Hotel Renovation Spending On The Rise Nationwide; Check Out Which Boston Hotels Are Making Improvements

Posted by erik devaney

The Boston Marriot Long Wharf, courtesy of

Before the recent economic recession began rearing its ugly head, hotels across the country were doling out dough for improvements. In the years leading up to 2008, money, it seemed, was no object. It was during this period that hotels undertook massive — and massively expensive — renovation projects. These projects involved redesigning hotel lobbies and installing amenities like flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi Internet access and extra-comfy beds in rooms and suites.

The Colonnade Hotel in Boston’s Back Bay is just one example of a local hotel that took on a large-scale renovation project before the full effects of the recession could be felt. Completed in the spring of 2008, the Colonnade’s $25 million transformation included the construction of a monumental, marble-front reception desk; the installation of oversized lobby windows; and the redesigning of the hotel’s wall paneling and décor accents. The Colonnade’s rooms were outfitted with custom-made, pillow top mattresses; 37-inch, LCD flat-screen TVs (complete with DVD players); and MP3 player docking stations/alarm clocks.

After hotels — like the Colonnade — spent millions decking out their establishments with the latest and greatest amenities, something unexpected happened: people stopped staying in hotels. With the recession in full-swing, “staycations” became the norm and travel plummeted. For the next couple of years, hotel renovation spending fell considerably.

Now, in 2011, spending by hotels nationwide on improvements is on the rise. According to recent estimates from New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management, hotel renovation spending will reach $3.5 billion this year, which represents an increase of 30%.

The Boston Marriott Long Wharf is one local hotel that is serving as an example of this nationwide trend. The hotel hasn’t made improvements since its $16 million renovation, which — like the Colonnade’s renovation — was completed in 2008 and included the installation of flat-screen TVs. Now, a 2011 renovation of the Long Wharf Marriot is in its “final stages”, a representative told me. The renovation project involves a sprucing up of the hotel’s front door and lobby, as well as the construction of a library (a feature that the hotel never had in the past).

The Fairmont Copley Plaza, courtesy of

Another Boston hotel that has caught the 2011 renovation bug is the Fairmont Copley Plaza. The Fairmont’s $20 million renovation project will begin in December of this year and should be completed in the spring of 2012. The project will include new fixtures and furniture for the hotel’s 383 rooms; a new, state-of-the-art rooftop fitness center; and a new, 700-square-foot outdoor deck.

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Posted by erik devaney on Sep 12 2011. Filed under Business, Featured - For home page featured article. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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