Its lobby luxury.
Hotels in Fort Wayne are part of a trend to transform the registration desk area from a guest bypass into a place to meet, greet and hangout.
Marriott has changed its prototype for the lobby, said Sajid Chaudhry, one of the owners of a planned $3.5 million Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott along West Jefferson Boulevard. Theyve made it more modern and contemporary. It used to be a lobby consisted of a couple of tables and chairs. Now, they look like a Starbucks or Panera Bread inside.
The reason is obvious. You only get one time to make a first impression. And when business travelers arrive they like to be wowed – even if theyll spend much of their time in conference rooms.
Its a new generation and business people want much more room to work and the new lobby area is more interactive, said Chaudhry, whose hotel is expected to debut next summer. Theres more lighting and a communal table. People want to socialize and not stay cooped up in their rooms.
Thats why WiFi throughout the hotel will be one of Fairfield Inns amenities.
Lisa McGuffey manages Don Halls Guesthouse Hotel in Fort Wayne. The family-owned lodge features an enormous fireplace in a den-like setting that grabs guests attention the moment they hit the door.
Weve had people want to take (professional) pictures in front of the fireplace and weve had people get married there, she said. It is unique. You can tell right away that this is a family-owned hotel because it has a homey feel. I think people like that.
Don Halls has little getaway areas throughout the building dotted with comfortable chairs and sofas.
Its quaint and is sort of like a bed and breakfast, McGuffey said.
When the Welcome Group Inc. of Torrance, Calif., bought downtown Fort Waynes Hilton Hotel, officials said the atrium was one of the deal clinchers when they bought the building for $12.4 million in April from Servico. The Welcome Group inked a 10-year franchise agreement with Hilton Worldwide. The new owner will invest at least $2 million in the next year or so as part of the deal. Upgrades likely will include improvements to the lobby area.