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As we mentioned in our Master List of Worldwide Openings this morning, New York City is now home to the tallest hotel in North America. So which hotel owns this distinction? The "two-pack" Courtyard By Marriott and Residence Inn Central Park which just opened a few hours ago at 1717 Broadway and 54th.
Measurement-wise the new hotel stands at 752 feet, 9 inches and without office or residential space attached, the hotel has grabbed the "Tallest Hotel" prize.
For guests staying at the hotel, they will have 68-floors of either Courtyard by Marriott or Residence Inn guest rooms and amenities to choose from. Courtyard has about 378 rooms on floors 6-33 (with those cool new room designs) while Residence Inn has 261 suites on floors 37-65. Check out the view from one of the Courtyard rooms. On the 35th floor is a fitness center floor-to-ceiling windows and an outdoor sundeck for relaxing, stretching or as Marriott says, "seasonal sunning."
Yet what has us more excited than the fact that Marriott has stuck two of its brands together in a giant hotel overlooking Central Park and with views of the Hudson River is that the entire hotel has complimentary WiFi. But that's not all. Marriott says each room delivers "1.25 gigabytes of bandwidth with horizontal and vertical fiber optical cable network that allows for fast, extensive use on multiple devices at one time." Yes, this is Marriott saying that.
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On October 15, 1983, Bill Marriott opened the very first Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in Atlanta. When he posed for this picture, did he know that Courtyard would eventually grow to be the 12th largest hotel brand in the world and perhaps more importantly, the #2 most profitable brand for Marriott? (#1 is the Marriott flagship brand.)
Whatever Mr. Marriott's hotel spidey sense was feeling that day, Courtyard has accomplished a lot in 30 years and today, they are taking the day to celebrate.
At Courtyards around the world (and there are 1,000 in 38 countries), they are holding a global anniversary party with events in Hong Kong, Doha, Berlin, Mexico City and Atlanta, home of the first Courtyard. Additionally, in North America, the first 30 guests who check-in to a Courtyard will receive these commemorative Courtyard t-shirts. The party even continues over to social media. If you're birthday is today, you will also get a surprise Courtyard gift. Or you can just watch as 30,000 associates celebrate internally at Marriott with cakes, balloons and other festivities. Follow hashtag #Courtyard30 to party on with them.
In the meantime, here are some fun "Dirty Thirty" Courtyard By Marriott facts to read as well as a professional shots of their "Gen Next" rooms:
The Courtyard By Marriott Zone at the 2012 Super Bowl.
Tonight is the night we've all been waiting for. Well, at least some of us have been waiting for--The Return of the NFL!
While we plan on being glued to our laptops
cursing monitoring the performance of our Fantasy Football team every Sunday, we understand that some of you might have actual business to attend to while the games are on. Which is why you might want to stay at a Courtyard By Marriott Hotel.
Courtyard is the official hotel sponsor of the NFL for the third year in a row and they will be hosting NFL tailgate parties every Thursday night at different locations. Guests staying at one of seven Courtyards this season will be treated to VIP invite-only events that feature meet and greets with local NFL greats, raffles and an endless supply of tailgate food and drink. In addition, each event (except for Houston) will feature a grand prize drawing that gets a lucky winner tickets to that night's actual game. Here's where this season's tailgates are happening and when:
· 9/12/13 – Courtyard Boston Foxborough/Mansfield, MA
· 9/19/13 – Courtyard Mt. Laurel, NJ
· 10/10/13 – Courtyard Chicago Downtown/River North , IL
· 10/17/13 – Courtyard Scottsdale Salt River, AZ
· 11/7/13 – Courtyard Minneapolis Downtown, MN
· 11/14/13 – Courtyard Nashville Downtown, TN
· 12/5/13 - Courtyard Houston Medical Center, TX
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Construction began on the hybrid Residence Inn/Courtyard by Marriott Hotel across from the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott at LA Live just last March but the hotel looks nearly finished, at least on the outside.
We snapped this pic from the 10 Freeway the other day (Shh! Don't tell the CHP) and the hotel looks nearly identical to the rendering put out last year. And no, it's not your eyes or your computer screen, we think those rooms windows are supposed to have that haphazard look. (Or maybe that was just because we were in motion when we took this pic. Oops.)
When it's completely finished, the 24-story building will house a 174-room Courtyard by Marriott (hopefully with these new "Gen Next" rooms) and a 218-room Residence Inn. Word is the hotel should be done by Summer 2014.
Meanwhile Marriott isn't done with Downtown LA. They are still building a Renaissance Hotel across from the JW Marriott on the northeast corner of Olympic Boulevard and Georgia Street. The hotel will have 450 rooms when it opens in 2016. Construction is expected to start next year. Perhaps Downtown LA should automatically sign you up for Marriott Rewards when you visit.
[Photo: HotelChatter, while driving. Don't do this at home, kids.]
In our 2013 WiFi Report, we took a special look at what are considered good working WiFi speeds at hotels. (One to 5mbps is a fairly good speed that will allow you to get all your basic internet activities done.) We've since been keeping track of hotel WiFi speeds on this story here.
Courtyard has already recognized the important of free WiFi (which they've offered for years) but now they're implementing certain internet standards for their general managers to follow. These include implementing definitive internet strategies for each property and working with certified internet service providers. (Hopefully, that will eliminate such mishaps as this one.)
Word is compliance for these standards will begin in July so by next year, Courtyard will not only have super cool new rooms but (fingers crossed), super cool working WiFi as well.
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This ain't your daddy's Courtyard by Marriott Hotel!
Back in 2008, Courtyard by Marriott rolled out an entirely new lobby concept that drew guests out of the guestrooms and lured them downstairs to hang out at the Centro bar, nosh at the Bistro cafe and socialize anywhere else there was comfortable seating, which was pretty much everywhere.
From the media pods to the GoBoards which show off news, traffic reports and other pertinent info for business travelers to the almighty free WiFi, Courtyard's lobbies are now sought out not just by business travelers but by digital nomads like ourselves in need of a place to work and a bite to eat. Ok, and maybe a glass of wine too.
But it was only a matter of time before the Courtyard guestrooms would be expected to up their ante. And that's just what happened.
According to Janis Milham, Vice President and Global Brand Manager for Courtyard, guests started to talk of a "disconnect" between the forward-thinking lobby layout and the somewhat traditional guest rooms. So while Courtyard introduces new room protoypes every six years, it became clear that the next renovation of Courtyard rooms had to match what was happening downstairs.
It also had to grab the attention of the next generation of travelers. Yup, you got it--the millennials, who everyone is courting these days including Marriott's other brands, AC Hotels by Marriott which are coming to the U.S. next year and Moxy which will open in Europe.
So what does this next generation want from a hotel room? Well, after a lengthy design and testing process, which Milham said took about a year and a half, Courtyard is ready to show off its Gen Next guestrooms. We were able to peep an actual room prototype over the weekend and here's what we learned:
A $295 commercial development known as Canalside in Buffalo, NY has given new life to the city's downtown waterfront district. Over 400,000 people turned up last summer to stroll the boardwalk, and enjoy a wide array of outdoor events like yoga classes, ship tours, and free concerts (including a performance by 90s rap legends Salt 'N Peppa!).
The hotel will occupy the second through fourth floors of the eight-story Donovan Building, which formerly housed government offices.
For tourism reasons, the city is psyched to get its first-ever Marriott-flagged hotel, and a local developer told BizJournals that getting Marriott on board was "an easy sell."
"Our level of excitement about Canalside rubbed off on them. This represents significant additional private sector investment dollars into Canalside on top of what we are already investing."
The hotel, which will be surrounded by mini "replica canals" designed after the Erie Canal, is scheduled to open in late 2013
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Plenty of time has passed since the historic Maison Blanche building first opened on Canal Street as a department store in 1908. Boy, would we have loved to have been a customer at the store in those days, picking through whatever kinds of hats, shoes, furniture and toothpaste folks used to buy in the 1900s.
These days, however, the building lives in hotel form. Two hotels, to be precise: the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, which opened in 2000, and, until recently, the Iberville Suites.
We say until recently, because the second hotel portion of the building just got taken over by Courtyard by Marriott, effectively sealing the deal on Marriott's deft usurpation of this gleaming Beaux Arts building. They must have been plotting all along!
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It was announced this week that a Courtyard by Marriott is coming to the capital of Romania in early 2014. And while Marriott already has an outpost in the city—the flashier, more expensive JW Marriott Bucharest Grand—this will be the city's first Courtyard, and, in fact, just the 47th in all of Europe.
And we must, say, we're liking its look. A rendering was released, showing off the hotel's glass facade and geometric structure, organized into interlocking blocks. The kind of thing we'd expect at maybe a newer budget brand like Hyatt Place, or maybe IHG's newest, and yet to launch, health-oriented brand, Even Hotels. But if this is the direction we see more new Courtyards heading in, then sign us up!
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If you're staying at the The Courtyard by Marriott in Midtown Manhattan, or any Marriott for that matter, the hotel wants you to know that your data is still safe, despite the "code injections" that were uncovered by a recent guest.
Kathleen Duffy , director of public relations for Marriott's NYC hotels, gave HotelChatter an updated statement letting us know that the code injections have been disabled:
Recently a concern regarding high-speed Internet security at one of our hotels in New York City was brought to our attention. As soon as we learned of the situation, we launched an investigation into the matter. Preliminary findings revealed that, unbeknownst to the hotel, the Internet service provider (ISP) was utilizing functionality that allowed advertising to be pushed to the end user. The ISP has assured the hotel that this functionality has now been disabled.
While this is a common marketing practice with many Internet service providers, Marriott does not condone this practice. At no time was data security ever at risk.
We will continue to look into this matter and find opportunities to remind our hotels of Marriott’s high-speed Internet policies.
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Some very not cool news to discuss today. According to the NY Times, the internet service at The Courtyard by Marriott in Midtown Manhattan was outed by a recent guest as "secretly injecting lines of code into every page he visited, code that could allow it to insert ads into any Web page without the knowledge of the site visitor or the page’s creator."
The NY Times also discovered that the codes contained references to "rxg", for Revenue eXtraction Gateway, a service that rewrites every Web page "on the fly" so that it can include a banner ad and eventually get more clicks.
Although the guest did not actually see any ads on his personal website, the principle of such a thing has some folks really riled up, especially if the hotel is making money off this secret code/ad injecting scheme by blocking the intended ads and inserting whichever ones RXG has in mind.
However, a Marriott spokesperson told HotelChatter that "This is not a Marriott-endorsed protocol and we are working to investigate the issue."
Sigh. Just when we thought it was wonderful that Courtyard by Marriott was offering free WiFi, this had to come along and kill our buzz.
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The Courtyard Greatness on the Road Zone at the NFL Experience in Indianapolis yesterday.
We've already told you how Courtyard by Marriott, an official sponsor of the NFL, was turning into a superfan for the Super Bowl XLVI this year but now that the Big Game weekend has officially kicked off we thought we'd check in with Janis Milham, Vice President and Global Brand Manager for Courtyard and get some on-the-scene reports from her.
"It is BUZZING," she said yesterday of the vibe in downtown Indianapolis. "There are people all over the place and it is just the first day. I can only imagine what it would be like on Saturday and Sunday."
Milham was sitting in the sports bar of the JW Marriott but she was about to head over to the NFL Experience at the Indianapolis Convention Center where NFL fans can gawk at the Vince Lombardi Trophy, step into a replica NFL locker room, see how far they can throw a spiral downfield and more. It's also where people can peep at the new Courtyard By Marriott lobbies at the Courtyard Greatness on the Road Zone.