SNEAK PEEK: Marriott’s $23M remodeling nearly complete at UD

The Dayton Marriott at the University of Dayton has nearly completed its $23 million renovation of its 399 rooms, restaurant and conference room, adding numerous modern conveniences.

The remodeled guest rooms have 49-inch-screen TVs, new platform beds, a re-made entrance, a new main restaurant and outdoor patio areas, new streaming capabilities and more.

In all, the value of construction was $21 million with another $2 million in capital spending, said Benjamin Haller, Dayton Marriott’s general manager. That spending included a new roof, new elevators and more.

Visitors can walk through the new front entrance , through the new lobby and into the new restaurant without encountering any walls or doors (other than the first one). Previously, one walked down a hall to a separate restaurant.

“It’s kind of that great room concept,” Haller said. “It’s kind of that open space, like you feel in your own homes. Everyone wants to engage and entertain and be active all in one space.”

“We want people to see what’s going on,” he added.

Today’s travelers “like to plug and play anywhere,” said Karen Nash, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. “You’ll notice a lot of the tables they’re able to still plug in, get their work done, have a cocktail, have a bite to eat.”

All in one open gathering space, Nash added. “People enjoy that.”

The hotel stayed open as work began in the spring of 2016. Construction crews staged in parking lots east and west of the hotel at times. The work touched all guest rooms, meeting spaces, and the new restaurant and bar.

The property’s transformation dates back to Marriott’s sale of the hotel to the University of Dayton and Concord Hospitality Enterprises Co. in 2014. As part of the sale agreement, a property investment plan was written up that had to be completed by a certain date.

“It certainly was long overdue for some investments in the facility,” Haller said.

The hotel at 1414 S. Patterson Blvd. dates back to 1982 and sits on 9.8 acres. UD does not take an active daily management role in the hotel operations, Haller said.

UD acts as an investor in the operation, and Haller said Concord reports back to the university on a regular basis.

Andy Horner, UD’s vice president for finance and administrative services, likes what he sees at the hotel. He said the work has refreshed the site “top to bottom, inside and out.”

“It truly was a transformation from when we bought it,” he said.

The hotel has been a smart investment for UD, he said. It’s contiguous to the campus and gives the university a voice on property from the traditional campus west to the Great Miami River.

The hotel also serves faculty, staff, students and parents, he said.

The property’s last extensive renovation was 2008. In all, it has 13,600 square feet of meeting space, a full-service restaurant and bar, a fitness center and a pool.

Before, the hotel had two restaurants — a clearly separated dining restaurant and a sports bar.

“At one point in the early 1980s, it made sense that people wanted that quiet dining experience, separate from that active sports bar feel,” Haller said. “So both were open for dinner.”

By the early 1990s, tastes shifted. The sports bar eventually was open for dinner service while the restaurant was open only for breakfast and lunch.

Now, both the bar and the restaurant are now combined in one open space — the “Dewberry 1850 Restaurant & Lounge.”

The hotel is poised for the future, but re-modelings age quickly. Haller said Marriott standards call for renovations of varying levels every seven to eight years.

Thomas Hamilton Associates was the architect for the project.

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