By JACK WEATHERLY
The first check-in on the first day for the Marriott Residence Inn is taking the name of the hotel seriously.
The man, a walk-in, registered at 11:15 a.m. Thursday in the 95-suite hotel – 45 minutes after the doors opened.
Without being asked by her interviewer, a pleased general manager Nita Smith said, “nine months,” with a big smile.
Tanneaha Camel, assistant general manager, did a discreet fist-pump and uttered a stage-whisper “yes!” when asked about the booking.
The kitchen-equipped suites, of course, are primarily designed for more than an overnight stay.
And, naturally, the Residence Inn, along with its 711 predecessors, encourages long stays.
Stays beyond 30 days are discounted, Camel said.
A room that would go for $169 a night would drop to either $99 or $109, she said.
The hotel has 25 positions – 10 of which have not been filled, said Sheri Willer, senior regional director of operations for InterMountain Hotels, which developed the hostelry with Ted Duckworth and Breck Hines, principals in the District Land Co.
The hotel is looking for four front-desk agents, full-time and part-time, four housekeeping staffers and an attendant for breakfast and a “mixer” attendant, Willer said.
There has some anticipation on the customer side. Fourteen rooms were booked for a wedding entourage two or three months ago, starting the first day of business, Willer said.
First day for any sizeable undertaking typically means last-minute scrambling. Carpet on a stairwell was being replaced (why? simply the wrong design), as Marriott and InterMountain employees worked away on laptops in the lobby and workers weaved their way through and a staffer polished the stainless-steel containers in the breakfast room.
In case the obvious fact that this is a brand-spanking-new hotel is missed, a look outside at the rest of the mixed-use development rising perceptibly every day on the 21-acre site along Interstate 55 is a reminder that the Residence Inn is not alone.
By the time the first guest ends his nine-month stay, there will be a lot of company, including 250 units in the District Lofts and amenities such as a number of restaurants, a multi-screen movie house where guests will be encouraged to tipple a bit, a couple of banks and some retail shops.
And hotel guests will be able to walk about. Green space is incorporated in the development design to emulate a neighborhood environment.
BEFORE YOU GO…