t an absolute requirement for a chief commercial officer, but the two have similar skill sets.
“How they grew up doesn’t matter as much as the core of the person,” he said. “They need an applied economics-type mind with a high level of curiosity and good leadership. I think it’s natural for revenue managers to be those people.”
Koushik pointed out that his company now has a CEO that prioritizes revenue management, with the ascension of Keith Barr.
Originally appeared in Hotel Online in June, 2017
DENVER – June 28, 2017 – The Jacquard, a hotel slated to open early 2018 within Denver’s fashionable Cherry Creek North neighborhood, today announces the appointment of Jason Dorfman as general manager. Dorfman will lead the new Autograph Collection hotel, owned and operated by Denver-based Stonebridge Companies, upon its opening.
Holding a B.S. in Business Administration from The Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management at the University of Denver, Dorfman brings an impressive track record in hospitality experience to The Jacquard. Over the years, he has worked at many other prominent hotels in Colorado and beyond. He returns to Colorado after most recently serving as general manager of the DoubleTree by Hilton San Francisco Airport North where he was awarded Stonebridge Companies’ highest honor, The President’s Award for General Manager of the Year.
Dorfman has spent more than half of his career with Stonebridge Companies, beginning as a revenue manager in 2006. While holding this position he was nominated as Outstanding Revenue Manager of the Year by Marriott International. Beyond the prestigious awards he has garnered, Jason has been responsible for leading various hotels he has managed to increased guest satisfaction scores, market share growth and overall property success.
“I am thrilled to come home to Denver as the opening general manager of The Jacquard,” said Dorfman. “It has been such a pleasure to be part of the Stonebridge Companies family over the years, and I look forward to providing our valued guests with a luxurious and bespoke experience when The Jacquard officially opens doors.”
Once open, The Jacquard promises to be a sophisticated, intriguing and vibrant gathering place for both locals and travelers. Under Jason’s direction, the staff will strive to deliver upon the brand promise of Haute Happiness– delighting each guest with a stylish collection of custom-fit experiences that create an irresistible palette of alluring elegance and spirted celebration. For the latest details and information on The Jacquard, visit TheJacquard.com or follow @TheJacquard on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Originally appeared in Hotel Business Review in June, 2017
AHLA PARTNERS WITH DOL TO INVEST IN WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT; INDUSTRY SUPPORTS 8 MILLION JOBS
WASHINGTON, D.C. June 21, 2017 – As part of President Trump’s workforce development week, American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) President and CEO, Katherine Lugar, joined the President, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, and dozens of industry leaders today as the President signed an Executive Order designed to reduce the regulatory burden on apprenticeship programs and increase the prominence and availability of apprenticeship programs in non-traditional industries such as hospitality.
AHLA has committed to participating in a cornerstone apprenticeship project to ensure the education marketplace is further connected to the needs of the lodging industry. In partnership with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and Jobs for the Future (JFF), AHLA received a $1.8 million award from the Department of Labor to create and implement career opportunities through registered apprenticeship. The result is an industry-created, competency-based, apprenticeship program that offers a direct path to upper management and credential attainment.
This commitment includes leading, global companies who are committed to participating in this foundational program, including Hilton, Hyatt and Wyndham and B.F. Saul Company and Stonebridge Companies among others. The life of the contract includes a commitment from the partners to enroll a minimum of 2,250 apprentices over the next five years.
“Investing in its employees is central to who we are as an industry as they are our greatest assets. For over 60 years, AHLA has helped advance the lodging industry workforce through its portfolio of industry-recognized certifications that prepare employees for job success,” said Katherine Lugar, President and CEO of AHLA. “Recruiting, training, and retaining employees has never been more important given the growth of our industry and an increasingly competitive labor market. Embracing apprenticeship initiatives aligns firmly with our industry’s long-term vision to better attract and secure individuals and help them achieve the American Dream.”
With more than 50 percent of hotel General Managers and many in the C-Suite starting their careers in entry-level positions, the hotel industry has a long tradition of grooming talent and growing careers, supporting some 8 million jobs across the United States and paying $74 billion in wages to employees.
AHLA has committed to enroll 225 apprentices by September. To date, AHLA already has more than 360 commitments from its membership. The apprenticeship program was designed with the goal of aligning certification with the fundamentals of apprenticeship, and was constructed using more than 100 competencies found in leading AHLA certifications. Apprentices in the DOL-approved AHLA program have the opportunity to earn while they learn, but also acquire two industry certifications and credit towards a college degree.
About the American Hotel & Lodging Association
Serving the hospitality industry for more than a century, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the sole national association representing all segments of the 8 million jobs the U.S. lodging industry supports, including hotel owners, REITs, chains, franchisees, management companies, independent properties, bed and breakfasts, state hotel associations, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support, and educational resources for an industry that advances long-term career opportunities for employees, invests in local communities across the country and hosts more than one billion guests’ stays in American hotels every year. AHLA proudly represents a dynamic hotel industry of more than 54,000 properties that supports $1.1 trillion in U.S. sales and contributes nearly $170 billion to the U.S. economy. Learn more at www.AHLA.com.
8-story hotel being developed by Denver-based Stonebridge Cos. will be part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection
Cherry Creek North’s third new hotel set to open in less than two years has a name: The Jacquard.
Stonebridge Cos. officially announced the moniker Tuesday during a “topping off” celebration for the eight-story, 201-room luxury hotel at Second Avenue and Milwaukee Street. The Jacquard is on schedule to open early next year.
“Our goal is to position this hotel as the highest quality of all the hotels in Cherry Creek,” Stonebridge CEO Navin Dimond said in an interview before the event. “We will firmly position this hotel at 4 1/2 stars.”
The Jacquard will be part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, a global portfolio of luxury hotels that maintains an independent identity while gaining access to Marriott’s reservation and loyalty program backbone. The only other Autograph property in Denver is The Brown Palace Hotel.
In Cherry Creek North, it will join an increasingly robust hotel market that this time last year only had one property with 100-plus rooms, the JW Marriott.
The first hotel to open in a decade in the tony neighborhood, Sage Hospitality’s 154-room Halcyon debuted in August on the site of the former post office on Columbine Street. The independent luxury hotel promised guests the “homey” feel of staying with a friend, albeit a very well-off friend.
And the 170-room Moxy, a millennial-focused Marriott concept that offers a more budget-friendly price point, should open later this year on Josephine Street.
Details about The Jacquard are still trickling out, but one amenity the hotel will have is a rooftop bar and pool — and not just any pool, a 75-foot lap pool.
A grand staircase will connect the spacious lobby to 6,900 square feet of meeting space, and a large, landscaped porte cochere will protect guests from the elements as they arrive and depart by car, Bill Martinic, Stonebridge’s director of hospitality development, said during a tour of the construction site last week.
The hotel’s personality is best described as “haute happiness,” Dimond said.
Its namesake is French inventor Joseph Marie Jacquard, who played an important role in the early 1800s in the development of a programmable loom capable of producing intricate woven patterns.
“It’s the things that will wow people just when they didn’t expect it — everything from curating the architecture to the art to the food to the people,” Dimond said. “You turn a corner and go, ‘Wow, that’s really cool.’ ”
A company “in perpetual motion” when it comes to hotel development, Stonebridge is also busy in Seattle, San Francisco and Boulder and recently wrapped up two projects on the East Coast, Dimond said.
And while Cherry Creek North went years without seeing any hotels open, Dimond said he’s confident there is sufficient demand to support all of the neighborhood’s new hotels — his included.
“People want to stay where there’s some action, some activity. People want to be where the buzz is, where they can just walk out and get a cup of coffee, walk around,” Dimond said. “That neighborhood has that — as soon as all the cranes are gone.
“You’ve got the mall. You’ve got lots of shopping. You’ve got great restaurants. There’s a number of business enterprises in the area. There’s great residential.”
Originally appeared in West Virginia Executive in May, 2017
Waterfront Place Hotel officially transitioned to Morgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place at Two Waterfront Place in Morgantown, W. Va on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017.
The newly renovated Morgantown Marriott is conveniently located one mile from West Virginia University and offers an airport shuttle, full-service spa, fitness center, pool, and a full-service Starbucks®, open from 6 am to 6 pm daily. The hotel has 207 guest rooms, consisting of double-queen, king and suites, with both river and city views available.
To ensure a comfortable stay for travelers, all rooms are equipped with complimentary high speed Internet, a desk, a mini refrigerator, a 55” television, and a coffee maker for early risers. Located within the hotel, Morgantown Marriott is home to the Morgantown Event Center, with 18 meeting rooms with more than 50,000 square feet of meeting and event space, perfect for business, weddings, parties and more.
Guests and locals are invited to dine at Bourbon Prime, a new bourbon-inspired, full-service restaurant located at the hotel. Executive Chef Jeremy Bosley has created a “wild and wonderful” West Virginia experience by consistently offering a menu of locally sourced items, including prime cuts of beef, inventive artisanal cocktails, and fine craft beers. Bourbon Prime is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Founded in 1991 by Navin C. Dimond, Stonebridge Companies is a privately owned, innovative hotel owner, operator and developer headquartered near Denver, Colorado. Its diverse portfolio of properties includes select-service, extended-stay, mid-scale and full-service hotels in markets throughout the U.S. For detailed information, visit http://www.sbcos.com.
Originally appeared in TimeOut Denver in May, 2017
The best hotels in Denver offer convenience, luxury and amenities galore for leisure or business travelers
From cowboys to climbers and skiers to stoners, Denverites are nothing if not naturally casual. But that doesn’t mean the city doesn’t rise to the occasion when it comes to world-class accommodation. Visitors hitting town for a dose of mountain culture, to linger over an espresso in our trendy coffee shops or dive into the booming food scene (which includes some of the best ramen in America), have plenty of places to lay their heads. These 13 hotels—all in proximity to the best things to do in Denver—go to show that, when it comes to hospitality, the Mile High City is ready for its close-up.
12. Denver Renaissance Hotel (Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center)
Housed in what a century ago was the Colorado National Bank, this Marriott contains the city’s most spectacular lobby by far: a three-story Greek Revival atrium rung round with enormous marble columns, graced with murals by Allen Tupper True and dotted with luxe furnishings that invite you to sit right down and soak it all up (or belly up to the Teller Bar situated along one wall to enjoy it over cocktails, sometimes enhanced by live music). Meanwhile, business travelers can book meetings in a former vault built into the other wall, and foodies can experience New American West cuisine as served at Range—including a bison, elk and quail platter. Now that’s a taste of Colorado.
Originally appeared in National Braille Press in May, 2017
NBP recently worked with the Residence Inn Boston Watertown to produce braille versions of their restaurant guide, shuttle service information, and points of interest in the area!
Director of Sales and Marketing, Korinne Robertson says, “The BRAND NEW Residence Inn by Marriott in Watertown, MA neighbors both Perkins School for the Blind as well as The Carroll Center for the Blind. Associates of the hotel feel it’s important that guests walk through the doors and settle into an environment where they will feel at ease, at home, and acquainted. Being able to provide them with tools and information about the surrounding area and hotel is a great amenity! We strive to provide as much as we can for all of our guests, and having guides and information about the hotel are essential to ensuring a seamless stay while away from the comforts of home.”
When visiting a hotel for the first time, blind and visually impaired guests need to get the lay of the land, figure out where they are going, and of course navigate to new places. Proofreader and frequent traveler, Chris Devin, always loves going to a hotel that accommodates him with braille materials. “If a chain has braille materials and we as blind people know they do, we are more likely to frequent that hotel.” It’s important for materials that are available in print to also be available in braille. “There’s a thought that all blind people can get their information from their iPhone. This is not always the case and that’s why braille is so important,” Chris advocates.
By having braille materials for your guests, you are showing them that their needs are important to you. You are giving them a chance to check out the best places to visit or eat, and information on how they can get around the new area.
Originally appeared in Mile High CRE in May, 2017
McWHINNEY and Stonebridge Companies announce a new Courtyard by Marriott slated to be built at Centerra, an award-winning master-planned community located in the heart of Northern Colorado in Loveland. The new hotel will break ground in June of 2017 proximate to the highly operated I-25 and US 34 intersection, which provides direct access to strong corporate and leisure demand including Rocky Mountain National Park.
The four-story, 101-room hotel plans to include a bistro and lounge, more than 1,200 square feet of meeting space, fitness center, a market, pool, hot tub, and guest laundry. The Courtyard by Marriott will be located off Sky Pond Drive and Centerra Parkway, just south of The Promenade Shops at Centerra. The hotel will incorporate local artwork and will immediately connect with surrounding community amenities, including Chapungu Sculpture Park, and be within walking distance of nearby shopping and dining experiences.
“At the heart of Northern Colorado, Centerra is the perfect location for a new hotel and we are excited to welcome Courtyard by Marriott to Centerra,” said David Crowder, McWHINNEY Vice President of Community Development/GM of Centerra. “The area is growing at a rapid pace and with that growth we also expect more visitors. The new Courtyard by Marriott will provide companies in the area with a convenient location for guests and will give visitors a place to call home.”
“We are thrilled to work with McWHINNEY on Centerra’s fourth and latest hotel project,” said Navin Dimond, President and CEO of Stonebridge Companies. “The hotel was designed under our “Distinguished Hospitality™” brand in order to ensure the best experience possible, as well as provide a true, local ambiance for guests.”
Centerra encompasses 3,000 acres of open space and lakes, homes, retail, dining and businesses. The master-planned community is home to hundreds of companies employing more than 7,000 people, 1.5 million square feet of retail space including more than 30 restaurants, three hotels, a health club, Pre-K-8 STEAM school and miles of trails and open space with breathtaking views of the Front Range. The unique community was built around two lakes and partners with High Plains Environmental Center to oversee and manage 275 acres of wetlands, open space and reservoirs within Centerra; and Chapungu Sculpture Park, a 26-acre walkable natural garden with more than 80 Zimbabwe stone sculptures throughout.
McWHINNEY is Northern Colorado’s premier developer with expertise in building office, industrial, retail, mixed-use, and hospitality assets. The Loveland and Denver-based company has developed more than 6,000 acres and 6 million square feet of property across the Rocky Mountain region and West coast.
Stonebridge Companies is the hospitality developer working with McWHINNEY on the new Courtyard by Marriott. The Centennial, Colo.-based company is an innovative hotel development and hospitality management firm. The company manages a portfolio of more than 45 hotels across the United States, and provides investor opportunities, hotel development services, hotel management services, and hospitality career opportunities to our partners and associates.