With a downtown population topping 20,000, the racing capital of the world and proud home of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Hall of Champions welcomes the newest and largest JW Marriott hotel. Opening tomorrow, February 4th, the JW Marriott Indianapolis at Marriott Place will complete a portfolio of Marriott brands already there including the Courtyard by Marriott Indianapolis Downtown, SpringHill Suites by Marriott Indianapolis Downtown, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Indianapolis Downtown and the Marriott Indianapolis Downtown, with a total of 2,248 rooms. All of these hotels will be connected to the newly renovated and expanded Indiana Convention Center.
I have not been inside, but the exterior is AMAZING. Next to Lucas Oil Stadium and reminscent of Colts Blue, it is an absolutely beautiful addition to the Indianapolis downtown area.
If you haven't been to downtown Indy lately, you are in for a treat. Forethinking city government in the late 1970s decided that they did not want their downtown area to go the path of so many large-city downtowns, and went to work. From carriage rides around the Circle (blankets available - and needed - in winter) to great museums and a fine zoo to the beautiful canal district to great sports facilities (football, baseball, tennis, soccer, cycling, etc.) to Circle Center Mall to absolutely fabulous restaurants - try St. Elmo's Steakhouse, one of the top in the country, downtown Indy is a great destination.
I live about an hour north, and come down to Indy on a regular basis. It has been great to see the transformation. The J.W.Marriott is one more step in the process!
Above: The legendary griffin at the JW Marriott Indianapolis entrance.
Yes, indeed! A grand opening of this magnitude must be very exciting for the midwest communities surrounding Indianapolis. But, it takes more than an attractive shell to make a hotel welcoming, comfortable and livable on the inside. And, midwest hospitality swank combined with Marriott expertise plan to deliver the expected welcome to a huge number of guests. IndyStar.com took a fascinating behind-the-scenes look for an insiders report.
Below: One of more than 1,000 rooms ready for guests on day one.
Quoting IndyStar's reporter, Jeff Swiatek,
"The JW sales staff has pre-booked 475,000 room nights, representing about $70 million in revenue. That compares with about $10 million that Marriott and White Lodging, the Merrillville hotel developer and operator that is the main partner in the project, have spent in sales, marketing, salaries and staff training before the hotel even opens its doors. The number of large conventions, with attendance in the thousands, coming to Indianapolis will increase to at least 19 in 2012 from 13 this year. They include the Fire Department Instructors Conference, with 32,000 people in March, and the National FFA Convention, with 50,000 visitors in October."
Above: Over 650 employees were hired. Cintas was brought in to suit them up in uniforms.
With the guests from one convention alone, the city's population will swell to twice the number of residents. What an economic spur for growth. Over 650 newly hired employees worked to the wire to get landmark ready for today. Congratulations Marriott, White Lodging and Indianapolis on opening the largest JW Marriott in the world!