After a summer of construction, the renovations at the Courtyard Marriott off of Candlers Mountain Road are complete.
The top-to-bottom renovations include all new furniture, fully remodeled bathrooms, upgraded entertainment systems in all rooms, and improvements to employee work areas such as the laundry and break rooms. The hotel has not seen any improvements since it was built in the late 1990s, according to developer Richard Pietrafesa. "We basically gutted the hotel and completely renovated all of the rooms down to the bare walls," he said. "People really seem to be responding well to the renovation. We tried to put all of the things today's guests would be interested in."
The $2.5 million renovation began in May of this year and was completed a few weeks ago. In addition to remodeling the rooms fully, developers chose to remove the pool, replacing it with an expanded lounge area, and increased the size of the fitness center. While everything had a complete overhaul, the hotel has remained at its original 90 room capacity.
Rooms have been outfitted with 50-inch televisions that can stream video from platforms like Netflix, Hulu and other similar services. In bathrooms, all bathtubs have been changed to showers, and every room has newly installed, modern furniture. '
In the coming weeks, guests will be able to use the Marriott app on their phones to check in and use their smartphones as a room key. The medical alert system was upgraded, allowing hotel staff to know the exact location of a medical emergency alert instead of the approximate area.
Courtyard Marriott is part of the Marriott family of hotels and caters to upscale business travelers. The lobby of the hotel features a full-service restaurant and bar for guests, and an outdoor patio has a fire pit.
When Pietrafesa and his partners wanted to invest in a hotel, they toured several properties in the south and were impressed with Lynchburg's local government leadership and business climate.
"We came here and liked everything about Lynchburg," Pietrafesa said. "There's really visionary leadership, and they really appreciate the businesses that are here. There's a good staple of stable businesses here that likely won't move and of course [there are] four or five universities in town, so we think the market is not only stable but will continue to grow given the strong leadership."
The hotel was purchased in October of last year for $7.4 million. Pietrafesa and his partners, under the name Hotel Acquisitions LLC, also are constructing two other hotels in Syracuse, New York, and Cincinnati. The Lynchburg hotel is managed by Essex Hotel Management, which manages 12 other Marriott and Hilton hotels.
Instead of renovating a property and then selling it right away, Pietrafesa said the plan is to own the property long term.
"We're long-term holders," he said. "We're here to operate it for many, many years and looking to make a future investment in Lynchburg."
City Councilman Jeff Helgeson said he was impressed with the renovation and excited to see more growth in Lynchburg from outside developers.
"It's really wonderful," he said at the hotel's grand reopening Thursday. "The hospitality industry here is just exploding, and it's good to see the supply keeping up with the demand. It's great to see developers investing in Lynchburg."
Webasically gutted the hotel and completely renovated all of the rooms down to the barewalls."