A prominent hotel in downtown Little Rock, Ark. raised the flag of Marriott Hotels and Resorts for the first time on May 2, 2013 representing a significant change to city’s River Market district and convention center neighborhood.
Celebrating the occasion with a ribbon cutting ceremony at what was once known as the Peabody Hotel, dignitaries and local business representatives joined with hotel associates from the management firm of Davidson Hotels & Resorts and property owner Executive Vice President Ed Ansbro of Fairwood Capital to inaugurate Arkansas’ first full-service Marriott hotel.
“The addition of the Marriott Hotels & Resorts’ flag, along with its associated accommodations, amenities and reservation system, will better position our hotel to meet the needs and demands of both business and leisure travelers seeking upscale accommodations in the area,” said Bill Fontes, general manager of the newly dubbed Little Rock Marriott. “We are the only full-service Marriott hotel in Arkansas which we believe gives us a significant competitive advantage.”
Fontes spoke during ribbon cutting ceremonies held to commemorate opening of the Marriott’s 418-room luxury lodging which is slated to undergo a multi-million dollar renovation of all guest rooms and public spaces beginning in early 2014.
“Little Rock is a regional magnet for business, meetings/convention and leisure travel,” said Ted Arps, Investment Management senior vice president with Davidson Hotels & Resorts. “After a thorough review of the market, we worked closely with Fairwood to select the best brand to reposition this hotel. The Marriott flag brings instant credibility to a great hotel and location, and we intend to provide the guest service and attention to detail for which both Marriot and Little Rock are well-known.”
The new Marriott hotel is situated in downtown Little Rock near the popular River Market district, and is connected to the Statehouse Convention Center. The accommodations are also located just minutes from the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, Verizon Arena, Old Statehouse Museum, local performing arts centers and the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
On hand for the event were Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola; members of the Little Rock Board of Directors and Convention & Visitors Bureau; George Katz and Kathy Hood, regional vice president and vice president of sales and revenue management, respectively, from Davidson Hotels & Resorts; Tom Defreece, vice president and controller of Fairwood Capital, and a host of community and business representatives.
Absent for the first time in over a decade, the Peabody ducks were not in attendance at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The iconic ducks, a fixture at the Peabody since its opening in 2002 were moved from the hotel fountain and into retirement on an outlying farm.
While the ducks may be gone, new changes have already been made inside the Marriott to help improve the hotel experience of Little Rock visitors. The Marriott’s exclusive linens, high-definition televisions, telephones and other features have been added as the hotel moves forward in revitalizing the property.