John Legend takes the stage at courtyard by Marriott

John Legend takes the stage at courtyard by Marriott

In front of throngs of surprised New Yorkers passing through Grand Central Terminal today, Grammy award-winning artist John Legend gave an exclusive performance inside a replica of the new Courtyard by Marriott lobby. The singer/songwriter’s performance kicked off a two month long initiative designed to bring the new lobby concept to more travelers across the U.S. The ubiquitous brand is unveiling “lobby zones” just like the one in Grand Central in three major U.S. airports in Atlanta, Chicago and Denver on September 15.

Legend played one set, including “Wake Up Everybody” and “Ordinary People” inside the famed train station’s Vanderbilt Hall. As the crowd swelled, excited fans snapped photos on their cell phones, sharing the experience with their friends on social networks. To learn more about today’s kick off event, or to get more information about the airport lobby zones, guests can connect with Courtyard on the brand’s newly launched Facebook page, Twitter feed or blog, Courtyard Connections.

“When Courtyard set out to redesign and reintroduce our new Refreshing Business lobby, the goal was create a space where travelers congregate that is contemporary, sophisticated and relevant,” said Janis Milham, vice president and global brand manager, Courtyard by Marriott. “In our minds, John Legend epitomizes those traits and was the perfect choice to kickoff our initiative and showcase the new lobby to travelers in an exciting and innovative way.”

After today’s launch event, replicas of the new lobby will also be on display in three of the country’s busiest airports — Chicago O’Hare, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson and Denver International airports — beginning September 15 through November 14. Each of these lobby zones will feature some of the new furnishings and amenities found in the more than 180 Courtyard Refreshing Business lobbies across the U.S.

By the end of this year, our owners will have spent nearly $190 million to put the new lobby into nearly 260 Courtyard hotels. We expect to have 500 hotels with the new lobby by the end of 2011.

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The new lobby design is contemporary and stylish, and gives travelers options and the ability to make choices that allow them to make the most of their time on the road. The environment is perfect for guests looking to work, relax or socialize, whether traveling alone or in groups. There are a variety of flexible seating options from a communal table in the middle of the action, more private media booths with high-definition televisions, to a more intimate, semi-enclosed lounge area. All of these areas are equipped with ample electrical outlets so guests can plug-in and charge their mobile devices and laptops while connecting to the free WiFi offered throughout the lobby.

A signature element of the new lobby is Courtyard’s exclusive, interactive GoBoard® technology. The GoBoard is a 55-inch LCD touch screen packed with local news, business and sports headlines from USA Today; the current weather forecast and up to date stock prices. Guests can also navigate the touch screen mapping feature to find restaurants, local attractions and print directions.