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Marriott Downtown completes renovation

Published: Monday, Jan. 19 2009 6:32 p.m. MST

After a $9 million renovation of the lobby and 515 rooms, managers of the Salt Lake City Marriott Downtown believe the expense will pay for itself, even though business is down.

The hotel, 75 S. West Temple, is across the street from the Salt Palace Convention Center, and officials say convention business is flat as compared to last year.

"The individual corporate person, that's down from last year," said Bob O'Neill, the hotel's director of sales and marketing. "That's why the reinvestment is so critical, so we put your best foot forward here."

The renovation is on one of three blocks The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is developing as the City Creek Center.

"We're the first thing emanating out of this 'Downtown Rising' project," said O'Neill, referring to the Salt Lake Chamber's arm dedicated to the reinvention of downtown.

The Marriott's rooms received new carpet, drapes, pillow-top mattresses and headboards with reading lights. Larger windows were installed in each room.

Each room also has a 37-inch, high-definition television and a laptop hub. Guests can plug in laptops and view them on the televisions, O'Neill said.

In the lobby is a new Starbucks Coffee, a seating area and a new business center.

Installation of the new windows began 18 months ago. Room renovations began Oct. 15, starting on the 16th floor and working down to the 2nd floor, which was finished Tuesday afternoon, O'Neill said. The hotel does not have a 13th floor.

The hotel is managed by Marriott International and owned by DiamondRock Hospitality Co. Both are based in Bethesda, Md.

Although the economy has slowed and business travel is down, O'Neill said, "We're confident. It's the old real estate quote, 'Location. Location. Location.' We're confident of our location in the city."

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